Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NYU Announces Project with Classic Stage Company; Provincetown Playhouse Still Wilting From Misuse

For the record, this press release I received today has nothing to do with the Provincetown Playhouse, or the fact that NYU's Tisch School of the Arts has been effectively banished from working in it by the Ed. theatre people at the Steinhardt School. I'm just reminding everyone that while NYU has promised to leave the theatre alone (and the community remains unconvinced, on balance, that all the structures surrounding it are worthy of preservation), there's a 50/50 chance NYU is lying in a any event. After all, this city is certainly accustomed to construction "accidents." And then there's the whole issue of whether the Playhouse is being used as its great and legendary founders would have wished.

Also, I happen to think that this is the kind of industry outreach that Tisch should be doing. And I have tremendous respect for CSC.


Classic Stage Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Brian Kulick and Executive Director Jessica R. Jenen, presents NYU/The Continuum Company’s production of TEMPEST TOSSED, a unique re-imaging of Shakespeare's late great play, July 10-20. TEMPEST TOSSED, first seen in Florence, Italy last summer, boasts a versatile three person cast that takes an audience through an imaginative and physically inspired ninety minute rendition of Shakespeare's immortal tale, a feat that usually requires an acting company of sixteen or more. The result is a miraculous evening of theatrical wonder for the whole family and a perfect introduction to CSC's own more traditional production of THE TEMPEST starring Mandy Patinkin, which begins previews on Sept. 3rd.

TEMPEST TOSSED features Nadia Bowers, Andre Holland and Shane McRae, and is directed by Jim Calder, faculty member of the Graduate Acting Program at Tisch and a director with an improvisational bent. The production was created under the auspices of The Continuum Company, a new alumni wing of New York University’s Graduate Acting Program under the Artistic Leadership of Zelda Fichandler in association with the Department of Design for Stage and Film, Susan Hilferty, Chair. This ambitious new venture is made up of professional actors who have developed out of NYU'S prestigious training program. This singular institution is considered by many to be the nation's leader in identifying and nurturing generation upon generation of dynamic young artists who have gone on to impact the world of theatre, film and television.

"We are thrilled" writes CSC Artistic Director Brian Kulick, "to help launch this inaugural venture and anticipate that it is the first of many collaborations between CSC and NYU, especially since both institutions share the same literal and aesthetic zip-code."

“I want to thank Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of Tisch School of the Arts for her support of this collaborative project with Brian Kulick and his Classic Stage Company,” says Zelda Fichandler, “I hope it is the first of many, as our artistic goals are so compatible; we are in all ways neighbors. I’m a big fan of this particular piece and committed to the idea of an acting company — The Continuum Company — growing out of our large body of talented alumni who are hungry for the stage. This is an auspicious beginning.”

Now in its 40th season as one of New York’s most exciting Off-Broadway theaters, CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY is the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Brian Kulick and Executive Director Jessica R. Jenen, CSC presents plays from the past that speak directly to the issues of today. As we return to works of the past, we endeavor to keep a clear eye on the future, particularly in terms of the next generation of artists and audiences. Classic Stage's artists are the best-established and emerging theater practitioners working in this country. Highly respected and widely regarded as a major force in New York and American theater, Classic Stage has been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards: Obies, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and 1999 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Memberships to Classic Stage Company productions are available at various price levels, including the flexible Masterpass membership, which in addition to prime seats, entitles members to participate in CSC special series, including their sold out Open Rehearsal events. Memberships for CSC’s 2008-2009 season are available now, and include tickets to THE TEMPEST starring Mandy Patinkin, Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA starring Denis O’Hare, and AN ORESTEIA, translated by renowned poet Anne Carson. For further information, go to, call 212-352-3101, or visit the theater in person at 136 East 13th Street.

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