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On&Off York Street--E-newsletter for the Yale School of Drama Community
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  volume 1, issue 4
fall 2012  
 
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  ON YORK STREET
A Stilled Voice Speaks
A Stilled Voice Speaks

The late Caris Corfman ’80 was a working actress when a brain tumor caused her to lose her short-term memory. Though she could no longer memorize lines, Caris returned to the stage in a one-woman show, in which, with the aid of notecards, she talked about her life and illness. “Caris was an extraordinary person who never gave up, always striving to communicate, wanting to pursue her craft,” said Rebecca Nelson ’79 who, with Gaylen Ross, produced a film about Caris, entitled Caris’ Peace. The film—which includes reminiscences by Lewis Black ’77, Kate Burton ’82, Tony Shalhoub ’80—was shown at the Iseman Theater at Yale School of Drama on September 7. “We wanted the world to see what an unusually strong person she was,” Rebecca concluded, “and wanted her struggle to inspire other people.”

 

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Mazel Tov!
A Marriage of Souls

Joan Channick ’89 (Associate Dean) (right) married Ruth Hein Schmitt (left), her partner of 22 years, on August 19th in their home in New Haven. The following week, friends and colleagues, staff and students came together at the Drama School to celebrate the event, with James Bundy ’95 (Dean) proposing a toast to the couple.

 

  OFF YORK STREET
New Chair of American Theatre Wing
William Ivey Long

Five-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long ’75 is the new chair of the board of the American Theatre Wing. “I am honored to have been chosen,” he said. “I am very proud to be part of an organization that celebrates artistic excellence in the theatre. The Wing not only supports Broadway and the Tony Awards, but also theatre throughout the country. Through its National Theatre Company Grants program, the organization recently awarded ten grants of $10,000 each to companies from Seattle, Washington to Somerville, Massachusetts.” William has worked for 38 years in the professional theatre, designing 63 Broadway productions, his first being The Inspector General in 1978. In addition to his five Tony Awards, William has won four Hewes Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and four Outer Critics Circle Awards. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in January 2006.

 

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Indigo Water at MTV
Yuri Cataldo

Yuri Cataldo ’08, a costume and set designer for theatre, dance, and opera who also teaches at Indiana University, recently added to his resume the titles of president and CEO of Glacier Bottling Company. The company produces Indigo Water, a premium alkaline mineral water bottled locally in distinctive cobalt blue glass bottles (BPA-free) and shipped all over the US in recyclable/reusable containers. “My time at YSD helped me tremendously in this new business venture,” Yuri said. “Ming would say to me, ‘stop thinking about it and just get it down.’ Most entrepreneurs fail at their first venture. My time at YSD taught me that you have to not be afraid of failure.” Yuri’s company is a member of 1% for the Planet, a global movement of over 1,000 companies that donate 1% of its sales revenue to a network of environmental organizations worldwide. Glacier Bottling Company also gives a percentage of its profits to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indiana. Indigo Water was selected for the gift bags at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.

 

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Children’s Theater Gets a New Leader
Matt Gutschick

The new artistic director of the Omaha Theater Company is Matt Gutschick ’12. The company was founded in 1949 with a mission to enrich the lives of children and their families through live theatre and arts education. “I am so blessed to serve one of the leading theatres for young audiences in the country,” Matt said. “I look forward to putting my training and experience producing the work of my peers—in the Yale Cabaret—to good use here, as we strengthen our mainstage offerings.” Prior to coming to Yale, Matt worked at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, was director of Intermediate Repertory Theatre at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, artistic director of the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem, and education director at Twin City Stage in Winston-Salem, NC. He is also a co-founder of Magic Mouth Theatre in Chicago.

 

   
  Coming Soon

Below is a sampling of the work of YSD alumni and faculty.

NEW YORK
Sigourney Weaver ’74 stars in Christopher Durang’s ’74 Chekhov-inspired play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Nicholas Martin directs the production, which opens November 12 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

Henry Winkler ’70 returns to Broadway in The Performers, a new play by David West Read, set at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. Henry last appeared on Broadway in 2000 in Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party. The Performers opens November 14 at the Longacre Theatre.

A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel (Faculty) opens at New York Theatre Workshop on November 13, directed by Tina Landau YC ’84. The production features Chris Henry ’12 and Rachel Spencer Hewitt ’10.

David Henry Hwang’s ’83 Golden Child begins previews October 23 at the Signature Theatre, featuring Jennifer Lim ’04, with lighting design by Matt Frey ’96 and Leigh Silverman directing. Later in the fall, the world premiere of David’s new play Kung Fu will be produced at the Signature as well, also directed by Leigh Silverman.

Opening at the Signature on November 12 is Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler, featuring Ashley Bryant ’08.

The new musical Murder Ballad opens at Manhattan Theatre Club on November 15, directed by Trip Cullman ’02, YC ’97.

Golden Age, a new play by Terrence McNally, with costumes by Jane Greenwood (Faculty), opens at MTC on December 4.

Evan Yionoulis ’85, YC ’82 (Faculty) directs Him by Daisy Foote, which opened October 9 at 59E59 Theaters.

The Great God Pan by Amy Herzog ’07, YC ’00 opens at Playwrights Horizons on November 23, directed by Carolyn Cantor.

Walt Spangler ’97 will design the sets for A Christmas Story, opening November 6 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

Opening November 6 at The Public Theater is Sorry, written and directed by Richard Nelson (Former Faculty), and featuring Laila Robins ’84.

Sharon Washington ’88 is featured in Wild with Happy by Colman Domingo, also at The Public, opening October 23.

The Broadway revival of Annie, opening November 8 at the Palace Theatre, will have costumes by Susan Hilferty ’80 and lighting by Don Holder ’86.

Golden Boy by Clifford Odets, directed by Bartlett Sher, begins previews at the Belasco Theatre on November 8, featuring Tony Shalhoub ’80 and Sean Cullen ’90, with sets by Michael Yeargan ’73 (Faculty), lighting by Don Holder ’86, and costumes by Catherine Zuber ’84.

Heresy, a new play by A.R. Gurney ’58 opened October 11 at The Flea Theater, directed by Artistic Director Jim Simpson ’81 and produced by Carol Ostrow ’80.

George Morfogen ’57 appears in the Classic Stage Company production of Chekhov’s Ivanov, which began October 17.

Fitz Patton ’01 designs the sound and original music for Harper Regan at the Atlantic Theater Company, which opened October 10.

Also at the Atlantic, What Rhymes with America by Melissa James Gibson ’95 begins performances on November 19.

Angelina Avallone ’94 designs makeup for the Roundabout’s revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, with previews beginning October 19.

 

 
 
  HONORED
Theater Hall of Fame

This year’s Theater Hall of Fame inductees include Paula Vogel (Faculty) and Christopher Durang ’74. Founded in 1971 by James M. Nederlander, Earl Blackwell, Gerard Oestreicher, and L. Arnold Weissberger, the organization honors lifetime achievement in the American theatre. Its 42nd Annual Gala Induction and Dinner will take place on Monday, January 28, 2013 at the Gershwin Theatre in New York.

 

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Cultural Exchange
Malcolm K. Darrell

Malcolm K. Darrell ’07, new play production associate at Center Theater Group, has been awarded a fellowship grant from The British Council and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to conduct a residency with a host organization in the United Kingdom. Malcolm wants to explore how British citizens of African ancestry relate to, experience, and create art. “I am elated to be an inaugural recipient of the Cultural Exchange International Fellowship,” Malcolm said. “And to engage in conversations and research on cultural identity, as they relate to people of the African Diaspora who create, experience, and participate in the arts.” Malcolm has worked in various arts organizations across the country, including Ebony Repertory Theatre (Los Angeles’s first African American Equity theatre company), Cal Performances, The New Victory Theater, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in 2007 received the Foundry Theatre’s inaugural Producer’s Chair Award. He also co-produced The Brothers Size, by Tarell Alvin McCraney ’07, as part of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. Malcolm departs for the UK in the spring of 2013.

 

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LMDA Honors Douglas Langworthy
Douglas Langworthy

The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas recently honored Douglas Langworthy ’92 with the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Dramaturgy in North America for his work on Lynn Nottage’s ’89 (Faculty) Ruined at the Denver Center Theatre Company. The Prize recognizes exemplary contributions by dramaturgs to the conception, development, and production of theatre, or to educational projects in dramaturgy. Upon winning the award, Douglas commented: “I really owe my award to the amazing Lynn Nottage, whose play Ruined offered me the dramaturgical experience of a lifetime. In addition to creating lobby displays, talkbacks, and partnering with a local organization (Women’s Global Empowerment Fund), I was able to facilitate a Skype session between the Ruined cast members and five women in Uganda whose lives shared many similarities with the women in the play. I even got to travel to Uganda to attend a drama festival put on by the women of Gulu. Receiving the Elliott Hayes felt like an embarrassment of riches.” Currently serving as literary manager and dramaturg for the Denver Center Theatre Company, Douglas has previously held positions at McCarter Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Target Margin Theater. He is also the winner of the National Theatre Translation Fund Award for his work on Amphitryon.

 

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David Henry Hwang Wins Steinberg Award
David Henry Hwang

The Steinberg Award for Playwriting—created in 2008 to honor established, midcareer, and emerging playwrights —was awarded this year to David Henry Hwang ’83. The $200,000 prize was presented to the Tony Award-winning playwright for 32 years of plays which brought the lives of Asians and Asian-Americans to theatres across the country. “I could never expect to receive an award as life-changing as the Steinberg,” David said. “We all know that there are many playwrights worthy of such an honor, so I can only be surprised and grateful that the Steinberg Foundation saw fit to single me out this time around. When I was at YSD, I hoped I could be lucky enough to sustain a long career, like so many of the dramatists I admired. This award will help me create more work for the theatre, and I feel abundantly blessed.” Previous awards have gone to Tony Kushner in 2008 and Lynn Nottage ’89 (Faculty) in 2010. Other Steinberg awards have also been given to younger playwrights, including Melissa James Gibson ’95.

 

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Raymond Kent Gets Technology Award
Raymond Kent

Raymond Kent ’99 was selected by InfoComm International to receive the 2012 Sustainable Technology Award. “Being presented this award is an honor,” Raymond said. “Having been trained by YSD in cutting-edge technology by outstanding faculty is what got me here.” Raymond is the managing principal of Sustainable Technologies Group, LLC, a national company specializing in designing innovative technology solutions for performing and cultural arts. He also serves as chair of the Technical Advisory Task Force for the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) Foundation. Raymond was a co-author of the STEP rating system, and continues to write as a featured columnist for several key industry magazines, while also teaching theatre technology at the Center for Creative Arts in Cleveland, OH.

 

   

REGIONAL
Jen Wineman ’10 directs Donald Margulies’s Shipwrecked at Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC, which opened October 14. Preston Lane ’96 is the artistic director and Richard Whittington ’98 is managing director.

The How and the Why, by Sarah Treem ’05, YC ’02, opens November 29 at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI.

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice—adapted, edited, and compiled by Daniel Elihu Kramer ’91, with five actors playing more than 30 roles—opened at Albany, NY’s Capital Rep on October 2.

Lynn Nottage’s ’89 (Faculty) By the Way, Meet Vera Stark runs at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles through October 28, starring Sanaa Lathan ’95. Lynn’s play Intimate Apparel opens November 6 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Peter Katona ’01 stars in Build at the Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. The production, with sound design by Vincent R. Olivieri ’01 and directed by Will Frears ’01, opens October 24.

Karen Hashley ’10 is assistant stage manager of A Raisin in the Sun at Westport Country Playhouse, which opened October 13.

Venus in Fur by David Ives ’84 runs from October 5 through November 11 at TheaterWorks in Hartford. David’s adaptation of The Liar by Pierre Corneille opens at the Lantern Theater Company in Philadelphia on November 1.

Dirt by Bryony Lavery, directed by David Muse ’03, YC ’96 at Washington D.C.’s Studio Theatre, opened October 17.

Chinglish by David Henry Hwang ’83 at the Lyric Stage Company in Boston, opens November 30.

Gina Odierno ’12 is production stage manager for The Acting Company’s 40th Season tour, Of Mice and Men. The play opened in Santa Fe, NM on October 17.

One Slight Hitch by Lewis Black ’77 opened October 2 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, featuring Mark Linn-Baker ’79, YC ’76 and directed by Joe Grifasi ’75.

The Theatre @ Boston Court presents Creation by Kathryn Walat ’03, which opened October 13. Creation was originally commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre.

Bree Sherry ’10 is assistant stage manager for the Washington Ballet; its season opens at The Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on December 6.

The Los Angeles premiere of In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney ’07 opens at The Fountain Theatre on October 20.

Amanda Spooner ’09 recently stage managed David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette at ART in Cambridge, MA, and will travel with the production when it moves to Yale Rep in October.

Lynne Meadow ’71 directs Alfred Uhry’s Apples and Oranges at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, with sets designed by Michael Yeargan ’73 (Faculty) and costumes by Wade Laboissonniere ’03. Previews begin October 19.

Ryan Scott Yuille ’77, technical director at the American University in Cairo, is working on the school’s mainstage production of a new play entitled Al Naas elli Taht (The People Downstairs).

 

 
 
  THE FACES OF YSD

Justin Taylor, Jayoung Yoon, Brian Smallwood

Justin Taylor ’13 (Playwriting) “I came out of the gate at YSD with Future Oprah Lovesong, an evening of three wild, short one-acts, staged by two directors from my year (and almost every first-year designer!) at the Cab. I reigned things in formally with Rodeo, my second year Studio Production, which embraced the three unities (time - a shift at a check-out register; place - a Wal-Mart in Arizona; action - choosing whether or not to get an abortion). Next was Basement Hades, a Cabaret collaboration with students from Yale School of Music in which we looked at the grieving process through music (and which went on to the Norfolk Music Festival this past summer.) Now, I am fresh from a month in Tanzania with YSD's program, Theatre for Social Change (organized by faculty member Fay Simpson and Gamal Palmer ’08). This has deeply impacted my thoughts on the purpose of theatre. I also just completed a new translation of The Chairs (with the blessing of the Ionesco estate!) which I am directing at the Cab in November. As I look forward to the Carlotta Festival in 2013, I am combing through all the plays I’ve written since coming to YSD (more than fifteen!!!) to choose my piece. Wish me luck!”

Jayoung Yoon ’13 (Costume Design) “When I came to Yale two years ago from Korea, I was nervous and not able to believe that I had been accepted into YSD. Sometimes, I still pinch myself at the thought that I am being taught by the most amazing teachers and mentors and working with so many talented classmates. My first year was filled with sleepless nights of nonstop drawing for costume projects and endless hours of creating tiny set models. On top of that, I was assigned to two Yale Rep productions as a costume design assistant. It was like living in extreme theatre boot camp! Yet an understanding of why this was necessary came to me soon: During second year I designed Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights and Titus Andronicus. I finally utilized my experience and knowledge, and felt the fulfillment of designing and creating actual productions. Each show provided me with great lessons and challenges, which I will soon carry over to my process in designing Hamlet at Yale Rep this spring. I have certainly come a long way and I am thankful for this opportunity. I intend not to waste a single moment of it.”

Brian Smallwood ’13 (TD&P) “My time at Yale has been a huge period of growth. I’ve raised a son, birthed a daughter (not personally, my wife was involved), bonded with colleagues, and become a better manager. I’ve struggled with class/work/home-life balance. I’ve brought in baked goods. I’ve designed and built stage machinery, budgets, and load calculations. I’ve burned the midnight oil, and the 2 a.m. oil, the 4 a.m. oil… let’s just say I’ve burned all the oil. I’ve eaten my fair share of Thai food. I’ve learned how to make our industry safer when I move on. I know the value of efficiency, maintaining design integrity, and thinking a project through. Most importantly, I’ve found peers I admire, mentors I’ll never forget, and memories I’ll cling to for dear life. Yale is a great place to be, because the people of Yale make it great.”

 

  NOTES FROM A DRAMATURG
What’s Past is Present
Ilya Khodosh

As artists striving for originality and innovation, we are constantly redefining our engagement with the art of the past. Two productions I saw in late September reminded me that there’s a time for questioning and deconstructing traditional forms, and a time for simply listening to what our theatrical predecessors had to say.

Experimental director David Levine’s Habit was an exploration of the possibilities and limitations of realist theatre, in which three performers enacted a 90-minute melodrama repeatedly over the course of eight hours in a squalid apartment constructed in the middle of The Essex Market on the Lower East Side. Audience members peered through windows and scooted around the perimeter of the apartment when the action moved between rooms, laboring to piece together a plot about two brothers and the woman who comes between them. This deliberately conventional script, stuffed with formulaic tropes (drugs, a gun, a dark secret from the past) acquired shading with multiple viewings, as subtle improvisation and fortuitous blocking dictated the shifting nuances of the relationships and the particulars of the play’s bloody conclusion. Habit unlocked the infinite variations found even in the most ordinary works of art.

Prior to its current run at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York, actor Julian Sands—a colleague and friend of the late Harold Pinter—performed a crisp and impassioned reading of Pinter’s poetry at the Yale Center for British Art. Interpolating anecdotes from Pinter’s collaborators and from the memoir Must You Go? by his widow Antonia Fraser, Sands showed that although Pinter’s plays earned him a reputation as an enigmatic and saturnine playwright obsessed with menacing silences and weighted pauses, his verse revealed him to be a poet of great felicity, humanity, and romance, who wrote exuberantly about his marriage, his battle with cancer, his unshakable politics, and his infatuation with the game of cricket. Sands’s feeling and admiration for Pinter’s poetry were infectious, and the lucidity, charm, and verve with which he proffered each poem and anecdote honored Pinter as an artist, crusader, philosopher, and dreamer. Themes of love and loss are rendered in Sand's favorite poem, which seems even more haunting in print: “I know the place./ It is true./ Everything we do / Corrects the space / Between death and me / And you.” The silence embedded in the verse could not have lasted long enough.

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Film & TV
Emily Dorsch ’07 has a recurring role this season on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Kill Your Darlings, in which Daniel Radcliffe plays Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg, also features Zach Appelman ’10. The film is directed by John Krokidas YC ’95.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph ’11 has a featured role in the film The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, starring Robin Williams and James Earl Jones.

Django Unchained, a new Quentin Tarantino film about slavery, opening in December, features Marcus Henderson ’11.

Killing Lincoln, a television movie based on Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, features Brett Dalton ’11 and Seamus Mulcahy ’12. The film airs on the National Geographic Channel in early 2013.

Angela Bassett ’83, YC ’80 is co-executive producer and stars in the upcoming NBC drama Vanishing Point, in which she plays an unsympathetic New York lawyer faced with a health crisis.

 

 

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October 2012, Vol. One, Issue 4