Lincoln Center Theater's Platform Series Continues with GOLDEN BOY and VANYA & SONIA…, 11/29 & 30
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by BWW News Desk
Lincoln Center Theater's Platform Series, a forum for public discussion between Lincoln Center Theater artists and interested theatergoers, opens its 15th season with two pre-performance talks with the creators of its two new productions – Golden Boy and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Platform Series events take place in the early evening in the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont Theater (150 West 65th Street). Admission is free and open to all; however, seating in the lobby is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis only, beginning at a half hour before the talk. (Speakers and schedules are subject to change. Call 212-362-7600 to confirm on the day of the event.)
Tonight, November 29, at 6 pm, the son of playwright Clifford Odets, WALT ODETS, will be joined by director Bartlett Sher to discuss this 75th Anniversary production of his late father's play Golden Boy.
On Friday, November 30 at 6 pm, the series continues, with Christopher Durang and Nicholas Martin, the playwright and director of the new play VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE. This platform was originally scheduled for Thursday, November 1, but had to be re-scheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.
GOLDEN BOY is the story of Joe Bonaparte (Seth Numrich), a young, gifted violinist who is torn between pursuing a career in music and earning big money as a prize fighter.
GOLDEN BOY is the second Odets' work to be presented by Lincoln Center Theater following its Tony Award winning revival of Awake and Sing!, also directed by Bartlett Sher, in 2006. As the Resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater, Sher won the Tony Award for his direction of LCT's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC, and received nominations for The Light in the Piazza, Awake and Sing! and Joe Turner's Come and Gone. His other NY credits include Blood and Gifts and Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown, both at LCT, Prayer for My Enemy at Playwrights Horizons, Cymbeline, Waste, Don Juan and Pericles, all for Theatre for A New Audience, and the Metropolitan Opera productions of IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Contes d'Hoffman, Le Comte Ory, and the recent production of L'Elisir d'Amore.
Clifford Odets began his career in 1931 as an actor with The Group Theater, a New York company of which he was a founding member. He shortly turned to writing, and his first play for the Group, Waiting for Lefty (1935), immediately launched him as the most celebrated American playwright of the 1930's. Lefty, as well as four other major Broadway productions in that decade, introduced theater audiences to subject matter and language that had never before been heard on the American stage. This work deeply influenced generations of American Playwrights to follow. Odets' other best-known plays are Awake and Sing!, Paradise Lost, Rocket to the Moon, Night Music, Clash by Night, The Big Knife, The Country Girl and The Flowering Peach. Screenplay credits include The General Died at Dawn, None but the Lonely Heart, Humoresque, The Sweet Smell of Success, and Story on Page One. Directing credits include both None but the Lonely Heart and Story on Page One. He passed away in 1963 at the age of 57.
In VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Durang takes characters and themes from Chekhov, pours them into a blender and mixes them up; the result is his latest play set in present day Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Vanya (David Hyde Pierce) and his stepsister Sonia (Kristine Nielsen) have lived their entire lives in their family's farmhouse. While they stayed home to take care of their ailing parents, their sister Masha (Sigourney Weaver) has been gallivanting around the world as a successful actress and movie star, leaving Vanya and Sonia to feel trapped and regretful. Their soothsayer/cleaning woman Cassandra (Shalita Grant) keeps warning them about terrible things in the future, which include a sudden visit from Masha and her twenty-something boy toy Spike (Billy Magnussen).
Christopher Durang's plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination), Sister Mary Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, Baby With The Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award and Guild Hull Warriner Award), Sex and Longing (produced by LCT), Laughing Wild, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Miss Witherspoon (2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and, most recently Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.
Nicholas Martin's LCT credits include Saturn Returns, The New Century, Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, The Time of the Cuckoo and Chaucer in Rome. He's collaborated with Christopher Durang on Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them and Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award and Drama Desk nomination). His other Broadway and off-Broadway credits include Butley, Match, Hedda Gabler, You Never Can Tell, The Rehearsal, Fully Committed, Full Gallop and Sophistry.