Feature: THE SHOW MUST GO ON(LINE)! at Penguin Repertory Theatre

THE SHOW MUST GO ON(LINE)! at Penguin Repertory Theatre

By: Nov. 19, 2020
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Feature: THE SHOW MUST GO ON(LINE)! at Penguin Repertory Theatre

Penguin Rep Theatre: "The Show Must Go On-Line"

STONY POINT, NY - NOVEMBER 16, 2020 - "As theatres remain dark, Penguin Rep remains committed to making art and to connecting with our community," says founding artistic director Joe Brancato. "As we grapple with a way to tell stories given the continued closure of theatres, we are inspired by other challenging periods in history when Americans were distant but connected, and excited by the idea of working with different medium."

Brancato, who founded the Stony Point-based professional theatre in 1977, explained that in recent months he, executive director Andrew M. Horn and Penguin's board of trustees have been working to re-imagine the Penguin experience with a twist by commissioning plays and presentations that are intimate and story-driven and utilizing the talents of professional theatrical artists to share experiences over digital platforms rather than in-person.

As Mr. Horn aptly put, "we decided the show must go on-line."

Earlier this month, Penguin kicked off the exciting, innovative Keeping Live Theatre Alive! initiative.

Keeping Live Theatre Alive! is the brainchild of actor Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years, Lombardi), who called upon dozens of popular stage and screen stars to help keep theatre going by creating short videos of themselves reading their works, including monologues, stories, reminiscences, and poems - that they've written and posted.

Penguin Rep is making these special performances available free of charge on its website (www.penguinrep.org). Of course, donations are welcome, particularly in this crisis period. (Look for the "Donate" button at the website.)

Feature: THE SHOW MUST GO ON(LINE)! at Penguin Repertory Theatre

Among those currently featured are Tony and Emmy Award-winners Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad, Trumbo), John Lithgow (Third Rock from the Sun, The Crown), and Tony Shalhoub (Monk, The Band's Visit), Lauria, Andre De Shield (The Wiz, Hadestown), Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line, In the Heights), Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me!, Dream On), Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds, Glengarry Glen Ross), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, A Doll's House Part 2), and James Pickens, Jr. (Grey's Anatomy).

"Every sector in society has been impacted negatively by COVID-19, including theatres," Dan Lauria said. "I wanted to raise awareness of the plight of these organizations while celebrating how actors are keeping their creative juices flowing."

Each week for the next eight weeks, Penguin Rep and Keeping Live Theatre Alive! will be featuring new entertaining and inspiring original vignettes, so be sure to re-visit the website often. Upcoming artists include: Ed Asner, Kim Brockington, John Cullum, Christine Ebersole, Judd Hirsch, John Larroquette, Judith Light, John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Lou Diamond Phillips, Saul Rubinek, Peter Scolari, Joe Spano, Chris Sullivan, Reno Wilson, and Henry Winkler.

"Like all arts institutions, Penguin has been hard hit by the pandemic,' says Brancato, "but we've been hearted by the outpouring of concern and support from our patrons, subscribers, donors, and business sponsors, all eager for live theatre to make its comeback at the barn."

Plans are underway to stream a filmed version of David Arrow's Kennedy: Bobby's Last Crusade, which was part of Penguin's 2019 season; Jewtah, a film written by and starring Jeremy Rishe, star of The Sabbath Girl, about growing up Jewish in Utah; and reunion readings of classic plays presented by Penguin.

"We are also hoping to live stream from the barn performances of a wickedly funny new play about Shakespeare in quarantine during the plague," says Horn, "and in the spring we plan on offering a live, site-specific performance outside at the Stony Point Battlefield."

Penguin's virtual 2020-2021 season will be announced shortly on its website.

Under the dynamic leadership of Brancato and Horn, Penguin has grown in just over four decades from a summer theatre in a converted 1880s hay barn to one of the Hudson Valley's most influential nonprofit cultural institutions.

Since its founding in 1977, Penguin Rep has entertained more than 400,000 people with outstanding productions of more than 150 plays, specializing in new works by established and emerging writers.

Many of plays staged Penguin, dubbed "the gutsiest little theatre' by the NY Times, have moved on to successful runs Off-Broadway and to showplaces around the country and abroad.

For additional information and the latest in Penguin Rep Theatre programs, visit the website at www.penguinrep.org.

- Joe Brancato & Andrew Horn


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