MAMMA ROMA to Conclude Cherry Lane Theatre's MENTOR PROJECT 2012


A new play about the late Italian actress Anna Magnani, MAMMA ROMA -- written and performed by Anne DeSalvo, winner of the Obie Award for her performance in GEMINI -- will be presented by Cherry Lane Theatre's MENTOR PROJECT from April 3 to 14 at Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce St.) in Manhattan. MAMMA ROMA is directed by Rob Urbinati. David Rambo (THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS) has been Ms. DeSalvo's mentor for the play.

MAMMA ROMA concludes the 13th season of MENTOR PROJECT, Cherry Lane Theatre's award-winning program that each year pairs leading dramatists with emerging writers for a full season of script development, casting, rehearsals and a showcase production of the mentored playwrights' works in the Studio Theatre. MENTOR PROJECT is the recipient of an American Theatre Wing Award, a Village Voice Obie Award and the Dramatist Guild's James Kirkwood Award for fostering new work by contemporary playwrights.

A cornerstone of Cherry Lane's developmental programming, MENTOR PROJECT has become an important national launching pad for new writers and their plays since it was begun in 1998 by Angelina Fiordellisi and Susann Brinkley along with Founding Mentors Edward Albee, Charles Fuller, A.R. Gurney, Tony Kushner, Wendy Wasserstein and Michael Weller. The list of more than 40 playwrights whose early works at MENTOR PROJECT have lead to significant productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and on stages around the world include: Katori Hall, Rajiv Joseph, Christopher Shinn, Anne Washburn, David Adjmi, Julia Cho, Anton Dudley, Sheila Callaghan, Colin McKenna, Bathsheba Doran and Molly Smith Metzler.

Written and performed by Anne DeSalvo, Mamma Roma is a solo show about the earthy and unkempt Italian actress Anna Magnani, whose notable career achievements include earning the Best Actress Oscar for THE ROSE TATTOO by Tennessee Williams and starring in his film THE FUGITIVE KIND. Her many other starring roles included in ROME, OPEN CITY and THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA. Magnani radiated with a fierce intelligence, uniqueness and sensuality, but lacked the bombshell good looks of her contemporaries like Bridget Bardot, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida. She rocketed to international celebrity with Roberto Rossellini’s OPEN CITY and came to epitomize Italy’s Neo Realism movement and transcended it with an exceptional rawness, depth and honesty.

Anne DeSalvo – a visual artist, writer, director and producer – is best known for her work as an actress. Her credits include: Christopher Durang’s THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE UNIVERSE, Albert Innaurato’s THE TRANSFIGURATION OF BENNO BLIMPIE, Peter Parnell’s THE SORROWS OF STEPHEN, the musical adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Godbless You, Mr. Rosewater, Marilyn Miller's spoof Girls, Girls, Girls, Albert Innaurato’s GEMINI (Obie Award), Harvey Fierstein’s SAFE SEX on Broadway, and more. Her numerous film appearances include Woody Allen's STARDUST MEMORIES, ARTHUR with Dudley Moore, MY FAVORITE YEAR and COMPROMISING POSITIONS with Susan Sarandon.

Mentor David Rambo is the author of THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS, a one-woman play about the noted advice columnist Ann Landers, produced by Cherry Lane Theatre and starring Judith Ivey (Lortel nominated for Outstanding Solo Show). Other plays include GOD'S MAN IN TEXAS, THE ICE-BREAKER, an adaptation of BABBITT and an all-new book for Lerner and Loewe's PAINT YOUR WAGON. His plays have been widely produced at regional theatres around the country including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geffen Playhouse, Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre, Alliance and Pasadena Playhouse.

MAMMA ROMA will be directed by Rob Urbinati, whose directing credits include Staceyann Chin’s Border/Clash for the Culture Project, Al Letson’s Summer in Sanctuary, Jan Buttram’s The President and Her Mistress at the Abingdon, Pirandello’s The Man With the Flower in His Mouth for Classic Stage Company, Krik Bromley's SYNDROME at Greenwich St. Theatre. At Queens Theatre, he has directed MARRY ME A LITTLE with Brent Barrett and Sally Mayes, ANGEL STREET, MASTER CLASS and Max Sparber's MINSTREL SHOW OR THE LYNCHING OF William Brown.

Currently MENTOR PROJECT is presenting Patricia Buckley's EVOLUTION (directed by Michele Chivu, mentored by Jean Claude van Itallie) through March 24 at the Studio Theatre. MENTOR PROJECT 2012 kicked off last month with Elizabeth Rose's musical RELATIVE PITCH (directed and mentored by Gretchen Cryer).

MAMMA ROMA will perform April 3 to 14 at Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce St.) Performance schedule for MENTOR PROJECT is Tuesday through Saturday at 7:00pm and a Saturday matinee at 3:00pm. Tickets are $18 (plus $1 facility fee) and can be purchased by calling 212-352-3101 or online at

Angelina Fiordellisi is Founder and Artistic Director of Cherry Lane Theatre.

The Mentor Project continues Cherry Lane Theatre's long and rich history of presenting works by both emerging and seasoned playwrights that reveal the social consciousness of our ever-changing world. Now 87 years old and New York's longest, continuously-running Off-Broadway theatre, Cherry Lane's roster of iconoclastic writers whose work has been at home at the theatre since the 1920s includes O'Neill, Saroyan, Auden, Albee, Odets, Orton, Mamet, and Lanford Wilson. Such distinctive actors as Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, Colleen Dewhurst, Cicely Tyson, Frank Langella, Tyne Daly, Estelle Parsons, Dennis Quaid and Judith Ivey have performed on its stage.

For more information about THE MENTOR PROJECT or The Cherry Lane Theatre, please visit

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