BENITO CERENO Set for Flea Theater in June
Rarely-seen, 1965 Obie-winning play BENITO CERENO by Robert Lowell to be presented Off-Broadway by Horizon Theatre Rep
Directed by Alfred Preisser
Actress Kenita Miller to play character created by the late Roscoe Lee
Previews begin June 16 at The Flea Theatre (41 White Street)
Horizon Theatre Rep will present the rarely-seen play BENITO CERENO - written by the late Robert Lowell and based on the Herman Melville novel of the same name -- this summer Off-Broadway at The Flea Theater (41 White St.) in Manhattan, with previews set to start June 16 prior to an official press opening on June 19. BENITO CERENO is directed by Alfred Preisser, the Founding
Artistic Director of The Classical Theatre of Harlem, and most recently director of the hit Off-Broadway play THE MAN WHO ATE MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER.
First produced in 1965, when it won an Obie Award as part of the Robert Lowell trilogy "The Old Glory," BENITO CERENO has not been seen in New York since a 1976 revival.
Based on Melville's novel, BENITO CERENO is set in 1770 and depicts the mysterious events that occur when an American merchant vessel comes upon a battered Spanish ship with its nearly all-black crew and a white captain, Benito Cereno.
Featured in the cast of BENITO CERENO are Kenita R. Miller (THE COLOR PURPLE, XANADU on Broadway), Drama Desk Award winner Jordan Lage (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, RACE, INHERIT THE WIND on Broadway), along with Rafael De Mussa (CALIGULA, THE MISUNDERSTANDING), Tracy Jack (THE MAN WHO ATE MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER), David Brown, Jr., Chandler Wild, Yacine Djoumbaye, EVan Johnson, Annemarie Agbodji and Tiffany Warren.
In Horizon Theatre Rep's production of BENITO CERENO, Ms. Miller plays Babo, a role created by the late Roscoe Lee Browne, for which he won an Obie Award. The 1965 production of Lowell's play also won Obies for actors Frank Langella and Lester Rawlins, and costume designer Willa Kim.
Known principally as a poet, Robert Lowell won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for "Lord Weary's Castle," and in 1974 for "The Dolphin." He won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1960 for "Life Studies," and served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1947-48. His trilogy "The Old Glory" is comprised of BENITO CERENO; MY KINSMAN, MAJOR MOLINEUX; and ENDECOTT AND THE RED CROSS, all essentially plays about American history.
In his biography, "Melville: His World and Work," (Vintage Paperbacks), author Andrew Delbanco writes, "In our own time of terror and torture, 'Benito Cereno' has emerged as the most salient of Melville's works: a tale of desperate men in the grip of a vengeful fury that those whom they hate cannot begin to understand".
The BENITO CERENO design team is: Cathy Small (Costume Design), Akiko Nishijima Rotch (Set Design), Joyce Liao (Lighting Design), Deniz Akyurek (Sound Design), Rick Sordelet (Fight Choreography), and Tracy Jack (Dance Choreography).
Now in its 11th season Horizon Theatre Rep under Artistic Director Rafael De Mussa is dedicated to producing work from the international repertory. HTR aims to give emerging and established artists the opportunity to take risks, to excel, and to make their mark. HTR is grounded in New York City and is passionately committed to reflecting the cultural greatness and diversity
of this city. HTR is dedicated to expressing the unique and powerful forces of its peoples, ideas and divergent points of view.
Past HTR productions include the acclaimed production of Jean-Paul Sartre's MEN WITHOUT SHADOWS; the first version of VASSA ZHELEZNOVA by Maxim Gorky featuring a new translation; the English language premiere of Armand Salacrou's NIGHTS OF WRATH; 3xPIRANDELLO at The New York International Fringe Festival; Dejan Dukovski's POWDER KEG, Albert Camus' CALIGULA and last season's THE MISUNDERSTANDING at The Flea.
The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading off-off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theater, The Flea has presented nearly 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996.
Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson's THE GUYS; six plays by A.R. Gurney (POST MORTEN, O JERUSALEM, SCREENPLAY, MRS. FARNSWORTH, A LIGHT LUNCH and OFFICE HOURS); Mac Wellman's CELLOPHANE and TWO SEPTEMBER; Roger Rosenblatt's ASHLEY MONTANA GOES ASHORE... and THE OLDSMOBILES; Elizabeth Swados' JABU and KASPAR HAUSER; Karen Finley's RETURN OF THE CHOCOLATE SMEARED WOMAN; Adam Rapp's BINGO WITH THE INDIANS; Will Eno's OH, THE HUMANITY and other exclamations; Thomas Bradshaw's DAWN; THE GREAT RECESSION; Jonathan Reynolds' GIRLS IN TROUBLE; Bathsheba Doran's PARENTS' EVENING; and most recently the holiday hit LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS by Steven Banks, AMERICAN SEXY by
Trista Baldwin, FUTURE ANXIETY by Laurel Haines and JUST CAUSE by Zack
Scheduled June 16 through July 10, BENITO CERENO will perform Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00pm and Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling 212 352 3101 or online at www.theflea.org. The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines.
For more information about BENITO CERENO please visit Horizon Theatre Rep's
website at www.htronline.org, Horizon Theatre Rep can also be followed on
Twitter @HorizonTheatreR. Or www.facebook.com/HorizonTheatreRep