Randy Sharp's WASHINGTON SQUARE to Return to Axis Theatre in March

Performances of Washington Square will take place March 1–April 1, 2023, at Axis Theatre,

By: Jan. 20, 2023
Randy Sharp's WASHINGTON SQUARE to Return to Axis Theatre in March
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Axis Theatre Company will present a return engagement of Washington Square, a contemporary take on Henry James' novel. Adapted and directed by Axis Theatre's founder and Artistic Director Randy Sharp, the production features original music by Paul Carbonara, a cast of four, and is performed in the heart of Greenwich Village, a few blocks from the story's 19th-century setting. Performances of Washington Square will take place March 1-April 1, 2023, at Axis Theatre, located at 1 Sheridan Square in Manhattan's West Village. Tickets are on sale now at www.axiscompany.org.

Washington Square, which was originally scheduled to open on March 15, 2020, but was shuttered due to the pandemic, was praised by audiences and critics alike when it returned in October 2022.

Pete Hempstead in Theatermania declared, "Director Randy Sharp has done an exquisite job of adapting this tale of repression and quiet rebellion for the Axis stage in a lean 85-minute play that stays true to the book, and even, I dare say, makes an improvement or two along the way. The production's four-member cast bring their A-game to the material with humor and fine-tuned performances... Sharp has fashioned a gem of a play that may seem to some more present than past."

"The acting is of outstanding quality and remains on a high pitch throughout," noted Victor Gluck in Theaterscene.net, adding, "Randy Sharp's new adaptation of Washington Square is both exciting theater and entirely true to its source material." Holli Harms in Front Row Center wrote, "Every moment of this 85-minute production is full and engaging, even the quiet moments, the transitional moments. Director Randy Sharp has, it feels, created a staging of movement, not just of bodies but of time, that seamlessly moves the story forward." "It left me happy," remarked Rebecca Russavage in StageBuddy, "The final moment of the play felt like a flash of light."

Washington Square centers on Catherine Sloper, a wealthy young woman raised in a house of grief by a father bitterly dead to love. Surrounded by society and family who perceive her as plain and soft-spoken, Catherine remains steadfastly committed to her forward-thinking optimism. When Morris Townsend, a mysterious suitor, makes a bid for her heart, Catherine is torn between following her instincts or heeding the warnings of her cruel father and persistent aunt.

While the novel is set in a fashionable New York home during the late 19th century, Sharp's radical interpretation strips away all of the excesses of the time period to deeply focus on Catherine's journey into becoming her own person. This sparse, actor-focused design heightens the psychological underpinnings of the story, building tension as the play hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion.

For Sharp, Washington Square is filled with timely questions, "Is Catherine Sloper's inherited position in society a merit worthy of love? Is it not worth every bit of her mother's beauty, cleverness, and charisma, the qualities her father tells her she failed to inherit? In a world where people have walked from crowns for love, is it a sin to be loved for one?"

The cast for Washington Square includes George Demas as The Doctor, Britt Genelin as Catherine, Jon McCormick as Morris Townsend, and Dee Pelletier (Broadway: The Minutes) as Penniman.

The creative team for Washington Square includes Karl Ruckdeschel (costume design), David Zeffren (lighting design), Lynn Mancinelli (prop design), Regina Betancourt (production stage manager), Laurie Kilmartin (assistant stage manager), Marc Palmieri (dramaturgy), Brian Barnhart (producing director), and Jeffrey Resnick (executive director).

Washington Square is scheduled to be published with Theatrical Rights Worldwide and is part of an eclectic repertoire of original and published plays that Axis Theatre Company has produced.

Twenty performances of Washington Square will take place March 1-April 1, 2023 at Axis Theatre, located at 1 Sheridan Square in Manhattan's West Village. Performances are Wednesday - Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are Pay What You Choose ($10-$30) for adults and free for veterans & active U.S. service members and their families. The running time is 85 minutes with no intermission. Tickets can be purchased online at www.axiscompany.org.

About the Artists

Randy Sharp

(director) is Axis Theatre Company's founder and Artistic Director. Her plays include the Drama Desk Award-nominated Last Man Club (published by DPS), Nothing on Earth, Down There, Seven in One Blow (published by DPS and performed every December in NYC and around the country) and the long-running serial Hospital. Sharp wrote and directed The Vast Machine (2015) and co-wrote (with former Blondie member Paul Carbonara) and directed Solitary Light (2014) and Evening - 1910, which premiered to acclaim at Axis in 2016. Sharp's directing credits also include Last Man Club; Nothing on Earth; Down There; Seven in One Blow; Hospital; Edgar Oliver's New York Trilogy (including East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House, winner of the Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Fringe, In the Park, and Attorney Street) and London Paris; A Glance at New York (Edinburgh Fringe & NYC), Julius Caesar; and the U.S premiere of Sarah Kane's Crave, starring Deborah Harry. She also directed the feature film Henry May Long, winner of 13 international awards, and is the host of the popular YouTube cooking show "Dinner Party Tonight."

Paul Carbonara

(music) was born in Greenwich Village and has been a performing musician for 30 years. He was the guitarist and musical director for the seminal pop band Blondie from 1997 through 2010. Carbonara has performed with Ray Davies, Coolio, Jose Carreras, and Chubby Checker, among others, and was the guitarist for the New York art rock band Giant Metal Insects in the 1990s. He has composed music for three independent movie soundtracks, including Randy Sharp's Henry May Long and Jyllian Gunther's Pull Out. He has composed commercial jingles for Nickelodeon, SBLI, and Waterworks. Paul composed music for the noted choreographer Robert Moses' work Faith and Fable, presented at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Carbonara performs and records with his own band The Mudlarks. He has also toured much of the world with the Mary McBride Band since 2010, traveling to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. He is a graduate of NYU and studied with the noted jazz guitarist Sal Salvador.

About the Cast

George Demas

(The Doctor) Axis: Last Man Club (2019); Dead End; The Vast Machine; Solitary Light; Nothing On Earth; Last Man Club (2012); Down There; A Glance at New York; Not Yet Diagnosed; Julius Caesar. Other NYC stage: as Orson Welles in Maverick at The Connelly Theater with The Cliplight Theater; The Effect; Our Town; Orson's Shadow at The Barrow Street Theatre, all directed by David Cromer; Edgar Oliver's The Master of Monstrosities and The Drowning Pages at LaMaMa. TV: "Power"; "Boardwalk Empire"; "Made in Jersey"; "Law & Order". Film: "Thanks for Sharing"; "The Jimmy Show"; "Henry May Long".

Britt Genelin

(Catherine) is an actor, voiceover artist & storyteller. As an Axis Company member she has performed in Dead End; A Glance at New York (Edinburgh Festival Fringe); Seven in One Blow; Down There; Last Man Club and the Hospital series. Film: Salvatore Interlandi's Charlie; Robert Cucuzza's The Invincible Ecksteins; John Painz's Stuck and Four Bottles. Shorts and series: Wedding Cops' "The Next Best Thing," Neely Air's "Ladies Revenge Club" and Marc Palmieri's "The Thing". www.brittgenelin.com

Jon McCormick

(Morris Townsend) Axis shows: Last Man Club; Strangers In The World; Dead End. Other NYC: Offal Endings (Theatre Row); Donkey Punch (SoHo Playhouse); 3-D Hamlet (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); No Exit (59E59); Tuesday Night Poker (Theatre Row); Phantom Killer (Abingdon Theatre Co.); Revolution On The Roof (NY Fringe Festival); happYouth (Gene Frankle Th.); Thunder Rock (ReGroup Th. Co.). TV and Film: "History: BEYOND"; "Dark History"; "POWER"; "Blue Bloods"; "Serie M"; "The Price for Silence"; "Lil' Benny"; "Straight Outta Tompkins"; "Poetry Man"; "Further Lane". www.jonmmcor.com

Dee Pelletier

(Penniman): New York & Regional: The Minutes (Broadway), August: Osage County (Broadway), A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre), A Doll's House, Part 2 (Pendragon Theatre), Women Without Men (The Mint Theater Company), The Soap Myth (Laura Pels Black Box), BUG (Barrow Street Theatre), The Baroness (Scandinavian American Theater Company), Third (Hangar Theatre), Good People (Geva Theatre & Indiana Repertory Theatre), Grace, or The Art of Climbing (The Denver Center), Cymbeline, Hamlet, Hedda Gabler (Shakespeare Theatre Company), The Syringa Tree, (Kitchen Theatre Company & Vermont Stage Company) TV: "Orange Is the New Black," "Instinct," "Star Trek: Discovery," "Madam Secretary," "Elementary," "Girls," "Law & Order." Training: Trinity Rep Conservatory. Member of The Actors Center.

About Axis Theatre Company

Axis Theatre Company was founded in 1996 by Randy Sharp as a theatrical haven for stories that awaken an audience's curiosity for little known parts of American history. Through Sharp's plays and that of like-minded artists like Edgar Oliver, David Crabb, and Marc Palmieri, Axis Theatre uses intricate visual and sound design to maximize a viewer's insight into these historical moments and shared experiences.

In 1998, Axis acquired a permanent home at 1 Sheridan Square in New York City's West Village. Built in 1834 by Samuel Whitmore, the building once housed Café Society, the historic site of performances by Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn, Art Tatum, Big Joe Turner and other jazz greats; and later was the home of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Axis transformed the interior performance space into one where audiences are totally immersed, surrounded by the experience of a theatrical production the moment they enter. Distractions from the material are minimal.

Among the wide variety of works that Axis has produced in the theater are Beckett's Play; Benjamin Baker's 1848 vaudeville A Glance at New York (also at the Edinburgh Festival); the U.S. premiere of Sarah Kane's Crave, starring Deborah Harry; the premieres of Edgar Oliver's East 10th Street (New York Times Critic Pick; Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Spoleto Festival, USA) and In the Park; David Crabb's Bad Kid (New York Times Critic Pick, now an acclaimed book published by HarperCollins Perennial); Marc Palmieri's The Groundling; and Sharp's The Vast Machine, Last Man Club (Drama Desk nomination), Solitary Light, Nothing on Earth, Down There, Seven in One Blow, Hospital, Dead End, and High Noon.

Visit axiscompany.org for more information.

Axis Theatre is accessible via the 1 train at Christopher St./Sheridan Square and the A, B, C, D, E, F and M trains at West 4th Street.