BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Opens at Artists Rep, 3/4
Artists Rep presents the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play is directed by Adriana Baer and runs from March 4 through April 1 on the theatre's Alder Stage.
Retired cop and recent widower Walter "Pops" Washington slings back whiskey while his newly paroled son and friends wander in and out of his longtime apartment on Riverside Drive. The dog is a nuisance, the landlord wants him gone, and the NYPD is demanding a settlement on an outstanding lawsuit. After an enlightening encounter, Pops decides to take things in his own hands while everyone else hustles to get what they think they deserve.
"This play feels like a tightly wound spring - when you let it go, it takes off and doesn't stop until the final beat. The writing is so precise that I believe my job is mostly to just lean in and listen, acting as a witness for where our actors take this story," said director Adriana Baer. "This is a play about gentrification and how identity is linked to place, about race, mistakes, and second chances. It's set in New York City, right around the corner from where I lived during grad school, but its themes are universal and highly relevant."
"Following our 2014 production of Stephen Adly Guirgis' brilliant The Motherfucker with The Hat, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we returned to the work of this extraordinary playwright," said Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez at the play's first rehearsal, "Guirgis' distinct and masterful style of writing uses language that is at once naturalistic and poetic, and both tender and blisteringly funny. Riverside takes on incendiary issues including racism, money, corruption, co-dependency, and responsibility in humane and highly entertaining ways."
For Between Riverside and Crazy, Resident Artist Kevin Jones will return to the stage in the lead role as Walter "Pops" Washington, who has retired after 30 years from the NYPD after being shot by a white, rookie cop, and is struggling to make life-changing decisions. Jones is known widely for his work with the August Wilson Red Door Project and Hands Up, as well as his deft work as a director with Artists Rep (We Are Proud To Present..., The Motherfucker With the Hat, Seven Guitars), Profile Theatre (A Lesson Before Dying and Blood Knot) and Portland Playhouse (How I Learned What I Learned, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson). This production also features a talented six-person supporting cast: Artists Rep Resident Artists Val Landrum and Ayanna Berkshire; returning guest artists Julana Torres and Bobby Bermea; and Illya Torres-Garner and Ben Newman making their Artists Rep debuts.
Between Riverside and Crazy (2014) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2015 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the 2015 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play. Artists Rep's production is the play's Northwest Premiere.
Between Riverside and Crazy is sponsored by Trish and Bennett Garner.
"Riverside explores, with both street-smart, sometimes-profane wit and disarming tenderness, the different ways in which we cling to, reject and exploit faith. Never one to settle for simple answers or snarky observations, Guirgis portrays his characters, and their twisting journeys, with humor and compassion."
- USA Today
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Stephen Adly Guirgis is a member and former co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. His most recent play, Between Riverside and Crazy (dir: Austin Pendleton) premiered at Atlantic Theater Company, moved to Second Stage Theatre, and garnered numerous awards including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other plays include: The Motherfucker With the Hat (6 Tony nominations, including Best Play, dir: Anna D Shapiro), Den of Thieves (dir: by Max Daniels), Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho (dir: Adam Rapp), as well as Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, In Arabia,We'd All Be Kings, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Public Theater) and The Little Flower of East Orange (Public Theater) - all five directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and world premiered at LAByrinth Theater Company.
In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida (dir: Rupert Goold), The Hampstead (Robert Delamere), and at The Arts Theater in the West End (dir: Philip Seymour Hoffman). As an actor, he has appeared in theater, film and television, including roles in Alejandro Inarritu's Oscar-winning "Birdman," Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret," Todd Solondz's "Palindromes," and Brett C. Leonard's "Jailbait" opposite Michael Pitt. He co-created and executive produced Netflix's "The Get Down" with Baz Luhrmann. Other awards include: the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award, PEN/Laura Pels Award, Whiting Award, TCG fellowship, Fringe First Award, NY Drama Critics Circle, L.A. Drama Critics Prize, and a Lucy Lortel Award. He is a former violence prevention specialist and H.I.V. educator, and lives in New York City.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Adriana Baer previously directed Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison and The Price by Arthur Miller for Artists Rep. Other Portland credits include Dead Man's Cell Phone and In the Next Room... or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl, Buried Child and True West by Sam Shepard, and The Road to Mecca and My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard (Profile Theatre, Artistic Director 2012-2015). Other directing credits include Woyzeck (Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Direction), The Maids and No Exit at the Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco (Associate Artistic Director, 2004-2007), and productions in New York including Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Seagull and The Hairy Ape (Columbia Stages), and work at Atlantic Theatre Company Stage 2 and The Acting Company. New play development workshops and festivals include Profile Theatre's In Dialogue Series, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Cutting Ball Theater, Primary Stages and The Lark Play Development Center. Additionally, Adriana has worked with Opera Boston, The Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Circus Center/Pickle Circus, Theatre Communications Group, American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Adriana is an adjunct professor of theatre at Portland State University. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. Adriana is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) theatrical union.