Author: primarystagestheatercompany

A Look Back at the Primary Stages 2018 Gala

This October, Primary Stages hosted its annual Gala to honor Tony Nominees Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker; Board Member Eleanor Holtzman, and Corporate Advisory Board Member Jose M. Toro. The evening took place at Tribeca 360° with views overlooking downtown and the Hudson River. Here is a recap of the evening’s events filled with performances, tributes, and so much more.

The Gala kicked off with words from our Artistic Director Andrew Leynse and our Executive Director Shane Hudson. 

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Tim Daly, from our current production of Theresa Rebeck’s Downstairs, introduced Laura Osnes for a lovely performance of “Honey Bun” from South Pacific.

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Primary Stages Founder Casey Childs presented the first award of the night to Eleanor Holtzman. Eleanor is a member of Primary Stages Board of Directors and a trailblazing marketing executive. We are grateful for her dedicated guidance and support as we continue to engage new audiences for the future of the company.

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Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler and director Morgan Gould of the upcoming Primary Stages production of God Said This, introduced Quentin Earl Darrington for a beautiful performance of “Some Enchanted Evening”, also from South Pacific.

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Sharon Washington, performer and playwright of last season’s Feeding the Dragon, and our current Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence, introduced a video presentation of the Primary Stages Student Matinee Program.

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Emmy-winning writer, comedian and Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts instructor Judy Gold took charge as the auctioneer for the Paddle Raise! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Student Matinee Program! (Our highest ever!)

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Board President Jose Mendez presented an award to Jose M. Toro. We are thankful to have him as a founding member of the Primary Stages Corporate Advisory board.

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Sarna Lapine, director of our upcoming production of Little Women, took the stage to introduce Kate Baldwin with a performance of one of honoree Rebecca Luker’s favorite songs, “When I’m Dead.”

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Tony Nominee Rebecca Luker was unfortunately unable to be there in person, but she joined us via video to receive her award. Rebecca is known for her Broadway roles in Mary Poppins and The Music Man, among others. She joined us at Primary Stages for A.R. Gurney’s Indian Blood in 2006.

Kecia Lewis-Evans performed a special mash-up from The Drowsy Chaperone and Cinderella and reminisced about her long friendship with Danny Burstein, which goes all the way back to high school.

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At last, Joel Grey presented the final award of the evening to Tony Nominee Danny Burstein. Danny was most recently on Broadway as Tevye in the revival of Fiddler on Roof, and has an extensive resume of outstanding performances.

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Primary Stages favorite Charles Busch (The Tribute Artist) and Board member Janet Rosen teamed up to announce the launch of our 35th Anniversary Campaign for the Future of Primary Stages. The campaign was established to stimulate strategic growth and fully support our artistic, educational, and outreach efforts, as well as organizational infrastructure for an artistically adventurous and prosperous future.

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All good things must come to an end. Shane Hudson and Andrew Leynse returned to close the evening, but there was one last special surprise! Delicious pumpkin bread for breakfast the next morning from our pals at  The Good Batch.

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Thank you to all who came to this year’s Gala and participated in our Paddle Raise and Silent Auction. If you want to learn more about supporting Primary Stages, visit our website.

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Take “The Love Course” With Us!

In honor of The Love Course, one of the three one-act plays in our production of A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies, we invite you to read up on some of the works referenced in the piece! This should help you keep up with Professors Carroway and Burgess as they dissect some of the greatest works of romantic literature.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

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via Wikimedia Commons

  • “If it be love indeed, tell me how much.”
  • “There’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d.”
  • “I’ll set a bourn how far to be belov’d.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Wikimedia Commons

  • “Don’t torture me until I’m as mad as yourself.”
  • “Well never mind! That is not my Heathcliffe. I shall love mine yet and take him with me—he’s in my soul.”
  • “His eyes wide, and wet at last, flashed fiercely on her, his breast heaved convulsively. An instant they held asunder; and then how they met I hardly saw, but Catherine made a spring, and he caught her, and they were locked in an embrace from which I thought my mistress would never be released alive.”

Symposium by Plato

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Wikimedia Commons

  • “There are those people who are pregnant in soul, and give birth to ideas. And these people maintain a much closer communion than the parents of children. They share between them children more beautiful and more immortal.”

Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner

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Wikimedia Commons

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Wikimedia Commons

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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Wikimedia Commons

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

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Wikimedia Commons

Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Troubadour Poets

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Wikimedia Commons

Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs September 12 – October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Wisdom & Inspiration from A.R. Gurney

Over his lifetime, A.R. Gurney shared many words of wisdom with audiences here at Primary Stages and at theaters across the country. Here are some of our favorite anecdotes of advice from one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century. (And follow us on Instagram for new wisdom each Wednesday!)

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

All About A.R. Gurney – A History of the Prolific Playwright

A. R. Gurney wrote plays for nearly fifty years. Besides Love Letters, his more familiar ones are The Dining Room, The Cocktail Hour, and Sylvia, and is known to Primary Stages audiences for the plays Black Tie, Buffalo Gal, The Fourth Wall, and Indian Blood. He taught literature at M.I.T. for many years before turning to writing full time. Besides plays, Gurney also wrote three novels, two opera librettos, and several efforts for TV. Most of his plays have been produced Off-Broadway by such theater organizations as Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, and the Flea Theater. Gurney passed away June 14, 2017. He was a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as father of four children, grandfather of eight grandchildren, and husband of fifty-seven years to his wife, Molly.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of his career.

Gurney headshot by Walter Kurtz

A.R. Gurney

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A.R. Gurney and Holland Taylor at the first reading of Love Letters

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David Pittu and Sandy Duncan in Primary Stages production of The Fourth Wall

"Indian Blood" a new at Primary Stages

Jack Gilpin, Rebecca Luker, Charles Socarides, John McMartin, Pamela Payton-Wright, and Matthew Arkin in Primary Stages 2006 production of Indian Blood

Primary Stages - Black Tie

Daniel Davis and Gregg Edelman in Primary Stages production of Black Tie

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Jennifer Regan, James Waterston, and Susan Sullivan in Primary Stages production of Buffalo Gal

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The cast of A.R. Gurney’s Sweet Sue

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Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford in the 2015 Broadway production of Sylvia

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Sarah Jessica Parker in the original production of Sylvia at Manhattan Theater Club in 1995

 

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Meet the Cast of A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies!

A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies, our first show of the 2018/19 season, has officially begun! Meet the talented actors who bring these three plays to life.

Piter MarekPITER MAREK (Howie Hale, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz; Professor Burgess, The Love Course) appeared in the recent Broadway productions of Disgraced and Cyrano de Bergerac. He has also performed in multiple seasons of Shakespeare in the Park. TV credits include multiple seasons on “The Blacklist”, as well as “Madam Secretary,” “Quantico,” “The Arrangement,” “Gone,” “Time After Time,” “Blue Bloods,” “NCIS,” “Nikita,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Ugly Betty,” and “The Sopranos”, “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Piter will reprise his recurring role on the final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.

Betsy AidemBETSY AIDEM (Wilma Trumbo, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz; Professor Carroway, The Love Course). Recent: All The Way opposite Bryan Cranston; Beautiful; Nikolai and the Others, Road (Lincoln Center Theater); The Celebration, Dreams of Flying… (Atlantic); The Metal Children, Mary Rose (Vineyard); Crooked (WP). Film: Irrational Man, Margaret, A Vigilante, You Can Count on Me, The Bleeding House. Recent TV: “Bull,” “Madam Secretary,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Americans,” many “Law & Orders.” With David Saint at George Street: Jolson Sings Again, God of Carnage, and Mama’s Boy. Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.

Colin Hanlon

COLIN HANLON (Nelson, Final Follies; Mike, The Love Course). Broadway: Falsettos, Rent, Wicked (tour), and In Transit. Also: The Nerd (George Street Playhouse, dir. Kevin Cahoon); ‘Adam’ in Colman Domingo’s Dot (Vineyard, dir. Susan Stroman); Next Fall (St. Louis Rep). Off-Bway: I Love You Because and The Pirates of Penzance. TV/Film: ‘Steven’ on “Modern Family,” “Difficult People,” “The Sinner,” and the upcoming film Yes. Co-producer and star of web series “Submissions Only.”

greg side blueGREG MULLAVEY (Grandfather, Final Follies) has appeared in 100+ productions. Broadway: Rumors, Romantic Comedy, The Sisters Rosensweig. Favorite Off-Broadway: Precious Little Talent (West End Theatre), National Jewish Theatre’s The Soap Myth (Steinberg Center for Theatre), Clever Little Lies (dir. David Saint, Westside Theatre). Favorite Regional: The Remains (Studio Theatre, DC), The Price (Guthrie), ‘Lear’ in King Lear (Oklahoma Shakespeare). 100s of TV/Film credits include: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, “Centennial,” “The Desperate,” and “iCarly.” Best known as Mary’s husband, ‘Tom’ on “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”

Rachel NicksRACHEL NICKS (Tanisha, Final Follies; Sally, The Love Course) is excited to be making her Primary Stages debut. Regionally, she has appeared in Turning Off the Morning News (McCarter) and Skeleton Crew (The Old Globe). Her Off-Broadway credits include War (LCT3), And I and Silence (The Signature Theater Company), and The Good Negro (The Public Theater). Her television appearances include “The Affair,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “Amsterdam.” She was also in the films Ball Don’t Lie and Life Support on HBO. Ms. Nicks is a graduate of The Juilliard School. 

Deborah RushDEBORAH RUSH (Bunny Stuntz, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz) is lucky to have worked in New York with great authors, including: Shakespeare (3) (Delacorte), Moliere, Wallace Shawn, and Stephen Adly Guirgis (Public). On Broadway: Michael Frayn, Noel Coward (2), Alan Ayckbourn, Wendy Wasserstein, Terrence McNally (MTC), Ethan Cohen (Atlantic), and now Pete Gurney! Films by: Woody Allen (2), Nora Ephron (2), Sidney Lumet, Herb Ross, two Franks: Oz and Perry, Jim Abrahams, John Avildsen, Miguel Arteta, Ingrid Juggerman, Ryan Fleck, Jordan Galland. TV: currently: “Orange Is The New Black” and “Billions;” formerly: “Strangers With Candy,” “Spin City,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and many guest star roles.

Mark JunekMARK JUNEK (Walter, Final Follies). Credits include: Angels in America (Actors’ Theatre of Louisville), The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory), American Son (George Street Playhouse), Frankenstein (Denver Center), The Forgotten Woman (Bay Street Theatre), After All The Terrible Things I Do (Milwaukee Rep), The Vibrator Play (Syracuse Stage), Vanya and Sonia… (Berkeley Rep), The Imaginary Invalid (Bard Summerscape), Family Play (New Ohio), The Performers (Broadway), Galileo and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC). TV: “The Outs,” “Blindspot,” “Forever,” “Smash,” and “Law and Order: SVU”. Graduate of Columbia and Juilliard (Drama Division, Group 40).

Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs September 12 – October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

A Note from Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson on Final Follies

As we kickoff our 34th season, we have some words from Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson to share with you. Continue reading to learn about what it means to be “at home with Primary Stages,” and A.R. Gurney’s longtime collaboration with Primary Stages.

A core principle of our mission at Primary Stages is to support playwrights over their careers, working to create a home where artists can return. Our collaboration with A.R. (Pete) Gurney began when we were at our original home on 45th Street. Casey Childs, our founder, had just finished working on Pete’s Far East for WNET/Thirteen and Pete gave him The Fourth Wall to produce. Pete thought it would be the perfect play for 2002 with its biting humor and political edge. David Saint signed on to direct and thus began our fruitful relationship with Pete.  

Over the years we’ve produced five more Gurney premieres: Strictly Academic, Buffalo Gal, Indian Blood, Black Tie, and now, Final Follies. Pete often told us how much he loved to be in an intimate theater and how his plays would resonate with audiences in ways that were different from large houses. Perhaps the intimacy of Off-Broadway allowed Pete to discover the most from his plays. Here, he could exercise his rebellious side, stir things up, and feel his audiences react.


Right before he passed in 2017, Pete finished Final Follies and spoke to his agent Jonathan Lomma about sending it to us. Thrilled to see a new piece of writing from Pete, we crafted a triptych of one-acts that similarly spoke to Pete’s vision and, perhaps, more to his downtown roots where he first began writing plays.

Starting with Final Follies (which Pete prophetically entitled), we then move on to The Rape of Bunny Stuntz, which was one of Pete’s earliest plays and originally performed right here at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and finally, we end with The Love Course, which Pete wrote in the early 1970s. Under David Saint’s stewardship, these plays celebrate Pete’s desire to explore a more complex side to his characters. Though Pete’s humor constantly lifts these plays up, there is a darker side to what he is exploring – issues of sexual repression and challenging one’s roots and culture are constantly at the forefront. Pete is considered to be the foremost chronicler of WASP culture and as much as he relishes its traditions, he also seeks ways to challenge the status quo. This is ultimately what made him such an important American dramatist and why we are thrilled that you are here to celebrate his body of work with us.

Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson

Andrew LeynseShane Hudson

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Final Follies Production Photos

A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies began performances on September 12 and is running through October 21. Take a look at photos from the production featuring cast members Betsy Aidem, Colin Hanlon, Mark Junek, Piter Marek, Greg Mullavey, Rachel Nicks, and Deborah Rush. All photos are by James Leynse.

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Rachel Nicks

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Greg Mullavey and Mark Junek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Deborah Rush and Piter Marek

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Betsy Aidem and Deborah Rush

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Deborah Rush

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Betsy Aidem and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Rachel Nicks, Betsy Aidem, and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Rachel Nicks

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!