The Public Extends GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS Through 11/24

The Public Theater and Theatre for a New Audience have announced a two-week extension today for the American premiere of GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS, part of The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project, written by Wallace Shawn. Directed by André Gregory, GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORSbegins previews tonight and was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, November 10. It will now run an additional two weeks through Sunday, November 24, with an official press opening on Monday, October 28.

Single tickets, starting at $86.50, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (212) 967-7555,, or in person at The Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. Subject to availability, $20 rush tickets may be purchased one hour prior to each scheduled performance at The Taub Box Office. The Library at The Public is open nightly for food and drink, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The complete cast of GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS features Julie Hagerty (Cerise); Emily Cass McDonnell (Rose, Robin alternate); Kristina Mueller (Rose alternate); Wallace Shawn (Ben); and Jennifer Tilly (Robin).

A co-production with Theatre for a New Audience, The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project is a celebration of a remarkable theatrical collaboration. Wallace Shawn is one of America's most significant playwrights, long overdue for a major retrospective. André Gregory, hisMy Dinner with André co-star, has been directing Shawn's plays for 40 years, and as part of this retrospective, he directs Shawn's two most recent plays, the American premiere of the profoundly provocative Grasses of a Thousand Colors, and the first New York revival of the acclaimed masterwork, The Designated Mourner, which was staged this past June at The Public. 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. Gregory is the acclaimed director who has brought his most challenging works to fruition, including Our Late Night, Shawn's first play in New York City which was presented at The Public Theater in 1975.

Shawn's most outlandish work to date, GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS, is a disturbing and anomalously beautiful play that touches on almost every imaginable form of sexual expression while spinning a dystopian fantasy about ecological disaster. Ben, 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. He ends up ruining the global ecosystem. Yet GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS is no mere social drama. Instead of exclusively dwelling on social disaster, it also explores the riotous sexual imaginations of Ben, his wife, and his lovers.

Wallace Shawn's plays include The Designated Mourner; Grasses of a Thousand Colors; The Fever; Aunt Dan & Lemon and Marie and Bruce. With André Gregory, he wrote the film My Dinner With André, and with Tom Cairns he wrote the film Marie and Bruce. Scott Elliott directed Aunt Dan & Lemon and direcTed Shawn as an actor in Hurlyburly. Shawn was the editor of "Final Edition," which contained work by Deborah Eisenberg, Mark Strand and Jonathan Schell, and Shawn's interview with Noam Chomsky.

ANDRÉ GREGORY, as a theatre director, has been one of the most important forces in the American theatre for nearly 40 years. Gregory was one of the original creators of the regional theatre movement in this country as well as the Off-Broadway movement in New York. His production of Alice in Wonderland, now legendary, played in New York for seven years, as well as touring the U.S., Europe, and the Mideast. It was made into a book in collaboration with Richard Avedon. His relationship with Wallace Shawn, which has been ongoing for over thirty years, began with his production of Shawn's Our Late Night, which was critically acclaimed and was presented at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. Shawn and Gregory went on to create My Dinner With André, which has now become an American classic. It was one of the two to three films to launch the American independent film movement. It is studied in many film courses with other American classics, such as Citizen Kane and Casablanca. It was directed by Louis Malle. The partnership of Shawn, Malle and Gregory went on to create the film Vanya on 42nd Street, which like My Dinner With André, was hugely successful and has been shown all over the world. In 2000, Gregory directed Wallace Shawn's play, The Designated Mourner, to universally successful reviews. As an actor, Gregory has performed in a dozen Hollywood films, including films directed by Martin Scorsese, Peter Weir and Woody Allen. Martin Scorsese directed Gregory in the role of John the Baptist in The Last Temptation of Christ and Peter Weir directed him in The Mosquito Coast. Gregory's most recent production of Endgame - over the years, he's done three - was performed in an unfinished Donald Judd building in the middle of the Marfa Texas desert in 2005. In 2009, Gregory directed a new play, Grasses of a Thousand Colors, by Wallace Shawn at The Royal Court Theatre in London. It received rave reviews, both there and in the U.S. This past spring, Jonathan Demme made a film of Gregory's production of Ibsen's Master Builder which Wallace Shawn adapted.

Photo by Joseph Moran


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