Page 1

FEBRUARY - JUNE 2019 SYRACUSE STAGE: [1] NATIVE GARDENS [5] COLD READ FESTIVAL [7] PRIDE AND PREJUDICE [11] THE HUMANS [15] THE LAST FIVE YEARS n PHOTO: JASON ALEXANDER DIRECTS THE LAST FIVE YEARS.

SYRACUSE STAGE |

1


LAUGHTER, HOPE, AND A BORDER DISPUTE BY KELUNDRA SMITH n ILLUSTRATION: EDITH REWA

When playwright Karen Zacarías started writing Native Gardens, her goal was to make audiences laugh, while also grappling with immigration, class, white privilege, and plants. The result is a comedy where two couples, one Latinx and one white (and of different generations), find themselves at odds over fences and flowers. Their backyard bickering builds into a case study of the cracks in the foundation of our country and each couple must decide whether fighting for their position is worth the splinters it creates in their relationships. Zacarías started writing the script in 2014 after hearing friends at a dinner party gripe about disputes with their neighbors and thought that she could use these small spats to tell a bigger story about the false barriers that divide us. Zacarías thought it was important to present the audience with characters who would feel like people they know,

1

|

SYRACUSE STAGE


but also who would surprise them. That’s why she made her two Latinx characters upwardly mobile professionals and the white female character an engineer. “Most audiences haven’t gone to a play where there’s a Latinx person with a Ph.D. onstage because that isn’t usually how we’re portrayed,” says Zacarías, who is a Mexican immigrant, and very recently, a new citizen of the United States. “There are also these very important silent Latinx characters who

don’t have a voice. It was important for me to make them Latinx for practical and political purposes, to make a point about who’s actually changing the landscape and who’s doing the work.” We’ve all heard the saying that good fences make good neighbors, but in Native Gardens, a fence becomes the subject of much contention and comedy. Tania and Pablo Del Valle have just moved into a house in Washington D.C.’s well-to-do Cleveland Park neighborhood just a few

n PLAYWRIGHT KAREN ZACARÍAS.

“You can boil down so many global conflicts to what happens between neighbors, which is always about property, taste, culture, and class. “There’s something very primal and absurd about these fights. When in a fight does the fight stop being about the fight and become something else?”

weeks before their baby’s due date. They find themselves in a nesting tizzy when Pablo invites the partners from his law firm over for a backyard barbecue and decides to install a new fence. Their nextdoor neighbors Frank and Virginia Butley are longtime residents of the area and are excited at first about new friends and a new fence. When the couples meet, things seem to be going swimmingly, save for a few microagressions about their ethnicities. However, when Tania and Pablo discover that two feet of their

SYRACUSE STAGE |

2


n DIRECTOR MELISSA CRESPO. land is on Frank and Virginia’s side of the fence, things go from sweet to sour in a matter of days. “You can boil down so many global conflicts to what happens between neighbors, which is always about property, taste, culture, and class,” Zacarías says. “There’s something very primal and absurd about these fights. When in a fight does the fight stop being about the fight and become something else?”

3

|

SYRACUSE STAGE

Guiding the cast through the answer to this question is the job of New York City-based director Melissa Crespo, who directed Zacarías’ play Destiny of Desire at Garden Theatre in Orlando. “I am so excited about the comedy because comedy is my wheelhouse and the cast is so smart,” Crespo says. “Comedy is the key to our hearts and to opening our minds. It makes me really excited to go to work.”


NATIVE GARDENS “Comedy is the key to our hearts and to opening our minds. It makes me really excited to go to work”

Crespo’s father is Dominican and her mother is of Puerto Rican descent and she was drawn to the script because of its portrayal of smart Latinx people who are fighting for what’s theirs. She also likes that Zacarías presents a balanced portrait of each couple. Frank’s garden is his masterpiece and winning the annual Potomac Horticulture Club competition is a symbol of his achievement of the American Dream. He feels like his dream is being dashed when Pablo schedules major yard work for the same weekend the judges are coming. But Pablo, who is one of the only Latinx people at his law firm, has convinced himself that this barbecue could make or break his career. “Everyone is so caught up in their beliefs,” Crespo says. “All of Tania and Pablo’s hopes and dreams about the house, the baby, and reaching a certain status that they believe will make them acceptable are hinged on this barbecue and it’s unfortunate. It speaks to the way that our nation is systemically setup and how we can be accepted. I imagine that they might be the only Latinx couple in that neighborhood and they feel like they have to meet certain standards.”

The play’s message of acceptance will certainly resonate with audiences differently than it did a few years ago since the ideological divides about everything from who should receive affordable healthcare to whether children of undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country have deepened. In the play, the divide is first explored as a hilarious, albeit spirited debate over native gardening, which is an approach where plants that are naturally occurring in an area are allowed to grow wildly so that insects and birds in the area can feed off them. However, as the argument escalates the lid is lightly lifted off buried feelings about race, who crossed whose border, and intensional and unintensional blind spots concerning privilege. “It’s important that all four characters are right and wrong throughout the play,” Zacarías says. “The play ended up becoming a symbol for what’s going on in our country. If I make everyone despicable, what does that say about our country?” What Zacarías and Crespo both hope to inspire in this country is belief in the possibility of peace. Hope for a better tomorrow for future generations is at the heart of the play.

FEBRUARY 13 MARCH 3

13 14 15 16 wed thu fri sat 7:30 PR 7:30 PR 8:00 OP 3: 00 8:00

17 sun 2:00 P 7:00 D

18 mon

19 tue 7:30

20 21 wed thu 2:00 O, W 7:30 H 7:30

22 fri 8:00

23 sat 3:00 S,P 8:00

24 sun 2:00

25 mon

26 tue

27 wed 7:30

1 fri 8:00 L

2 sat 3:00 A 8:00 O

28 thu 7:30 P

3 sun 2:00 O

CALENDAR KEY

DINNER & SHOW:

PR = preview OP = opening D = discussion S = ASL interpreted O = open captioning A = audio description P = prologue H = happy hour W = Wed@1 L = last call Fridays

February 27, 6 p.m.

COMMUNITY DIALOGUE SPONSOR

MEDIA SPONSORS

SEASON SPONSORS

“Karen covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time,” Crespo says. “She gets at ageism, gender politics, colorism. I love theatre that not only entertains, but also educates you in a way that you might not realize at first.”

SYRACUSE STAGE |

4


COLD READ FESTIVAL MARCH 7 MARCH 10 10 sun 3:00 DP

7 8 9 thu fri sat 7:30 KO 7:30 UC 11:00WH 3:00 SA 7:30 SA

CALENDAR KEY

KO = Cold Read Kick Off UC = Under Consideration WH = Write Here SA = Solo Act DP = Draft/Pages

SPONSOR

SEASON SPONSORS

COLD READ KICK-OFF

WRITE HERE

UNDER CONSIDERATION

SOLO ACT

A lively cast of Stage stakeholders, board members, and community leaders put the fun in fundraiser as they “cold read” a comedy script. Syracuse Stage artistic director Bob Hupp directs. Thursday, March 7, Reception: 6:30 p.m., Reading: 7:30 p.m., Archbold Theater. Join us for a reading of a new play that is under consideration to be included in an upcoming season. April Sweeney, theatre department chair at Colgate University, will direct a cast of professional actors for a reading of the new play Admissions by Joshua Harmon. Audience talkback follows. Friday, March 8, Reading: 7:30 p.m., Archbold Theater.

Bob Hupp directs a reading of a new play by local playwright Tanner Efinger in this brand-new event, featuring the work of a promising Syracuse writer. Talkback with playwright and director follows. Saturday, March 9, Reading: 11 a.m., Archbold Theater. An intimate workshop production of a new piece by renowned comedian and solo artist Marga Gomez, directed by Adrian Alexander Alea, followed by an intriguing talkback with the playwright and director. Saturday, March 9, Performances at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., SALTspace, 102 Wyoming St., Syracuse.

DRAFT/PAGES

A first-ever reading of a play in-progress by award-winning playwright Larissa FastHorse. The professional cast is directed by Tyne Rafaeli. A talkback with playwright and director follows. Sunday, March 10. Reading: 3 p.m., Archold Theater.

5

|

SYRACUSE STAGE


COLD READ FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, MARCH 7 – 10 TICKETS: $5 FOR EACH EVENT OR $20 FOR A WEEKEND PASS (INCLUDING 3 PM SOLO ACT PERFORMANCE) LARISSA FASTHORSE

(Playwright/Choreographer) is an award-winning Native American play wright, choreographer, and advocate. Her work in writing has garnered numerous Ford and NEA grants, the PEN/USA Literary Award for Drama, and an NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, among others. Recent plays include Cow Pie Bingo, Urban Rez, What Would Crazy Horse Do?, and The Thanksgiving Play, the latter two being listed on the annual Kilroy’s List of un- and underproduced new plays by female and trans authors of color. Larissa secured an Off-Broadway debut in October 2018 with The Thanksgiving Play, which was developed with the Guthrie Theatre and was recently featured in the February 2019 issue of American Theatre Magazine. Also known for her role in indigenous peoples’ advocacy, Larissa is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sicanga Lakota Nation, and founded the consulting company Indigenous Direction to assist individuals and organizations to create accurate work by, for, and with indigenous peoples.

MARGA GOMEZ (Solo

Artist/Comedy Performer) is a renowned solo artist, stand-up comedian, and teacher, whose work has been featured on Comedy Central’s Out There, HBO’s Comic Relief, and is regularly produced at SF Comedy Day and numerous comedy festivals. Winner of a Theater LA Ovation Award and triple winner of SF Guardian’s Best of the Bay Comedy Award, Marga has also authored eleven solo plays that have been produced OffBroadway and internationally. Works include Pound, Not Getting Any Younger, and Lovebirds. Marga has also performed Off-Broadway and in national productions of the hit play The Vagina Monologues, where she shared the stage with luminaries such as Rita Moreno and Vicki Lawrence. She is a founding member of the Latino ensemble Culture Clash, a performance troupe based in San Francisco where Marga works.

TANNER EFINGER

(Featured Local Playwright) received B.F.A. theatre performance training at Marymount Manhattan College. He performed in NYC and LA for ten years and in 2008, Tanner became active in community and national organizing. In 2011, Tanner moved to Oxford, UK, where he managed several restaurant and art venues, before developing a career as a freelance theatre artist and creative consultant, promoting and encouraging artistic endeavors on a community scale. In 2017, Tanner moved to Syracuse, New York and founded Breadcrumbs Productions, where he now works as founding artistic director.

SYRACUSE STAGE |

6


OPENING PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND FINDING A PLAYGROUND INSIDE BY JOSEPH WHELAN Early in Part Two of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, Lizzy Bennet and her sister Jane engage in a heated discussion about the character of a certain would-be suitor. “You shall not for the sake of one individual change the meaning of principle and integrity,” fumes the indignant Lizzy, at once admonishing her sister, while unknowingly and simultaneously firing a shot that strikes a bloat orange bullseye square in the 21st century. Each age finds in the novels of Jane Austen reflections of its own “peculiar em-

phasis” and “anxieties,” observes the novelist Martin Amis. Amis was writing for The New Yorker about the spate of visually rich film and television adaptations of Austen’s novels produced in the 1990s and featuring such gilded stars as Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Ehle, and Colin Firth. To Amis’ eyes, these adaptations reflected concerns resonant in 1996, the year of his article: the constriction of opportunity for women, especially among the poorer classes; the high incidence of occasion for inflicting social pain; and the glee with which the powerful inflicted such pain.

n[FACING] KATE HAMILL AND MARK BEDARD IN HAMILL'S ADAPTATION OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AT HUDSON VALLEY SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL. HAMILL, WHO APPEARED IN NOISES OFF EARLIER THIS SEASON, WILL PORTRAY LYDIA BENNET AND LADY CATHERINE IN THE SYRACUSE STAGE PRODUCTION OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. PHOTO: T CHARLES ERICKSON.

7

|

SYRACUSE STAGE


“Jane Austen is weirdly capable of keeping everybody busy. All [adaptors] find an adventure playground in six samey novels about middle-class provincials. And for every generation of critics, and readers, her fiction effortlessly renews itself.” “Jane Austen is weirdly capable of keeping everybody busy,” Amis writes. “All [adaptors] find an adventure playground in six samey novels about middle-class provincials. And for every generation of critics, and readers, her fiction effortlessly renews itself.” In recent years, Austen has found renewal and acclaim Off-Broadway and in regional theatres, largely through the unconventional and in-

genious adaptations of playwright/ actor Kate Hamill, who appeared in Syracuse Stage’s production of Noises Off earlier this season and whose adaptation of Pride and Prejudice runs March 20 through April 7. Hamill certainly finds a playground in Pride and Prejudice, one distinctly her own and decidedly comic, inventive, and extraordinarily true to the source. On Hamill’s playground of the stage,

the drawing room and disco music, marriage-hungry matrons and crossdressing actors, and romantic love and screwball comedy blend together wonderfully to create an irrepressible sense of fun. It is Austen told with the high energy and theatrical flair of The 39 Steps or Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville. No wonder Hamill has become an OffBroadway favorite. “I love to create pieces of theatre that are highly theatrical and that are surprising,” Hamill explained on NPR’s Here & Now. “What I like to do is for the audience to come in expecting something, and come out being like, ‘Wow, that was completely different from what I expected.’” The degree to which Hamill has achieved this aim is reflected in the glowing reviews Pride and Prejudice received for its premiere at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and subsequent transfer to New York’s Primary Stages.

SYRACUSE STAGE |

8


“In Kate’s version, a seemingly impenetrable enigma like Mr. Darcy becomes a social misfit, deeply sympathetic in his awkwardness. She gets to the root of all of these characters in such a beautiful way. I think that’s what audiences respond to.” n DIRECTOR JASON O’CONNELL AS MR. DARCY IN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AT HUDSON VALLEY SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL. PHOTO: T. CHARLES ERIKSON

“Her joyous, lovingly painted adaptations of cherished romances are everything fans of these novels could possibly hope for. Hamill’s new play has turned the original story into a farcical, hilarious romp, while earnestly maintaining the integrity and desperate exigence of Austen’s original,” reported TheatrePizzaz. “The stuff hits are made of... the ever-ingenious Ms. Hamill has given us something completely and delightfully different. The language is traditional but the approach is thoroughly modern,” noted The Wall Street Journal, which named Hamill Playwright of the Year in 2017. Jason O’Connell directs the Syracuse Stage production of Pride and Prejudice. He knows well the material and the playwright, having portrayed Mr. Darcy in the premiere production opposite Hamill’s Lizzy Bennet. (Off stage Hamill and O’Connell are romantically linked as well. He recently proposed.) O’Connell credits Hamill’s deep understanding of and sympathy for Austen’s characters as a key to why audiences respond so well to her adaptations. “People love the novel and the story so much. They feel like they know the characters, that they have ownership of them in a way,” he explains. “And the amazing thing about Kate’s adaptation is that it makes the characters even more accessible somehow, even easier to love.” O’Connell cites his own experience of playing Mr. Darcy as an illuminating example.

9

|

SYRACUSE STAGE


“In Kate’s version, a seemingly impenetrable enigma like Mr. Darcy becomes a social misfit, deeply sympathetic in his awkwardness. She gets to the root of all of these characters in such a beautiful way. I think that’s what audiences respond to.” While acknowledging that Hamill’s slightly irreverent tone and playful staging give Pride and Prejudice a contemporary spin, O’Connell balks at the notion that her adaptation should be considered an update. “The way these people speak, the language they use, the realities of their lives and the world they inhabit are very much in keeping with the period of Austen’s original,” he says. In addition to Pride and Prejudice, Hamill has written successful adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and Little Women. She refers to these as “feminist progressive adaptions,” a contemporary perspective that distinguishes her take on these classics without distancing them from the source material. Rather, O’Connell observes, it makes her plays and characters immediate and recognizable. “Kate has an incredibly strong understanding of the women at the center of these stories and, as a feminist playwright, really gets inside the heads and hearts of characters who— despite the constraints of the times in which they ‘lived’ (or, rather, were first brought to life by their respective authors)—are really feminists in their own right. On some level, Kate is Lizzy Bennet, she is Becky Sharp, she is Jo March. She breathes a life into these fellow feminists that, in its deep empathy and immediacy, feels contemporary, though I would argue a better word for it is actually timeless.”

REVIEWS FROM THE WORLD PREMIERE "Kate Hamill's screwball Pride and Prejudice, directed by Amanda Dehnert, is as frolicsome as her earlier efforts. It hasn’t met a rib it can’t tickle... Ms. Hamill’s distinctive spin is to read Pride and Prejudice through the lorgnette of game theory... The strategy: beauty, wit and wiles. The payoff: marriage to a wealthy bachelor. Win and live in luxury. Lose and starve in some catinfested garret... I’ll go to the mat for Ms. Hamill’s un-Georgian mischief." - The New York Times "Hamill’s writing and acting have never been better.... There is no doubt that she is one of the creative geniuses of her time and I so look forward to her next adventure.... a hysterical and imaginative production... [an] insanely original adaptation." - Times Square Chronicle "It's not your mother’s Pride and Prejudice... Kate Hamill’s utterly delightful new adaptation of the Jane Austen classic about finding a mate in an age before social media is anything but: it is strong on humor and even stronger on farce. Who knew that the trials and tribulations of getting half a dozen couples married could be so much fun?" - TheaterScene

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MARCH 20 APRIL 7

20 21 22 23 wed thu fri sat 7:30 PR 7:30 PR 8:00 OP 3:00 8:00 27 28 wed thu 2:00 O, W 7:30 H 7:30

24 sun 2:00 P 7:00 D

25 mon

26 tue 7:30

31 sun 2:00

1 mon

3 2 wed tue 7:30 R/SF 7:30

4 thu 7:30 P

29 fri 8:00

30 sat 3:00 S,P 8:00

5 fri 8:00 L

6 sat 3:00 A 8:00 O

7 sun 2:00 O

CALENDAR KEY

POETRY AND PLAY:

PR = preview OP = opening D = discussion S = ASL interpreted O = open captioning A = audio description P = prologue H = happy hour W = Wed@1 L = last call Fridays

March 31, 1 p.m. DINNER & SHOW:

April 3, 6 p.m.

SPONSOR

MEDIA SPONSORS

SEASON SPONSORS

“I went with arms crossed, ready to see either a too-precious or a too-irreverent production…but what Kate Hamill and director Amanda Dehnert achieve is nothing less than a bold, open-heart exploration of Jane Austen's text, more true to the spirit of the original than any adaptation I've witnessed thus far, and yet wholly original to Hamill's madcap approach to the classics. - Hudson Valley One

SYRACUSE STAGE |

10


THE WAY WE LIVE TODAY BY JERALD RAYMOND PIERCE Stephen Karam set out to make a thriller, so he wrote a play about an ordinary family Thanksgiving dinner. If this seems simultaneously funny and little scary, it is, and Karam proves it with his Tony Award-winning play The Humans.

“The Humans won the Tony Award for Best Play and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.”

11

|

SYRACUSE STAGE

Karam was intrigued by the intensity of the “existential horrors of life.” He thought about how those moments seep into the quiet parts of the day, like having dinner or going about any normal afternoon. As he wrote, The Humans became about an easily recognizable, normal middle-class American family caught in a story infused with tension and anxiety. “Most everyone can relate to this sort of family gathering,” says Mark Cuddy, the show’s director and the artistic director of Rochester’s Geva Theatre. “Although there are highs and lows in the Thanksgiving dinner, they’re not melodramatic and they’re

not highly theatrical. They’re very nuanced and unlike other plays that are overly simplified. This is a multilayered look.” The family in question is named Blake. Daughter Brigid and her boyfriend are hosting Brigid’s parents, sister, and grandmother for Thanksgiving. Throughout the day, Karam’s play examines the different pressures each family member is experiencing and how that weighs on the family as a whole. Whether it’s dealing with the difficulty of finding full-time employment, experiencing professional disappointment, reaching retirement without sufficient savings, having a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, or simply working through the pain of disappointing (or being disappointed by) family— The Humans shows a swath of common contemporary struggles. The play premiered in Chicago in 2014


n PLAYWRIGHT STEPHEN KARAM DURING REHEARSALS FOR THE HUMANS AT ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY. PHOTO: JENNY ANDERSON.

before opening Off-Broadway in 2015. The Humans then moved to Broadway and opened at the Helen Hayes Theatre in February of 2016. The Humans won the Tony Award for Best Play and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (understandably unable to top Hamilton in that race). Jesse Green, writing for Vulture at the time, said the play was “the most, well, human play I’ve ever seen about fear and disappointment and the attachments that transcend them.” In interviews prior to the New York opening, Karam made sure to point out that, while the play is deeply personal to him, the family is not an autobiographical depiction. He called his play a “genre-collision play.” It combines aspects of a family drama with ghost stories and thrillers. “The Humans looks at the way we cope with our biggest fears, the way we process the big existential horrors of life,” Karam told American Theatre magazine.

“I wanted to write a play about human fear that was actually scary. It’s an interesting time to think about what 'terror' means to us—we keep hearing the word ‘recovery’ in the news, but I think most Americans are still trying to climb out of this weird black pit of dread and malaise set off by 9/11 and the financial crisis.” In his review in The New York Times, Charles Isherwood said the play was “written with a fresh-feeling blend of documentarylike naturalism and theatrical daring.” He continued, “Mr. Karam’s comedydrama depicts the way we live now with a precision and compassion unmatched by any play I’ve seen in recent years.”

“The Humans looks at the way we cope with our biggest fears, the way we process the big existential horrors of life.”

That Broadway production also received praise from critics for its Tony Awardwinning set design. The set is a two-story apartment where both levels are visible at all times. Activity is visible everywhere in the apartment—preparations for dinner, people exploring.

SYRACUSE STAGE |

12


THE HUMANS 24 25 26 27 wed thu fri sat 7:30 PR 7:30 PR 8:00 OP 3:00 8:00

APRIL 24 MAY 12 28 sun 2:00 P 7:00 D

29 mon

30 tue 7:30

1 2 wed thu 2:00 O, W 7:30 H 7:30

3 fri 8:00

4 sat 3:00 S,P 8:00

5 sun 2:00

6 mon

7 tue

8 wed 7:30

10 fri 8:00 L

11 sat 3:00 A 8:00 O

9 thu 7:30 P

12 sun 2:00 O

CALENDAR KEY

DINNER & SHOW:

PR = preview OP = opening D = discussion S = ASL interpreted O = open captioning A = audio description P = prologue H = happy hour W = Wed@1 T = to be announced L = last call Fridays

May 8, 6 p.m.

MEDIA SPONSORS

SEASON SPONSORS

n DIRECTOR MARK CUDDY. “It’s kind of a two story exhibit,” Cuddy said. “We look at it to see how a family functions when they’re together and when they’re not. We’re the observers. The two levels allow us to see action that the other characters don’t all see.” Cuddy compares it to a sort of alien zoo. If someone from outer space were to watch, they would get a sense of what human interactions are like. It’s a bit voyeuristic in nature. If someone is in the basement of the apartment, they can’t see what is going on upstairs, but the audience can. This gives the audience key insights into what it means to be human, Cuddy explains. While this play can’t possibly encapsulate all of humanity or the nuances of every family, it is one example that reveals considerable breadth of human behavior. Through all of the anxiety and family drama of the play, Cuddy wants audiences to understand the importance of comedy in the lives of these charac-

13

|

SYRACUSE STAGE

“Although there are highs and lows in the Thanksgiving dinner, they’re not melodramatic and they’re not highly theatrical. They’re very nuanced and unlike other plays that are overly simplified. This is a multilayered look.”

ters. Cuddy says he’s able to identify with the play on a personal level that draws him to the comedic aspects. “It’s an Irish family and I’m Irish,” Cuddy explains, “so I love the humor in it. I love that they tease each other a lot. I think that sets the whole thing up so when things get a little more dramatic, you have already bought into their connectedness.” Karam may have set out to make a thriller, but his prime achievement is creating a truthful family in all its complex interrelations and connections. “I hope the audience feels the love that each family member has for each other as well as seeing the personal challenges that each one has to overcome,” Cuddy said. “Even though they can get angry with each other, it’s out of love.”


EVENTS MARCH - MAY 2019 Prop Class March 23, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Learn how to make your own prop food for use in a show or to trick your friends!

SPOTLIGHT: SUMMER YOUTH THEATRE EXPERIENCE AT SYRACUSE STAGE Raise the curtain on summer fun with the new Summer Youth Theatre Experience offered through Syracuse Stage in partnership with the Near Westside Initiative and SALTspace. Children ages 11-14 are invited to create and perform under the guidance of professional teaching artists of Syracuse Stage and invited guest artists. July 15 - August 9. To be your best – play with the best. Register online now at: www.SyracuseStage.org/summerprograms.php Space is limited. Scholarships available. For more information contact Kate Laissle at 315-442-7755 or kmlaissl@syr.edu

PROGRAM ONE

PROGRAM TWO

Session A: Acting Out Loud Session B: Creating Characters

Syracuse Stage Experience A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Develop a story from an idea to performance as you create and perform your own original work. Sessions include acting, improvisation, voice, and creative writing.

Sharpen your acting skills with movement, voice, and character development as you prepare for a presentation of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Location: SALTspace 102 Wyoming St., Syracuse Dates: Session A - July 15 - 19 Session B - July 22 - 26 Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Location: Syracuse Stage 820 E. Genesee St. Syracuse Dates: July 29 - August 9 Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Before and after care available.

n ENSEMBLE IN CAROLINE, OR CHANGE. PHOTO: MICHAEL DAVIS.

Before and after care available.

Students at Stage: Pride and Prejudice March 30, 7:15 p.m. Take a calligraphy class before seeing Pride & Prejudice. Tickets for high school students are $18 and include pre-show activities. Performance at 8 p.m. followed by a post-show Kahoot quiz with prizes. Backstory April 6, 10 a.m. Join us for a Public Performance of the Backstory Program Commanding Space: The Rise of Annie Easley and the Centaur Rocket, written by Stephanie Leary. Performed in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage. Free and open to the public. Advanced Makeup Class April 13, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Learn how to apply age makeup, bruises, cuts, burns, and how to make your own latex wounds. Supply kit included. Register at syracusestage.org under education and classes. Students at Stage: The Humans May 4, 7:15 p.m. Enjoy a sundae bar before seeing The Humans. Tickets for high school students are $18 and include pre-show activities. Performance at 8 p.m. followed by a post-show Kahoot quiz with prizes. Young Playwrights Festival May 7, 7 p.m. Come see new works by high school students performed by Department of Drama students in the Archbold Theatre. Free and open to the public, reception to follow.

SALTspace SYRACUSE STAGE |

14


ALONE TOGETHER AND APART BY JOSEPH WHELAN Composer and writer Jason Robert Brown once described his musical The Last Five Years as “a show that many people love, but almost none have actually seen.”

“Brown’s semi-autobiographical and intimate musical of love gained and love lost has achieved cult status since its initial Off-Broadway run in 2002.”

15

|

SYRACUSE STAGE

Perhaps compared to Broadway blockbusters, this may be true, but Brown’s semi-autobiographical and intimate musical of love gained and love lost has achieved cult status since its initial OffBroadway run in 2002. A popular cast recording featuring the original New York stars Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz and a 2015 film version with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan have introduced the musical to audiences beyond the stage and helped keep the music in currency. The show has a kind of “insider” credibility with its songs frequently chosen as audition material, especially by young performers.

While there has been only one revival in New York in 2013, The Last Five Years has had upward of 200 productions across the country and has been translated into Dutch, Japanese, Korean, German, and Italian. The Last Five Years charts the romantic course of aspiring actress Cathy Hiatt and Jamie Wallerstein, a young novelist on his way to early fame and fortune. The pair of twentysomethings meet in New York, fall in love, and eventually grow apart and separate. It is essentially the story of Brown’s relationship with his first wife Theresa O’Neill. Brown employs an adventurous structure in unfolding the two-character she said, he said tale. Jamie tells the story from beginning to end, or from first meeting to break-up. Cathy tells it in reverse. Almost all of the songs are solos as the two


travel to a singular meeting point—their wedding—and then again go their separate ways. In this way, The Last Five Years more closely resembles Brown’s famous song-cycle Songs for a New World and is less like his noted book musicals Parade and The Bridges of Madison County. Tony Award-winning actor and celebrated TV veteran Jason Alexander directs The Last Five Years for Syracuse Stage. He envisions expanding the physical scope of the two-character play by adding two dancers to the production. The dancers will reflect the emotional journeys of Cathy and Jamie through choreography and bring kinetic energy to the stage, deepening and enlivening the theatrical experience.

n JASON ROBERT BROWN. PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY.

“We talk to ourselves very differently than we talk to other people. Brown captures that. Each song is like a little psychological analysis of the characters.”

SYRACUSE STAGE |

16


THE LAST FIVE YEARS 29 30 31 1 wed thu fri sat 7:30 PR 7:30 PR 8:00 OP 3:00 8:00

MAY 29 JUNE 16 2 sun 2:00 P 7:00 D

3 mon

4 tue 7:30

5 6 wed thu 2:00 O, W 7:30 H 7:30

7 fri 8:00

8 sat 3:00 S,P 8:00

9 sun 2:00

10 mon

11 tue

12 wed 7:30

14 fri 8:00 L

15 sat 3:00 A 8:00 O

13 thu 7:30 P

“We traded lists of five plays, a variety of titles and styles, and the musical on the list was The Last Five Years. Jason said he had wanted to work on it for some time and he had some ideas for it that he wanted to pursue.”

16 sun 2:00 O

CALENDAR KEY

DINNER & SHOW:

PR = preview OP = opening D = discussion S = ASL interpreted O = open captioning A = audio description P = prologue H = happy hour W = Wed@1 T = to be announced L = last call Fridays

June 12, 6 p.m.

SEASON SPONSORS

Though best known for his work in television, Alexander has a long and successful career in musical theatre. He won his Tony Award for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. In recent years, he has turned more to directing (when his schedule permits). He met Syracuse Stage artistic director Robert Hupp a few years back when Hupp was head of Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Alexander directed there. They became friends, and when Hupp moved to Syracuse Stage, the prospect of Alexander directing here came up in conversation. “I said to Jason that I would like to find a way to get him to Syracuse, but when could we find a date,” Hupp said. “I didn’t want to wait two years.” When a window of time at the end of the current season became viable for Alexander, they began considering possible plays. “We traded lists of five plays, a variety of titles and styles, and the musical on the list was The Last Five Years,” Hupp said. “Jason said he had wanted to work on it for some time and he had some ideas for it that he wanted to pursue.” Adding a second musical to the season appealed to Hupp as well. The musical director for the project

17

|

SYRACUSE STAGE

is Brian Cimmet. Cimmet’s work is very familiar to Syracuse Stage patrons. He has been the musical director for nearly every Stage and Syracuse University Department of Drama musical since 2010, including this season’s Elf The Musical and last season’s The Wizard of Oz and Next to Normal. He is a fan of composer Jason Robert Brown and The Last Five Years. Brown, he says, expresses exceptional psychological richness in his music and lyrics. “His songs sound the way people think,” Cimmet explains. “His syntax echoes people now and it makes his characters very accessible.” This is particularly evident in The Last Five Years because, given its structure, the story unfolds as a series of monologues with Cathy and Jamie each singing alone. “We talk to ourselves very differently than we talk to other people,” Cimmet observes. “Brown captures that. Each song is like a little psychological analysis of the characters.” Cimmet is highly confident that Stage’s The Last Five Years will be a very solid and intelligent production. Alexander, he says, is a “brilliant guy” and accomplished artist. The music is “fun to play and fun to listen to.”


EVENTS FEBRUARY - JUNE 2019 SYRACUSE STAGE Native Gardens By Karen Zacarías | Directed by Melissa Crespo | Co-produced with Geva Theatre Center and Portland Center Stage February 13 - March 3

ture, for a deeper look into what those few feet of property in a Georgetown backyard might mean in Native Gardens. Focusing on planning and urban design, Carter’s studies are in the intersection of politics and design and in thinking of cities as ecosystems.

ACTOR TALKBACK SERIES A lively discussion with the actors following the 7 p.m. Sunday night performance.

Cold Read Festival Curated by Kyle Bass | Playwright-inresidence Larissa FastHorse March 7 - March 10

Pride and Prejudice Wednesday, March 27 @ 1 p.m. Dive deeper into the world of Jane Austen with Dr. Mike Goode, a professor in the Syracuse University English Department. A specialist in 18th and 19th-century British literature, Goode has published several articles and books, including the book Sentimental Masculinity and the Rise of History (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which examines the role of historical novels in history’s emergence as an academic discipline. He is currently working on a book on the afterlives of writings by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, William Blake, and Mary Shelley in contemporary British and American culture.

Pride and Prejudice Sunday, March 24

Pride and Prejudice By Kate Hamill | Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen | Directed by Jason O'Connell March 20 - April 7 The Humans By Stephen Karam | Directed by Mark Cuddy | Co-produced with Geva Theatre Center April 24 - May 12 The Last Five Years Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown | Directed by Jason Alexander | Musical Direction by Brian Cimmet May 29 - June 16 PROLOGUE During the run of each show, join us for free, intimate, pre-show talks led by a member of the cast. One hour prior to curtain, three times during the run of each show. Native Gardens Sunday, February 17 at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 23 at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m. Pride and Prejudice Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. The Humans Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. The Last Five Years Sunday, June 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m. WEDNESDAY@1 LECTURES Pre-show lecture at 1 p.m. in the Archbold Theatre before the 2 p.m. matinee performance. Native Gardens Wednesday, February 20 @ 1 p.m. Join Professor Emanuel J. Carter, Jr., a faculty member in SUNY-ESF’s Department of Landscape Architec-

The Humans Wednesday, May 1 @ 1 p.m. Join Chris Woodworth, assistant professor of Theatre at Hobart & William Smith Colleges, for a deeper look into the Tony Award-winning The Humans. Woodworth teaches courses in theatre history and dramatic literature and directs regularly. Her articles have appeared in Theatre History Studies, Theatre Symposium, Theatre Annual, Text and Presentation, as well as a number of edited collections. She is co-editor of Working in the Wings: New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor, a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a past participant in the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University and the SITI Summer Theater Workshop. The Last Five Years Wednesday, June 5 @ 1 p.m. Delving the peaks and valleys of intimate relationships, Joseph P. Fanelli, Ph.D. will explores the “creative tension” between the characters in The Last Five Years, who struggle to find a way to be a couple and at the same time live their passion. As senior faculty at Syracuse University since 1984, Fanelli taught courses in human sexuality and relationships to more than 47,000 students. Retiring from SU in May 2018, Fanelli continues his work as a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, primarily treating couples who are experiencing relational conflict or sexual dysfunctions.

Native Gardens Sunday, February 17

OPEN CAPTIONING Native Gardens Wednesday, February 20 at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. Pride and Prejudice Wednesday, March 27 at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m.

The Humans Sunday, April 28

The Humans Wednesday, May 1 at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m.

The Last Five Years Sunday, June 2 HAPPY HOUR SERIES Warm up before the show with halfpriced drinks, signature cocktails, and complimentary appetizers from fine local restaurants. Located in the Sutton Pavilion at Syracuse Stage. Native Gardens Thursday, February 21, 6 p.m. Pride and Prejudice Thursday, March 28, 6 p.m. The Humans Thursday, May 2, 6 p.m.

The Last Five Years Wednesday, June 5 at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m. AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETED Native Gardens Saturday, February 23 at 3 p.m. Pride and Prejudice Saturday, March 30 at 3 p.m. The Humans Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m. The Last Five Years Saturday, June 8 at 3 p.m.

The Last Five Years Thursday, June 6, 6 p.m. DINNER & SHOW Enjoy a buffet dinner with fellow theatre lovers in the Sutton Pavilion. Seasonal fare prepared by Phoebe’s Restaurant followed by great theatre.

AUDIO DESCRIPTION Native Gardens Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m. Pride and Prejudice Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m.

Native Gardens Wednesday, February 27 at 6 p.m.

The Humans Saturday, May 11 at 3 p.m.

Pride and Prejudice Wednesday, April 3 at 6 p.m.

The Last Five Years Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m.

The Humans Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. The Last Five Years Wednesday, June 12 at 6 p.m. POETRY & PLAY A reading series that connects the literary arts to the work on our stage. Local writers share original works of poetry and prose prompted by themes, ideas, and images in selected season offerings. Light refreshments, Sutton Pavilion. Pride and Prejudice Sunday, March 31 at 1 p.m. Devon Moore and Diane Wiener

New This Season The Syracuse Stage bar will remain open following performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Please join us.

Parking Vouchers Parking vouchers for the Madison-Irving garage will be available at the Box Office.

*Speakers and topics subject to change

is published by Syracuse Stage throughout the season for its subscribers. Editor: Joseph Whelan (jmwhelan@ syr.edu). Designers: Brenna Merritt & Jonathan Hudak.

ROBERT HUPP, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR; JILL A. ANDERSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR; KYLE BASS, ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR; SYRACUSE STAGE.

SYRACUSE STAGE |

18


Nonprofit Organization US POSTAGE PAID Syracuse Stage Syracuse, NY

820 East Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210-1508 www.SyracuseStage.org

SYRACUSE STAGE PRESENTS

5:30 VIP RECEPTION with

JASON ALEXANDER

6:00 DRINKS, DINNER and

ANNUAL GALA

SILENT AUCTION

WITH JASON ALEXANDER

at syracuse stage

Including the opening night of The Last Five Years.

7:30 SHOWTIME

9:00 AFTER-PARTY UNDER THE STARS WITH MUSIC, DESSERTS, & MORE!

EXPECTED TO SELL OUT, RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY!

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT

Tina Morgan P: 315.443.3931 E: tmorg100@syr.edu

SYRACUSE STAGE |

19

Profile for Syracuse Stage

StageView 2 1819  

StageView 2 1819