The Off-Broadway of Grandrapids
Actors' Theatre To Workshop
New Script, Stella remembered.,
With Nationally Renowned Author
And Emmy Award Winning Director
Actors' Theatre is excited to announce the first script workshop for the 2015-2016 season! This coming July, Actors' will be hosting nationally-recognized playwright, actress and author, Betsy Howie, for a 2 week script workshop of Betsy's latest work Stella remembered. Betsy will be joined by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter/producer Rodney Vaccaro as director, actors Joyce Bean, Lynne Brown-Tepper, Neil Patrick Trevisan, Ruth Ann Molenaar and Kyle Los, and producer Kathy Keehn. For 8 days the team will read and work through the script allowing Betsy to make revisions.
On July 23 and 24 at 8PM, there will be public staged readings of Stella remembered at the theater at 41 Sheldon, (ArtPrize Headquarters/Compass College of Cinematic Arts). Free admission; donations to Actors' Theatre accepted.
Stella remembered originates from Betsy's personal experience as acclaimed acting teacher Stella Adler's personal assistant; it is a history in theatre, a memory of ambition, an obsession with betrayal and delusion, and the struggle to determine which is which, whether any of it matters, and if there is any point in finding the way back to where it all began.
What is a Workshop?
Workshopping a play is as crucial as the initial writing. In a
workshop, a director and group of actors begin exploring characters'
backstories and journeys and finding the works dramatic arcs. Much of a play
exists unwritten - subtext that is not drawn out until a play takes physical
form through the eyes, ears, and minds of directors and actors. It is very much
an organic symbiotic relationship between author, director, and actors. Nuances
in characters and story are discovered offering an end product that is more
rich and full than the initial script. Workshopping often includes staged
readings (as Actors' is doing) which is a performance of the script-in-process
minus some theatrical elements (such as costumes, sets, etc). This allows an
author to gauge audience reactions as well as more general critical response.
BETSY HOWIE studied at The Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting through NYU where she earned her BFA in Acting. Directly following her time as a student of Adler, she was hired by Adler herself as a live-in Secretary. Living and working with the "larger than life" Adler, allowed a much fuller understanding the legendary teacher's acting technique-developed as a result of Adler's direct dealings with Stanislavsky.
Despite Stella's chronic prediction that Howie would never be an actress, Betsy has performed extensively in New York and regionally, (including the role of Mo in the Off-Broadway hit musical, Cowgirls, which she co-authored.) She has been seen in numerous television commercials and her commentaries heard on NPR.
Cowgirls enjoyed a year-long run at the Minetta Lane Theatre and continues to be produced regionally almost 20 years later. Her play, Callie's Tally, derived from her memoir of the same title, was in rehearsal for its premiere at Southern Rep in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. Over the next year, readings of the script were performed nationwide at some of the country's most prestigious theatres (Guthrie, Cleveland Playhouse) to raise money for the theatres of New Orleans. A full production was finally mounted at Southern Rep on the first anniversary of the storm. It subsequently played regionally including a staged reading at New York Stage and Film.
In addition to play-writing, she is a published novelist (Snow/Harcourt Brace), memoirist (Callie's Tally/Tarcher Putnam) and children's author (The Block Mess Monster/MacMillan, Welcome to the Circus Hotel/Hayakawa, The Drama Diaries Series/Scholastic, and more than 80 titles under the pen name, Howie Dewin.)
She grew up in Grand Rapids and attended Northview High School.
Emmy award winning Screenwriter/Producer, Rodney Vaccaro, is a Screenwriter, Actor, Playwright and Stage Director. His produced plays include, American Still Life, Stop Me If You've Heard This One, Brown Red Yellow, Home Of The Brave and Screenplay By, He has also published three novels. As a screenwriter, Mr. Vaccaro's produced screenplays include HBO's Night Of The Running Man, Warner Brothers Three To Tango, starring Matthew Perry, Dylan McDermott, Oliver Platt and Neve Campbell, Showtime's Run The Wild Fields, starring Joanne Whalley, Sean Patrick Flanery, Alexa Vega and Cotter Smith, MGM's Bigger Than The Sky, starring John Corbett, Sean Astin, Amy Smart and Marcus Thomas, for CBS, Snow Wonder, starring Mary Tyler Moore, Jennifer Esposito, Jason Priestly, Poppy Montgomery and Camryn Manheim and TNT's The Engagement Ring, starring Patricia Heaton, Vincent Spano, Lainie Kazan, Tony LoBianco and Chuck Shumata. Run the Wild Fields was nominated for Emmy's in three categories, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture, winning Best Director and Best Picture. Mr. Vaccaro is currently working on several TV and feature projects and is the creator of Versailles, a web series featuring William H. Macy, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt and Fred Willard, available on mydamnchannel.com.
OUR FIRST SHOW, IN COLLABORATION WITH MIXED ROOTS COLLECTIVE, WILL BE:
RED, by John Logan.
Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for best play.
August 27-30 & September 3-5
Master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art, a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. Raw and provocative, RED is a searing portrait of an artist's ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.
Cast: Sammy Publes and Dylan Harris
Director: Jean Reed Bahle
OUR SECOND SHOW WILL BE:
Stupid F*@king Bird by Aaron Posner, (sort of adapted from The Seagull by
September 10-13 & 17-19
An aspiring young director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be. In this irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner stages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, in search of the true meaning of it all. Original songs, composed by James Sugg, draw the famously sub-textual inner thoughts of Chekhov’s characters explicitly to the surface. Stupid F*@king Bird will tickle, tantalize, and incite you to consider how art, love, and revolution fuel your own pursuit of happiness.
Cast: Jesse Aukeman, Brittany Risner, Peter Cieply, Nancy Wagner, Don VandenHeuvel, Zack Volkers & Lauren Treiber
Director: Laura Walczak
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