Cuccioli, Chumskley, Robins Set for ANY GIVEN MONDAY Reading, 4/4
THE ACTIVE THEATER in association with Bud Martin will present Any Given Monday by Bruce Graham on Monday, April 4, 2011 at New World Stages, 2:00pm, in Stage 5. Bud Martin will direct the private reading of the play which was first seen in a co-production between ACT II PLAYHOUSE, Ambler, PA and THEATRE EXILE, Philadelphia, PA. Any Given Monday was the recipient of the 2010 Barrymore Award for Best New Play.
In Any Given Monday, Lenny is not having a good Monday. His two least favorite football teams are playing on the TV, his daughter is having a crisis of faith and his wife left him for a jerk who builds Walmarts. When his best friend Mickey has the perfect plan to fix his marital problems, Lenny has to decide what he is willing to stand up for and whom he is willing to stand up to. When political correctness, religion, class discrimination and social injustice just don't add up anymore, how can we define right and wrong?
Any Given Monday features a roster of A-List stage and screen talent. Tony Award Nominee Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll and Hyde) stars as the sensitive Lenny while three-time Barrymore Award winning actor Pete Pryor portrays the outspoken Micky. Laila Robins, a film and TV favorite and a fixture on the New York stage, plays Lenny's mid-life crisis stricken wife, Risa. Any Given Monday also features Anna Chlumsky, best known for playing Vada Sultenfuss in the film My Girl and it's sequel My Girl 2, as Sarah; Lenny's philosophical daughter.
Any Given Monday hits on sensitive topics and the playwright has crafted a freewheeling and politically incorrect commentary on football, the homeless, racism, and marriage. Mr. Graham had this play in his head for about 20 years before taking to the page. "I always wanted to tie in the vicarious violence of football with the real thing. I also really hate this ridiculous political correctness this country is going through right now," he says. "It totally stomps on the First Amendment. Charges of racism have become the new McCarthyism." As a result, he reveals that "the humor is incredibly important; otherwise, the play becomes a rant and I hate that."
Any Given Monday first took the stage at THEATER EXILE in February of 2010 where early reviews were stellar. The Philadelphia Inquirer called it "a funny and mesmerizingly dark adventure", noting that "it is staged so that the play rides each of Graham's twists like a Go-Karter on a tear". It then moved to ACT II PLAYHOUSE where Talkin' Broadway called it "a lot of outrageous fun, thanks to a truckload of witty dialogue" and City Paper noted that "romantic comedy and dark satire collide convincingly."
THE ACTIVE THEATER along with Bud Martin will together be producing the New York premiere production of Any Given Monday this October, 2011 at The Workshop Theater in New York City. Any Given Monday will kick off THE ACTIVE THEATER'S third season with MR. Martin again directing. No casting has been confirmed for the October production.
New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street in New York City.
Robert Cuccioli (Lenny) made his Broadway debut as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables, and is best known for his critically acclaimed performance as the duel title roles in the Broadway hit Jekyll & Hyde, for which he received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards and Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award. Off-Broadway, credits include Temporary Help, Enter The Guardsman, And The World Goes ‘Round (1991 Outer Critics Circle Award), Gigi, The Rothschilds, and Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris. Robert Is currently portraying Maurice chevalier in the Off-Broadway production of Dietrich & Chevalier at the St. Luke's Theatre. Equally respected for his work in classic, contemporary, and musical theater, Robert has performed in such notable Regional Theaters as The Guthrie (Antony & Cleopatra), Paper Mill Playhouse (1776, Oklahoma, Lend Me A Tenor, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Sound Of Music), The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ (Amadeus, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Carnival), The Shakespeare Theatre of DC (Hamlet and Lorenzzaccio; Helen Hayes Award Nomination), The McCarter Theatre, and The George Street Playhouse (The Seafarer and A Moon To Dance By with Jane Alexander). At The Westchester Broadway Theatre, he received critical acclaim for his performance as Guido Contini in their production of Nine and went on to direct the theater's production of Jekyll & Hyde. Television: "White Collar," "Sliders," "Baywatch," "The Guiding Light." Film: Woody Allen's Celebrity, and the independent film The Stranger. Robert Is featured on the original cast recordings of Jekyll & Hyde (Atlantic Records), And The World Goes ‘Round (RCA Victor), Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris (Ghostlight), and The New Picasso (Black Forest Productions).
Laila Robins (Risa) was seen on Broadway in Heartbreak House, the Tony-nominated play Frozen (Lucille Lortel Nomination), The Herbal Bed and The Real Thing. Off-Broadway credits include That Face, The Great War, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sore Throats (Lucille Lortel nomination), Mrs. Klein (and the national tour for which she received a Joseph Jefferson Award and a Helen Hayes Nomination), The Merchant of Venice (Calloway Award), The Extra Man, Bloody Poetry and The Film Society. Regional credits include The Three Sisters, A Streetcar Named Desire (1997 Jefferson Award for Best Actress), Noises Off (Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey), Antony and Cleopatra, Hedda Gabler, Summer and Smoke, the World Premiere of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues, Fool For Love, Fiction, Skylight, The Women and Lady From the Sea. She has done 10 plays with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and several summers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Film credits include Welcome to Academia, Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, Multiple Sarcasms, August, The Good Shepherd, Jailbait, Things That Hang From Trees, Slippery Slope, Oxygen, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, An Innocent Man, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, True Crime, Female Perversions, and Searching for Paradise. Television credits include "Army Wives," "Bored to Death," "In Treatment," "God in America," "The Sopranos," "Sex and the City," "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: CI," "Law & Order," "Third Watch," "The Book of Daniel," "All My Children" and the series lead in "Gabriel's Fire" opposite James Earl Jones. Ms. Robins trained at the Yale School of Drama.
Anna Chlumsky (Sarah) is best known for her breakout film debut, starring Vada Sultenfuss in 1991‘s My Girl and it's 1993 sequel, My Girl 2. Playing a mortician's daughter learning about life and love in the early 1970s, Anna made one of the more auspicious movie debuts in recent memory playing along side Macaulay Culkin. Anna's follow-up films have included Trading Mom, Golddiggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain, and The Good Guy. A graduate of the Atlantic Acting School, Chlumsky most recently appeared on the NY stage in the off-broadway hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore as well as in the LAByrinth Theater Company's production of Unconditional at The Public Theater. On television, she has been seen on "30 Rock," "The Good Guy," "Law & Order," "Covert Affairs," and the upcoming HBO series "Veep" opposite Julia Louise-Dreyfus.
PETE PRYOR (Mick) has been nominated for a record seventeen Barrymore Awards, including a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Any Given Monday, co-produced by Act II Playhouse and Theatre Exile. Taking home three awards for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play (Richard III at Lantern Theater Company), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play (Road at The Wilma Theater) and Outstanding Director of a Musical (Cinderella at The People's Light & Theatre Company), they along with the nominations, reflect Pryor's multi-faceted talents as both an actor and director. The co-founder of 1812 Productions, he is the recipient of two fellowships from the Independence Foundation and a grant from the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. As an already established actor and director, Pryor also made his debut as a playwright with Beautiful Boy part of the New Development Series at 1812 Productions in 2008. He is the Artist-in-Residence at the Pathway School, an institution dedicated to helping students with special needs achieve success and independence.
Bruce Graham (Playwright). PLAYS: Burkie, Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille, Minor Demons, Moon Over the Brewery, Belmont Avenue Social Club, The Champagne Charlie Stakes, Desperate Affection, According to Goldman, Dex and Julie Sittin' in a Tree, Full Figured Loves to Dance, and Mum Puppettheatre's A Christmas Carol. Coyote on a Fence won the Rosenthal Prize, was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards and was produced on London's West End starring Ben Cross. The recent Arden Theatre production of Something Intangible garnered 13 Barrymore Nominations. FILM: Dunston Checks In, Steal This Movie, Anastasia. TV MOVIES: Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, The Christmas Secret, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Ring of Endless Light (HUMANITAS AWARD WINNER, Best Children's Screenplay) Right on Track, Tiger Cruise. TELEVISION: Roseanne, Leg Work. BOOK: The Collaborative Playwright (co-written with Michele Volansky.) Graham has received grants from the Pew Foundation, the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, Drexel University's Westphal College, and the Rockefeller Foundation and was a recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Statuette. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and daughter, Stephanie and Kendall, and their beagle, Truman.
Nathaniel Shaw (The Active Theater) is the Founder and Artistic Director of New York City's The Active Theater. For the company, he has directed the world premiere productions of Matthew Keuter's coming of age tragi-comedy BRIDGEBOY and Jennie Contuzzi's deep and dark drama Body Language, which was recognized as part of the MITF with four Festival award nominations. Additionally, The Active Theater produced the world premiere of Anthony Dodge's "Femme Noir" caper Venus Flytrap. Since 2009, audiences have taken notice with the company's inaugural production of Toni Press-Kauffman's introspective Touch, Lee Blessing's war-time drama Two Rooms, Barry Harman and Keith Herrmann's Broadway musical Romance/Romance, and the New York premiere of William Donnelly's gripping relationship drama Magnetic North. Under Mr. Shaw's leadership, the company has collaborated with artists such as Tony Award Nominees Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Xanthe Elbrick, Jeremy Dobrish, Christian Campbell, and Marc Robin. The Active Theater has presented new works in collaboration with producers Greg Schaffert, Craig Haffner, and Karl Held and will be joining forces with Bud Martin as Director and Co-Producer on the New York premiere of Bruce Graham's Any Given Monday (October 2011.) On the brink of it's third season, The Active Theater continues to put the finishing touches on it's upcoming three play season as well as continuing with the established Scene Study workshop sessions and Summer Play Reading series. Mr. Shaw's personal resume includes regional directing credits at the Mount Washington Valley Theater Company (Hair, Summer 2010) which garnered 13 NHTA Nominations. He has choreographed Fiddler on the Roof and Babes in Toyland for The Broadway Palm Theater in Mesa, Arizona as well as the dance sequences in the film Perception by Daedalus Productions.
Bud Martin (Director) is starting his third season as Producing Artistic Director for Act II Playhouse. Since joining Act II in April 2008, he has directed the new musical Married Alive!, Magnetic North, the record-breaking Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, On Golden Pond, and The Story of My Life (nominated for four Barrymore Awards). He graduated from DeSales University and received his M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University. He taught theatre in high school, college, and graduate school before embarking on a professional producing and directing career in 1978. He produced and directed Off-Broadway, national tours, and regional theatre before entering the world of corporate finance in 1982. In April 2008, he retired as the Chairman of I-trax, Inc., a public company in the Healthcare industry, after its acquisition by Walgreens. He was inducted into the Ernst and Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" Hall of Fame in 2006. Just prior to joining Act II, Martin produced and directed Michael Friel's The Children of Fatima for Theatre Catalyst and George Stiles' (Honk!, Tom Jones, Mary Poppins) new musical adventure, The Three Musketeers at both Chicago Shakespeare and North Shore Music Theatres. On Broadway, he co-produced Dolly Parton's new musical 9 to 5, The Story of My Life, Burn the Floor, the commercial Broadway transfer of Donald Margulies' new play, Time Stands Still starring Laura Linney and Christina Ricci, both the West End and Broadway productions of La B?te starring Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumley, as well as London's West End mega-hit Legally Blonde, the Musical. He is working on a number of new projects, including the New York premiere of Any Given Monday, written by Bruce Graham. He will be directing Art at Act II Playhouse in the Spring of 2011.
Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy