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Whitney Museum Commissions Thomas Bradshaw Work for BLUES FOR SMOKE Exhibition Performances, 4/26-28


The Whitney Museum in New York has commissioned a new work by playwright Thomas Bradshaw for the Blues For Smoke Exhibition Live Performances to premiere April 26-28, at the Whitney. Blues for Smoke is an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores a wide range of contemporary art through the lens of the blues and blues aesthetics. Turning to the blues not simply as a musical category but as a field of artistic sensibilities and cultural idioms. Iconoclastic playwright Thomas Bradshaw has emerged as one of the most provocative and original voices in contemporary theater. His most recent play, Job, was produced by the Flea Theater in Fall 2012 and remounted this past January.

In San Francisco, the Crowded Fire Theater presents the West Coast Premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's THE BEREAVED a wickedly funny take on Sex, Drugs, and the American Dream which opens with a press night on Monday April 8 at 8 PM at Thick House in San Francisco, (Previews April 4-7) and runs through April 27. This production marks the first fully staged production of a play in San Francisco by the satirical provocateur, playwright Thomas Bradshaw. Bradshaw's aggressive voice undermines our cultural comfort and refuge inside of naturalism, taking well-worn tropes of the white middle class drama, and reframing them to reveal jarring truths. "Perhaps more than any American dramatist working today, Mr. Bradshaw walks - no, make that tramples - the lines that divide the good, the bad and the plug-ugly, both in art and in life. He aspires to amuse, shock, disgust, enlighten, bore and titillate you all at the same time" Ben Brantley, NY Times.

In THE BEREAVED the wife and breadwinner Carol realizes she is on borrowed time. Before she goes, you can be damn sure she will put her affairs in order. After all, what is more important than being certain her family maintain their upper-class-private-school Manhattan lifestyle? The play was a New York Times Critics' Pick and named one of the Best Plays of 09' by Time Out New York . Marissa Wolf directs this West Coast Premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's THE BEREAVED featuring Jeremy Falla as Policeman, Denmo Ibrahim* as Katy, Michele Leavy* as Carol, Geoffrey Nolan as Doctor/Policeman, Lawrence Radecker* as Michael, Olivia Rosaldo as Melissa, Josh Schell as Teddy, and Reggie D. White* as Jamal ( *member Actors Equity).

Blues For Smoke Exhibition Live Performances, April 26- 28 2013 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street New York, NY. Information: (212) 570-3600 or

Crowded Fire Theater (CFT) presents the West Coast Premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's THE BEREAVED, April 8-27. Press Night Monday April 8 (Previews April 4, 5 & 6). Performances run at Thick House, 1695 18th St., SF (between Carolina St.& Arkansas St. in Potrero Hill ), Wed-Saturdays 8 PM; Special Opening Night Monday, April 8, 8 PM.

Tickets: Prices range from $10-$35 progressively during the course of the run. We offer Pay-What-You-Can Preview performances and student/senior/group rates. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. Box Office by phone (415) 746-9238, (415) 655-3866 or online at

Whitney Museum of American Art presents Blues for Smoke, an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores a wide range of contemporary art through the lens of the blues and the blues aesthetic. Turning to the blues not simply as a musical category but as a field of artistic sensibilities and cultural idioms, the exhibition features works by nearly fifty artists from the 1950s to the present, as well as materials culled from music and popular entertainment. Blues for Smoke was conceived and developed by Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art curator Bennett Simpson, in consultation with the artist Glenn Ligon. The New York installation is being overseen by Whitney curator Chrissie Iles. The exhibition will appear from February 7 through April 28, 2013, in the Museum's third-floor Peter Norton Family Galleries.

Throughout the past century, writers and thinkers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Albert Murray, Amiri Baraka, and Cornel West have asserted the fundamental importance of the blues both to American music (in its legacy and influence on jazz, R&B, rock, and hip-hop) and to developments in literature, film, and visual art. In all its diversity, the blues has been hailed as one of America's greatest cultural achievements and, along with jazz, has even been called America's classical music.

Blues for Smoke is accompanied by a series of concerts, performances and readings showcasing the enduring legacy and innovative possibilities of the blues in contemporary music and live art. Reflecting on the exhibition's consideration of "the blues" as a political and aesthetic idiom within the visual arts, the performances will showcase contemporary musical forms that extend aspects of the blues legacy.The series will look at music, as well as poetry and playwriting, as powerfully expressive forms, conceptual orientations, and looser frames which enable improvisation, repetition and communication. Through various experimental approaches, these artists bring forth the powerfully ecstatic, improvisatory, conceptual, political, mournful, and incantatory aspects inherent in the blues.The Blues for Smoke performance series is organized by curator Jay Sanders.

Thomas Bradshaw's plays have been produced at regional theaters, in NYC as as well as in Europe.

Commissions and productions from Soho Theatre (London),The Goodman Theater, Soho Repertory Theater (New York), The Flea Theater, Theater Bielefeld (Germany), and Partial Comfort Productions have garnered his work annual "best of year" inclusions in both the The New Yorker and Time Out New York. In 2012 Off-Off-Broadway the The Flea Theater's production of Bradshaw's play JOB was described at its opening as "A jolting treat.... a bloody, Quentin Tarantino-esque tale, laced with graphic violence and fillips of frat-house humor." (NY Times) JOB then went SRO and resulted this year in a remounted production in NY. In 2011, his play BURNING ran to rave reviews Off- Broadway at The New Group/NYC and the Goodman Theater produced his play MARY, which they had previously commissioned.

His play THE BEREAVED, produced by Partial Comfort, was named one of the Best Plays of 2009 in Time Out New York. At the New York premiere of THE BEREAVED the NY Times noted "His gift as a stylist marks him as a real talent. He has proved in play after play that he has a confident vision of the theater that is his own. No playwright applies as ruthlessly Hitchcock's definition of drama 'as life with the boring parts taken out.' " In 2008, two of his plays premiered in NYC: SOUTHERN PROMISES, at Performance Space 122 in September, and DAWN, at The Flea Theater in November, and both were listed among the Best Performances of Stage and Screen for 2008 in The New Yorker. Bradshaw has been featured as one of Time Out New York's ten playwrights to watch, and as Best Provocative Playwright in the Village Voice. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, The Lark's NVNY Fellowship for 2011, and the 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award. He is creating a television series for HBO and Harpo Films. Thomas is also a Professor at Northwestern University.

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