Thursday, January 27, 2011


While great art stands the test of time, great artists survive not only by how their work is viewed over the years but also how their work influences other artists and audiences, sometimes even beyond their own lifespans. In a sense, they stay living--if you define living as the ability to interact and affect the thoughts, emotions and actions of others, which is the ultimate connection we all strive for in our daily lives. Artists of all stripes manage this neat trick. Just recently, sitting in Starbucks (yes, Starbucks!), upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald singing over the sound system, my mood and rhythm were changed entirely, my brain connected with the lyrics she sang, and, yes, at least for that moment, Ella was still with us. I've often found that upon viewing a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Gauguin--alright, gang, fill in your favorite here!--I am transported to another place. For those who favor the time-continuum theory, it's an example of recognizing a connection that exists in time, going beyond the merely linear. And certainly this is true of great writing, wherein our minds become hospitality suites for the words and imagination of some of the great literary lights, who live as long as we provide them hosting space in our heads. Thus we continue to rally to thoughts and emotions engendered by the works of Ibsen, Chekhov, and Shakespeare.

Certainly, Tennessee Williams manages to affect us in this way and continues to do so as we approach the centenary of his birth this coming March. Works like Streetcar, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana, Summer and Smoke, and many more continue to fill theaters across the globe, while some of his lesser-known works continually pop-up like amazing gifts, often receiving more positive responses than they did in their initial productions in his own lifetime. But also of late, he has stimulated more creativity in the theatrical community, inspiring another generation of writers to explores his themes, his characters, and his poetry to create new work that is at once both original and tinged with the poetry, magic and humanity that one finds in each piece of Williams' work.

This weekend, a special opportunity to see and feel this influence will be available to New Yorkers when Blue Roses Productions, that sterling group devoted both to the works of Tennessee Williams and the development of work by new and gifted playwrights, will present a wonderful 90-minute bill at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex on West 36th Street. Tom's Children is a splendid collection of work inspired by Williams' poetry, with each playwright creating a new piece from their own imagination (versus adapting the poetry literally into a stage tale). The result is a refreshing, powerful and often humorous assortment of plays that take the audience through many realms while maintaining that wonderful sense of humanity (and sometimes inhumanity) that is the cornerstone of the master's work. Erma Duricko, artistic director of Blue Roses, conceived, curated and directed the bill, assembling work from such gifted playwrights as Kara Lee Corthron, Richard Cottrell, Gary Giovannetti, Dawson Moore, Craig Pospisil, Tom Matthew Wolfe and John Yearley. All have distinct and distinctly different voices, yet their work is of an unusually high quality. (I can say this because I have heard these works read and know just how wonderful and powerful they are!) The company has then provided a splendid cast, featuring Dominic Comperatore, Marissa Danielle Duricko, Michael Graves, Heather Lee Harper, Jim Ireland, Blair Sams and George Sheffey, stunning actors all whose intelligence and talent is most fortunately matched by their devotion to good writing. At present, only three performances are scheduled, so you'll want to make sure you get there this weekend--if not to selfishly enjoy it yourself, then to see it now in order to make room for all those other folks who will hopefully see it when it is brought back by popular demand.

Yes, Blue Roses is a group I like and have worked with--truth in disclaimer--but the reason I do is because of their high standards. I always come away transported, enlightened, and in love with what a good time in the theater can do for the soul.

Here's the information:

Blue Roses Productions presents
Tom's Children
new plays inspired by the poetry of Tennessee Williams
Friday, January 28, 2011 through Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, 1/28 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, 1/29 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, 1/30 @ 2:00 pm

Conceived, curated and directed by Erma Duricko, SDC

Kara Lee Corthron, Richard Cottrell, Gary Giovannetti, Dawson Moore, Craig Pospisil, Tom Matthew Wolfe and John Yearley

Dominic Comperatore*, Marissa Danielle Duricko*, Michael Graves*, Heather Lee Harper, Jim Ireland*, Blair Sams* and George Sheffey*

Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
312 West 36th Street, 1st floor (but not the ground floor)
$15 suggested donation
Seating is limited so get your tickets or make your reservations now! or phone 212-252-4915

*members of Actors' Equity

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