FIRST PRIORITY CLUB NEWS
FURTHER READINGS A READING SERIES THAT FURTHER EXPLORES THE WORK OF OUR FAVORITE PLAYWRIGHTS.
I AM A CAMERA March 31st At the Mint Theater
Free for FPC Members Call FPC Hotline to reserve: (212) 315-0231 Or go to: minttheater.org Address: 311 W. 43rd St. Suite 307 New York, NY 10036 Box Office: Mon.- Sat. Noon-6pm Sun. Noon-3pm (2/1- 3/30) We will be offering this reading exclusively to First Priority Club Members until February 28th.
by John Van Druten
“A feverish and fascinating theater work, uncommonly alive, thoroughly adult and, above all, richly stuffed with feeling.” The Brooklyn Eagle, 1951 Fifteen years before the 1966 musical CABARET theatricalized Christopher Isherwood’s semi-autobiographical Berlin Stories, playwright John Van Druten provided Broadway with a far more intimate take on the British expatriate’s experience in preWWII Germany. While Kander and Ebb’s musical revealed the sordid world of the Kit Kat Klub and its indomitable Emcee, I AM A CAMERA offered audiences an exquisite character study of the inhabitants of a Berlin rooming house—a would-be writer called Christopher Isherwood and a young nightclub singer named Sally Bowles. Although the collective theatergoing memory of I AM A CAMERA has been partially eclipsed by the impact of CABARET, Van Druten’s play remains a surprising and unique theatrical accomplishment, and paints a moving portrait of two young people trying desperately to find themselves amidst a society on the brink of fascism. Van Druten named his leading male character—the “camera” of the play’s title—after Christopher Isherwood, himself (CABARET book-writer, Joe Masteroff, would later adapt this protagonist into a character named Cliff). Isherwood’s initial reaction to Van Druten’s character was that he seemed to be “much more attractive and interesting than the original.” However, Isherwood’s first meeting with Sally Bowles—in the person of actress Julie Harris—provided the author with an altogether different and rare experience: “Out of the dressing room came a slim sparkling-eyed girl in an absurdly
tart-like black dress, with a jaunty little cap stuck sideways on her pale flame-colored hair and a gay, silly, naughty giggle. This certainly wasn’t Miss Harris; it was Sally Bowles in person—my unserious, somewhat shopsoiled but always endearing heroine. Miss Harris was more essentially Sally Bowles than the Sally of my book, and much, much more like Sally than the real girl who, long ago, gave me the idea for my character.” 1 I AM A CAMERA opened at the Empire Theatre in New York City on November 28, 1951 in a production directed by the playwright. It was a critical success for both Julie Harris’ performance and John Van Druten’s sensitive adaptation and staging. “A striking, intelligent and steadily arresting play,” hailed Richard Watts Jr. of the New York Post, “I AM A CAMERA makes the theater once more worth bothering about.” Harris went on to win her first of four Tony Awards for Best Leading Actress in a play, and I AM A CAMERA won the New York Drama Critic’s Circle for Best American Play of the 1951-52 season. Mint Theater is proud to once again present Christopher Isherwood and Sally Bowles in their original theatrical incarnation, in a one-night-only reading of John Van Druten’s “absorbing and challenging”2 I AM A CAMERA. 1
The Sunday Sun 2 Variety
DONOGOO Written by Jules Romains Translated and Directed by Gus Kaikkonen
In DONOGOO, ambition and imagination collude to create fact out of fraud. Lamendin is a desperate man suffering from an existential crisis. Le Trouhadec is a professor of geography who longs for election to the Academy of Sciences. Together they unwittingly set in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions. Investors, pioneers and prospectors alike are driven to seek their fortune in Donogoo, a place that doesn’t exist—or does it? DONOGOO opened in October of 1930 and was so successful it saved the struggling Théâtre Pigalle from ruin. Le Figaro called the play, “a complete triumph; filled with very amusing burlesque, an atmosphere of adventure, and written with all the skill and vitality that one expects from the author of KNOCK.” Yet, the play remains all but unknown in the English-speaking world; it has been performed only once in this country, in 1961 at the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York, directed by Adrian Hall. “A spoof of scientific accuracy, high finance, trade, patriotism, pioneering, and a host of momentous and minute matters,” wrote the New York Times, calling the play “sharp and amusing.” “Once again, my hat is off to Mint Theater Company for reintroducing an obscure but vital twentieth century drama, making us all a trifle less ignorant. Like me, you might enjoy your Giraudoux or Anouilh on page and stage, but those bittersweet Gallic dramatists’ peer, Jules Romains, is virtually unknown here.” David Cote, Time Out NY - on the Mint’s production of DR. KNOCK Our production of DONOGOO will feature a vibrant new translation by Gus Kaikkonen, who will also direct. Gus previously translated and directed Jules Romains’ DR. KNOCK for the Mint in 2010. DONOGOO will feature fourteen actors who will portray the sixty-six characters that populate this dark and madly ambitious comedy. Mint Theater is pleased to present DONOGOO—a satire whose sting remains sharp today—with performances beginning June 3rd, 2014.
FPC Hotline: (212) 315-0231 Address: 311 W. 43rd St. Suite 307 New York, NY 10036 Box Office: Mon.- Sat Noon-6pm Sun.- Noon-3pm (2/1- 3/30) Performances: Tuesday–Thursday 7pm Friday & Saturday 8pm Saturday & Sunday 2pm Special Wednesday Matinees: June 18th & July 9th at 2pm No Performances: June 17th, June 24th, July 8th Full Price: $55 FPC Price: $38.50 (Use Code: FPC) CheapTix: $27.50 (when available) www.minttheater.org
June 3rd through July 27th
George Morfogen (pictured here in the Mint’s production of N.C. Hunter’s A PICTURE OF AUTUMN) will be joining us as Le Trouhadec.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE PLAY LAMENDIN It’s there, that the village in question is described? TROUHADEC Yes. LAMENDIN But it reads very well…Yes…“A healthy climate…elegant local architecture…and the gold fields are not far away…” What was the problem they had with this village? TROUHADEC It doesn’t exist. LAMENDIN Oh, yes, that’s right. Yes, yes. And you have the impression that…yes…it seems to you that…in the end… TROUHADEC They expect a scholar to go and verify all by himself all the facts that go into a work this big? LAMENDIN Evidently. TROUHADEC All sciences, Monsieur, including this one, are based on trust. LAMENDIN Yes, indeed! Like everything else. Like the stock market or money, itself. TROUHADEC Go tell that to my faithless adversaries. LAMENDIN Yes, yes. they won’t make it easy. TROUHADEC You see! LAMENDIN Oh, well, what can you do?
JOHN VAN DRUTEN
Clockwise from top left: Elise Kibler & Stephen Plunkett, top right: Christopher Sears & Elise Kibler, bottom: Elise Kibler, Alex Trow, Katie Gibson and Matthew Gumley. Photos by Richard Termine
JOHN VAN DRUTEN: A WRITER’S WRITER FEATURING TREASURES FROM THE JOHN VAN DRUTEN PAPERS AT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Bruno Walter Auditorium, 65th & Amsterdam (at Lincoln Center) Join Mint Theater Company and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for an intimate celebration of LONDON WALL playwright, John Van Druten. Excerpts from Van Druten’s unpublished essays, letters, diary and plays will be read, revealing the playwright’s relationship with such literary peers as Tennessee Williams, Christopher Isherwood, Carson McCullers, and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
MARCH 17th at 6PM
First-Priority Club Members get reserved seats! Give us a call at (212) 315-0231 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and skip the line!
Dear Friends, We began performances of LONDON WALL on February 1st and I’m happy to report that audiences are finding John Van Druten’s romantic comedy just as engaging and full of charm as I did when I first read it. Take a look inside to see some lovely pictures taken at our final dress rehearsal. We have a busy spring planned, with a number of events coming up featuring the work of Van Druten. March 17th we’ll be collaborating with the New York Public Library on John Van Druten: A Writer’s Writer. Details inside, or call us at 212.315.0231. March 31 will be a reading of I AM A CAMERA at the Mint, offered FREE exclusively to members of the First-Priority Club. After the reading there will be a wine and cheese reception with the cast. Call to reserve your free tickets. st
April 28th is the date of our annual Benefit at the Cosmopolitan Club. Included in the entertainment will be a wickedly funny parody of LONDON WALL, written by Van Druten himself.
THE DATE APRIL 28TH Mint Theater Company’s ANNUAL BENEFIT AT THE
Cosmopolitan Club FPC Hotline: (212) 315-0231 minttheater.org
I look forward to seeing you (and better weather) soon!
FIRST PRIORITY CLUB NEWS www.minttheater.org (212) 315-0231 311 West 43rd Street, Suite # 307 New York, NY 10036
Sent out February 10, 2014