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STEALING MONA LISA Comes to Theater For The New City This Month

Performances run December 22 to January 8.

STEALING MONA LISA Comes to Theater For The New City This Month

August 21, 1911, wasn't just another day at the Louvre in Paris. Security guards discovered that the Mona Lisa, at a time when art work was being photographed, was missing. Who took the Mona Lisa? The cry spread across newspapers and nations.

It would take two years to solve the mystery as to who had taken the painting -- and why. But on Dec. 31 of 1913, the painting would be returned to the Louvre, where she/it would take up residence in the Salon Carré. where she remains.

Few tourists who line up to see the painting know she was ever missing, or that the theft may have proved a pivotal moment in the painting's fame. The Mona Lisa  may be missing through a new musical, but audiences will find an entertaining musical in this production.

The theft of the Mona Lisa and its return, at exactly this time of year, are the subject for a beautiful new Textile Co. production of Stealing Mona Lisa being presented by Crystal Field, executive artistic director of Theater for the New City.

While this is the holiday season, there is no better time or way to celebrate the anniversary of Mona Lisa's Dec. 31 return than by seeing and hearing this beautiful, entertaining Textile Co. production of Stealing Mona Lisa at Theater for the New City. Beautiful songs and a strong script provide the setting for a show that is perfect fare for those seeking holiday spirit.

Stealing Mona Lisa, directed by Jack Ligenza, with music by Gary Edwards and book and lyrics by Claude Solnik and  music direction and piano performance by Tristan Cano is slated to run at Theater for the New City Dec. 22 to Jan. 8.

Tickets at TNC, a nonprofit, are $18 and $15 for seniors and students, making seeing this Mona Lisa one of the best metropolitan New York City deals of the holiday season.

A wonderful blend of history, mystery and music, heart and humor, singing and story, Stealing Mona Lisa is a love story about art, larceny and life that could prove a new classic part of the cannon of American musicals.

"We wanted to tell a story about the theft of a great work of art, but also a love story," Edwards, a composer based in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, who collaborated with Solnik, based in New York, said. "We felt that a musical was the perfect way to do it."

Steven J. Harris plays Vincenzo, a former worker at the Louvre who arouses suspicion when he starts painting his own "Mona Lisas." Sid Parker plays Leah, the love of his life, and Tori Jewell plays the Mona Lisa come to life.

Emily Cohen is Lepine, a police inspector who sets up shop in the Louvre to try to solve the crime; Josh Bernard-Kriegl plays Homelle, the Louvre curator who takes the theft as a personal affront. Emily Doran plays Labrielle, a French woman who is friends with Vincenzo and Leah ; Molly Loveless plays Alfreda, an art dealer, as well as being dance captain. Teal French-Levine is Ruffina, a defense attorney, and Clark Mantilla plays a prosecutor.

Ali Walensky stage manages as well as designs and runs the lights, Camila Grundberg is choreographer and Katie Michelle Stahl is associate choreographer and intimacy coordinator, while Everett Clark rounds out the Mona Lisa team by designing costumes that bring the early 1900s to life. Robert Long provided additional song instruction.

"Mona Lisa comes to life on stage in this musical," Solnik, a journalist and playwright, said. "The story itself is pretty amazing. And very few people realize it, but the theft was a key element in creating the lasting life, so to speak, celebrity and worldwide awareness of the Mona Lisa."

While da Vinci created the work of art, the loss of the painting did a great deal to fuel its dame and appreciation something taken and then returned to its place in the Louvre.

"Before its theft, the "Mona Lisa" was not widely known outside the art world," according to National Public Radio. "Leonardo da Vinci painted it in 1507, but it wasn't until the 1860s that critics began to hail it as a masterwork of Renaissance painting. And that judgment didn't filter outside a thin slice of French intelligentsia."

While many cite craftsmanship as the reason for Mona Lisa's celebrity, others point to the theft that turned her/it into an international sensation.

Noah Charney, a professor of art history and author of "The Thefts of the Mona Lisa" puts it simply.. "The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name.," he says.

The theft from the moment it's discovered is the setting for the story of this show, which spans France and Italy within the theater at TNC's four walls.

"It's a big story," Edwards said. "We want people to have fun, but also to experience the emotions that the story evokes."

Stealing Mona Lisa, a must-see for those interested in art, history or simply musicals, adapts a fascinating series of events for the stage with moving and fun songs. Don't miss this Mona Lisa. See and hear this show before the Mona Lisa along with some beautiful music is gone.

Stealing Mona Lisa, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., NY, NY 1003. Thurs. Dec. 22, Fri. Dec. 23; Thurs. Dec. 29 , Fri. Dec at 30, Thurs. Jan. 5, Fri. Jan. 6 and Sat. Jan. 7 all at 8 p.m. Matiness Sun. Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. Tickets are only $18 and $15 for students and seniors at TNC's customary standard nonprofit rates. 212-254-1109, theaterforthenewcity.net

 



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