THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, Directed by Estelle Parsons, Starts This Week Off-Broadway

By: Mar. 06, 2017
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The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is receiving a rare New York revival this spring at The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa (66 East 4th Street) with previews beginning this Thursday, March 9th, 2017 for a limited Off-Broadway engagement through March 26th. Opening Night is set for Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7pm.

Academy Award winner and long time member of The Actors Studio Estelle Parsons directs a cast that includes Richarda Abrams, Bob Adrian, Victor Almanzar, Erick Betancourt, Michael Billingsley, Fig Chilcott, Suzanne DiDonna, Lash Dooley, Timothy Doyle, Gabe Fazio, Gabriel Furman, Leland Gantt, Daniel Grimaldi, Shashwat Gupta, Con Horgan, Liana Jackson, Jay Johnston, Burnadair Lipscomb-Hunt, Beth Manspeizer, Javier Molina, Marcus Naylor, Myla Pitt, Joanna Rhinehart, Delissa Reynolds, and Count Stovall. This is the first time the play will be performed with a full cast, without using double or triple casting (actors taking on more than one role).

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot will enjoy an extended run at La Mama after being developed at The Actors Studio as part of the Theater & Social Justice program, using Actors Studio members.

"We plan to do most of the plays of Stephen Adly Guirgis as the years go on because they are brilliant and don't get done much and he is a new member of the Studio," said Estelle Parsons who is an Associate Artistic Director of The Actors Studio and created the Theater & Social Justice program there last year with a five part agenda exploring racism, poverty & illiteracy, religion, community, and environment: the program has produced Leland Gantt's Rhapsody In Black, now on an international tour, (addressing racism); Maria Irene Fornes's Mud (poverty and illiteracy); Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (religion); and Community: the premiere of an evening of four one acts about what community means now.

Estelle Parsons directed As You Like It, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet on Broadway for Joseph Papp. This was known as Shakespeare On Broadway and played for two years. Her next Broadway endeavor was Salome: The Reading by Oscar Wilde starring Al Pacino, Marisa Tomei, Dianne Wiest and David Straithairn, which was developed at The Actors Studio. As an actress, Estelle's most recent Broadway appearances were The Velocity of Autumn for which she received a Tony nomination, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and August: Osage County. She made her Broadway debut with Ethel Merman in Happy Hunting and followed that with many starring roles, including Morning's at Seven (Tony Award nomination), The Shadow Box, The Pirates of Penzance, Miss Margarida's Way (Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nomination), The Norman Conquests, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (Tony Award nomination), The Seven Descents of Myrtle (Tony Award nomination), Galileo, Malcolm, Mother Courage and Her Children, and Whoop-Up. Off-Broadway audience have seen her in Things of This World and Good People, among others. In London, she appeared in Deathtrap. Her many film roles include Bonnie and Clyde (Academy Award), Paul Newman's Rachel, Rachel (Oscar nomination), and many others. Television audiences know her from "Roseanne," where she played Roseanne's mother for ten years; as well as "All in the Family," "Archie's Place," "Empire Falls," among others. Upon her arrival in New York City she was one of eight people who put together NBC's "The Today Show," and became the first female political reporter for a television network. Estelle was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2004. Her most recent stage appearance was Israel Horovitz's Out of the Mouths of Babes at the Cherry Lane last summer, which was commissioned by Angelina Fiordellisi and written for Estelle and Judith Ivey.

2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis is a member and former co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. They include Our Lady of 121st Street (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations), Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, Barrymore Award, Olivier Nomination for London's Best New Play), In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings (2007 LA Drama Critics Best Play, Best Writing Award), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot ("10 Best" Time Magazine & Entertainment Weekly), and The Little Flower of East Orange (with Ellen Burstyn & Michael Shannon). All five plays were directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and were originally produced by LAByrinth. His most recent play, Between Riverside and Crazy, completed a sold-out run at Atlantic Theater Company, and transfered to Second Stage Theatre in 2015. His 2011 play, The Motherf***er with the Hat (6 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play), was directed by Anna D. Shapiro and marked his third consecutive world premiere co-production with The Public Theater and LAByrinth. In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida (dir: Rupert Goold), The Hampstead (Robert Delamere), and at The Arts Theater in the West End. Other plays include Den of Thieves (Labyrinth, HERE, HAI, Black Dahlia) and Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho (dir: Adam Rapp) for the 2006 E.S.T. Marathon. He has received the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Whiting Award, and a TCG fellowship. He is also a New Dramatists Alumnae and a member of MCC's Playwright's Coalition, The Ojai Playwrights Festival, New River Dramatists, and LAByrinth Theater Company. As an actor, he has appeared in theater, film and television, including roles in Kenneth Lonergan's film Margaret, Todd Solondz's Palindromes, and Brett C. Leonard's Jailbait opposite Michael Pitt. A former violence prevention specialist and H.I.V. educator, he lives in New York City.

La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. The organization has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has helped launch the careers of countless artists, many of whom have made important contributions to American and international arts milieus.

La MaMa's 55th season celebrates the creative and collective histories of La MaMa's local and global communities. Since its beginning, La MaMa has forged creative partnerships with artists based in different parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. In recent years, these long-term relationships have taken on new life through distance collaborations over the Internet. The 55th season embraces new pathways forged in performance and technology to connect the myriad experiences, politics, conflicts, aesthetics, intimacies and dreams of people and communities participating in an increasingly globalized world.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot will be performed Thursdays through Saturdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4 pm, beginning March 9, 2017, with an added performance on Monday March 13, 2017 at 7pm. The Ellen Stewart Theatre is located on East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue (F train to Second Ave; N/R trains to 8th Street; 6 train to Astor Place).

Photo Credit: Shashwat Gupta