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Public Theater: Deborah Eisenberg to Star in DESIGNATED MOURNER, 7/14; Jennifer Tilly to Lead GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS in October

Theatre for a New Audience (Jeffrey Horowitz, Founding Artistic Director, Dorothy Ryan, Managing Director and Henry Christensen III, Chairman of the Board) and The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham) will present The Wallace Shawn - André Gregory Project beginning with the first New York revival of the acclaimed 1996 masterwork The Designated Mourner by Wallace Shawn, directed by André Gregory, and featuring Deborah Eisenberg, Larry Pine and Mr. Shawn. The Designated Mourner begins previews Friday, June 21 at 7:00pm for an opening Sunday, July 14 at 7:00pm and a run through August 25.

The Designated Mourner return will be followed by the American premiere of the provocative Grasses of A Thousand Colors by Mr. Shawn, directed by Mr. Gregory, and featuring Julie Hagerty, Emily McDonnell, Jennifer Tilly and Mr. Shawn, beginning previews Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00pm for an opening Monday, October 28 at 7:00pm and a run through November 10.

The presentation of these two shows at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, marks the end of Theatre for a New Audience's 2012 - 2013 season and the last productions before Theatre for a New Audience moves into its first home in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District this fall.

"Our season's climax is this thrilling co-production with The Public Theater of The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project, a celebration of a remarkable theatrical collaboration," said Mr. Horowitz. "Wally Shawn is one of America's most significant playwrights, long overdue for a major retrospective. André Gregory, his My Dinner With André co-star, has been directing Mr. Shawn's plays for 40 years."

"Wally Shawn, André Gregory, and Eugene Lee have been creating one of the most unique and exciting bodies of work in the American Theater for the last 40 years," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The Public is proud to collaborate with Theatre for a New Audience in bringing this remarkable repertory to the New York audience. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the work of these seminal artists in its most perfect expression."

Mr. Shawn is a multifaceted figure: an internationally famous character actor as well as an incomparably courageous playwright whom critics have placed in the first rank of contemporary dramatists. Mr. Gregory is the acclaimed director who has brought his most challenging works to fruition, including Our Late Night, Mr. Shawn's first play in New York City, which was presented at The Public Theater in 1975.

The Designated Mourner is a monologue-triptych in which three artist-intellectuals recount their experiences as their once-liberal country sinks into political crisis. A famous poet-intellectual, his daughter, and her husband­people made of very different moral fiber despite their shared highbrow interests­witness the subtle and flagrant transformations of everyday life, public affairs and personal relationships until they finally are dragged into the middle of things themselves. This searing and disturbing drama, prescient of much that occurred during the Bush/Obama years, has been called Mr. Shawn's masterpiece.

Sets for The Designated Mourner are by Eugene Lee, costumes by Dona Granata, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and sound by Bruce Odland.

Mr. Shawn's most outlandish work to date, Grasses of a Thousand Colors, is a disturbing and anomalously beautiful play that explores the role of human beings in nature and the role of nature in human beings, sexuality being as Mr. Shawn says, "nature's most obvious footprint in the human soul." The play's central character is a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind. This has unexpected consequences. The play tells a story about the doctor, his wife, and his lovers that is also a story about human beings and animals and the planet we live on.

Sets for Grasses of a Thousand Colors are by Eugene Lee, costumes by Dona Granata, lights by Howard Harrison, sound by Bruce Odland, and video design by Bill Morrison.

The Public Theater and TFANA are deeply grateful to Adam Bartos and Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and the Rosenthal Family Foundation for their generous support of The Designated Mourner and Grasses of a Thousand Colors. The Pannonia Foundation made a charitable contribution to subsidize ticket sales for both productions to provide greater access to the arts; and the support of the Rosenthal Family Foundation underwrites expenses associated with the $20 Lottery program and other artist expenses for the productions.

Theatre for a New Audience and The Public Theater's co-production of The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project is supported in part by an award from theNational Endowment for the Arts.

Single tickets are $85 and will be available at www.PublicTheater.org, or 212-967-7555 or The Public Theater Box Office, 425 Lafayette Street, beginning May 23.

A limited number of subsidized $20 tickets will be sold for each performance of The Designated Mourner and Grasses Of A Thousand Colors via lottery. Beginning at 2 1/2 hours prior to each scheduled performance, persons can enter the lottery in The Public Theater lobby by filling out an entry card with their name and indicating if they want one or two tickets. Limit one entry per person, duplicate cards will be removed. At 2 hours prior to curtain, no more entries will be accepted and winner names will be drawn. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and will proceed directly to the box office to purchase tickets. Cash only, subject to availability.

The Designated Mourner performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00pm with matinees Sundays at 3:30pm.

Grasses of a Thousand Colors performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00pm with matinees Sundays at 2:00pm. There is one additional matinee Saturday, November 2, at 2:00pm.




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