Author Archives: LDR

Meet the Private Prom Judges, Part 3: Emily Alexander Wilmeth

On Friday, May 17, we’re reclaiming prom night with our spring fundraiser, The Private Prom. In our company’s tradition of re-inventing a classic, we’re re-imagining the typical prom court coronations with a much more inclusive, fun-loving awarding of prizes for our prom-goers.

To help us hand out the Private Prom prom court prizes, we have a panel of fun-loving, fabulous, fashion-forward judges. We interviewed each of them to get a feel for what they will look for how they will assess the crowd.

The second judge we’d like to introduce you to is the irrepressible Emily Alexander-Wilmeth.

Occupation:

Commercial Production Manager

Affiliation/Connection with The Private Theatre:

Friend

What is your relationship to fashion? How would you describe your personal sense of style?

I love high fashion and the way that a dress can alter a life but my personal style is generally casual and based almost exclusively around a good pair of jeans.

You’ve been tasked with nominating the “Private Prom Court.” What will you be looking for when you select your nominees?

Individuality, confidence, quirk and head wear.

Did you go to prom? Do you have a favorite prom memory? A favorite prom song?

I went to prom twice, once in Sophomore year, once in Senior year.

Two favorite prom memories: my first prom date, a Senior, wore his drum major uniform, complete with medals and knee boots. My Senior prom date, who remains a great friend, and I danced a choreographed dance that we’d learned at theatre camp. We were a hit.

What are your hopes for The Private Prom?

Fun, flirty, feisty.

Any words of advice for Private Prom attendees?

Leave it on the dance floor.

Emily Alexander-Wilmeth poses with her prom date. Aren’t they stylish?

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Join us for The Private Prom on Friday, the 17th. Relive the magic … or just get it right this time.

 

Meet the Private Prom Judges, Part 2: Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

On Friday, May 17, we’re reclaiming prom night with our spring fundraiser, The Private Prom. In our company’s tradition of re-inventing a classic, we’re re-imagining the typical prom court coronations with a much more inclusive, fun-loving awarding of prizes for our prom-goers.

To help us hand out the Private Prom prom court prizes, we have a panel of fun-loving, fabulous, fashion-forward judges. We interviewed each of them to get a feel for what they will look for how they will assess the crowd.

The second judge we’d like to introduce you to is the incomparable Ed Sylvanus Iskandar.

Occupation: 

Artistic Director, Exit, Pursued by a Bear (EPBB)

Affiliation/Connection with The Private Theatre: 

Friend

What is your relationship to fashion? How would you describe your personal sense of style?

I am a child of many cultures.  My style is based on mixing east and west.  How I represent myself and my personality through clothing is an opportunity for creative expression. 

You’ve been tasked with nominating the “Private Prom Court.” What will you be looking for when you select your nominees?

A sense of individuality that is unapologetic, and owned.

Did you go to prom? Do you have a favorite prom memory? A favorite prom song?

I was in high school in the United Kingdom.  No proms there, but believe it or not, as a senior, people couldn’t get enough of the Spice Girls, whose turn from innovators to also-rans happened in the blink of an eye.  “Say You’ll Be There” blared from every pub, party and Virgin Megastore for a whole year.

What are your hopes for The Private Prom?

That we get back to the pureness of being a high schooler, when we were old enough to know how hard things were about to get, but young enough to not know what that really means. 

Any words of advice for Private Prom attendees?

A greasy late night breakfast to circumvent the day after hangover. 

Here’s a photo of Ed as a teen, posing with his girlfriend

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Join us for The Private Prom on Friday, the 17th. Relive the magic … or just get it right this time.

 

 

Meet the Private Prom Judges, Part 1: Judy Bowman

On Friday, May 17, we’re reclaiming prom night with our spring fundraiser, The Private Prom. In our company’s tradition of re-inventing a classic, we’re re-imagining the typical prom court coronations with a much more inclusive, fun-loving awarding of prizes for our prom-goers.

To help us hand out the Private Prom prom court prizes, we have a panel of fun-loving, fabulous, fashion-forward judges. We interviewed each of them to get a feel for what they will look for how they will assess the crowd.

The first judge we’d like to introduce you to is the charming Judy Bowman.

Occupation:

Casting Director, Producer, Teacher

Affiliation/Connection with The Private Theatre:

Board Member, Casting Director, Officer

What is your relationship to fashion? How would you describe your personal sense of style? 

I am an unabashed Label Whore.  I once paid $50 for a plaid vest from Century 21 that was ripped up the side, but it was Prada.  I paid a tailor to fix it.  I wore it twice before I realized I looked like a leprechaun.  I love shopping on GILT, Outnet, and Zappos.   My fashion sense tends to be a bit matchy-matchy, so I try to play against that and challenge myself.  I am most comfortable dressing like an English prep-school boy.    Button-down, Cardigan, Oxfords.  If I dress like a professional,  I wear jeans and tall boots.  Lots of blazers.   I used to wear suits all the time, but I’ve realized I don’ t need those anymore.  If I dress up, a suit or a dress…but never skirts.  I grew up as a ‘mod’, fashioning myself after Molly Ringwald and her entourage.  “Alternative”, and black clunky shoes with weird tights.  I am addicted to Project Runway, and read fashion magazines, but don’t get much out of them.  I love men’s clothes, but try not to wear them.  I try not to dress like Ellen DeGeneres, even though I want to.  Designers I love:  Helmut Lang, Steven Alan, Thomas Pink, Adriano Goldschmeid, Esquivel, Loomstate, Missoni, Hugo Boss Orange, Marc Jacobs.

You’ve been tasked with nominating the “Private Prom Court.” What will you be looking for when you select your nominees?

I will be looking for traditional prom wear, which is a nod to the past.  And Vintage. I will also be looking for totally inventive prom wear.

Did you go to prom? Do you have a favorite prom memory? A favorite prom song?

Yes,  I went to my junior and senior prom and also another student’s junior and senior proms when I was a freshman and sophomore.    I remember going to prom with the only African-American kid in our school. We were mostly just friends, but it was interesting.   At that time, we got some interesting reactions, from both our friends and families.   When I was a sophomore, I went to Senior Prom with Bart DiSanto, whom everyone thought was gay.  He took me by the bowling alley to show his friends he had a date.  We made out in my parents’ garage and then he ran off because he ‘had to go to church’ the next morning.   He became a pastry chef.  But that’s all I know of him now.  I went to junior prom with a guy I almost lost my virginity to in his car, in his church parking lot.  But it didn’t happen, thank god.  We broke up not long after that.  He was a philanderer.    I also went to my senior prom with a would-be boyfriend.  He died of Hodgkin’s Disease a few years later.  It was very sad.   But I remember the proms as being fun and full of nerves.  Songs were: “I had the Time of my life”.   The only other song I remember is Journey’s “Open Arms”, but that was the 8th-Grade Dance. 

What are your hopes for The Private Prom?

That it will be really fun and GREAT MUSIC!

Any words of advice for Private Prom attendees?

Don’t try to re-live old Prom.  Take back the night!

Judy with Her Senior Prom Date, Bart

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Join us for The Private Prom on Friday, the 17th. Relive the magic … or just get it right this time.

 

 

Save these Dates: A Reading Series, and a PROM

We’re thrilled to announce our spring line-up. We hope you’ll join us in May and June in a little bit of work and a lot of “play”!

On the evening of Friday, May 17, The Private Theatre will host a fundraiser gala, The Private Prom. Continuing our tradition of blurring the lines between party and theatrical event, we invite you to choose the finest formal wear from your closet, to put on your dancing shoes, and to join us in celebrating the arrival of the warm weather. Join us on Facebook and Twitter beginning today to participate in our prom-related social media games — tell us about your prom adventures and misadventures, send us your prom photos, and help create our prom playlist!

Also, please mark your calendars for our Spring Reading Series. We are thrilled to present some works in development by our friends and colleagues on the three following evenings:

Monday, May 20 Mama’s Boy by Rob Urbinati (directed by John Gould Rubin)
Tuesday, May 28 Biolife by Cecilia Copeland (directed by Tony Glazer)
Monday, June 10 Blue Heart Afternoon by Nigel Gearing (directed by Evan T. Cummings).

We’ll be providing more details about these events in the coming days, but we hope your mark calendars today so that you may join us!

 

Happy 449th Birthday, William Shakespeare! And Thank You

William Shakespeare is arguably the most influential figure in the history of theatre, and to commemorate his birthday on April 23, we have decided to express all the ways in which he has influenced us as artists, producers, teachers, and theatre goers.

Summer Crockett Moore (Managing Member)

When I was 16, growing up in Paris, TN, I knew I wanted to go to New York to college for theatre school.  To do that, I needed to audition with one contemporary monologue and one Shakespearean monologue (so said all the college brochures).  I was only slightly terrified, having not really ever worked on Shakespeare (beyond the sophomore required reading of Romeo & Juliet)  because I had one of the most amazing drama teachers Tennessee had ever seen!  After several weeks of prep, I nailed my regional audition in Nashville, and was proud to learn that I had received a partial scholarship to my theatre school of choice the following fall  in NYC!  I arrived at that school, wind in my sails, and proceeded to my first ever Shakespeare class.  For our first day, we were told that we were to perform the audition monologue that “got us in to the school” and so I embarked with the same gusto as I had in my little town of TN … and was flatly told by my very first “official” Shakespeare teacher that “because I had such a strong southern accent, I sounded “uneducated”, and therefore could never “properly” perform Shakespeare”.  I literally picked myself off the floor and sat in my seat, my face on fire, as my new theatre classmates patted my hand and whispered words of “hang in there”.  That said, this did not deter the 17-year-old girl sitting there … it only fueled me. Angered me. Called me to action.  I wanted to be better for Shakespeare himself  — (not to mention how hilarious it was the following week when several of my newfound theatre compatriots showed up in bib-overalls w/ thick southern accents to do their weekly Shakespeare assignments … all as a call to action for my honor.) *Did I mention I was merely 17, and the average age in this post-graduate class was 26?  Yea — my fellow students rocked, and I was the baby in the class.*
 
So, yes, I signed up for speech therapy, and practiced extensively outside my regular classes each week, with a wonderful speech teacher, and I began to “neutralize my dialect,” all while working on Shakespeare.   Each week I was less and less afraid, and more and more empowered. Shakespeare was empowering me.  His wonderful women were teaching me.  I was finding a new identity through the wonderfully diverse characters in his plays.  There are many sub-stories that I could share, but just know, that I realized that the humanity in all of his characters was accessible no matter what accent I had been gifted with.
 
And to this end …. one year later, I had achieved “standard American speech,” all trace of my southern dialect now hidden — unless I decided to whip it out for dramatic effect — which proved very useful on dates, might I add — but I digress … and I was cast as one of the female leads in the graduate production of the play As You Like It.  #successachieved = perhaps.
 
What I take away is this: I brought who I was to the Shakespearean table, and came up a better, stronger, more well-rounded person as a result.  All in the name of “Shakespeare,” which is not nearly as scary as it sounds.

Lucy Di Rosa (Executive Director)

When I was in high school, William Shakespeare introduced himself to me, grabbed me by the collar, and shook me. And he’s continued to shake me ever since. Between the ages of 14 and 18, I read Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet. I found them magical, scary, and gorgeous. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, not too far from Stratford, which is the home of one of the largest Shakespeare festivals outside of England. My school organized periodic visits to the festival. The live performances I saw on the beautiful thrust stage at the Festival Theatre influenced me deeply. I found it mesmerizing to see the actors perform, using such beautiful language and filling this distinct and striking space. Getting to know Shakespeare at a young age was one of the single most influencing factors in awakening my fascination with theatre.

As an adult, my first experience with The Private Theatre’s Artistic Director, John Rubin, came when I worked on a scene from Macbeth in John’s acting class, playing Lady Macbeth. This was Act I, scene vii, in which Lady Macbeth must convince her husband to kill the king after she realizes that he his having serious doubts about doing so. The scene is so powerful and the work was so engrossing that I still think back to the scene as though I had experienced Lady Macbeth’s complex emotions myself. And I had! In the moment of performance, Shakespeare (and John) made me feel a wave of panic as I realized that my ambition to become queen was slipping away, and made me realize that I had to somehow overpower Macbeth in order to get my way. Doing this work taught me how intense and how human Shakespeare’s characters are. I think his writing continues to influence us because not only is it astoundingly eloquent, it is also startlingly real.

Shane Bly Killoran (Literary Committee Member)

Admittedly, I groan with resistance at the thought of sitting through yet another Shakespearean production. This would be true if Sir Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton roused themselves from the dead to perform. My reluctance is not one of disrespect. Rather (with the exception of two outstanding productions), my love affair has always taken place on the page.

As a school-girl, he had me at, “Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!” Since then, his iambic worlds of language, history, love, the after-life, war, loyalty and dreams, have continued to work their way through me into my womanhood.

I couldn’t have known then, but this bard was the first to place me on the path to dramaturgy. Every play, every sonnet, is a fresh awakening to decode and demystify. Sitting with a Shakespeare text, armed with certainty only to find there is yet another universe to uncover, presents indescribable joy. He remains the constant reminder that I know nothing, but will forever find a universe altering something.

William Shakespeare, where you would, I humbly don’t have the eloquent words of thanks for properly introducing me to the text. Because of you; I consider, read, look, accept and seek differently.

“When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’ th’ sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that…”

Salomé M. Krell (Managing Member)

As a teen, I first fell in love with the mystery of Shakespeare’s language. I fell in love with uncovering the meaning of the text, a process which for me often required reading out loud and embodying his words. As the daughter of an academic, I was inspired to discover that I could understand Shakespeare’s texts by bringing his words to life. I didn’t have to simply think more or study harder or analyze intellectually. I could understand and discover by playing! It opened a whole new world.

In high school I was lucky enough to attend the Stratford Theatre Festival in Canada. I saw a rock and roll production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring the epically talented Colm Feore. I was blown away. It was one of the most breathtaking, inspiring, moving and earth shattering experiences I’ve ever had in the theatre. To witness Shakespeare’s play interpreted in such a wildly creative way left me filled with awe. I remember weeping during Puck’s closing lines (“If we shadows have offended, think but this; and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear….”). I wept and wept. Because it had felt like a dream. And I didn’t want it to end. I sat in the theatre, stunned. I wanted to stay in that world, to be part of it. It was an experience that made me so proud to be human. I was deeply inspired and filled with wonder at the beauty and power of what people could create together, and what we could witness together. It broke my heart…open.

Jean Gould Rubin (Artistic Director)

Shakespeare taught me the humbling intimidation of great writing; that craft produces poetry; that emotion is inspired automatically by words well crafted and properly spoken; and that art is larger than life.

The Private Theatre Hosts a Reading of A Queen for a Day Featuring Dan Lauria

The Private Theatre is proud to host an invitation-only reading of Mike Ricigliano’s new play, “A Queen for a Day,” on Sunday, January 27 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. The confirmed cast for the reading includes Dan Lauria (A Christmas StoryLombardi, “The Wonder Years,”), Matt Servitto (“The Sopranos”) and Heidi Armbruster (Revolutionary Road). The reading will be directed by The Private Theatre’s Artistic Director, John Gould Rubin.

Read the full story on www.broadwayworld.com.

CalArts Hosts The Private Theatre for a Workshop of Electra Despierta

The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) hosted The Private Theatre at its Los Angeles campus in September, for a workshop of Electra despierta (“Electra Awakes”) by Mexican playwright Ximena Escalante. The Private Theatre’s Artistic Director, John Gould Rubin, attended the workshop along with Managing Member Salomé M. Krell, who will be a featured actor in the project. The two organizations hope to develop a bilingual production of this contemporary retelling of the Electra myth.

Read more about the workshop on the CalArts blog.

Travis Preston, the Dean of the CalArts School of Theater, is one of the founders of The Private Theatre.

The Private Theatre and Barbara Ligeti Present Turning Page

The Private Theatre is partnering with company board member Barbara Ligeti to present Turning Page, a new solo play by Angelica Page. This poignant and personal piece about Page’s mother, American actress Geraldine Page, will have an Off-Broadway run at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre this October.

For more information about Turning Page, visit the show’s website:

http://turningpagetheplay.com/

What People Are Saying about Playing with Fire

“[An] inventive, bawdy transformation of August Strindberg’s 1893 one-act, Playing with Fire
-This Week in New York

“A wildly sexual, burlesque and fiery piece. This is Boogie Nights meets Cabaret meets Spanking the Monkey.”
-Off Broadway

“Offers titillation of a more rarified, [sic.] theatrical kind.”
-NY Post

“It was an extraordinary evening! Unforgettable, sexy and electric. Wow.”
-Jamey Hood

“If you enjoy […] getting insanely turned on, then you HAVE to see Private Theatre’s Playing with Fire.”
-
Barb Kielhofer

 

Wanted: Dead or Alive?

Playing with Fire co-conceiver, Shane Bly Killoran, articulates some of the questions she posed in preparation for our production, by imagining a correspondence with August Strindberg, author of the one-act play that inspired us.

Herr Strindberg,

According to you, it’s 1893 in a small village outside Stockholm. According to me, it’s 2012 in the heart of a rather large village better known as New York City.

As your dramaturg, tell me, how do I transition your play over centuries, eras and continents? How can I possibly integrate two such vastly different worlds and assist the director and adaptor so they land on a plane that speaks truthfully to both sets of realities? How do I take a theatrical heirloom and render it relevant to our audience? How do I remain loyal to the interiors of your play while meeting the needs of a ‘modern’ production? Would this task be easier if you were still alive? Or is it better that you exist in another dimension, far from me and the realities of today’s rehearsal process? Fuck, Sir.

To complicate matters, you (in my opinion), have been lazily labeled a ‘misogynist’: interesting given your feminist tendencies. However, what rings more true, is an equal contempt for both genders in an era that overwhelmingly sympathized with yours. Again, Sweden to New York and with gender complications: Sir, Holy Fuck.

Ahead of time, yet strangled by the constraints of your day, you lived consciously at the precipice of the modern age. A more evolved way of speaking and thinking while still shackled to the morays of an Old World. But, what if the shackles of 1893 fell away? In my humbled arrogance, I had to ask and answer, ‘How would you stage “Playing With Fire” now?’ It was from that premise, Sir that The Private Theatre’s production has been built.

You realize, of course, this play appears deceptively simple. A family dealing with the eternal boredom that speaks to an era. Suspended in a middle-class or upper middle-class limbo with too much and yet not enough purpose to propel their lives in any meaningful way. Yet, like life, circumstances can appear normal until outside eyes peer in and the realization hits that our personal universe is thoroughly infected becomes startling apparent. The more I read, the more I saw that these characters are infected and the closer it seems your world mirrors ours. The evidence of something sinister and complicated begins to unfold with distressing vividness; where each revelation is delivered with the unexpected clarity of a cutting slap. And, lest us not forget, this play was/is considered a comedy…?

Being a subversive traditionalist (here we meet on common ground), understand, I took guardianship over your text while allowing for a new vision to illuminate the play. Yes, I know, I put myself in a perverse circumstance, which of all people, I’m sure you can appreciate. While alterations and additions were made, PWF remains a true representation of the story you told then, with the freedoms theatre practioners enjoy now. I assure you, I went to great lengths to maintain the integrity of your text, while ensuring that our conceptual device(s) serve to enhance your story rather than replace it or be mistaken for meaning in their own right.

I armed myself with as much of you as possible then threw it all out, trusting that it resided within my instincts that were tied back to you.

The old saying, “Dead men tell no tales” suggests that after one has passed, their secrets go with them to the grave. Would I rather you alive or dead- is one reality easier or at least less riddled with the strife of creative differences? Not so much. Through your text, I have learned, not only do dead men in fact tell most tales- they have told them first and enjoy the last word.

So Dear Sir, within its current age, I hope the deed has been done to your approval. And, I do believe this is a marriage in which you would approve plus fully appreciate the stench of our glittering cast.

All gratitude for this delinquently, healthy journey.

Yours, in respect- Shane Bly Killoran