New York Theatre Workshop Opens TOP SECRET, 3/9

New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) Artistic Director James C. Nicola and Managing Director William Russo, L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) Producing Director Susan Lowenberg, Affinity Collaborative Theater founding members John Dias, Sheila Schwartz, and Diane Morrison have announced that Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, written by Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aarons, and directed by John Rubinstein, will begin performances Wednesday, February 24 at 8pm, at NYTW, 79 East 4th Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery. Opening night is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at 7:00pm. The production runs through Sunday, March 28; single tickets are on sale Friday, January 29.

It's 1971 and the nation is at war. The intractable conflict escalates in Vietnam while here at home the battle for public opinion rages. A federal court blocks The New York Times from publishing the top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham has a single day to decide whether to print these documents, which quickly became known as the Pentagon Papers. When the Nixon administration closes in and charges treason, the fight for a free press explodes. Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aaron's suspenseful Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers animates the frontline clash between the government's need for secrecy and the public's right to know. Featuring a cast of eleven representing the real life characters at the center of this historic event-from Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee to Post publisher Katharine Graham to President Richard Nixon-this is a true story about one of the great "stand up and cheer" moments in American journalism.

The cast of Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers includes Diane Adair (Meg Greenfield); Larry Bryggman (John Mitchell/ChAl Roberts/Lamont Vanderhall); John Getz (Ben Bagdikian/Robert Mardian); Jack Gilpin (BrIan Kelly); James Gleason (Murry Marder/Judge Martin Peel); Roberta Maxwell (Katharine Graham); Matt McGrath (George Wilson/Eugene Patterson); Larry Pine (Richard Nixon/Dennis Doolin); Russell Soder (Soldier/Darryl Cox/Clerk & Bailiff/Ron Ziegler); Peter Strauss (Ben Bradlee); and Peter Van Norden (Fritz Beebe/Henry Kissinger).

Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers holds special interest for New York Theatre Workshop. Stephen Graham, son of late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, is NYTW's founding trustee.

The set and lighting design for Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers is by
David Lander; costume design is by Holly Poe Durbin. The production stage manager is Jennifer Grutza.

Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers was first developed and produced by L.A. Theatre Works.

Geoffrey Cowan is a University Professor who holds the Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, where he also directs the Center on Communication Leadership. He served as dean of the USC Annenberg School from 1996 to 2007. He holds a joint appointment at the USC School of Law and teaches courses and conducts research in media, law and society and public diplomacy. In 2007, he was elected to be the Walter Lippmann Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Before coming to USC, Cowan served under President Clinton as director of the Voice of America and director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. In other public service roles, Cowan served on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, chaired the Los Angeles commission that drafted the city's ethics and campaign finance law, and chaired the California Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices. He is an award-winning and best selling author whose books include See No Evil: The Backstage Battle Over Sex and Violence on Television and The People v. Clarence Darrow: The Bribery Trial of America's Greatest Lawyer. During the 2007-08 academic year he was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He won a primetime Emmy in 1992 for his work as an executive producer of the Disney Channel movie "Mark Twain & Me." He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. At the time when the events in the play were taking place, Mr. Cowan was working as a public interest lawyer and as the Village Voice's columnist in Washington, D.C.

Leroy Aarons was an award-winning journalist, editor, author and playwright. Aarons earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and by age 27 was city editor at his first paper, the Journal-Register in New Haven. He reported on some of pivotal moments of the 1960s from the Beatles' arrival in America to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He covered events of the 1960s and 1970s over 14 years as chief of The Washington Post's New York and West Coast bureaus. In that capacity, he also covered the California-related events in the Pentagon Papers case, including the information about Daniel Ellsberg's time at RAND and how the papers were taken from the RAND headquarters. He served as an accuracy consultant for-and appeared in-the film All the President's Men. In 1982, he spent a year in Israel, covering among other things the Israel-Lebanon war as a freelancer for Time magazine. In 1983 he joined his former Washington Post colleague RoBert Maynard at the Oakland Tribune, and eventually became executive editor and vice-president of the Oakland Tribune during the 1980s. In 1989, the Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize for photographic coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Two years later, Aarons left the Tribune to pursue various writing projects: Prayers for Bobby, a book about the suicide of a young gay man; a libretto for an opera about the affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. In addition to his reporting, Aarons was active in journalism education and diversity advocacy. He was co-founder of the Maynard Institute For Journalism Education, a training program for minority journalists, and was a founder and leader of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Until his death in November 2004, he was a visiting professor of journalism at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications where he taught courses on gay issues and the media. Aarons was also supervising research on press coverage of gay and lesbian issues within Annenberg's Journalism Department.

John Rubinstein directed the Off-Broadway premieres of Sybille Pearson's Phantasie and Elizabeth Diggs's Nightingale at the Vineyard Theatre, and the world premiere of A. R. Gurney's The Old Boy at Playwrights Horizons. Other directing: Williamstown: The Rover, Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Cape Playhouse: Wait Until Dark; NYC: The Three Sisters, Macbeth. Los Angeles: A Little Night Music, Into The Woods, The Music Man, The Rivals, Guys and Dolls, Company, and Counsellor-at-Law (Ovation, L.A.D.C.C Awards for acting and directing). He directed the television films "A Matter Of Conscience" (Emmy Award: Best Children's Special) and "Summer Stories," episodes of "Nash Bridges" and "High Tide." Previous work at LATW: directed Arcadia, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Top Girls, Falsettos, Hay Fever, Monticello, Sight Unseen, and Lost in Yonkers; acted in Johnny-on-a-Spot, The Brothers Karamazov, Fallen Angels, and The Diary of Anne Frank; co-directed and acted in Counsellor-at-Law. As an actor: Broadway: Pippin (Theater World Award), Children of a Lesser God (Tony, Drama Desk, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards), Fools, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Hurlyburly, M. Butterfly, Love Letters, Getting Away with Murder, Ragtime; London: Enigmatic Variations; Off-Broadway: Counsellor-at-Law (Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics' Circle and Drama League nominations), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Urban Blight, Cabaret Verboten; Regional: Three Hotels, Arms and the Man, Streamers, Candida, The Tempest, Sight Unseen, Urinetown, Broken Glass. Mr. Rubinstein just completed a 20-month run in Wicked in Los Angeles. Films include: 21 Grams, Jekyll, Red Dragon, Mercy, Kid Cop, Another Stakeout, Someone To Watch Over Me, Daniel, The Boys From Brazil, Zachariah. Television series include "Crazy Like A Fox," "Family" (Emmy nomination); close to 200 television movies and episodes. He has composed music for the films Jeremiah Johnson, The Candidate and over 50 television programs and he hosted the radio program "Carnegie Hall Tonight" for six years and has recorded over 75 books-on-tape.

L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) is a non-profit theatre and radio producing organization with a two-hour weekly radio show heard in over 70 markets on public radio. LATW, through its weekly broadcasts, makes the finest plays in the American canon and a selection of world literature widely and easily accessible to audiences nationwide. Our listeners experience radio drama that is both classic and contemporary, with plays by authors such as Arthur Miller, Lynn Nottage, Tom Stoppard, Jon Robin Baitz, and Luis Valdez performed by America's top actors including Mark Ruffalo, Swoosie Kurtz, John Lithgow, Jimmy Smits, Julie Harris, Laurence Fishburne, Hilary Swank, and many others. Additionally, international audiences listen to our plays on the BBC and other English Language broadcasters, and our weekly show is also accessible via online streaming. LATW's Audio Theatre Collection of more than 400 titles - the largest library of its kind in the world - is available for digital download at, iTunes, and from your public library as well as in hard copy in bookstores, through our online catalogue, partner online retailers and in 8,500 libraries nationwide. Through Alive & Aloud, our educational outreach project, we provide a selection of audio plays free of charge to over 4,000 public secondary schools and libraries nationwide. Participating schools receive our plays accompanied by study guides and resource materials for classroom application. The audio plays provide a unique learning tool that allows teachers to incorporate the arts into every classroom subject - from English to history to science. LATW has also toured plays from its collection nationwide, playing over 300 venues since 2005. Our latest initiative, The Play's the Thing for Higher Education, is a digital database of over 300 plays, highly indexed and searchable for content, making the database a unique tool for instruction and scholarly research across disciplines.

Affinity Collaborative Theater merges the cultural interests and professional experiences of three friends - Sheila Schwartz, John Dias and Diane Morrison - in order to produce entertaining and provocative theatre through the creation of artistic partnerships and institutional collaborations. Affinity began in the fall of 2007 collaborating with St. Ann's Warehouse to bring The National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch to New York. Affinity followed this with a theatrical production of W.H. Auden's For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio directed by Michael Cumpsty, which has become our signature Holiday presentation.

New York Theatre Workshop, now celebrating its 26th season, is a leading voice in the world of Off-Broadway and within the theatre community in New York and around the world. NYTW has emerged as a premiere incubator of important new theatre, honoring its mission to explore perspectives on our collective history and respond to the events and institutions that shape our lives. In addition, NYTW is known for its innovative adaptations of classic repertory. Each season, from its home in New York's East Village neighborhood, NYTW presents three to five new productions, over 80 readings, and numerous workshop productions, for over 45,000 audience members. Over the past 26 years, NYTW has developed and produced over 100 new, fully staged works, including Jonathan Larson's Rent, Tony Kushner's Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul, Doug Wright's Quills, Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life and Dirty Blonde, Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Valhalla, and Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Far Away, and A Number. The 2002 remounting of Martha Clarke's seminal work Vienna: Lusthaus and subsequent American tour was one of the longest-running productions in NYTW's history. NYTW supports artists in all stages of their careers by maintaining a series of workshop programs including work-in-progress readings, summer residencies, and minority artist fellowships. In 1991, NYTW received an OBIE Award for Sustained Achievement and in 2000 was designated to be part of the Leading National Theatres Program by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers plays at New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery. The regular performance schedule is Tuesday at 7:00pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. There will be a special student matinee on Thursday, March 18 at 1pm. Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers runs through Sunday, March 28, 2010. Tickets are $65 and may be purchased online at, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by phoning Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200. For exact dates and times of performance, visit

Maintaining its commitment to making theatre accessible to all theatergoers, NYTW continues its CheapTix Sundays program in which all tickets for all Sunday evening performances at 7:00pm will cost $20. Tickets may be purchased in advance, payable in cash only, and are available in person only at the NYTW Box Office. And for all performances, student tickets cost $20, based on availability, and can be purchased in advance from the NYTW Box Office with valid student identification. The NYTW Box Office is open 1:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

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