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Posts Tagged ‘Wendy Wasserstein’

Benefit Reading: Keri Russell in ‘An American Daughter’

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
KeriRussell (Photo: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com_

KeriRussell (Photo: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com_

Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wendy Wasserstein’s prescient play An American Daughter returns to New York on May 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. for a one-night-only benefit reading at the Tony Kiser Theatre (305 West 43rd Street) directed by Emmy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.

All proceeds will benefit She Should Run, a nonprofit organization “working to create a culture that inspires women and girls to aspire towards public leadership.” Tickets are available now.

“The reading of An American Daughter is an exciting opportunity for She Should Run to join forces with the Indigo Theatre Project as they elevate the story of one woman’s political journey,” said Erin Loos Cutraro, Co-Founder & CEO of She Should Run. “We are truly grateful for the support of our mission to encourage and inspire more women and girls to consider public office.”

The reading will star Golden Globe winner Keri Russell as “Dr. Lyssa Hughes” with Emmy Award nominee Hugh Dancy as “Walter Abrahmson”, two-time Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff as “Morrow McCarthy”, four-time Tony Award nominee Victor Garber as “Senator Alan Hughes,” Tony Award winner Julie White as “Charlotte ‘Chubby’ Hughes,” Emmy Award nominee Zoe Kazan as “Quincy Quince”, Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza as “Timber Tucker” and Obie Award winner Quincy Tyler Bernstine as “Judith B. Kaufman.”  Additional casting will be announced shortly.

A prophetic reflection of the modern political era, Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter follows Lyssa Dent Hughes (Keri Russell), an accomplished doctor and the President’s newly-named nominee for Surgeon General. While her confirmation at first seems inevitable, Lyssa is stunned when the vetting of her past leads to a scandal that threatens to derail her future.

The evening is produced in arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. by The Indigo Theatre Project (Nick Gereffi, Artistic Director; Rachel Sussman, Executive Producer), a theater company that strives to unite passion with purpose by producing high-profile readings to benefit thematically relevant charitable organizations.

For more information, visit www.indigotheatreproject.org.

 

Review: The Heidi Chronicles

April 6th, 2015 Comments off

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(l to r) Ali Ahn, Elisabeth Moss, and Elise Kibler in "The Heidi Chronicles" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

(l to r) Ali Ahn, Elisabeth Moss, and Elise Kibler in “The Heidi Chronicles” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Before there was Candace Bushnell or Lena Dunham, there was Wendy Wasserstein. The Brooklyn-born, Ivy League graduate carved a niche in contemporary theater with her uncompromising explorations of women, beginning with her Yale graduate thesis, Uncommon Women and Others. She revisited those themes in a more expansive capacity in The Heidi Chronicles, now receiving a respectable Broadway revival starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss, Jason Biggs (American Pie), and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder).

Elisabeth Moss in "The Heidi Chronicles" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Elisabeth Moss in “The Heidi Chronicles” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The Heidi Chronicles won both the 1989 Tony Award for best play as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and it’s clear why. Heidi Holland’s chronological journey from a wallflower at a high school dance to single mom in the modern world is one layered with a multitude of themes. As an art history student with feminist leanings, Heidi’s life experiences are framed through the works of seminal (yet mostly unknown because of their gender) female painters. This heavily researched through line colors the play in fascinatingly subtle ways, much like the works themselves, and is exhibited as a series of slides on John Lee Beatty’s ever-transforming set.

Over the years Heidi navigates her relationships with varying degrees of success, including those with her longtime friend Peter (Bryce Pinkham) and on-again-off-again boyfriend Scoop (Jason Biggs). She is often caught at the crossroads with the dual desires of wanting an intimate relationship and struggling to find her place in a society where women’s roles are rapidly changing. This dramatic tension—sometimes as nuanced as a sigh or pause by Moss—is what breathes life into Wasserstein’s play.

Elisabeth Moss doesn’t tackle Heidi so much as warmly envelope the character with quirky humanity and humor. Complexly written, Moss is able to navigate Heidi’s journey with great dexterity, culminating in a speech delivered at an alumnae luncheon where the years of personal and societal expectation finally crumble. It is both humorous and devastating as Heidi discovers the simple fact that she’s just not happy. “It’s just that I feel stranded,” she says. “And I thought the whole point was that we wouldn’t feel stranded. I thought the point was we were all in this together.”

(l to r) Tracee Chimo, Leighton Bryan, and Elise Kibler in "The Heidi Chronicles" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

(l to r) Tracee Chimo, Leighton Bryan, and Elise Kibler in “The Heidi Chronicles” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The men in Heidi’s life struggle with their own intimacy issues. For her best friend, Peter, it’s coming to terms with his homosexuality and the dark shadows of the impending AIDS crisis. Bryce Pinkham approaches the role with odd affectation, but within those vocal inflections and stilted body movements, he discovers an unconventional authenticity.

Jason Biggs is less successful as Heidi’s lingering romantic interest. Their chemistry, which sparks at a 1968 Eugene McCarthy dance, doesn’t seem to evolve over the years and one wonders what keeps these two drawn to each other. The play, which runs more than two-and-a-half hours and culminates with their denouement is a slight fizzle to an otherwise effervescent evening.

As for the ensemble of women (Ali Ahn, Leighton Bryan, Tracee Chimo and Elise Kibler) who comprise Heidi’s friends and colleagues through the years—they are a painter’s palette whose sum of the parts creates indelible images of a woman’s journey through the last part of the 20th century. Both historical and relevant, their struggles with self-worth, motherhood, success and happiness are chronicles worth revisiting.

The Heidi Chronicles
Music Box Theatre
239 West 45th Street

Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram at roodeloo

Three to See: March

March 2nd, 2015 Comments off

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Helen Mirren and Elizabeth Teeter in "The Audience." (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog)

Helen Mirren and Elizabeth Teeter in “The Audience.” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog)

The Audience
Calling all Anglophiles. Academy Award winner Helen Mirren will return to Broadway this spring as Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s The Audience, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry.

For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said, not even to their spouses. The Audience imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen.

From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister uses these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional—sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases. These private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age, from the beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign to today. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.

Helen Mirren received the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, reprising her Academy Award winning role from the film The Queen, also written by Peter Morgan.

The Audience
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street
Opening night: March 8 (through June 28)

 

ebd8e9_d60838f03bd34711a9360a9955f6ba5d.jpg_srz_394_590_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzOn the Twentieth Century
It’s been more than 35 years since this madcap musical was seen on Broadway (save a one-night only performance in 2005). The original featured the hilarities of Madeline Kahn, John Cullum and Imogene Coca. This revival, presented by the Roundabout, will feature Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher and Mary Louise Wilson respectively.

It’s nonstop laughs aboard the Twentieth Century, a luxury train traveling from Chicago to New York City. Luck, love and mischief collide when a bankrupt theater producer embarks on a madcap mission to cajole a glamorous Hollywood starlet into playing the lead in his new, non-existent epic drama. But is the train ride long enough to reignite the spark between these former lovers, create a play from scratch, and find the money to get it all the way to Broadway?

On the Twentieth Century
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42nd Street
Opening night: March 12 (through July 5)

 

(l to r) Bryce Pinkham, Elisabeth Moss and Jason Biggs in "The Heidi Chronicles." (photo: Jason Bell via The Broadway Blog)

(l to r) Bryce Pinkham, Elisabeth Moss and Jason Biggs in “The Heidi Chronicles.” (photo: Jason Bell via The Broadway Blog)

The Heidi Chronicles
Wendy Wasserstein’s play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989 (along with the Tony award for Best New Play) and director du jour Pam MacKinnon (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) hopes to put her stamp on its much-anticipated Broadway revival.

The play is the poignant coming-of-age story of three iconic decades of American culture: the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Through Heidi Holland, now a successful art historian, Wasserstein looked back on the promises of a generation in a work that established her voice in the canon of quintessential theater forever. Starring Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), along with Jason Biggs (Orange is the New Black, The Good Wife) and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), the sweeping and poignant play charts 19 characters through 13 scenes in 3 decades and 4 cities, as three unlikely friends come to realize that the fight for what you believe in can bring you a long way… maybe.

The Heidi Chronicles
Music Box Theatre
239 West 45th Street
Opening night: March 19

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