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YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 


George Backman as Mr. Kirby, Leonard Kelly Young as Paul Sycamore, Paul Ainsley as Boris Kolenkhov and Joseph Fuqua as Ed. Carmichael

Joseph Fuqua as Ed Carmichael and Collette Porteous as  Rheba.

George Backman as Mr. Kirby, Leonard Kelly Young as Paul Sycamore, Paul Ainsley as Boris Kolenkhov and Joseph Fuqua as Ed Carmichael.

 

November 15 - December 23, 2007

You Can't Take It With You

Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart
Directed by Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan

Performers include Joseph Fuqua, Robin Gammell, Robin Pearson Rose, Stephanie Zimbalist, Jamie Torcellini, Paul Ainsley, Chris Butler, and other Rubicon favorites.

 

Spend the holidays with a family so eccentric
it makes yours seem normal.

The Sycamores are your typical American family: Creative, fun-loving, bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Only Grandpa loves snakes and doesn’t believe in paying taxes. His klutzy granddaughter practices her ballet steps in the living room, while her husband plays the xylophone and her father makes fireworks in the basement. When Alice Sycamore falls in love with Tony Kirby, his parents, a proper upper-class couple, stop by for dinner, resulting in a comical clash of cultures that has kept audiences laughing for 70 years. Many of your favorite Rubicon actors join the cast of this Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, a warm-hearted holiday treat.

Joseph Fuqua, Jenny Sullivan

and cast members from
You Can't Take it with You

invite you to an

Antique & Prop Auction

With complimentary wine, champagne and hors d'oeuvres.

Wednesday December 19, 2007
9:30 p.m.
Immediately Following the Performance

For a listing of items up for auction, download the catalogue.

 

A Special Message from
Rubicon Acting Company Member Joseph Fuqua

I was told by mother early in life that I was a nester. After re-arranging the furniture and making a tent with blankets and sheets, I’d put my stuffed animals (and any living furry things) into my tent and arrange them in a wee circle. Then I’d crawl in and stay for hours. Mother was right, I was a nester.

“I seek myself through what I have,” I am told is my motto – my astrological motto. I am a Taurus. Evidently a Taurus “collects; acquires.”

Every personal object that touches us – that graces our homes – our walls – our kitchens or hallways represents who we are: what makes us happy; what makes us feel at “home”; what gives us a sense of history, what triggers our imagination.

I have been acquiring things since kindergarten – but only things that are…good. My idea of “good”, mind you.

Actors use beautiful things, sometimes, as props – or as extensions of character. We respond to our surroundings. We create stories about the painting on the wall, the umbrella stand, the candelabra, the books – how they came to be a part of this eccentric, wonderful household and what they mean to us.

When Jenny asked me to “dress” Gary Wissman’s set for You Can’t Take It With You, I was excited to put my nesting instincts to artistic use. When I went looking, I searched for things that were at the heart of this special play and that would represent the unique spirit of the Sycamore family. Things that have souls and are – I think – special.

Come to our auction and see what speaks to you. Think of your Bohemian daughter, your kooky aunt, or your neighbor with the exquisite taste in antiques. Give some of these great special things as gifts.

Dressing this set for You Can’t Take It With You has filed me with admiration. Admiration for things made by hand or decorated by hand or used by hands. My hope is that the “things” for sale in the You CAN take It With You auction may charm you.

I enjoyed acquiring them. They are soulful.
Joseph Fuqua
Rubicon Company Member

More about the Auction:

Tax Deductions - All proceeds from this auction will go to benefit Rubicon Theatre Company. Tax Deductions are available on bids that exceed the listed value of an item. The amount of a tax deduction would be the difference of the winning bid from the listed value.

Absentee Bids – You can bid on an item without attending personally by submitting an “absentee bid” email to Mychele Dee at mdee@rubicontheatre.org. Absentee Bid emails must be received by 5:00 p.m. on December 19, 2007.

Please be sure to include the following information:
1. In the subject line put the words “Absentee Bid”
2. Include your Name, Address and phone number
3. Include your top bid and the item number.

A representative will contact you if you win the auction item on December 20, 2007 to finalize your transaction.

Adjustment policy – By law every thing sold at AUCTION is “AS-IS, WHERE-IS” with all benefits and faults included.

Item descriptions were created to give you a best attempt at describing what is being sold, however it is not a guarantee. You are the final judge as to whether or not the description is right or wrong. Please contact Christina Burck if you wish to see an item in person prior to the auction. She can be reached at 805-667-2912 ext 244 or via email at cburck@rubicontheatre.org.

 

 

http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=18340  

HolidayFest

You Can't Take It With You: Pulitzer Prize-winner written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, directed by Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan, November 15 –December 23, 2007. Starring Karyl Lynn Burns, Winslow Corbett, Joseph Fuqua, Robin Gammell, Harold Gould, Dan Gunther, Amanda McBroom, John Bennett, Perry, Robin Pearson Rose and Bruce Weitz.

“Getting to the altar has never been funnier than in this 1930's screwball comedy.  Alice Sycamore invites her fiancée's parents home to meet her family.  The Kirby's are stuffy, self-important and wealthy, while the Sycamore's are good-hearted lunatics with little visible means of support.  Lifestyles and philosophies collide – with hilarious results.  Perfect for the holidays, this charming play adds some spice to the season," state press notes.


 


 

HAMLET

UPDATE 5/20/07 - HAMLET AWARDED 4 INDYS!!!



Karyl Lynn Burns, Joseph Fuqua, and Jenny Sullivan with the four awards Rubicon won for Hamlet. 

Joseph Fuqua, cool in shades, won for his performance of the lead role in Rubicon’s Hamlet. 
These photos were posted here - courtesy of:  indysb1's photostream  http://flickr.com/search/?q=Joseph%20Fuqua&w=8328476%40N02

 

 

Rubicon Theatre honored with 7 Indy Awards


On Monday, May 21st Rubicon Theatre Company was honored to receive seven awards at the Indy Awards presentation at Center Stage Theatre in Santa Barbara. Critics and columnists from The Independent, the Santa Barbara News-Press, Backstage West and the L.A. Times who live in the Tri-Counties area presented awards to performers, directors and technicians based on achievement sans categories and nominees. The 13-year old awards ceremony was hosted by the area’s weekly arts and entertainment paper, The Independent.

Rubicon’s seven honorees this year included: James O’Neil, for his direction of The Diary of Anne Frank, Jenny Sullivan, for her direction of Hamlet; Conor Lovett, for his performance in The Good Thief; Bruce Weitz, for his performance in The Diary of Anne Frank; James O’Neil, Alison Brie and Joseph Fuqua, for their performances in Hamlet.

Hamlet, the 2nd Shakespeare piece offered by Rubicon Theatre in a decade of work, garnered many accolades for Rubicon Theatre’s first company member: “How noble in reason and faculties is actor Joseph Fuqua.” – Los Angeles Times


 



Joseph does a brilliant star turn in the role of Shakespeare's Melancholy Dane in RTC's current production!!!  See details below:


 

 


Joseph Fuqua in the title role and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as 'The Actor' in "Hamlet".

Joseph Fuqua in the title role and James O'Neil as King Claudius in "Hamlet".

Joseph Fuqua in the title role and Stephanie Zimbalist as Queen Gertrude in "Hamlet".

Joseph Fuqua in the title role andRemi Sandri as Laertes in "Hamlet".

 

 

This year give Mom a classic gift: HAMLET
With so many shows already sold out Rubicon Theatre has added a special Sunday night performance of the world’s most celebrated play.
Photo by Martin S. Fuentes, Brooks Institute of Photography

7:00 pm on Sunday, the 13th.
Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or Click Here to Reserve Online.

 

The press just can’t stop talking about this show:

“Get thee to HAMLET! Joseph Fuqua delivers a star turn as the emotionally torn Danish prince…What a piece of work is HAMLET. How noble in reason and infinite in faculties is actor Joseph Fuqua…Fuqua delivers the royal goods in a performance as expressive as it is spontaneous. Fuqua seems born for Hamlet.” – Los Angeles Times

“Fuqua is ripe for the role…radiating intelligence and a singeing wit.”
- Ventura County Star

Photo by Martin S. Fuentes, Brooks Institute of Photography

“Joseph Fuqua turns in a masterful performance. Fuqua is superb in the complex role.”
- Santa Barbara Independent

"World class…a thrilling success…leaves you wanting more!"
- Santa Barbara News Press

"…a stunningly masterful production!"
- Tolucan Times

 

 

HAMLET Must End May 20th!

Only a few performances left with seats still available…so NOW is the time to discover why Hamlet is referred to as “the greatest play ever written.”

Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or Click Here to Reserve Online.

 

 

 

 

 


Joseph Fuqua Hits the Mark as the Prince of Denmark

Playing through May 20, 2007
Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to reserve online

“Get thee to HAMLET! Joseph Fuqua delivers a star turn as the emotionally torn Danish prince…What a piece of work is HAMLET. How noble in reason and infinite in faculties is actor Joseph Fuqua…Fuqua delivers the royal goods in a performance as expressive as it is spontaneous. Fuqua seems born for Hamlet.”
-- Los Angeles Times

“Fuqua is ripe for the role…radiating intelligence and a singeing wit.”
-- Ventura County Star

“Joseph Fuqua turns in a masterful performance. Fuqua is superb in the complex role.”
-- Santa Barbara Independent

 


Photo Credit: Martin S. Fuentes, Brooks Institute of Photography
Left to right: Remi Sandri, James O’Neil, Stephanie Zimbalist, Joshua Wolf Coleman and Joseph Fuqua.

 

His face is familiar. And yet, while you’re sure you know him, you’re not sure when or where you met.

Joseph Fuqua (pronounced FEW-QUAY) has appeared on Rubicon Theatre Company’s stage sixteen times in the last eight years, playing a variety of parts.

In his work with Rubicon, he has lived on a drought-ridden ranch in the Midwest, attended tea parties in England, driven a bus in Mexico and performed concerts in Vienna.

 

Importance of Being Earnest
The Rainmaker

 

Joseph has recently taken up residence in Elsinore Castle, where he is performing one of the greatest roles in English history, Hamlet. In spite of the complexities of Hamlet’s themes, Joseph’s performance makes the story absolutely accessible.

Joseph noted, “Our Director Jenny Sullivan has guided us in a muscular Shakespeare. No fat on the bone, story-driven, with the imagery at full gallop.”

Joseph does admit occasional waves of grandiosity have assisted him in taking on the role of a prince, however he has generally avoided this malady with the help of his nearest and dearest.

He says, “I’ll go from playing Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, alongside my friends Stephanie Zimbalist, Jim O’Neil, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. to staying a month with my elderly mother in a senior community in Massachusetts. Suddenly stardom is a distant memory, and I become her personal driver/caterer... taking her to appointments and serving canapes at cocktail parties.”

 

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Joseph Fuqua in HAMLET
Stephanie Zimbalist and Joseph Fuqua in HAMLET

 

After years of living in Los Angeles, Joseph recently made the decision to move to Ventura, bringing him closer to his artistic home at Rubicon.

Now Fuqua lives just a block from the theatre, so his commute to Elsinore Castle is a short one.

Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to Reserve Online.

 

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AN ACTOR PREPARES: An Interview with Joseph Fuqua

Q: How do you prepare for a role like Hamlet?
A: In a book called Modern Hamlets, Derek Jacobi makes the consoling remark (I loosely quote) that “there is no definitive Hamlet because Hamlet is a personality play. Whoever is cast as Hamlet is Hamlet.” It’s a humbling role and I’m merely trying to serve it. So rather than copy the greats, we have approached the process as though this were a new play.

Q: Did you discover anything remarkable while learning the role?
A: I am surprised at how much I like Hamlet! He’s often been played as a whiney destructive prig, but his pain as a wounded prince really moves me. He has majesty without ambition. And after the graveyard scene he becomes truly noble.

Q: Are there tricks of the trade you’re learned on your way to taking on this pivotal role?
A: The older you get, the less you have to act. You just access all of the ‘base notes’ that life gives you. After my father died, I went from his funeral back into rehearsal of a play I was doing at South Coast Rep, and the first words out of my mouth that day as an actor were ‘the day I buried my father’... There was no acting required. I just hit that note, and I was home.

Q: What was it about Rubicon Theatre Company that has elicited your allegiance?
A: While training at Yale, they kept saying to us, we’re preparing you for a theatre that doesn’t exist. But from the moment I came to Rubicon, I knew they were wrong. This theatre nurtures artists and creates the kind of haven I always dreamed of. I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to play Hamlet here and to be a part of Rubicon.


HAMLET Now Playing through May 20th

Tickets are going fast…so NOW is the time to discover why Hamlet is
referred to as “the greatest play ever written.”

Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to Reserve Online

 

 


"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."
Act II, Scene ii

April 26 - May 20, 2007
Reserve Your Tickets Now

 

For 400 years, the famous tragedy of the Prince of Denmark has fascinated theatergoers like no other.

For nearly a decade, Rubicon Theatre Company has presented innovative, professional theatre in Ventura's Downtown Cultural district.

On April 26th, the stars align and Rubicon Theatre undertakes Shakespeare's epic tragedy, HAMLET.

HAMLET is a work of primal genius, unsurpassed in the history of English literature. Love, madness, passion, betrayal, revenge, murder, and mayhem all come together in Shakespeare's masterpiece. Its thematic complexity embraces a myriad of emotions and ideas, including the existentialist struggle defined in “to be or not to be.” It is, in brief, the most famous English play ever written.

Rubicon's HAMLET sheds new light on this vitally important play in a production that is exciting, innovative and accessible. The stage has been created, in a design never before seen at Rubicon, to reach out into the audience, and the play follows suit...taking hold of you by the lapels, and never letting go!

Joseph Fuqua (Tuesdays with Morrie, All My Sons) steps into the title role supported by Rubicon's own James O'Neil as Claudius, Stephanie Zimbalist as Gertrude, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. making a cameo appearance as The Player King/British Ambassador. (The father-daughter pair appeared together onstage for the first time in Rubicon's Night of the Iguana.)

Three of our last four productions have been sell outs, so don't risk missing this thrilling specatacle. Discover why HAMLET has mesmerized audiences for centuries.

HAMLET Plays April 26th - May 20th

Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to reserve online

 

April 26 - May 20, 2007

Hamlet

[ Calendar l Single Ticket Price Chart ]

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan

Shakespeare's epic tragedy Hamlet reigns as the crown jewel of English literature. Rubicon company member Joseph Fuqua (Tuesdays with Morrie, All My Sons) plays the brooding Prince of Denmark, who is haunted by the loss and possible murder of his father the King, and wracked by the possibility of his mother's infidelity. Artistic Director James O'Neill plays Claudius, and Stephanie Zimbalist is Gertrude.

 


Title Sponsors:

         


Co-Sponsors:

       

 

 

 

 
HAMLET, Then and Now

HAMLET is Shakespeare’s most famous play, and also his most modern. The twisty plot, the undercover hero pretending to be mad, the explorations of duty and revenge, love and sex, friendship and betrayal, are the very fabric of our modern entertainment media. Indeed, we might recognize HAMLET as the prototype for every Crime Scene Investigation program, whether set in the Navy, New York, Miami, Las Vegas or (as in this case) Denmark. Where is the evidence that proves that a crime took place? What can we know? What can we not know? These are dramatic questions that Shakespeare asks of us.

But unlike our familiar television programs (whose purpose, after all, is to sell toothpaste and bathroom tissue), HAMLET leads us deeper into human experience - Shakespeare, writing more than 400 years ago, had no forensic technicians pouring over a victim’s remains with microscopes, cotton swabs and DNA sequencers for evidence of a murder. Shakespeare brings the victim back from the grave to finger his assailant. HAMLET is a ghost story, tacked on to a murder plot, with a chamber piece stuck right in the middle.

Ghosts are “trick-or-treat,” kids-in-costumes and Friday-night-at-the-movies for us, but for the citizens of Shakespeare’s day spirits were absolutely real. Some thought ghosts were the souls of the dead come back to earth as God’s punishment. Others believed that spirits came in two flavors: good or bad (nothing in between). Shakespeare uses everyone’s theory.

So how can we know the ghost’s true nature? That thing calling itself “dear old Dad” and ordering you to kill your uncle might not be what it claims to be - even though tender feelings for your dearly departed father invite you to think of it as “an honest ghost.”

Man’s knowledge is imperfect. Man, himself, is imperfect (a fact of which Hamlet is more than keenly aware). So how can we choose a right course of action? In an age when people were responsible for their own souls and justice was eternal, you did not want to make the wrong choice. It could have lasting consequences.

Shakespeare wrote for an audience who saw the Universe in terms of moral justice, not galaxies and quarks. If Claudius pushed Hamlet’s father off the Danish throne, God, inevitably, will push back - through Hamlet. As the Almighty’s appointed to rule on earth, a rightful king is rightfully concerned for the well being of his people. Claudius (though not a bad politician) is concerned for his own well being. He is the famous “something” that is rotten in Denmark.

A final note: Shakespeare set his play in a remote past - a time when the English paid tribute to Denmark (in money, not warm feelings) to keep the Viking raiders off England’s northern coasts. Our production moves the period to the early 19th century, the Napoleonic era, when national borders and centuries of European tradition were swept aside by war. We draw on the instability of this world. We use its Romantic energies to put the play in fresh context, and to compliment the flow of the action.

-- William Keeler, Dramaturge

 

Playing April 26 - May 20, 2007
Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to reserve online

 

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The Quotable HAMLET
The most quoted and studied play in the English language, maybe in any language. Everyone knows at least a few lines from it, even if you don't know you do.

April 26 - May 20, 2007
Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to reserve online

In Rubicon Theatre's upcoming production of HAMLET we hear Joseph Fuqua, James O'Neil, Stephanie Zimbalist, her father Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and a company of powerful Shakespearean actors utter phrases that sound familiar. Everyone knows, "To be or not to be...." Yet that is just the beginning.

HAMLET is the source for "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," "To thine own self be true," "O, woe is me," "What a piece of work is a man!" and that infamous line "something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Therapists often quote "There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so," and numerous actors cite the great playwright in support of their craft: "The play's the thing!" If someone denies recognizing any of these, one could say "The lady doth protest too much."

HAMLET was first performed around 1600. Since then, it has proven to be one of the English language's most enduring stories. Rubicon's production is a thrilling roller-coaster ride -- filled with murder, madness and mayhem. Call now for tickets!

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HAMLET in Modern Media?

The plot and characters in HAMLET have been the inspiration for many other modern stories. Disney's The Lion King includes themes adapted from HAMLET. The 1970s musical Hair has a subplot featuring a hippy Hamlet, and delivers direct references and quotations from Shakespeare's version.

Additionally, television programs such as "South Park," "Gilligan's Island," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "Frasier" and "The Simpsons" have featured plots that revolved around HAMLET. And the Klingon Hamlet (full title: The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'nos) was a project to translate HAMLET into Klingon for the television series "Star Trek."

References to the play in contemporary media are far too lengthy to list as the play has literally infused itself into our cultural lexicon. On Rubicon Theatre's stage, HAMLET continues to speak the language of yesterday and today.

HAMLET plays April 26th - May 20th
Three of our last four shows have been sell-outs. Don't risk missing your chance to discover why HAMLET is oft referred to as "the greatest play ever written."

Call (805) 667-2900 NOW for tickets!
Or click here to Reserve Online

 


Stephanie Zimbalist's Listing: http://www.stephaniezimbalist.net/hamlet.html

Upcoming Performances

Rubicon Theatre Company Presents
William Shakespeare’s Epic Tragedy

HAMLET

With
Joseph Fuqua as Hamlet
Also starring Stephanie Zimbalist and James O’Neil
With Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as the Player King

Directed by Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan

“The play’s the thing.” - Hamlet

April 2, 2007…Ventura, CA… For nine years Rubicon Theatre Company has been presenting innovative, first-rate professional theatrical productions for residents and visitors of the central coast. The company has captured awards and accolades for their diverse repertoire of classic and contemporary dramas, comedies and musicals.

For 400 years, the famous tragedy of the Prince of Denmark has fascinated theatergoers like no other; it is a work of primal genius, unsurpassed in the history of imaginative literature. On April 26th, the stars align and Rubicon Theatre undertakes Shakespeare’s epic tragedy, HAMLET.

Joseph Fuqua steps into the title role supported by James O’Neil as Claudius, Stephanie Zimbalist as Gertrude, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as The Player King. (The father-daughter pair make only their second stage appearance together with this production; Rubicon’s Night of the Iguana being the first). HAMLET plays Thursday, April 26th through Sunday, May 20th at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 East Main Street in Ventura’s Downtown Historic Cultural District..

HAMLET reigns as the crown jewel of English literature - the most-produced and most-quoted of Shakespeare’s 37 masterpiecesIts thematic complexity embraces a myriad of emotions and ideas, including love, madness, betrayal, revenge, murder, mayhem and the existentialist struggle defined in “to be or not to be.”  It is, in brief, the most famous English play ever written.

The title character’s enigmatic persona has been analyzed by countless academics and portraying the role has become a right of passage for actors. Rubicon’s first company member Joseph Fuqua picks up the gauntlet of the “sweet Prince”after performing in fifteen prior productions with Rubicon. Fuqua has been a professional actor for twenty years having graduated from the M.F.A. program at Yale School of Drama. His professional credits include work on Broadway, and at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Dallas Theatre Center, Manitoba Theatre Centre, South Coast Rep and elsewhere. Joseph joins the acting ranks of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Kenneth Branaugh, Ralph Fiennes and countless others as he suffuses the brooding Prince of Denmark with life.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CAST AND CREW BIOS

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE
HAMLET STUDY GUIDE

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PROMOTIONAL POSTCARD

 


HAMLET LISTINGS:

Theatremania Listing:  http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/126877
Ventana Monthly Listing:  http://ventanamonthly.com/article.php?id=135&IssueNum=11
Brown Paper Tickets Listing: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producerevent/14307?prod_id=3100

Playbill Listing:  http://www.playbill.com/events/event_detail/10809.html



Hamlet
Rubicon Theatre Company

The crown jewel of English literature
Show Dates:
Performances from 26 Apr 2007
Opening 28 Apr 2007
Closing 20 May 2007

Performance Schedule:

Tickets:
Box Office: (805) 667-2900

Show Run Time:

Theatre Information:
Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 East Main Street (corner of Laurel)
Ventura, CA 93001
US

Synopsis:
Danish prince Hamlet discovers that his uncle Claudius murdered his father and took the throne, and Hamlet's mother has married the usurper. If life is so fleeting and people can do such things, Hamlet wonders, why are we born at all? Shakespeare's play is often cited as the greatest in the English language.

Show Advisory:
None

Genre:
Tragedy

Cast List:
Includes Joseph Fuqua, Alison Brie, James O’Neil, Rudolph Willrich, Stephanie Zimbalist and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

Production Credits:
Directed by Jenny Sullivan

Other Credits:
Written by: William Shakespeare








Related Information

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Official Show WebsiteOfficial Show Site


LA Times Calendar Live Listing: http://www.calendarlive.com/search/465047,0,5705222.event

Hamlet

1006 E. Main St., Ventura
rubicontheatre.org

Times rating:

Readers' rating:
Reader reviews: Write a review | Read more reviews

If the ambitious revival of Shakespeare's evergreen tragedy at the Rubicon has its malefactions, actor Joseph Fuqua delivers the royal goods in a title performance as expressive as it is spontaneous, which prevails past over-edits and stylistic variables.
— David C. Nichols
May 3, 2007


Through May. 20
 Sundays: 2 p.m.
 Wednesdays: 2 p.m. 7 p.m.
 Thursdays: 8 p.m.
 Fridays: 8 p.m.
 Saturdays: 2 p.m. 8 p.m.


Price: $20-$49

Box office: 805-667-2900



 Current, Upcoming
Through May. 20
Joseph Fuqua plays the brooding Prince of Denmark in Shakespeare's epic tragedy.

Jun. 9 - Jul. 1
A teacher at the New England School for the Deaf becomes involved with an intelligent and strong-minded former student who now works at the school as a maid.

Aug. 18 - Sep. 9
A pair of high school sweethearts pretend to be a normal suburban couple, but behind the closed doors of their tract home there's a lot more going on.

Sep. 22 - Oct. 14
Edward Albee's drama depicts a well-to-do Connecticut couple dealing with the return of a divorced daughter and an alcoholic sister, as well as a sudden visit from their neighbors.

 

 

 

HAMLET ARTICLES:

Ventura County Star - Joseph Fuqua Article - April 26, 2007:
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/apr/26/and-now-for-his-next-act/  



Lifestyle

HomeLifestyleLifestyle

Familiar face to tackle lead role in 'Hamlet'

From staff reports
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Courtesty photo "I come
from myself, and just
pray I don't stink up the
joint," says Joseph Fuqua,
who will play Prince Hamlet.

His face is familiar, yet you can't place him.

Joseph Fuqua gets that a lot.

That's no doubt because Fuqua has appeared on Rubicon Theatre Company's stage hundreds of times in the past eight years, morphing into an array of different characters.

In his more than 15 plays with the Rubicon, he has lived on a drought-infested ranch in the Midwest, attended tea parties in England, driven a bus in Mexico and performed concerts in Vienna.

He portrayed a dashing young lawyer in Rubicon's first world premiere, "Murder in the First"; an enthusiastic schizophrenic in "The Boys Next Door"; a debonair dandy in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"; a nervous, subdued man transformed into a killer in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; and a self-centered writer in "Tuesdays with Morrie."

Just to name a few.

Ventura audiences have come to feel a show featuring Fuqua (pronounced FEW-quay) is a trip to a familiar place.

In his own words, "I come from myself, and just pray I don't stink up the joint."

Beginning today, Fuqua tackles his next role and it's a big one: Hamlet.

Rubicon co-founders and artistic directors Karyl Lynn Burns and James O'Neil said they picked the play for this season largely because they wanted to create the opportunity for Fuqua to play Shakespeare's brooding Prince of Denmark.

"We felt Joseph's ability to change so quickly as an actor was perfect for the mercurial, troubled Hamlet," Burns said.

O'Neil concurred: "Joseph is one of those rare actors who totally transforms when he takes on a role," he said.

"He's become a favorite with our audiences when they recognize him.
Sometimes he so embodies his characters that patrons don't realize he's the same actor."

Self-deprecating and humble, Fuqua takes his craft seriously while keeping it all in perspective.

"Fortunately I have a family that continues to take me down a peg or two," he said. "I'll go from playing Hamlet, prince of Denmark, alongside my friends Stephanie Zimbalist, Jim O'Neil and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., to staying a month with my elderly mother in a senior community in Massachusetts where her friends think I'm her driver and caterer."

A graduate of Yale School of Drama, Fuqua also has credits on and off
Broadway, on television and in film.

As he assumes the mantle of Hamlet, he also makes a personal change. After years of living in Los Angeles, Fuqua has decided to move to Ventura.

"At Yale, they kept saying to us, 'We're preparing you for a theater that doesn't exist,'" Fuqua said.

"But from the moment I came to Rubicon, I knew they were wrong.

"This theater nurtures artists and creates the kind of haven I always dreamed of. I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to play Hamlet here and to be a part of the Rubicon."

 

More information

'Hamlet'

Shakespeare's epic tragedy opens with a preview at 8 tonight and runs through May 20 at the Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays except this Saturday, when a 7 p.m. gala is scheduled 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

For tickets $26-$49 call 667-2900, e-mail info//www.rubicontheatre.org.

Facts on Fuqua

The son and grandson of Army generals, Fuqua grew up in the Hudson River Valley near West Point.

After graduating with a master's of fine arts degree from Yale, he worked on and off Broadway in shows including "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "110 in the Shade" (both at the Lincoln Center), "Raft of the Medusa" and "Yours, Anne."

He also has appeared as Caesar in "Antony and Cleopatra" at Actor's Theatre of Louisville and as Iago in "Othello" for the Dallas Shakespeare Festival.

Among Fuqua's Los Angeles stage credits, he played Charlie Chaplin in "The Cat's Meow," receiving a Drama-Logue Award.

His TV career has included guest-starring roles in "The X-Files," "Chicago Hope," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Becker," among other series.

Film credits include "Ed's Next Move," "David Searching," "Heyday" and J.E.B. Stuart in "Gettysburg," a role he reprised in the Warner Bros. film "Gods and Generals" starring Robert Duvall.

With the Rubicon, Fuqua also has begun teaching acting classes and made his directing debut when the theater's production of "J for J" (written by Jenny Sullivan who directs "Hamlet" and starring the late John Ritter) moved to the Court Theatre in Los Angeles.

 



Santa Barbara News Press - April 27, 2007 Article:
http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=SCENE&ID=565005778977685604 



Scene

ONSTAGE: Lean 'Hamlet' gets facelift -Rubicon gives new shine to perhaps history's most-produced drama

Tom Jacobs, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT


For its first main-stage Shakespeare production, the Rubicon Theatre Company is staging a streamlined "Hamlet," set in the early 19th century. At top, Hamlet (Joseph Fuqua) ponders his old friend Yorick's fate. Just above, Hamlet's uncle Claudius (James O'Neil) and mother, Gertrude (Stephanie Zimbalist), greet their court.

                               

MARTIN S. FUENTES PHOTOS, COURTESY OF RUBICON THEATRE COMPANY

April 27, 2007 9:28 AM

On a recent evening, Jenny Sullivan was having dinner with two of the actors she is directing in "Hamlet." Not surprisingly, their conversation focused on the timeless text and the countless questions it raises.

"There was a moment when we thought, 'People have been having this discussion for centuries,' " she said. "It's a fantastic feeling."

"Hamlet" is arguably the most-produced, most-read and most-quoted drama in history. But the creative team behind the Rubicon Theatre Company's production, which opens Saturday, is feeling far more exhilarated than intimidated.

"I'm hearing old teachers in my head, telling me, 'Let the words to the work,' " said Joseph Fuqua, who is playing the title role. "The words are so great! You just ride that wave."

"I'm terrified, but I'm excited," Sullivan said. "For us -- this combination of actors, designers and myself -- this is a new play. I just want to dig into the story, the drama, the relationships."

That story, of course, focuses on a young Danish prince who is mourning the death of his father, the king. Returning home from university, he is shocked and appalled to find that his mother, Gertrude (Stephanie

Zimbalist), has married his uncle Claudius (James O'Neil).

Late one night, Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost, who claims Claudius is his killer. The ghost implores his son to avenge the murder. Hamlet faces an enormous dilemma: Should he believe the apparition, who could be from either heaven or hell? If his father was indeed murdered by Claudius, how should he proceed?

O'Neil, the Rubicon's artistic director, calls it an "existential" play that contains the insight and richness of the great works of mythology. (Although the play was written and first performed in 1600, the legend it is based on can be traced back another 400 years, and it is likely even older than that.)

"In 'Hamlet,' all of the characters are inside all of us," he said. "Hamlet is in you. Gertrude is in you. Claudius is in you. How are you going to integrate them? How are you going to shape these forces for yourself and create a life in the world?"

Aside from a 90-minute "Romeo and Juliet" that toured to schools, "Hamlet" is the Rubicon's first-ever Shakespeare production. To accommodate it, a thrust stage has been constructed, extending out into the auditorium.

"We've gotten rid of eight seats in the front row and four in the second row," O'Neil said.

And why is a big, open playing space essential for Shakespeare?

"I think because the language is the thing," he said. "As an actor, you basically speak your subtext. You're saying what you are thinking and feeling, right in the moment.

"We do have some special effects, because the (ghost scene) calls for that kind of thing. But by and large, the set is a platform for the language."

Sullivan has moved the action from the Renaissance to the first years of the 19th century. "We wanted to make it accessible to our audience, but also give them a big costume drama," she said.

Fuqua believes the juxtaposition of the play's raw, primal emotions and a setting of "Jane Austen prettiness" will give the staging "weight, power and punch."

Also to that end, this will be a lean "Hamlet." Nearly one-quarter of the very long play has been cut; the production is expected to clock in at two-and-a-half hours.

"I'm sure 'Hamlet' scholars will miss things," Sullivan said. "But the top-40 hits are there."

In any event, she said, there is no such thing as a definitive "Hamlet." The prince's story is both universal and highly personal; every actor and director will inevitably interpret it through the prism of their own experiences.

"I have found it comforting to know that I am part of a continuum," O'Neil said. "So many actors, over the centuries, have played the role I am playing.

"When you've had that many actors, there is no such thing as 'the best' performance of such a role. I find that really empowering."

HAMLET

When: Opens 7 p.m. Saturday; continues at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, through May 20

Where: Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura

Cost: $26 to $49

Information: 667-2900 or www.rubicontheatre.org

All Content Copyright © 2007 Santa Barbara News-Press / Ampersand Publishing, LLC unless otherwise specified.

 

 

Ventura County Star - Thursday, May 3, 2007
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/may/03/royal-treatment-rubicons-hamlet-enjoys-the-of/



Venture Out
Royal
treatment

Rubicon's 'Hamlet' enjoys the benefits of exemplary actors

By Rita Moran 
Arts writer

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Courtesy photo by Martin S. Fuentes


Courtesy photo by Ed Krieger
Stephanie Zimbalist exudes
warmth and maternal love in
her role as Queen Gertrude
in "Hamlet."


Courtesy photo by Martin S. Fuentes

One of the advantages of being a respected professional theater company is the ability to attract actors with exceptional abilities, and to maintain their interest through programming that might daunt less experienced troupes.

A prime example is Rubicon Theatre Company's "Hamlet," one of the world's most complex and intense tragedies by one of its most revered playwrights, William Shakespeare.

Selecting "Hamlet" for presentation is bold programming, but not the leap of faith it might be if an actor willing and able to play the title role weren't already in Rubicon's midst.

Joseph Fuqua, who has demonstrated at the Rubicon that he can be very funny ("The Rainmaker," "The Little Foxes"), keenly sensitive ("The Boys Next Door," "Tuesdays with Morrie") and chillingly serious ("Man of La Mancha," "All My Sons"), is ripe for the role.

Radiating intelligence and a singeing wit, the actor enters Hamlet's disjointed world well-equipped.

Bolstering Fuqua's adventure, and making it less precarious, are more of the skilled cadre Rubicon has attracted and sustained, starting with director Jenny Sullivan and players in leading roles: Stephanie Zimbalist as Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother; James O'Neil, Rubicon's artistic director, as King Claudius, Hamlet's uncle; and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Player King.

Other returning actors to the Rubicon stage include Jamie Torcellini, Rudolph Willrich and Nancy Nufer.

With all that talent on stage there is little worry about poorly spoken or muffed lines, inept movement or shallow interpretations.

Newer to the Rubicon, but adding substantially to the fabric of the play, is Alison Brie as Ophelia, a charming innocent at first, a frenzied fallout from Hamlet's single-minded pursuit of revenge as the plot constricts.

Brie has what few other Ophelias can summon as they disintegrate. She can actually sing well, adding to the force of the distraught young woman's fragmented songs of delusion.

Stephanie Zimbalist exudes warmth and maternal love, while O'Neil, whose Claudius has won the throne and queen through nefarious means, is severely controlled until his machinations are revealed.

Leonard Kelly Young shines in the featured roles of the ghost of Hamlet's father, solemnly urging revenge, and a wily gravedigger who's quick with the earthy humor.

The complex set with multiple revolving panels manipulated by the actors with some backstage assists serves very well for quick exits and entries and supports a certain sense of mystery.

High, steep stairways on either side of the stage lead up to a second playing level, one put to good use as Hamlet flings himself onto the edge of the balcony for his "To be or not to be" soliloquy.

That quintessential set piece, weighing the impact of acting out his father's vengeance against the festering angst of not doing so, embraces the audience in its delivery rather than being conveyed as interior brooding.

Connection with the audience is enhanced, too, by the thrust conformation of the stage designed for "Hamlet."

To accommodate it, a few seats had to be temporarily removed, but the trade-off for intimate involvement in the action is worth the sacrifice.

Using the First Folio text for "Hamlet," printed in 1623, which is considerably shorter than the Second Quarto in 1604, Rubicon dramaturg William Keeler explains in program notes that additional judicious cuts have been made. "Hamlet" is presented in two acts, the first 70 minutes, the second around 90. But most will find the words and actions on stage riveting.

Time may not fly, but neither is it wasted.

E-mail Rita Moran at
ritamoran@earthlink.net
.

'Hamlet'
Rubicon Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's tragedy runs through May 20 at 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For information and tickets - $26-$49, or $20 for students with ID - call 667-2900 or visit http://www.rubicontheatre.org.

 



 

HAMLET REVIEWS:


Tolucan Times - May 2, 2007 Review:
http://www.tolucantimes.com/index.php?news=671

The Tolucan Times


What a gorgeous weekend huh? Summer is near...

By Nite Lights Pat Taylor on May 02,2007

Hamlet
VENTURA – This epic tragedy, the most famous English play ever written, is also the most often produced play of Shakespeare’s 38 beloved masterpieces. Hamlet rises once again, just up the coast in Ventura (an hours drive). Abundant with the Bard’s most well known quotes, and as always, deliciously decadent and full of betrayal, revenge, madness and passion, this is a stunningly masterful production! Under the excitingly inventive direction of the always innovative Jenny Sullivan, characters dash & dart about, surprising us from every corner of the sweeping stage. Majestic set design by Thomas S. Giamario and impressive 1800s period costumes by Marcy Froehlich creatively take us there. Fine behind the scenes efforts all around! Joseph Fuqua as Hamlet is triumphantly titillating! A highly skilled, constantly revered actor, with rock star good looks, and a boyishly playful nature, he gives the mad Prince of Denmark a sassy and devilish twinkle. Bravo! Also impressively illuminating is James O’Neil as Claudius, Hamlet’s evil, murderous stepfather. Admittedly, I often struggle to absorb the meaning of Shakespeare’s poetic writing style, but the crisp phrasing and delivery of O’Neil’s performance here, made it crystal clear. Stephanie Zimbalist elegantly captures the role of Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and it was a thrill to see her handsome father Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (at 88) as the Player King. Alison Brie was hypnotic as the femininely fragile Ophelia, Remi Sandri was chilling as her brother, Laertes, and Rudolph Willrich powerfully depicted her father, Polonius. Appearing from the heavens, Leonard Kelly Young was effectively eerie as the ghost of Hamlet’s father. I could go on and on about this incredible, large cast, but space won’t allow. Kudos to all. Only running thru May 20 (Wednesday thru Sunday), take this special chance to get to know this fabulous theatre company in their gorgeous theatre! They always deliver! The Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St. in Ventura. Call (805) 667-2900.

More theatre “chat” to come, next time. You can always count on me to “speaketh” the truth...as fairly as possible...

 

LA TIMES - Thursday, May 3, 2007
http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/cl-wk-hamlet3may03,0,5148376.story    

  Latimes.com | Entertainment News  
May 3, 2007

THEATER REVIEW

Get thee to 'Hamlet'

Joseph Fuqua delivers a star turn as the emotionally torn Danish prince.
By David C. Nichols, Special to The Times


What a piece of work is "Hamlet"; how noble in reason and infinite in faculties is actor Joseph Fuqua. If the ambitious revival of William Shakespeare's evergreen tragedy at the Rubicon has its malefactions, Fuqua delivers the royal goods in a performance as expressive as it is spontaneous.

Note the brooding hush at "O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt," which Fuqua murmurs with a clipped melancholy. Now, reconcile that with the galvanic rage ignited by his father's ghost (Leonard Kelly Young), the many valid laughs in unexpected places or the hairpin turns between feigned and real madness. Although his tangled curls and designer Marcy Froehlich's smashing Empire
costumes rather suggest Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, the dynamic Fuqua seems born for Hamlet,
almost Byronic in the confrontations, tellingly confidential in the soliloquies.

These, delivered from the apron of Thomas S. Giamario's semi-thrust setting, are worth the admission.
Using the First Folio edition of the text, with interstitial cuts, director Jenny Sullivan lets her star sculpt
his interpretation from inside the
lines, and, barring the odd too-stentorian attack, Fuqua doesn't disappoint.

Nor do James O'Neil, his lucid, guilt-ridden Claudius almost sympathetic, or Remi Sandri, a Laertes both restrained and roiling. Ophelia is one of Shakespeare's shakiest ingénues, but the unaffected Alison Brie manages a riveting mad scene, and Rudolph Willrich makes a casually wry Polonius, hindered only by the edits.

That is a recurrent liability, for the narrative, placed in the Napoleonic era, produces a lopsided structure and some stylistic variables. Though the opening recalls a Carol Reed film,
with potent contributions by lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick and sound designer David Beaudry, the assembled court hovers between respectable public television and dutiful academia.




Joseph Fuqua is the title character and Alison Brie 
is Ophelia in "Hamlet" at the Rubicon. 
(Martin S. Fuentes / For the Times) 

May 4, 2007

Sweet Prince
(Martin S. Fuentes / For the Times)
May 4, 2007
 

For example, the agreeably old-fashioned declamation of Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as the Player King comes from another Elsinor entirely than the grim vulgarity of Young's First Clown at the graveyard. Perhaps most taxed among the game cast is Stephanie Zimbalist, her still-gelling Gertrude lacking specifics; Joshua Wolf Coleman's beautifully spoken but underused Horatio; and Jamie Torcellini and Chris Maslen, a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern without a through-line.

Giamario's revolving panels are functional but peculiar, distracting against the stone staircases. Word pointing sometimes jars, as when Claudius' "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go," which ends the first half, seems aimed at current leaders. The final return of the ghost, complete with maniacal laughter, is wildly misjudged. Yet, if the play's occasionally less the thing than usual, there is a special providence to Fuqua's memorable prince.

*

'Hamlet'

Where: Rubicon Theatre Company at the Laurel, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura

When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays

Ends: May 20

Price: $26 to $49

Contact: (805) 667-2900 or rubicontheatre.org

Running time: 2 hours, 55 minutes


Santa Barbara Independent - May 3, 2007 Review: http://independent.com/news/2007/may/03/hamlet-rubicon-theatre/


Hamlet at the Rubicon Theatre.

The Enigma of Hamlet Lives On


Thursday, May 3, 2007

By Bojana Hill

Hamlet has been performed many times since Shakespeare wrote his famous tragedy in 1600. Now the Rubicon Theatre joins the ranks of companies that have produced the world’s most famous play with a stellar production directed by Jenny Sullivan, and with Joseph Fuqua as Hamlet.

i-h
Joseph Fuqua turns in a masterful performance 
as Hamlet in the Rubicon Theatre’s current production of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy. Hamlet is here shown with Ophelia, who is 
played by Alison Brie.
Instead of the original medieval historical setting, this production unfolds in an early-19th-century setting. Exquisite period costumes reflect the grandeur of the Danish royal court in the era of the Napoleonic wars. At the center of the stage, tall panels adorned with chess figures accentuate the craftiness of Claudius and the play’s theme of moral corruption. The staging of the ghost of Hamlet’s father is handled practically, with a metallic voice suggesting something modern from outer space. During his appearance, thunderous sounds fill the intimate theatre space, leaving a feeling of awe in its wake that continues throughout the production.

Joseph Fuqua is superb in the complex role of Hamlet. Initially stone-faced as a grief-stricken son, he pounces on Claudius and his mother with sarcastic puns that reveal his anger. Hamlet accuses Gertrude of being common, and he reviles his uncle Claudius, who has not only remarried his mother in haste, but has also usurped Hamlet’s right to the Danish crown. In Fuqua’s interpretation, Hamlet is a witty, absurd hero whose ability to see through false appearances and pretenses receives more emphasis than his melancholy indecision. This production’s finest scenes include Hamlet’s lucid mockeries of the sycophants Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the quick repartee he makes with a bewildered Polonius (Rudolph Willrich). In the nunnery scene, Hamlet rages at Ophelia (Alison Brie), who is equally lost in a vortex of lies and treachery. Brie delivers a deeply moving performance as Ophelia, an innocent girl “divided against self and her own judgment.”

The second act is a tour de force. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. plays the dignified Player King with great pathos, and Remi Sandri expresses Laertes’ hot tempered, vengeful spirit precisely. 

James O’Neill’s nuanced portrayal of Claudius presents a villain with a remorseful, penitent side. Leonard Kelly Young (also the Ghost) evidently cherishes the role of the gravedigger in a lighter, comedic scene. The quick pace observed in the soliloquies and dialogues ensures the audience’s complete absorption in this three-hour modern performance of a drama that continues to stir our minds and hearts now, some 400 years after its composition.

Santa Barbara News Press - May 5, 2007 Review:
http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=LIFE&ID=565011224996216913&Archive=true



Life


Rubicon offers powerful 'Hamlet'

TOM JACOBS, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

For its first main-stage Shakespeare production, the Rubicon Theatre Company staged a streamlined "Hamlet," set in the early 19th century. At left, Hamlet (Joseph Fuqua) is at odds with Laertes (Remi Sandri) the brother of his love, Ophelia.

May 5, 2007 6:55 AM

The Rubicon Theatre Company waited until its ninth season to present its first full-scale Shakespeare production. The thrilling success of its "Hamlet" suggests the timing was perfect.

The staging showcases the informal repertory company the Rubicon has built up over the years: an impressive group of actors, directors and designers who enjoy tackling difficult, meaty material. Shakespeare's great tragedy certainly qualifies, and the result is an often-riveting show that feels both world-class and home-grown.

The primary focus is, naturally, on Joseph Fuqua, who plays the iconic title role. This is something like his 17th Rubicon production, and it is arguably his most impressive achievement to date.

Mr. Fuqua gives us a prince whose pain is palpable -- a man who is not only confused and angry, but emotionally shattered. Several times in the early scenes, he seems seconds away from bursting into tears.

And why not? All of Hamlet's assumptions about his world, his family and his own inner nature have suddenly, violently been thrown into question.

His first major shock -- the news that his father is dead, and his mother (Stephanie Zimbalist) has married his uncle -- is difficult enough to process. But a second jolt follows: a visitation from his father's ghost, who accuses the uncle, Claudius (James O'Neil), of murdering him.

This otherworldly exchange isn't simply informational. Dad wants revenge, and he expects his son to carry it out.

As Hamlet struggles to ascertain the truth and decide upon a course of action, he finds himself face to face with the fundamental questions of human existence. Why are we here? Why does evil exist? Is death preferable to a wretched life? To be or not to be?

Mr. Fuqua takes us on a powerful emotional journey, from despair to cynicism to murderous rage to something approaching acceptance. Under Jenny Sullivan's sensitive direction, the actor conveys the nuances of each emotional shift. As he speaks the famous soliloquies, he seems to be imploring the audience for answers.

Mr. O'Neil is equally strong as Claudius. He immediately establishes Gertrude's new husband (and Denmark's new king) as a talented but phony politician. But as the action unfolds, the usurper's emotional unraveling echoes that of his nephew, and one feels deeply for this man who desperately longs to undo the damage he has done.

Alison Brie is outstanding as Ophelia, the young woman Hamlet woos, confuses and abandons. With her beautiful singing voice and compelling acting, Ms. Brie turns the character's mad scene into a stunning virtuoso aria.

The production has a surprising number of laughs, the bulk of which are provided by two veteran actors in vivid roles. Rudolph Willrich, as Ophelia's father Polonious, and Leonard Kelly Young, as the grave digger, provide different but equally amusing takes on a familiar type: the puffed-up, pseudo-authority figure who loves the sound of his own voice.

The cast does have its weak links; Ms. Zimbalist does not make a strong enough impression as Gertrude. But it also contains superb actors in small roles, such as Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as the Player King and Jamie Torcellini as a smug Rosencrantz.

The thrust stage built especially for this production works wonderfully. Thomas Giamario's symmetrical set, dominated by large rotating panels, is an odd mixture of elements, but it functions efficiently.

The play has been moved to the Napoleonic era (1810). While it's hard to discern a strong reason for this transposition, costume designer Marcy Froehlich responded by creating gorgeous dresses and handsome uniforms.

Ms. Sullivan uses a trimmed-down version of the First Folio, which cuts a few more lines than I would like. But that, in a very real sense, is a compliment. It's quite an achievement when a three-hour-long production leaves you wanting more.

e-mail: tjacobs@newspress.com

MARTIN S. FUENTES PHOTO, COURTESY OF RUBICON THEATRE COMPANY

All Content Copyright © 2007 Santa Barbara News-Press / Ampersand Publishing, LLC unless otherwise specified.

 

 

 

 


 

 

MAN OF LA MANCHA

Joseph performed the double role of "The Duke/Dr. Carrasco" along with George Ball (Quixote/Cervantes) (Ted Neeley's replacement, due to the JCS AD (nee "Farewell") Tour) in this fabulous production!!! Below is a picture of Joseph as the Duke, and the original brochure picture/listing for La Mancha, before The JCS Tour became a reality.


 


 

THEATER REVIEW (LA Times)

'Man of La Mancha's' call to courage resonates
The Rubicon Theatre's grandly appointed and serviceable revival has relevance even in today's times.

by David C. Nichols, Special to the Times

October 11, 2006

The longevity of "Man of La Mancha" must vex the jaded, even though Mitch Leigh, Dale Wasserman and Joe Darion's 1965 musical goes onward to glory with as much grit as sentiment. Framing the whimsy of "Don Quixote" within the dark context of author Miguel de Cervantes facing the Spanish Inquisition, "La Mancha" is a genuinely serious musical that theatrically entertains without sacrificing its convictions.

These are embodied in its signature anthem, "The Quest" (better known as "The Impossible Dream"), and make the critic-proof Tony winner seem ultra-relevant in the face of recent legislation concerning detainees and torture. This aspect, along with stellar leads George Ball, Jennifer Shelton and Jamie Torcellini, sustains the grandly appointed revival at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura.

Designer Thomas S. Giamario's striking set of stone columns, barred portals and catwalk with cranked-up staircase makes its own statement. The staircase lowers like a drawbridge to hell amid mechanical din and deposits tax collector Cervantes (Ball) and his wary servant (Torcellini). Their kangaroo court by the prisoners becomes a dungeon dramatization of Quixote's misadventures, pitted in real time against the graver trial that awaits upstairs.

At the reviewed Sunday afternoon performance, Ball, staunchly dualistic, triumphed over matinee throat, husbanding his resources for key sequences with old-school resonance.

The golden-voiced Shelton is marvelous as Aldonza, the trollop whose inner maiden Quixote ignites, and Torcellini brings refreshing subtlety to Sancho (Rod Lathim assumes the role starting Nov. 8).

Standouts in the proficient ensemble include Randal Keith's cellblock leader, Joseph Fuqua's cynical realist, Natascha Corrigan's niece, Peggy Billo's housekeeper and Gary Lee Reed's padre.

Marcy Froehlich's 16th century costumes and Jeremy Pivnick's dusky lighting are richly evocative, and if it lacks force, musical director David Potter's synthesizer-driven band compensates with flavor.

They and director James O'Neil explore subtext at the expense of tempos, which adds unnecessary length, while the inserted intermission and some wan transitions blur the play-within-a-play overview.

Cate Caplin provides capable choreography that Sam Zeller's broad Pedro and the muleteers, Melora Hutton's lithe Fermina and her Moorish dancers, almost oversell in their zeal.

Nonetheless, despite a net effect more serviceable than consistently thrilling, the emotional rush of "La Mancha's" inspirational call to courage is undeniable. This resolute reading may not quite reach the unreachable stars, but it certainly aims for them.

*

`Man of La Mancha'
Where: Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura
When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Ends: Nov. 12
Price: $34 to $59
Contact: (805) 667-2900, www.rubicontheatre.org
Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THEATER REVIEW (Santa Barbara Independent)

Tilting at Windmills

by Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent

October 11, 2006

The Rubicon Theatre has a genuine hit on its hands with this revival of Dale Wasserman’s classic musical Man of La Mancha. Shoehorned onto the modest Rubicon stage was a terrific cast of 25, including George Ball, who was marvelous in the title role, and Jennifer Shelton, a gifted actress and singer who gave her all to the part of Aldonza. Both the music and the direction were expert in this Sunday showing. With the rhythm section of the orchestra driving the score forward from a hidden-away backroom and a tremendous and scary drawbridge as the set’s central physical element, the overall effect was like seeing a big Broadway musical from the best seats in the house.

Man of La Mancha is a play within a play depicting Cervantes’s true-life imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition. As a way of appeasing his fellow prisoners, the poet improvises a jailhouse version of his work in progress, Don Quixote, using the “talent” available to him. It’s a clever and effective conceit, but it pales in comparison to the story of the “Knight of the Woeful Countenance” that occupies the center of the show’s frame. Few myths of any kind have proven as durable and evocative as that of this man whose madness redeems him and those around him. In a complex interplay of dream, reality, romance, and comedy, Cervantes sets up a sequence of scenes, each of which contains some primal moment of theatrical invention. “The Quest,” the real name for the “Impossible Dream” song that has become the play’s best-known feature, remains one of the supreme examples of a rousing first act closing number, and Ball certainly rose to the occasion.

The second act in this production belonged to Shelton’s Aldonza. Her singing was flawless, and her assured acting turned the play’s most difficult scene — Don Quixote’s deathbed recognition — into an emotional climax. Other standouts included Jamie Torcellini as Sancho, Randal Keith as the innkeeper, Brian MacDonald as the barber, and Gary Lee Reed as the padre. (Fans of Santa Barbara’s Rod Lathim should be interested to know that he will take over the part of Sancho in a few weeks.) James O’Neil, Karyl Lynn Burns, and the entire Rubicon team brought this timeless musical to the stage with style and passion.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THEATER REVIEW (Back Stage West)

Man of La Mancha

by Les Spindle, Back Stage West
* Critic's Pick

October 19, 2006

This 1965 Broadway classic is an exquisitely literate musical. Librettist Dale Wasserman, composer Mitch Leigh, and lyricist Joe Darion brilliantly adapted Miguel de Cervantes' timelessly meaningful 17th-century Spanish novel Don Quixote into a musical drama for the ages. Combining the emotional sweep of grand opera with the cerebral riches of a profound philosophical fable, it's among the most stirring tuners ever written. Director James O'Neil's masterful staging capitalizes on the charming intimacy of the Rubicon Theatre, offering a production overflowing with humor, heart, visual poetry, and musical splendor.

Wasserman's ingenious play-within-a-play structure is lucidly illuminated by O'Neil and his design team (Thomas S. Giamario, sets; Jeremy Pivnick, lighting; Marcy Froehlich, costumes; and T. Teresa Scarano, props), who imbue the proceedings with a breathtaking theatrical flourish. They artfully capture the gritty ambiance of a dungeon filled with downtrodden prisoners, as well as the limitless byways of the imagination, as the prisoners act out a fanciful charade. Cervantes, imprisoned on trumped-up charges by the Holy Inquisition, leads the inmates in a dramatization of his manuscript about Alonso Quijana, a kindhearted but mentally deranged squire who believes he is a fearless and heroic knight, Don Quixote. Wasserman's multilayered book ponders the infinite possibilities of dignity, hope, and compassion in the face of life's severest adversities.

As Cervantes/Quijana/Quixote, George Ball offers a full-throttled portrayal, doing justice to this iconic and immensely challenging role. He belts out magnificent songs ("Dulcinea," "The Quest [The Impossible Dream]") with passionate conviction, bringing out the humor and tragedy in the material. As the feisty kitchen wench Aldonza, Jennifer Shelton is likewise a powerhouse, gracing this portrayal with her formidable vocal chops. She tears out our hearts in the climactic lament "Aldonza." Jamie Torcellini adds wry humor as the sidekick character, Sancho, and Brian McDonald scores with his energetic and hilarious performance as the befuddled Barber. Among featured roles, Joseph Fuqua, Randal Keith, Gary Lee Reed, Natascha Corrigan, and Peggy Billo are standouts. The ensemble players, bolstered by David Potter's vibrant music direction and Cate Caplin's dazzling choreography, are flawless. This magical production reminds us that no theatrical dream is impossible.

Presented by and at Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St ., Ventura. Oct. 7-Nov. 12 . ( 805 ) 667-2900.

 

 

 


 

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS

June 30 - July 3, 2006

 

 

Six Dance
"Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks"- with Mary Jo Catlett at Ensemble Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA
(6/30-7/3/06)

http://independent.com/artsandentertainment/2006/07/homeschool_boogie.html
Santa Barbara Independent Review:  "Home-School Boogie":


"...Of the two characters, lonely senior Lily Harrison is
the more fully realized on the page, but Joseph Fuqua
does a marvelous job of fleshing out aging gay dance 
instructor Michael Minetti. Fuqua manages with 
confidence Minetti’s quicksilver changes between 
recklessly forward and coolly remote. Such strong early
psychological defenses make the deep feelings that break
through later on come across more believably."

 

 

http://independent.com/artsandentertainment/2006/07/homeschool_boogie.html



Top Six Reasons to See Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks

Originally published 12:00 p.m., June 29, 2006
Updated 3:48 p.m., June 30, 2006
By Indy Staff

1. Mary Jo Catlett said that the show has a great message that "seniors are alive and well. People may try to forget about them, but seniors are here, and they are active."

2. Partner dancing is huge right now, with shows like Dancing with the Stars drawing big television ratings.

3. The story is progressive and intergenerational, puttina a 40-something gay dance teacher and his 72-year-old pupil against each other as equals in this battle/tango of the wits.

4. Joseph Fuqua, who plays dance instructor Michael Minetti, knows how to take the lead. He said, "I learned that at Arthur Murray in New York, but even more from my partner when I did competitive disco dancing as a teen. She used to say, 'You have to throw me around, Joe!"

5. Mary Jo Catlett will be a familiar voice for all you SpongeBob fans. She's Mrs. Poppy Puff on that show.

6. The seventh lesson is free!

 

 

 


 

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

Joseph appeared as  "Dale Harding" in this landmark production!!!

 

Photo Courtesy of Brian Kaufman
Gigi Bermingham, Chris Butler and Tim Sampson
Photo Courtesy of Brian Kaufman
The inmates play cards and talk during a scene from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." NOTE: Joseph (with the moustache) is seated second from right)
Photo Courtesy of Brian Kaufman
Gigi Bermingham, Chris Butler and Cliff DeYoung







A blurb from the Thursday, 3/16/06 Ventura County Reporter's Happenings Listings:

http://www.vcreporter.com/article.php?id=3163&IssueNum=63

THEATRE

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST Wednesdays-Sundays, March 16-April 9, 8pm. Rubicon Theatre Company presents the first play of the three-show Wasserman Festival, written by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, and directed by Jenny Sullivan. The award-winning drama stars Chris Butler and Tim Sampson, and previews Thursday-Friday, March 16-17, 8pm, and opens Saturday, March 18, 7pm. Opening Night Gala tickets are $85 and include a post-show reception with the actors. Post-show talk-backs are scheduled March 22 and 29; Student matinees March 17 and April 7, 10am and April 7, 10 am; Benefit performance Sunday March 26, 6:30 pm., and a sign interpreted performance Friday, April 7, 8:00pm. $49-$25. Rubicon Theater, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. 667-2900.

The Thursday, 3/23/06 LA Times Calendar Listing:

http://www.calendarlive.com/search/333661,0,4853250.event

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest





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1006 E. Main St., Ventura


Times rating:

Readers' rating:
Reader reviews: Write a review  | Read other reviews

The Ken Kesey-Dale Wasserman modern fable about a rebel battling the system resonates with particular timeliness in a handsomely-staged revival that takes its iconic characters in some insightful new directions.
-- Philip Brandes
March 24, 2006


Through Apr. 9
 Sundays: 2 p.m.
 Wednesdays: 2 p.m. 7 p.m.
 Thursdays: 8 p.m.
 Fridays: 8 p.m.
 Saturdays: 7 p.m. 2 p.m. 8 p.m.


Price: $26-$49

Box office: 805-667-2900

 

The Friday, 3/24/06 LA Times Review:

http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/cl-et-cuckoo24mar24,0,197537.story

March 24, 2006

THEATER REVIEW

Making a classic story their own

*"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is given a fresh perspective in a staging by Rubicon Theatre Company.
 
(Brian Kaufman / Brooks Institute of Photography)

 




By Philip Brandes, Special to The Times


Through successive page, stage and film incarnations of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Randle P. McMurphy, the boisterous con man-turned psych ward messiah, and his implacable nemesis, Big Nurse Ratched, have become dangerously iconic figures. Reclaiming dramatic complexity from familiar stereotypes is the challenge facing any revival of Dale Wasserman's adaptation of Ken Kesey's allegorical 1962 novel pitting a lone rebel against the Establishment.

Topping the many fine accomplishments of Rubicon Theatre Company's massive production is its success taking the principal antagonists in insightful new directions.

By casting a black McMurphy (Chris Butler), director Jenny Sullivan elegantly and decisively detaches the role from Jack Nicholson's Oscar-winning film portrayal while smartly underscoring the social outsider status of the Kesey-Wasserman protagonist. This McMurphy freely plays his race cards in hilariously un-PC ways, mocking the black ward orderlies and taunting Nurse Ratched (Gigi Bermingham) with Steppenfetchit-style clowning.

Although the play is still set in 1963, Butler's fine performance is calibrated to a more cynical era, shading McMurphy away from the novel's burly, force-of-nature man-child toward a more canny, street-smart survivor adept at sizing up all the angles in a situation. Getting himself transferred from a work farm to Ratched's "cushy" psych ward is the mark of a manipulator more concerned with working the system to his advantage than crusading against it.

Bermingham's refreshing take on Ratched goes beyond the familiar embodiment of an inhuman authoritarian mercilessly defending her orderly routines against a disruptive influence. Instead, she gives us a more personalized sadist who from the outset delights in using red tape to emasculate not only her patients but her psychiatrist supervisor (Cliff DeYoung) as well. Her battles with McMurphy become more of a contest between equals — both exploit the system to advance their agendas.

A key difference from the film is the greater importance given Chief Bromden, the towering, nearly catatonic Native American inmate whose trampled psyche and pride are revived under McMurphy's life-loving influence. Reprising his role from the 2001 Broadway revival is the hauntingly effective Tim Sampson (whose father played Bromden in the film). Bromden narrates Kesey's novel, and his paranoid internal visions of the all-powerful Combine are vividly realized by multimedia designer Mark Ciglar.

A superb ensemble cast convincingly differentiates the lovable but heartbreaking ward loonies (Joseph Fuqua, John Ainsworth, Travis Michael Holder, Dan Gunther, John Slade, Nick Santoro); Kara Revel lights up their lives as the sweet-hearted hooker McMurphy smuggles in for an illicit party that leads to climactic tragedy.

The production's uniquely nuanced dynamics between McMurphy and Ratched notwithstanding, "Cuckoo's Nest" can still be criticized, with some justification, for its black-and-white comic book morality. The psych ward — with its Orwellian surveillance, electro-shock torture and indefinite internment with no legal recourse — is a comfortably distanced alternate reality. Nevertheless, when McMurphy discovers that his fellow inmates have embraced its hollow promises of healing and protection voluntarily, the recognition does give us pause.

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

Where: Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura

When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays

Ends: April 9

Price: $25 to $49

Contact: (805) 667-2900 or www.rubicontheatre.org

Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

 

The LA Times Reader Reviews:

http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/333661,0,2057534,reviews.event

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

1006 E. Main St., Ventura


Times rating:

Readers' rating:
Reader reviews: Write a review | Number of reviews: 1


The Ken Kesey-Dale Wasserman modern fable about a rebel battling the system resonates with particular timeliness in a handsomely-staged revival that takes its iconic characters in some insightful new directions.
-- Philip Brandes
March 24, 2006


 Reader Reviews

March 22, 2006
Shawn Ryan
West Hollywood, CA

Among all the theatre I have seen in SoCal since moving here 4 years ago, this is by far...THE BEST! The cast, the direction, the sets , lighting and costumes were all Broadway Caliber! Truly remarkable! Do not miss this brilliant retelling of the famed Cuckoo's Nest! Truly Brilliant!



 

The Thursday, 3/23/06 Ventura County Star Stage Listing:

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_4562855,00.html

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

March 23, 2006

The Rubicon Theatre Company presents the first play of its Dale Wasserman Festival. The play, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, runs through April 9 at the theater, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

For tickets — $25-$49, with discounts for groups, seniors, students and military — call 667-2900 or visit http://www.rubicontheatre.org.


The Thursday, 3/23/06 Ventura County Star Review:

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_4562863,00.html



The cast of 'Cuckoo's' is crazy good

By Rita Moran, Arts writer
March 23, 2006

The last voice the audience hears before theater lights dim and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" begins is that of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

His words, "Let freedom ring," reverberate through the Rubicon Theatre Company's performance space. The words are a powerful plea for throwing off physical and psychological shackles, a perfect fit for the play set in a mental hospital.

Based on a novel by the free-wheeling Ken Kesey and fashioned into a play by Dale Wasserman, "Cuckoo" is an iconic American tale, made memorable to multitudes in the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson as McMurphy, the savvy and unpredictable minor felon who convinces authorities he deserves mental help rather than time on the work farm.

Director Jenny Sullivan has found a perfect fit for the role in Chris Butler, who combines volumes of charm and swagger with explosiveness as the man who ultimately leads the beaten-down patients he's incarcerated with to a new level of confidence and at least an increment of self-realization.

Dropped into the psycho ward with no preparation, McMurphy plays a dangerous game before he learns the rules. The staff, led by the rigid Nurse Ratched, is the final arbiter on whether a patient leaves the institution, or instead needs additional treatment, however long it might take. The more rebellious the patient, the more treatment he may be deemed to require, at least in Nurse Ratched's view. And since she is the strongest figure around, until McMurphy arrives with his flash and dazzle, her word prevails.




Photos courtesy of Brian Kaufman

The inmates play cards and talk during a scene from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," now playing through Sunday, April 9, at the Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St. in Ventura.



Gigi Bermingham, Chris Butler and Cliff DeYoung star in the Rubicon TheatreProduction of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."


RELATED STORIES
'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

"Treatment" is punitive, beginning with shock therapy and escalating to lobotomy. (Cast member Travis Michael Holder's essay on the much different scene in modern mental institutions than those in Kesey's era is featured in the program, noting that lobotomy has been discarded and shock therapy refined.)

Supporting cast shines

The ensemble cast percolates with talent, with each inmate grasping a characterization and riding it through the gradual changes McMurphy engenders with his can-do spirit. The beaten-down bunch all suffer from some variation of the plaint of Chief Bromden, the Native American inmate who watched his tribe disintegrate and his noble father succumb to federal regulation. Towering over the rest of the cast, the chief finally tells McMurphy, "I'm not big enough."

The cowering giant has been deemed unable to hear or speak, but he gradually absorbs enough of McMurphy's juice to be his own man, faithful to McMurphy till the end.

Director Sullivan is fortunate to have Tim Sampson, whose father played the role in the film version, as Chief Bromden. The chief's words form a leitmotif for the play, with his musings on his downtrodden tribe and his longing for the power of nature that had sustained his people through centuries.

In some productions, the chief is isolated and spotlighted when he speaks — before he is roused by McMurphy from his silent state — and audiences quickly grasp that he is voicing his thoughts. Rubicon has a more elaborate mechanism, with the words recorded, enhanced by appropriate tribal and nature sounds, while the chief stands silent and still, more difficult for the actor who has to show flickers of thought and emotion through an impassive facade.

Along with his voice, the Rubicon tech team has created ghostlike images of giant machinery, complete with the cranking, clunky sounds inexorably grinding down humanity. It's an eerie effect, even while it tends toward the obvious.

If crippling guilt complexes sent some of the patients to the institution, that is a tool that Nurse Ratched uses to crush them into submission.

As played by Gigi Bermingham, the nurse is manipulative to the core, but not as grim-faced as many in the role before her. Bermingham seems at times able to smile, albeit tightly, as she battles the patients. That leads to speculation about nuances in her character, leaving her not just the frighteningly frigid mother figure to the men, but also a woman who could be moved but refuses to allow herself that flaw.

The rest of the cast has its characterizations nailed. Most moving is the stuttering Billy Bibbit, played with eager innocence by John Ainsworth. Billy has been committed by his mother, who gets along well with Nurse Ratched, or so the nurse would have Billy believe.

When McMurphy and crew hold a party at which Billy enthusiastically loses his virginity to a friendly prostitute, it's the last straw for Nurse Ratched and leads directly to the play's tragic conclusion.

Inspiring work

Sterling performances are turned in by all of the actor-patients: Rubicon regular Joseph Fuqua as Dale Harding, the dignified but intimidated husband who can't cope with his glamorous wife; Holder as Cheswick, compulsive but fearful; Dan Gunther as the wild, spaced-out Martini; Nick Santoro as the catatonic Ruckley; and Ojai's John Slade as the oddball Scanlon, feverishly fashioning a bomb. When he says he's going to build a bomb to "blow up the whole stinking world," the quick response is, "You've got competition."

Cliff DeYoung hits just the right comic note as the vaguely sympathetic Dr. Spivey, captivated by McMurphy's spirit and rationalizations, but ultimately trumped by Nurse Ratched.

Kara Revel as the good-time Candy and Von Rae Wood as her friend, Sandra, are a hoot as the visiting party girls.

Three ensemble scenes are superbly staged: the first rebellion when the patients whose World Series treat has been snatched away from them "watch" it anyway with all the appropriate gusto; the second, when the men pull off a makeshift basketball game, each shooting or feinting in character; and the final booze and broads party that sends Nurse Ratched, and then McMurphy, over the edge.

But McMurphy, who's been warned that violent action on his part would seal his institutionalization for a very long time and possibly lead to lobotomy (he's already survived an electric surge), knows what he's doing.

His attack on Nurse Ratched may radically truncate his future, but it could embolden the others to embrace every bit of freedom they can muster. To McMurphy, as played with wily grace and guts by Butler, it's worth the price.

— E-mail Rita Moran at ritamoran@earthlink.net.

 



The Tuesday, March 21, 2006 (Daily) Variety review:

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117929993?categoryId=33&cs=1




One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest



TEST OF WILLS: From left, Gigi Bermingham,
Chris Butler and Cliff DeYoung in “Cuckoo’s Nest.”

(Brian Kaufman / Brooks Institute of Photography)


(Rubicon Theater; 212 seats; $49 top)
 
A Rubicon Theater Company, in association with Micheline and Albert Sakharoff, presentation of a play in two acts by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, directed by Jenny
Sullivan.

By JULIO MARTINEZ

As the opening salvo of its three-show Dale Wasserman Festival, Ventura-based Rubicon Theater Company is offering an ENGROSSING PERUSAL through Wasserman's epic struggle between an unmanageable free spirit and an all-powerful specter of community conformity. Under the INTUITIVE GUIDANCE of helmer Jenny Sullivan, this legiter's transparent themes are IMPRESSIVELY REALIZED as an IMPECCABLE ENSEMBLE fluidly inhabit the menagerie residing within Wasserman's "Cuckoo's Nest."

Wasserman adapted Ken Kesey's popular 1962 antiestablishment novel for the stage in 1963.

Driving the action in this production is the RIVETING battle waged between Chris Butler's wily, reptilian McMurphy and Gigi Bermingham's controlling, agenda-entrenched Nurse Ratched.

The McMurphy/Ratched mano a mano is played out in Thomas S. Giamario's impressively lived-in State Mental Hospital day room, with its worn folding table and chairs and requisite elevated nurse's station.

Sullivan's staging strongly underscores that the unfolding drama is being realized through the scarred psyche of Chief Bromden (Tim Sampson), a Native American who has successfully executed the ruse of being a deaf mute to evade the machinations of Nurse Ratched's offhandedly cruel orderlies (L. Trey Wilson, Brandon St. Claire Saunders, Kevin James). Though much of his dialogue is executed by pre-recorded voiceover, Sampson (the son of film version's Will Sampson) conveys Bromden's tortured inner life while giving credible voice and perspective to Kesey's indictment of an institutionalized society.

Bermingham admirably avoids turning Ratched into an automaton of efficiency for its own sake. In her crisp, starched white uniform, Ratched is a stern but caring taskmaster who handles her charges more as if they were undisciplined students than as inmates. She is as quick to praise as she is to scold, her fleeting smiles suggesting she relishes any advancement in her goals for these men. Bermingham also makes tangibly genuine Ratched's transformation from misguided caregiver to avenging monster as the catastrophic presence of McMurphy eventually strips her of her authority and dignity, revealing her woeful limitations as a human being.

Butler 's McMurphy is a spellbinding amalgam of carnival huckster, jiving minstrel man and potentially dangerous sociopath, who has conned his way out of a prison work farm and imposed himself on Ratched's well-ordered routine. Butler 's darting eyes and malleable face constantly reflect McMurphy's quick appraisal of every situation to see if it can be manipulated in his favor. He immediately assumes the mantle of "bull goose loony," constantly taking advantage of the others while simultaneously displaying intuitive insight and believable compassion for his fellow inmates. He even manages to establish camaraderie with the institution's self-effacing psychiatrist, Dr. Spivey (Cliff De Young), which sets in motion the inevitable lethal confrontation with Ratched.

Deserving an ensemble-within-an-ensemble award are Ratched's well-medicated but still electrically vital family of "loonies" that careen off and through one another as if they have occupied each other's space all their lives. They include Joseph Fuqua's deceptively haughty but ultimately humane Harding; John Ainsworth's touching portrayal of stuttering boy-man Billy Bibbit; and Travis Michael Holder's emotion-ravaged but highly observant Cheswick.

Adding continuous comic relief are John Slade's doomsday-prophesizing Scanlon and Dan Gunther's hallucinating Martini. A constant reminder of what could become of any inmate who incurs Ratched's final solution is the catatonic, lobotomized visage of Nick Santoro's Ruckley.

The Rubicon Theater Company's tribute to Wasserman will continue with the tuner "Man of La Mancha" and the world premiere of Wasserman's "Open Secrets."

Sets, Thomas S. Giamario; lights, Jeremy Pivnick; costumes, Marcy Froehlich; sound, David Beaudry; multimedia, Mark Ciglar. Opened March 18, 2006. Reviewed March 19. Runs until April 9. Running time: 2 HOURS, 40 MIN.

McMurphy - Chris Butler
Nurse Ratched - Gigi Bermingham
Chief Bromden - Tim Sampson
Nurse Flynn - Emily Shorr
Dale Harding - Joseph Fuqua
Billy Bibbit - John Ainsworth
Cheswick - Travis Michael Holder
Martini - Dan Gunther
Ruckley - Nick Santoro
Scanlon - John Slade
Dr. Spivey - Cliff De Young
Candy - Kara Revel
Sandra - Von Rae Wood
Orderlies - L. Trey Wilson,
Brandon St. Claire Sanders, Kevin James  

 

 


 

TWELVE ANGRY JURORS (a.k.a.: Twelve Angry Men") 
Inaugural production for RTC's "Show of Justice" Event

June 2005 Issue of CITATIONS:  A View From The Courts - page 20
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:bR0QPjUZFNIJ:www.vcba.org/citationsmag/2005/05jun.pdf+Rubicon+Theatre+Company+Show+of+Justice&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=8

CASTING CALL TO ALL ATTORNEY ACTORS!

Ventura's Rubicon Theatre Company has announced plans to produce a stage version of Twelve Angry Jurors, starring local attorneys and judges. Maybe even you. The fundraising project is modeled after annual events throughout the country involving judges and lawyers in play productions. Proceeds will be used to renovate the company's historic building and create an endowment.

Company co-founder and director James O'Neil held a news conference to announce reading auditions on June 26-28 for performances on June 4-6. Court of Appeal Justice Steve Perren and Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge George Esken will be involved in the production, which may have multiple casts, depending upon how many people audition.

The local Ventura and Santa Barbara Bars need only supply the actors, as O'Neil says the theatre will provide professional set, lighting, sound and costume designers. One of the company's leading actors, Joseph Fuqua, will direct. Fuqua also directed Rubicon's production of J For J.

This version of Reginald Rose's play Twelve Angry Men, will include roles for both men and women. The play was made famous by Sydney Lumet's 1957 film version featuring Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb.

Rubicon Theatre Company is the region's premier professional theatre company. O'Neil, a native of Santa Barbara, and Karyl Lynn Burns founded the company in 1998. In just seven seasons the company has become the rising star of West Coast theatres. Luminaries such as Ed Asner, George Ball, Stacy Keach, Michael Learned, Amanda McBroom, Linda Purl and Efrem and Stephanie Zimbalist have worked with the company. Jack Lemmon and John Ritter both made their final stage appearances with Rubicon. 

Contact the Rubicon Theatre Company for tickets, and informational packet or to schedule an audition (807) 667-2900. 

According to a press release issued May 18, the production will be an annual fundraising event for the Rubicon Theatre Company. "The cost for 'Show of Justice' participants ...  will be $500 per person and a commitment to buy or sell 25 tickets for $85 to the shows. The organization hopes to net $50,000 in the first year." 

 

Contacts:  James O’Neil (805) 667-2900, ext. 228

or Karyl Lynn Burns (805) 667-2900, ext. 224

 

PRESS INFORMATION

ATTN: Local and Regional News/Life/Arts Editors

 

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2005

 

Local Attorneys and Supreme Court Justice’s Wife “Subpoenaed” to “Give Testimony”

at Ventura ’s Former County Courthouse:

 Rubicon Theatre Company Announces “Show of Justice”

 

Ventura , CA   -- Today at noon , in the former Ventura County Courthouse ( Ventura ’s City Hall), Santa Barbara and Ventura County legal professionals, a Supreme Court Justice’s wife and other expert witnesses were “subpoenaed” to “give testimony.”

 Local legal heavyweights from the bench and the bar were in attendance, including Frederick H. Bysshe, George Eskin, William Peck; Don Hurley, President of the Ventura County Bar Association; Tom Henshaw, President of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association; Jim Herman, Past President of the State Bar Association; Dennis Jones, a Board Member of the Ventura Trial Lawyers Association and a Partner at Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones & Schneider; Jerry Oshinsky, a partner with Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky; and Al Vargas, an attorney with Lascher & Lascher and Editor of Citation Magazine.

Celebrity Linda Purl, who played Sarah Novelli, the wife of a Supreme Court Justice on the series “First Monday,” and attorney Charlene Matlock on “Matlock,” appeared as an expert witness. Rosa Lee Measures, former Deputy Mayor of the City of Ventura and Rubicon Honorary Chair, served as special defender of the public good.

The event included a swearing in, opening and closing statements, selection of jurors and some serious pleading. The case was made in less than 30 minutes. It was open and shut.

Was this a juicy legal battle reenacted for Court TV? No! It was a press conference announcing a new annual fundraising event for Rubicon Theatre Company, Ventura ’s non-profit professional theatre company. 

Members of the legal profession came together in the San Buenaventura City Hall Council Chambers ( Ventura ’s former County Courthouse ), to lend their support to an idea that has “precedent” at other theatre companies in the U.S. and Canada – an event Rubicon will call “Show of Justice.”

About Show of Justice

“Show of Justice,” according to Rubicon’s Founding Artistic Directors James O’Neil and Karyl Lynn Burns, will give area attorneys and judges an opportunity to test their dramatic skills in a community production on Rubicon’s stage, while also making a direct contribution to Rubicon’s programming. Participants will pay or raise a base fee to participate, and also purchase or sell at least 25 tickets. Auditions will be held and the production will be rehearsed over a several-month period at intervals in spread out the time commitment of the participants. The production will be offered with full costumes, lights, set and sound on Rubicon’s stage, and each performance will be followed by a reception at an area restaurant or hotel for audience members and participants.

 The first annual “Show of Justice” is slated for November 4 thru 6 at Rubicon Theatre Company’s intimate 200-seat home in Ventura , located at 1006 E. Main Street (Laurel and Main ). Auditions for the show will take place June 26, 27and 28 at the theatre. Those interested in auditioning may call Chris Rennolds at (805) 667-2900, ext. 225.

Testimony from Attorneys and Supreme Court Justice’s Wife

At today’s press conference, the “testimony” included comments about Rubicon ’s impact on the region by Measures and Jones, who described Rubicon ’s “importance to the cultural, educational and economic life of the region.” Measures stressed that Rubicon has reached more than 165,000 individuals with more than 40 stellar productions in just seven seasons. Jones, whose daughter participated in Rubicon ’s education programs, spoke to the company’s extensive commitment to outreach, through after-school and weekend classes and programs for area students; partnerships with the Boys and Girls Clubs and the City to serve at-risk youth; and summer musical theatre camps.

Purl, an actress with Broadway and Off-Broadway credits in addition to her film and television roles, served as an “expert witness.” Purl spoke from her own experiences at Rubicon , where she portrayed Blanche Dubois in the Company’s recent critically acclaimed production of A Streetcar Namdd Desire. (Purl also played Regina in The Little Foxes, and starred opposite Stacy Keach in Rubicon’s production of Love Letters.) She has worked on and off-Broadway as well. Purl will serve as Artistic Director of a soon-to-be-announced international theatre festival Rubicon is planning for the company’s 10th Anniversary.

Purl made a case for the arts in general, and theatre, specifically, as prevention for society’s ills, stressing its importance in fostering a deeper, personal understanding of belief systems and cultures different from our own.

The “pleading” came from Rubicon’s Managing Director Norbert Tan, who explained the Company’s financial structure. According to Tan, Rubicon, like the majority of non-profit theatres in the country, makes less than half the costs of operation from ticket sales – even with many sold-out houses.  “More than $1.3 million of Rubicon’s annual budget must be raised through contributions, grants, sponsorships and fundraising events such as ‘Show of Justice,’ he commented.

The cost for “Show of Justice” participants, said Tan, will be $500 per person and a commitment to buy or sell 25 tickets for $85 each to the shows. The organization hopes to net $50,000 in the first year.

Show of Justice Director

This year’s “Show of Justice” director will be Joseph Fuqua, one of Rubicon ’s leading actors and director of RTC’s production of J for J, written by and featuring Jenny Sullivan and starring Jeff Kober and the late John Ritter. Fuqua won last year’s Ovation Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his work in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. An MFA graduate of Yale School of Drama, Mr. Fuqua has also been the recipient of Indie, Rep and Robby Awards. He has appeared on and off-Broadway. Other roles at Rubicon include The Little Foxes with Linda Purl, The Rainmaker with Stephanie Zimbalist and Art with Cliff DeYoung and Bruce Weitz. He will appear this summer at RTC in Tuesday’s with Morrie opposite Harold Gould.

Inaugural Show

Pending final rights approval, the first “Show of Justice” production will be Twelve Angry Jurors, a version of Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. Set in New York in 1957, the play is a taut drama set in a jury room in 1957 during a capital murder case. In the play, eleven of twelve jurors gathered believe the defendant is guilty; one juror believes there is “reasonable doubt” – to the frustration of his colleagues. During the heated deliberations, each juror must come to terms with his or her own preconceptions and assumptions and the legal system itself is examined. The play went on to become an Academy Award-winning film produced by Henry Fonda and starring Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. 

About Rubicon

Rubicon Theatre Company is the region’s premier professional theatre company. O’Neil, a third-generation Santa Barbaran, and Karyl Lynn Burns, founded the Company in Ventura in 1998. In just seven seasons, the company has become the rising star of West Coast theatres. Luminaries such as Ed Asner, George Ball, David Birney, Susan Clark, Cliff DeYoung, Bonnie Franklin, Larry Hagman, Michael Learned, Amanda McBroom, Tony Franciosa, Joe Spano, Bruce Weitz and Efrem and Stephanie Zimbalist have worked with the company. Jack Lemmon made his final stage appearances with Rubicon.

Rubicon was nominated for 20 Ovation Awards in 2004, more than any other individual theatre in Southern California . The company won the coveted award for “Best Production,” for its revival of All My Sons. Rubicon has also received Santa Barbara Indy Awards, Ventura County

Rep Awards, Robby Awards, Garland Awards, and O’Neil recently won the Southern California NAACP Award for Best Director in an Equity Theatre.

Rubicon presents a mainstage season of comedies, dramas and musicals in an intimate 200-seat former church in Ventura ’s Downtown Cultural District. The company is governed by a prominent board of social and civic leaders and administrated by Burns and O’Neil along with Managing Director Norbert Tan, who joined Rubicon two years ago from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In the past twelve months, Rubicon has put a down payment on the 200-seat former church where the company has performed, and launched a capital campaign to renovate the theatre and create a cash reserve and endowment.

Further Information

For information about sponsorship of “Show of Justice,” audition information, or to purchase tickets, please call Rubicon Theatre Company at (805) 667-2900, ext. 225.

 

---###---

 

 
Karyl Lynn Burns
Producing Artistic Director
Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 E. Main Street
Suite 300
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 667-2900, ext. 24
(805) 667-2903 Fax

 

 


 

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE

Everyone - this is truly a DON'T MISS!!!!!

I saw this amazing production Sunday (7/3/05), it is a beautiful piece of theatre that succeeded despite the complications it had to overcome! (see below) ***)

 


Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography

Joseph (left) and Harold Gould in "Tuesdays 
With Morrie". Harold plays Morrie and Joseph 
plays his student Mitch Albom, in this show
based on the book of the same name written
by Albom.

 

 

 

 

***UPDATE 6/30/05:
A concerned Rubicon Supporter wrote this letter, published in the Ventura County Star and posted on insidevc.com today:

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/opinion/article/0,1375,VCS_125_3892421,00.html

Your letters: West county

June 30, 2005

Threat to 'Tuesdays'

I write for the sole purpose of telling the community of a treasure we have right here in our backyard. It's called the Rubicon Theater, where an excellent production of "Tuesdays With Morrie" is playing. It will run through July 18, but it cannot be publicized, which cuts down dramatically on attendance.

The reason for no publicity seems contradictory to me. Our community theater contracted players, got the rights to the play and did everything by the books. Then, a national company was formed afterward that will visit the Los Angeles area this summer. They called our production and insisted they stop this play -- after all was finished and the play had begun! Unreasonable?

I think so! After many discussions, the compromise of "no advertising" was agreed upon.

Since I am simply a season subscriber to the Rubicon and am not bound by these agreed-upon rules, I want to tell everyone this is by far the very best production of "Tuesdays With Morrie" we have seen. I encourage all in our community to support this and all of the productions.

Doesn't it seem to contradict the idea of promoting public theater when these things happen? Our area needs this and all local theater. Please support it.

-- Arlene Broslow, Oxnard

 

I spoke with Joseph Fuqua about this after the 7/3 matinee of Morrie.  The letter is basically accurate, however, it's not just the advertising Morrie can't have.  It can't have any press at all, meaning no reviewers. Now, the matinee was almost sold out, and that's a good thing, BUT, it has to fight for its' audiences. This is a BEAUTIFUL piece of theatre. A very touching, funny, lovely show. Joseph, Harold and Director Jenny Sullivan have all worked VERY HARD to give Ventura, and anyone who can get there, this wonderful production. I IMPLORE you to go see this show. Help them fight back against this "no press" clause and give them the audience they so richly deserve. Morrie plays until July 17th.

UPDATE 7/21/05:

Colleen Cason's article - written after the show closed:

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/ve/article/0,1375,VCS_251_3942949,00.html

 
header_ventura.gif
 

Play put Rubicon in a difficult legal situation

By Colleen Cason, ccason@VenturaCountyStar.com
July 21, 2005

The Rubicon Theatre Company had cast the actors for its production of "Tuesdays with Morrie."

The troupe named a director, created a set and alerted the media.

Indeed, in the weeks before the play's scheduled June 16 opening curtain, the Ventura company had everything in place.

Everything, that is, but the legal right to stage the Jeffrey Hatcher-Mitch Albom play, according to representatives of playwright Albom and the William Morris Agency.

Only through an unusual, last-minute agreement between the 207-seat Rubicon and New York-based entertainment powerhouse William Morris did the play run legally through its final curtain Sunday.

But that pact -- powered together two days before the premiere -- contained a rare provision: The Rubicon was forbidden from publicizing the production.

In trying to control media coverage and still fill the seats in the East Main Street venue, varying stories emerged from the troupe about how the respected, seven-year-old regional theater found itself in this precarious position.

Staging a production without the rights would make the company subject to civil litigation, according to Donald Farber, a New York attorney specializing in theatrical law.

Karyl Lynn Burns, the Rubicon's co-founder, said she thought permission had been secured three months before the opening of the autobiographical play about Detroit columnist Albom's weekly visits with his dying mentor. She learned the troupe did not have the rights during a telephone conversation with a William Morris agent a few days before the show was to open, Burns said.

"We absolutely believed we had the rights," she said.

When asked by The Star to show "Morrie" production-related contracts, Burns declined.

Burns explained in a conversation with The Star's editor, Joe Howry, in June that William Morris had pulled the rights at the eleventh hour because a national touring company was in negotiations to stage the play in Los Angeles with "Barney Miller" star Hal Linden in the lead role.

Jack Tantleff, who handled the matter for the William Morris Agency, would not comment on the record about its dealings with the Rubicon on this production.

Burns, a veteran of local repertory, said the process of obtaining the rights to "Morrie" was unlike that for other Rubicon productions.

"We thought it was a more casual agreement," she said.

Casual is not a word Paul Hough, director of production for the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City, would use to describe the contract his troupe inked for its just-finished run of "Tuesdays with Morrie."

That contract, said Hough, gave Albom approval over the choice of actors and of certain crew members.

Albom did approve the casting and was in frequent contact with Hough, even returning phone calls during station breaks of Albom's radio show.

The Rubicon had no contact with Albom during casting or rehearsals, Burns said.

And that is telling, said Albom's literary agent, David Black. "Mitch didn't know anything about this (the Rubicon) production before it opened."

"His contracts always specify he has these kinds of approvals, and he always exercises them," Black said.

Theatrical contracts vary widely, according to attorney Farber, and they do often contain clauses forcing smaller theaters to yield their rights if a national company hits town.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre encountered just this situation with "Tuesdays with Morrie," according to Jane Robison, the company's executive director.

Robison received tentative approval to stage "Morrie" at the 600-seat Indianapolis theater. But when she sought a contract for the rights in April of this year, she was told her run -- scheduled to close at the end of December 2005 -- would compete with the Broadway Across America national tour coming into a larger Indianapolis venue on Jan. 17, 2006.

She was forced to substitute another play but had received several months notice.

In her 20 years in the theater business, Robison said, she had never heard of a company having its rights yanked within days of opening.

By all accounts, the no-publicity deal struck between William Morris and the Rubicon also is unusual.

To hold up her end of this bargain, Burns approached Star Editor Howry and asked him not to send a reviewer to the play. The Star reviews most Rubicon productions.

"Karyl Lynn told me the shutdown of this production could bankrupt the Rubicon," Howry said of a discussion held in his office the day before the play's June 18 premiere.

Because the theater is a Ventura County cultural resource, Howry agreed not to review the play.

Burns later declined to give the estimated monetary loss to the troupe had "Morrie" gone dark.

In addition, The Star is a sponsor of the Rubicon. The newspaper provides advertising space to the troupe in exchange for promotional tie-ins, according to Monica White, The Star's director of marketing.

Despite the no-publicity pledge, ads for the Rubicon's production of "Morrie" ran in the Star 19 times during the play's run, White said.

Burns, who is rehearsing her one-woman show "Shirley Valentine," scheduled to open Aug. 18, said she forgot to cancel the ads.

She did write a script for actor Harold Gould to deliver to audiences after several performances of "Morrie."

The character actor, who appeared in the film "Freaky Friday" and on the TV sitcom "Rhoda," encouraged theatergoers to spread the news about the production by word of mouth, according to patron Arlene Broslow.

As Broslow recalls Gould's words, he said the Rubicon had bought the rights and met all legal requirements, but a national touring company eyeing a Los Angeles run wanted this staging of "Morrie" shuttered days before its opening. He then explained the no-publicity pact.

"We in the audience were dumbfounded," Broslow said. "As good as this production was, the people who held the rights were going to shut it down before it even opened."

Despite the lack of reviews, the play drew larger audiences than projected, according to Burns.

Claire Bowman, chairwoman of the Rubicon's board of directors, is grateful to William Morris for allowing the production to be seen by county theatergoers.

"Because of incorrect assumptions on our part, a delicate situation arose," Bowman said in a written statement.

"The rights holders responded in the spirit of the play to allow us the opportunity to present what was a moving, beautiful and comforting experience for several thousand local audience members," she added.

Known for its hardball dealings on behalf its roster of A-list clients, William Morris is cast against type in this scenario -- actually showing its softer side.

"They were generous in finding a compromise," Burns said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Albom's agent, Black.

"What happened here is like the play 'Tuesdays with Morrie' itself. It's about people being decent to each other."


UPDATE 9/7/05
Well  the National Tour that caused RTC's "Morrie" so many problems is now going to star RTC's "Morrie" (Harold Gould)! Hal Linden, who was to play Morrie in the tour has had to bow out of the role for personal reasons. (This announcement came with the posting of Steve Magidson's opening gala photo album.  You can see two pictures from the album, and find the album link below. Well, I guess Mitch Albom and company are learning that more productions of "Morrie" than they plan for can be a blessing! I bet they're glad RTC did the show now!

Per the Ventura County Reporter (6/17/05):

http://www.vcreporter.com/happenings.html

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE Wed. 2&7pm, Thurs.-Fri. 8pm, Sat. 2&8pm, Sun. 2pm, June 18-July 17, with preview shows Thursday and Friday, June 16-17. Rubicon Theatre Company presents the third production of the company’s 2005 season, Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom’s "Tuesdays with Morrie". Directed by Jenny Sullivan, "Tuesdays with Morrie" reunites Sullivan with actors Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua in this autobiographical story which follows a successful sports journalist who is driven solely by his career until he learns that a former college professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. What began as a quick visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and an unforgettable, astonishing lesson on the meaning of life. Also featuring June 18 gala, post-show talkbacks the first two Wednesdays, pre-show themed Friday and Saturday night dinners July 1-2 and an audio-described performance on July 10. Tickets $27-$48, with opening night gala on June 18 for $175 (including show tickets and post-show party with cast and dignitaries.) Rubicon Theatre,1006 E. main St., Ventura. 667-2900.


From ReviewPlays.com:

http://www.reviewplays.com/tuesmorrie.htm

RUBICON THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS

THE THIRD PRODUCTION OF THE 2005 INTERIM SEASON…

 

From the internationally-acclaimed best-selling book 

    Harold Gould       Joseph Fuqua           

          TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE

Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom

Based on the book by Mitch Albom

Directed by Jenny Sullivan

Limited Engagement opens Saturday, June 18 at Rubicon Theatre in Ventura !  

“I was unprepared for how moving and powerful Tuesdays with Morrie turned out to be. On this ground, the flowers of humanity grow.”   – New York Post


June 1, 2005 … Ventura …Rubicon Theatre Company presents the third production of the company’s 2005 Season, TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom (based on the book by Mitch Albom).  Directed by Rubicon Artistic Director Jenny Sullivan (Art, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Rainmanker), TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE reunites Sullivan with actors Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua who starred together in Rubicon’s critically acclaimed production of Old Wicked Songs.  TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE opens Saturday, June 18 and plays through Sunday, July 17 at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 East Main St. in Ventura ’s Downtown Cultural District.  Low-cost previews are scheduled for June 16 and 17.      

This autobiographical story was on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than four years with more than 5 million copies sold.  It also inspired an Emmy Award-winning television movie presented by Oprah Winfrey. Tuesdays with Morrie follows a successful sports journalist who is driven solely by his career, until he learns that a former college professor is battling Lou Gehrig's disease. The student and teacher are reunited, and what begins as a quick visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and an unforgettable and astonishing lesson on the meaning of life.

“We are honored to have Harold Gould back on our stage in the role of Morrie.  Morrie is such a wise, funny and charming character, and Hal is perfect for the part.  From the first moment we saw Hal onstage – in an astonishing performance of King Lear – we dreamed of having him work at Rubicon.  To us, he is one of the greatest stage actors our time.  Hal and Joseph have a special chemistry and a wonderful relationship, similar in some ways to that of the two characters.  Their friendship serves to deepen their work onstage in this production,” says Rubicon Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns.  “We know our audiences are going to be moved in unexpected ways by this enlightening and life-affirming play!” 


About Director Jenny Sullian

JENNY SULLIVAN (Director) is an Artistic Associate at Rubicon, where her credits include Happy Days with Robin Pearson Rose in the company’s West Coast BeckettFest; Art with Cliff DeYoung, Joseph Fuqua and Bruce Weitz; Dancing at Lughnasa with Susan Clark, Bonnie Franklin and Stephanie Zimbalist; Old Wicked Songs with Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua; The Rainmaker with Stephanie Zimbalist; The Little Foxes with Linda Purl; two casts of Ancestral Voices with Ed Asner, Tony Franciosa, Mariette Hartley, Michael Learned, Joseph Fuqua and Joe Spano; and Love Letters with Jack Lemmon and Felicia Farr. Jenny was Associate Director for the L.A. production of The Vagina Monologues. Also in L.A., Jenny directed premieres of Ad Wars at the Court and Tiffany theatres with David Dukes, Stephanie Zimbalist and John Bennett Perry; The Cat’s Meow with Joseph Fuqua at the Coast Playhouse and Matrix theatres; and Against the Glass at the Court Theatre.  

Jenny directed the world premiere of  The Baby Dance with Linda Purl and Stephanie Zimbalist at the Pasadena Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Long Wharf Theatre (CT Critics’ Directing Award) and the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off-Broadway. In her six seasons at Williamstown, Jenny directed MACS (A Macaroni Requiem), Defying Gravity, Hotel Oubliette, Dirt and The Ferry Back. Her regional credits include The Elephant Man for San Jose Rep, Listen for Wings at Access Theatre, and Mother Earth/Father Sky and The Shadow Box at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara . Jenny directed radio plays for “The Play’s the Thing” Boston and LA TheatreWorks. Her film credits include “Access All Areas” and “The Next Best Thing” (in which she had the good fortune to direct her father Barry). Rubicon produced the World Premiere of Jenny’s play J for J with Jeff Kober and the late John Ritter in 2001. The production subsequently played at the Court Theatre in L.A.

 

Cast and Design Team

HAROLD GOULD (Morrie) has received recognition on Broadway for his roles in such plays as John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves, Neil Simon’s Fools, Jules Feiffer’s Grown Ups, and Tom Stoppard’s Artist Descending a Staircase. In L.A. , he performed his one man show Freud and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award for his role as Ezra Pound in Incommunicado.  At various Shakespeare festivals, Harold has performed leading roles in King Lear, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and Merchant of Venice . He has previously appeared at Rubicon in Old Wicked Songs and Defying Gravity. His impressive list of films includes “The Sting,” “Silent Movie,” “Love and Death,” “The Front Page,” “Seems Like Old Times,” “Patch Adams,” “Stuart Little” and most recently “Freaky Friday.” He has received the ACE Cable TV award for his role in Ray Bradbury’s “To the Chicago Abyss”; and five Emmy nominations for his extensive television work, which includes multiple appearances on “Rhoda” and “The Golden Girls” and a co-starring appearance with Katharine Hepburn in “Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry.” Harold’s voice is heard on recordings of short stories such as “Jewish Stories from the Old World and New,” and those produced by Symphony Space programs in New York, as well as numerous TV and radio commercials.

JOSEPH FUQUA (Mitch) is Rubicon Theatre’s first company member. He has appeared on and Off-Broadway in Brighton Beach Memoirs, 110 in the Shade ( Lincoln Center ), Raft of the Medusa and Yours, Anne. Regionally, Joseph played Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Alexei in A Month in the Country at the Arena Stage, Iago in Othello at the Dallas Shakespeare Festival and Louis in Angels in America at the Dallas Theatre Center . Joseph guest starred on “The X-Files,” “The Profiler,” “Brooklyn South,” “The Pretender,” “Chicago Hope,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Becker.” On film, he has appeared in “Ed’s Next Move,” “David Searching,” “Heyday,” and as J.E.B. Stuart in “ Gettysburg ,” a role he reprised in the Warner Brothers film “Gods and Generals” with Robert Duvall. L.A. audiences have seen Joseph in The Cat’s Meow (Drama-Logue Award), Very Truly Yours, On the Jump at South Coast Rep, and All My Sons at the International City Theatre of Long Beach. He made his professional directorial debut with J for J (featuring Jenny Sullivan and the late great, John Ritter), presented by Rubicon Theatre and 11th Hour Productions at the Court Theatre. For Rubicon, Joseph has appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Boys Next Door (Independent Award), Old Wicked Songs, Murder in the First (World Premiere), The Rainmaker (Robby Award and Rep Award), The Little Foxes, The Glass Menagerie, Art, All My Sons (Ovation Award) and The Night of the Iguana. Joseph received his MFA from Yale School of Drama. When not on stage, Joseph directs projects for Rubicon’s Young Professionals program and teaches adult acting.

 

The set design for TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE is by Tom Buderwitz (Toys in the Attic). Lighting Design is by Jeremy Pivnick (Night of the Iguana, Waiting for Godot).  Sound Design is by Cricket Myers (Floyd Collins) and Drew Dalzell (Songs for a New World).  Costume design is by Marcy Froehlich (Waiting for Godot, Dancing at Lughnasa).  The Production Stage Manager for TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE is Kathleen J. Parsons.

 

Schedule and Pricing

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE previews Thursday, June 16 ($25) and Friday, June 17 ($30), and opens on Saturday, June 18 (Gala ticket $175).  The production runs through Sunday, July 17. Performances are Wednesdays at 2:00 pm ($27) and 7:00 pm ($38); Thursdays at 8:00 pm ($38); Fridays at 8:00 pm ($43); Saturdays at 2:00 pm ($38) and 8:00 pm ($48) and Sundays at 2:00 pm ($38). Seniors and military personnel save $2 per ticket. Discounts are available for groups of 12 or more. The opening night gala includes show tickets and a post-show party with the cast and dignitaries.

Other special performances are as follows: post-show talkbacks the first two Wednesdays of the run with the cast (June 22 and 29); pre-show themed Friday and Saturday night dinner includes a per-show discussion with Rubicon’s artistic team on July 1 and July 2 ($25 for subscribers; $30 for general public), and an audio-described performance on Sunday, July 10 at 2:00 p.m.

All performances are at Rubicon Theatre, an intimate historic church built in the 1920s. The theatre is located at 1006 East Main Street (the corner of Main and Laurel ) in Ventura ’s Downtown Cultural District.

 

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE is sponsored by Barbara and Larry Meister and co-sponsored by Santa Barbara Bank and Trust. Season Sponsors include Sandra and Jordan Laby, Loretta and Mike Merewether, San Buenaventura Foundation for the Arts and Micheline and Albert Sakharoff.  For tickets to TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, please call (805) 667-2900.

 

For publicity photos, press information or press comps, contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818/508-1754 or at ElzerD@aol.com.

                                                 

Rubicon Theatre Company is Ventura County ’s premier non-profit professional theatre company. Founded in 1998 by Artistic Directors James O’Neil and Karyl Lynn Burns, and administrated by O’Neil and Burns with Managing Director Norbert Tan, the mission of the company is to present a diverse season of classic and contemporary comedies, dramas and musicals for the entertainment, enrichment and education of residents and visitors to the region. In seven seasons, Rubicon has presented more than 45 productions and outreach programs to more than 165,000 audience members. The Company recently received three Ovation Awards, including Best Production for “All My Sons.” O’Neil received an NAACP Award for Best Director for “Driving Miss Daisy,” which tours to Canada next season. Other highlights of 2004 included an international collaboration with the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Canada and the first West Coast BeckettFest. Rubicon made a down payment on the building in which it resides last year, and future renovation plans are in development. For a brochure or more information about the Company, call (805) 667-2900 or visit Rubicon on the web at www.rubicontheatre.org.

 

UPDATE 6/16/05:

Some VERY SPECIAL articles on "Morrie" in the Ventura Country Star and on venturacountrystar.com today:

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_3858725,00.html

 

   
header_entertainment_stage.gif  
   

Touched by 'Tuesdays'

Actor resisted the dark topic at first but, when Rubicon Theatre part came to him, he answered call to 'Morrie'

By Karen Lindell klindell@VenturaCountyStar.com
June 16, 2005

"Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live."

-- Morrie Schwartz

 

Joseph Fuqua received not one but two copies of Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays with Morrie" from well-meaning sympathizers when his father died in 1999.

One look at the best-selling memoir's subtitle -- "an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson" -- and Fuqua wanted nothing to do with Morrie.

"I resisted. I didn't want to deal with that," said the actor of the book's title subject: a man dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Duty called, however, when Fuqua landed the role of Albom in the Rubicon Theatre Co.'s stage production of "Tuesdays with Morrie," which opens Saturday.

After an in-depth reading of the book to prepare for the play, Fuqua finally understood the same thing as millions of others who've been touched by "Tuesdays with Morrie" since its publication in 1997: that death isn't a dirty word to be buried or swept away, and matters of life and death aren't really so different.

Don't cue the funeral march

In 1995, Albom, a hotshot sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, was blissfully inundated with deadlines, interviews and frenzied days on the road when he saw his former sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, on "Nightline" with Ted Koppel.

Schwartz, who had been Albom's favorite teacher at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, was dying from ALS.

"Nightline" wanted to profile Schwartz because of his determination to go proudly -- but gently -- into the night.

To keep his condition from becoming something people whispered about with pity, or avoided discussing at all, Schwartz was determined to "walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip."

Albom was invited along for the journey.

He started visiting the ailing Schwartz regularly on Tuesdays. Their teacher-student relationship continued, but this time the subjects weren't so academic: death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society and forgiveness, to name a few.

"Dying is only one thing to be sad over," Schwartz tells Albom. "Living unhappily is something else."

"Are you at peace with yourself?" "Are you trying to be as human as can be?" Schwartz challenges Albom.

Like Fuqua, Harold Gould, who plays Schwartz in Rubicon's production, was reluctant to delve into the story of Morrie.

"I've been spoken to before about playing this role," Gould said during a joint interview with Fuqua for The Star, "but wasn't interested because I thought it was about death and physical deterioration."

After agreeing to play Schwartz in Rubicon's production (because director Jenny Sullivan and the Rubicon Theater Co. "are like family," Gould said), he's been surprised at how "undepressing" the story is.

"It's filled with the spice of life; it's not unremittingly funereal," Gould said.

Humanity, not sentimentality

Gould, while reading up on ALS, an incurable nerve disease that causes loss of muscle control, discovered "there are differences in patients who suffer from it" -- not in their symptoms, but in their response to the condition.

Some react with bitterness and rage. Famed science author Stephen Hawking has continued to connect with his mind.

But Schwartz, who died relatively shortly after his diagnosis, decided to "make connections with people, to teach the value of love, compassion, consideration and acceptance of where you are," Gould said.

Schwartz's sage advice -- of the "stop and smell the flowers," "carpe diem" and "give and you shall receive" variety -- isn't so different from what rabbis, preachers and philosophers have been saying for thousands of years.

But Schwartz is more persuasive than these wise men and women, Gould said, "because he's dying. It's so much more than Billy Graham. It comes out of his pores. You really accept his humanity."

Fuqua agreed, explaining that he finally "got" the book's message because "I really like Morrie. He's a real person."

Gould admitted that the story can at times be "lovey-dovey, easy, melting," but avoids sentimentality by reminding us that humanity isn't always pretty.

At the end of his life, Schwartz couldn't walk or eat normal food. He had difficulty breathing, coughed for long periods of time, and as he told Koppel during the "Nightline" interview, "Well, Ted, one day soon, someone's gonna have to wipe my ass."

(The book goes into more graphic detail than the play about the physical effects of ALS.)

Two men and a stage

The stage version of "Tuesdays with Morrie," co-written by Albom with Jeffrey Hatcher, debuted off-Broadway in 2002.

Unlike the book -- or the 1999 TV movie produced by Oprah Winfrey, which won four Emmy Awards -- the two-actor play focuses solely on Albom and Schwartz. We learn about other people mentioned in the book only through dialogue.

Fuqua and Gould's dialogue with each other is as endearing and respectful as the exchanges between Albom and Schwartz.

During the interview with The Star, for example, the actors engaged in thoughtful conversation, directing their answers, comments and banter toward each other rather than to a reporter.

It's tempting to compare Fuqua, 43, and Gould, 81, to their counterparts in "Tuesdays with Morrie" (in the book, Albom is 37 and Schwartz is 78).

The actors, both Rubicon veterans, starred together in Rubicon's "Old Wicked Songs," a drama about a young piano virtuoso (Fuqua) who is forced to take singing lessons from an emotionally fragile teacher (Gould).

They are reprising a similar "mentor-mentee" relationship onstage in "Tuesdays with Morrie."

But offstage, Gould and Schwartz heap plenty of praise on each other, which suggests that despite their age difference, as actors and friends they are more like peers than student and teacher.

Life 101 syllabus

Fuqua and Gould shared some of their favorite "Morrie principles" for living:

"This is a little greeting card-ish," Fuqua said, "but I like the idea that giving is living. When you give of yourself like Morrie did, then when you die you're not really gone."

Gould found comfort in Schwartz's advice to "forgive everybody, even if you're 100 percent right." Or in the case of Albom, even if he's not.

Fuqua and Gould admit that at first they were disappointed to hear about Albom's recent tangle with journalistic ethics at the Detroit Free Press.

The newspaper briefly suspended Albom while investigating a column in which he described two basketball players watching a game at their alma mater. Albom had written the column as an advance story, and the players didn't actually attend the game.

A subsequent review of his past columns also found that sometimes Albom (and other columnists at the paper) quoted material from other media without proper attribution.

Albom defended his approach to quoting other sources, and his column has been reinstated at the paper.

But Gould and Fuqua were willing to forgive.

"He got sucked into the pressure of his former existence," Gould said. "It's very tempting and understandable."

"Right away I thought, 'I wonder if Morrie is rolling over in his grave,' " Fuqua said. "I feel like Mitch Albom didn't get all the lessons.

"But that's humanity. It's not a perfect wash. You can always go back into darkness, and then see the light again."

"Tuesdays .with Morrie"

The play, based on Mitch Albom's book of the same name, opens at 7 p.m. Saturday, with previews today and Friday, at the Rubicon Theatre Co., starring Joseph Fuqua and Harold Gould, and directed by Jenny Sullivan. After opening night, regular shows continue through July 17 at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays; .7 p.m. Wednesdays; and .8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Rubicon Theatre is at 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Tickets cost $25-$30 for previews, $175 for opening night (includes a post-show party with the cast) and $27-$48 for regular shows. For more information, call 667-2900 or visit the Web site, http://www.rubicontheatre.org.

 



Nick Weissman / Brooks 
Institute of Photography


Joseph Fuqua stars as Mitch and Harold Gould stars as Morrie in the Rubicon Theatre Company's production of "Tuesdays with Morrie," written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom and directed by Jenny Sullivan.


RELATED STORIES
Joseph Fuqua

Harold Gould


 

JOSEPH: http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_3858721,00.html

HAROLD: http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_3858717,00.html

 
header_entertainment_stage.gif  
Joseph Fuqua

June 16, 2005

Previous Rubicon shows: Fuqua, billed as Rubicon's "first company member," has appeared in 11 of the theater's productions, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Dancing at Lughnasa," "The Boys Next Door," "Old Wicked Songs," "All My Sons" and "The Night of the Iguana."

On and off Broadway: includes roles in "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "The Cat's Meow," "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Angels in America."

 

Screen time: Films include "Gods and Generals" and "Gettysburg." Guest-starred on many TV shows, including "The X-files," "The Profiler" and "The Pretender."

On his co-star Harold Gould: "The first time we were going to work together, it was a BIG deal for me. I had so much to learn from him. And he still knows more."

  Harold Gould

June 16, 2005

Age: 81.

Previous Rubicon shows: "Old Wicked Songs" and "Defying Gravity."

 

On and off Broadway: appeared in "Fools," "House of Blue Leaves" and "Artist Descending a Staircase" (to name a few) and many Shakespeare plays.

Screen time: includes roles in "The Sting," "Patch Adams," "Stuart Little" and "Freaky Friday. For TV work, he's received five Emmy nominations and appeared on such shows as "Rhoda" and "The Golden Girls."

On his co-star Joseph Fuqua: "Joseph is marvelous. I feel very lucky."

 


The Eye SpyLA Link:  http://eyespyla.com/www/thebuzz.nsf/0/5f0d10d3d63bff5088256fd7000595eb?OpenDocument


RUBICON THEATRE COMPANY 2005 SEASON SCHEDULE
Where:
1006 East Main St. Ventura 93001
Get MAP
Rubicon Theatre in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District.
Phone:
(805) 667-2900

Details
4-5 AND 6-SHOW SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW

Rubicon’s upcoming season brings Southern California audiences an American premiere and an international co-production with the highly-respected Manitoba Theatre Centre of Canada; the return of the trio that received raves for “Old Wicked Songs” (Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua with director Jenny Sullivan); a classic romantic thriller; a popular, critically acclaimed musical; and a friendly battle of the sexes (in repertory).

Joseph Fuqua and Harold Gould starring in
“Tuesdays with Morrie”
Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom
Based on the book by Mitch Albom
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
June 16 – July 10, 2005

This autobiographical story was on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than four years with more than 5 million copies sold and an Emmy Award-winning television movie presented by Oprah Winfrey! Tuesdays with Morrie follows a successful sports journalist who is driven solely by his career, until he learns that a former college professor is battling Lou Gehrig's disease. The student and teacher are reunited, and what begins as a quick visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and an unforgettable and astonishing lesson on the meaning of life. The production unites the Rubicon team that received rave reviews for “Old Wicked Songs”:
Joseph Fuqua, Harold Gould and Director Jenny Sullivan (Rubicon’s Artistic Associate).

“I was unprepared for how moving and powerful Tuesdays with Morrie turned out to be. On this ground, the flowers of humanity grow.”
– New York Post

 

FROM THE RUBICON "TUESDAY'S WITH MORRIE" OPENING NIGHT GALA:

Here's the link to Steve Magidson's Ofoto "Morrie" album:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&conn_speed=1&Uc=4sjrrej.1sn8llkb&Uy=-8n2e7u&Ux=1


 Here's Joseph with (Left to right) Diane & David Grimes, and Eric & Deidre Magidson.


Harold Gould ("Morrie") and his wife Leah.

 

 



 

NIGHT OF THE IGUANA

Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Stephanie Zimbalist, both center, star in "The Night of the Iguana." Richard Eden, far left, and Stephanie McNamara co-star.

Photo courtesy of RTC and VCS
ED KRIEGER PHOTOS
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist star in the Rubicon Theatre Company's production of "The Night of the Iguana."

Photo courtesy of RTC and SBNP

Richard Eden and Stephanie Zimbalist in "The Night of the Iguana."

Photo courtesy of RTC and SBNP

 

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. had guest-starred on his daughter’s series “Remington Steele,” but “The Night of the Iguana ” is their first play together.
(Bryan Chan / LAT)
Photo courtesy of RTC and LAT
Stephanie Zimbalist and her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., have a touching rapport in “Iguana.”
(Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography)
Photo courtesy of RTC and LAT

 

LATIMES 10/22 CalendarLive Listing:

http://events.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Home-X!EventDetail-108953,00.html

Calendar Live on latimes.com
    

October 22, 2004 | 

Night of the Iguana

Rubicon Theatre Company at the Laurel  
1006 E. Main St., Ventura


Stephanie Zimbalist and her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., have a touching rapport in "Iguana."

A hard-hitting, elaborately staged co-production with Canada's Manitoba Theatre Center makes few compromises in Tennessee Williams' late-career classic about a defrocked minister and a lonely spinster caught between their poetic dreams and unforgiving reality.
-- Philip Brandes
Special to The Times


Through Nov. 7
Wed., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.

Times review: 'A striking view of human frailty' (Oct. 20, 2004)

Price: $25-$45
Tickets: Box office: 805-667-2900.
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The 10/27 Backstage West Review

http://www.backstage.com/backstage/showguide/review_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000692922

   

West
 
Southern CA
October 27, 2004


The Night of the Iguana

Reviewed By Tom Jacobs

 
" The Night of the Iguana"


presented by and at the Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Wed. 2 & 7 p.m., Thu.-Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Oct. 16-Nov. 7. $25-47. (805) 667-2900.

An American classic, set in Mexico, co-produced with a company from Canada: No one can accuse the Rubicon Theatre Company's The Night of the Iguana of being parochial. Tennessee Williams' 1961 classic is a huge undertaking, requiring a cast of 14 and a running time of three and one-quarter hours. In economic terms, at least, the play is a logical candidate for the Rubicon's first co-production with the Manitoba Theatre Centre, where it will move following its Ventura run. Artistically the results of this cross-border collaboration are somewhat mixed, although the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Set in a rundown resort on the western coast of Mexico in 1940, this lyrical, wistful play eschews the tragedy of Williams' previous work for a feeling of resigned acceptance. It's driven by character rather than plot, and demands forceful yet subtle acting. The mixed cast of Canadians and Rubicon regulars, under the direction of Jim O'Neil, generally rises to the challenge. Richard Eden is enormously compelling in the central role of Shannon, a defrocked Episcopal priest who leads busloads of tourists through exotic locales. One of Williams' most passionate and self-aware characters, Eden makes Shannon's inner struggles so palpable he's almost frightening to watch. His fellow Canadian, Stephanie McNamara, is disappointing as the earthy hotel proprietor Maxine; she captures the lusty widow's exuberance, but not the desperation that drives it.

As a repressed New England spinster--and Shannon's soul mate--Stephanie Zimbalist conveys a haunted quality underneath the character's placid surface. Her real-life father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., brings a lovely aura of grace and style to his portrayal of a 97-year-old poet. Production values are outstanding-- particularly Gary Wissmann's set. The hotel's veranda is overrun with foliage and empty beer bottles, in a nice visual representation of Williams' theme: that nature, including human nature, keeps intruding on our well-made plans.
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Copyright 2004 Back Stage


Karyl Lynn's 10/21 Rubicon Patron Letter: (10/21 Ventura Country Star review)

Only 2 more weeks left! Must close November 7 in Ventura. See Stephanie Zimbalist and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. on stage together for the first time. Mention this e-mail and save $2 per ticket.
--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Ventura County Star Review
 
Like father, like daughter

Zimbalists stand out in Rubicon's 'The Night of the Iguana'

By Rita Moran, Arts writer
October 21, 2004

The feverish atmosphere of "The Night of the Iguana" flushes out colorful characters in vivid performances. But the calmest role of them all, the New England spinster played by Stephanie Zimbalist, is the most watchable. Zimbalist, in a luminous portrayal, is almost supernaturally serene, but it is a serenity with layers of emotion subtly portrayed.


Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Stephanie Zimbalist, both center, star in "The Night of the Iguana." Richard Eden, far left, and Stephanie McNamara co-star.

Tennessee Williams, setting his drama in a sultry outpost on the coast of western Mexico, assembles some of his usual suspects with variations: a disillusioned and defrocked Episcopal priest; the sexually primed and recently widowed woman proprietor of the shabby hotel; and an assortment of loose, prim and oblivious characters to act as counterpoint.

But it is the sublime Stephanie Zimbalist and her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., on stage together for the first time in their impressive careers, who hold the spotlight: Stephanie as a woman who has come to terms with a life lived by her wits and skills, and Efrem as her 97-year-old grandfather, a poet who is a "minor league talent with a major league spirit." As the two make their way around Mexico, selling their creative skills — hers as a sketch artist, his as a poet — the bond between the actors illuminates the bond between the characters.

Stephanie's Hannah is steady but tinted by nuance, especially in her scenes with the most passionate undercurrents, and Efrem's Nono is totally endearing as a proud, fading man with enough remnants of wit to dart a sharp comment here and there. The Rubicon Theatre is blessed to have the Zimbalists together for their pivotal roles in Williams' charged drama.

'Man of God on vacation'

The foil to Hannah's hard-won balance is the Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon, the demon-plagued priest who lost his one and only parish post by first engaging in fornication with a young churchgoer and then preaching his new-found heresy, blaming a God he finds "a peevish old man." The fault, Shannon insists, is not his own but rather a God who has ineffectively constructed man as too weak to withstand temptations. Richard Eden injects Shannon with a twitchy restlessness but a touch of resolve. The "man of God on vacation" manages to stay off the booze through most of the day and night stretch of the play, and summons wisps of character, bolstered by Hannah, to set free a tethered iguana and to understand just where the subtle line is in his relationship with the sympathetic spinster. It's a credit to Stephanie Zimbalist and Eden that the delicate interplay of their characters is revealed as the poker-playing Hannah and the ex-priest with vestiges of empathy gently barter for love and independence.

For a few precious moments they breathe the same air of longing. As Shannon hovers near Hannah, perhaps deciding whether he wants to take their intellectual and emotional bond to the physical, she tells Shannon that he'll never be dangerous to anyone but himself. He almost imperceptibly stops his approach; she lets out her suspended breath. A different path might have been taken, but both seem to realize that it might not have been a better one.

Instead, Shannon turns to Maxine, the hotel's proprietor, newly widowed and endowed with an easy sexuality that she would obviously be happy to share with Shannon. Stephanie McNamara, one of the Manitoba actors in the co-production, is the high-energy, free-wheeling Maxine whose motives aren't entirely sexual. In her own way, she cares for the man.

Fine supporting cast

Director James O'Neil has assembled a solid cast from top to bottom, from the German family giddy over the 1940 exploits of Hitler's bombers over England (Rudolph Willrich, Von Rae Wood, Craig Mulgrew and Amanda Hulme) to the young workers at the hotel (Victor Gomez, Armando Rey).

Laurel Lyle as the tightly wound leader of the touring Baptist group and Anne Ross as the determined young woman Shannon has toyed with represent the life he's escaping, as do the replacement tour leader Jake Latta, played with smarmy offensiveness by Rubicon regular Joseph Fuqua, and the clueless tour bus driver, played convincingly by Chris Cotone.

Somewhere in "Iguana" there's a line that spells out the central fact that "People need human contact." It's that need, and the grace that buoys the spirit when it's met, if only briefly, that makes Williams' play, despite its sometimes bizarre characters and gaudy emotions, continuously relevant.

Through its partnership with Manitoba Theatre Center, Rubicon has been able to build a thoroughly atmospheric set centered on the hotel's veranda. Original music by Hekar Rivera and Steven Sunnarborg reinforces the locale.

"Iguana" continues at the Rubicon through Nov. 7, then moves to Manitoba. Both companies should be happy with this finely wrought production of a Williams classic.

E-mail Rita Moran at ritamoran@earthlink.net.

 

Review: "THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA"

Rubicon Theatre Company performs Tennessee Williams' classic play at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Nov. 7 at 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. For tickets, $25-$47, call 667-2900.

October 20 - LATimes review entitled:  "A striking view of human frailty"

http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/cl-et-iguana20oct20,2,5591105.story

Calendar Live on latimes.com
October 20, 2004

THEATER REVIEW

A striking view of human frailty

*Rubicon Theatre stages Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana" with great clarity and power.

 

Stephanie Zimbalist and her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., have a touching rapport in “Iguana.”
(Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography)

(Nick Weissman / Brooks Institute of Photography)

'The Night of the Iguana'

Where: Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura

When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays

Ends: Nov. 7

Price: $25-$47

Contact: (805) 667-2900 or rubicontheatre.org

Running time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

By Philip Brandes, Special to The Times


Virtually all of Tennessee Williams' protagonists share the same psychic burden — an unbridgeable gulf between the poetic longings of their fantasies and the unforgiving external reality that ultimately destroys them.

Williams' best-known victims were women ("A Streetcar Named Desire's" desperate Blanche DuBois, or fragile Laura Wingate in "The Glass Menagerie"). "The Night of the Iguana," however, featured their riveting male counterpart in the Rev. Shannon, a defrocked Episcopal priest turned seedy tour guide. First presented in 1961, "Iguana" was Williams' late career comeback play — a return to razor-sharp eloquence after a period of personal and professional dissolution — and autobiographical parallels float close to its surface.

A hard-hitting, elaborately staged revival at Ventura's Rubicon Theatre makes few compromises despite the play's large cast, sprawling set requirements and occasional structural impediments. To meet these challenges, the Rubicon pooled resources with Canada's Manitoba Theatre Center for this co-production, which will play both venues.

Production values are a clear beneficiary of the partnership (in particular, Gary Wissmann's expansive, two-story hotel set, sumptuously adorned in tropical foliage). The symbolically charged captive iguana referenced in the title is sadly reduced to a limp cloth-wrapped bundle, however.

Director James O'Neil brings the same precision and clarity to Williams' language that distinguished his previous Rubicon stagings of "Streetcar" and "Glass Menagerie." As a result, it's deceptively easy to follow the characters' journeys through a complex, often grueling psychological labyrinth.

Richard Eden's haunted Shannon struggles to maintain his faltering grip on reality as he diverts his tour bus of Baptist schoolmarms to a rustic bohemian hotel on the Mexican coast, where he makes his last stand against his sexual and spiritual demons. From his fevered, agitated entrance, Eden telegraphs Shannon's precarious condition in a performance that steers clear of smoldering menace in favor of more sympathetic torment — perhaps a diplomatic choice for a character with a penchant for underage girls, but it comes at the price of some emotional range.

In any case, Shannon is a complete mess, which of course makes him irresistible to women. Vying for his affections are the hotel's bawdy widowed proprietress, Maxine (Stephanie McNamara), a destitute spinsterish painter named Hannah (Stephanie Zimbalist), who shares Shannon's difficulties in operating on the realistic level while living in the fantastic, and a teenage sexpot (Anne Ross) from the tour bus.

Providing superb comic relief are Laurel Lyle as the teen's battle-ax guardian and Joseph Fuqua as a sleazy rival tour guide called in to liberate Shannon's hostages.

One of the production's charms is the pairing of Zimbalist with her father, stage and film veteran Efrem Zimbalist Jr., as Hannah's grandfather, a frail, elderly poet. Their rapport is deeply touching and helps humanize a Hannah who would otherwise remain remote and untouchable — even to Shannon, with whom she admittedly has a "sympathetic interest."

The impossibility of their union is one of the play's dramatic pillars, but there's still latitude for him to make more inroads; a few moments where he pierces her armor would help make the prospect of Shannon's pairing with Maxine more of a capitulation than a gratuitous happy ending, and Hannah's ultimate isolation would seem all the more poignant.

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October 13 - LATimes article entitled:  "A new stage in their kinship"

http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/cl-et-zimbalists13oct13,2,1218731.story

Calendar Live on latimes.com
 
October 13, 2004  

THEATER

A new stage in their kinship

*TV vets Stephanie Zimbalist and her dad, Efrem Jr., are sharing more than memories these days.

 

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. had guest-starred on his daughter’s series “Remington Steele,” but “The Night of the Iguana ” is their first play together.
(Bryan Chan / LAT)
(Bryan Chan / LAT)

By Lynne Heffley, Times Staff Writer

After more than half a century in showbiz, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., a TV star of the 1950s and '60s ("The F.B.I.," "77 Sunset Strip"), had put his long and fruitful career behind him. Broadway shows, films, TV and in recent years, cartoon voice-overs, narrations, readings on tape — it had been a good run.

At 85, he had settled into retirement. No more acting gigs; his favorite putter beckoned.

"It was all behind me at my age," he says, chuckling. "I was just thinking golf."

His daughter had other ideas.

Stephanie Zimbalist, known to many from her 1980s TV series, "Remington Steele," has established herself as a serious stage actor. Recently cast as spinster Hannah in Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana" at Ventura's Rubicon Theatre, where she often performs, Zimbalist immediately pictured her father in the play.

He would be perfect, she thought, for the small but pivotal role of Hannah's 97-year-old grandfather, Nonno, a poet of faded fame whose attempt to finish a final poem before he dies is integral to Williams' redemptive tale of lost souls.

It would be a chance for them to perform together on stage, something they'd never done, although the elder Zimbalist had appeared with his daughter on her television series.

"I knew that if he didn't know the play, he would say no," she says. "So, I said, 'Daddy, do you think we could just read through it? I'd love your opinion on it.' He read all the men, I read all the women, and he was fabulous."

The next day, she suggested that they stop by to say hello to Rubicon co-founders Karyl Lynn Burns and James O'Neil.

"We were kind of hoping," says O'Neil, who is directing the play, "that he would ask who would be playing the role, so we could say, 'Well, of course it's you.' But he never did, so we just had to [ask]."

It took him a day to decide, but it was an offer Efrem Zimbalist couldn't resist.

Waiting to begin rehearsal at the Rubicon, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., son of early 20th century violinist Efrem Zimbalist and opera singer Alma Gluck, has the courtly look and bearing of an Old World Spanish don. Trim and handsome, with a broad mustache and a luxuriant sweep of snowy hair, mellifluous baritone intact, the actor has aged remarkably well since his TV and film heyday.

In rehearsal with his daughter and Richard Eden, who stars as alcoholic ex-priest Shannon, Zimbalist nails the scene in which Nonno's struggle to write a new poem culminates in the play's redemptive climax.

His daughter fights tears. She isn't the only one welling up — not only at her father's fully realized performance but also at the inescapable subtext of the pair's real-life relationship.

"I don't face all of it on stage," she says later, "because it can't be about the loss of my father or I wouldn't be able to function."

The respect and affection the two share is unmistakable. Stephanie Zimbalist, a slim and youthful 48, loses her air of taut self-possession only when she's speaking to, and of, her father.

They defer to each other, make each other laugh and prompt memories of past and present events — her early departure from Juilliard as a teenager ("They wanted me to take a year off. They told me I was too sheltered."), his "F.B.I." days ("Daddy said that the nadir of the scripts was when the United States invaded Cuba and they used five extras.") and his recently published memoir, "My Dinner of Herbs" ("I never would have written it except for Stephanie. I was lazy. I didn't want to sit down and put a whole chunk of life into a book.").

Working together presents challenges, however.

"We'll be rehearsing and I'll have some expletive come out of my mouth, and I'll go," Stephanie Zimbalist covers her mouth briefly. "'Oh, my dad's over there.'"

Her father laughs. "I've never heard it."

"My concern," she says, "is that he doesn't see my bad side."

"I think it's the other way," Efrem Zimbalist says. "I think she's hoping that I don't make a jackass out of myself."

The play opens Saturday at the Rubicon; it is a co-production with the Manitoba Theatre Centre of Canada, where the Zimbalists will reprise their roles in November.

"I'm just delighted to be yanked out of retirement," Zimbalist says. "When it's over, I don't think I'll ever work again." He pauses, then smiles. "Well, you never know."

'The Night of the Iguana'

Where: Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura

When: 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays.

Ends: Nov. 7

Price: $25 to $47

Contact: (805) 667-2900

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The 10/15/04 Santa Barbara News-Press article entitled: "Staging a family reunion"

http://search.newspress.com/2004/10/15/~hs101504_onstage1.html

10/15/04
 


ED KRIEGER PHOTOS
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and his daughter 
Stephanie Zimbalist star in the Rubicon 
Theatre Company's production of "The 
Night of the Iguana."

Staging a family reunion

TWO GENERATIONS OF ZIMBALISTS - STEPHANIE AND FATHER EFREM - MAKE THEIR JOINT STAGE DEBUT IN THE RUBICON'S 'NIGHT OF THE IGUANA'

THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
When: Opens 7 p.m. Saturday. Runs through Nov. 7
Where: Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura
Cost: $25 to $47
Information: 667-2900

By Tom Jacobs
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

In some ways, the careers of Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and his daughter Stephanie have been mirror images of one another.

He did things the traditional way, establishing himself as a stage actor in New York before moving to Hollywood and becoming a television icon, starring in two long-running series, "The F.B.I." and "77 Sunset Strip."

She found success on TV at a relatively young age, starring in the popular 1980s series "Remington Steele" with Pierce Brosnan. In recent years, she has worked more and more in the theater.

One would assume their professional paths would cross at some point, and they did: Efrem was a guest star on several episodes of "Remington Steele." But when the Rubicon Theatre Company opens Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana" Saturday night, it will be the first time father and daughter have appeared together on stage.

He's 85; she's 48. What took so long?

"We almost did 'On Golden Pond' a couple of years ago at PCPA in Solvang," said Stephanie. "My parents live just a mile from that theater. But it didn't happen. Daddy didn't think the part was big enough for me."

"It isn't!" Efrem insisted.

"I would have stolen all the scenes from you. Don't worry," she shot back.

"That wouldn't be hard," he replied with a laugh.


Richard Eden and Stephanie Zimbalist in "The Night of the Iguana."

As that exchange suggests, there is lots of ease and warmth between the Zimbalists, and they are thrilled to be working together - particularly on a classic American drama. "The Night of the Iguana" is one of Williams' poetic depictions of a group of lost souls - in this case, American tourists at a remote Mexican resort.

"The language is just delicious to play," said Stephanie. "He holds a moment up like a prism and makes the audience look at it from different points of view."

"This play has so many splashes of brilliance," added Efrem. "People have been paying me most of my life to take garbage and make it look like it isn't garbage. This is so rich and funny and poignant."

Efrem essentially retired from the trash-beautification business a decade or so ago, when he and his wife moved to Solvang. Getting him to return to the stage required some manipulation on the part of his daughter.

Stephanie, who has become a part of the Rubicon's informal repertory company over the past five years, was asked to co-star in the play some months back. Soon after agreeing to play the part of Hannah, a repressed spinster who feels a strange connection to a lecherous defrocked minister, it occurred to her that her father would be perfect for the role of the dying poet Nonno.

Jim O'Neil and Karyl Lynn Burns, the company's co-artistic directors, loved the idea. After a day of casting callbacks, "They asked me, 'What would it take to get your dad to say yes?' " Stephanie recalled.

The answer was complicated.

"I realized that if they just asked him and he didn't know the role, he would say no," she said. "It just happened that I was going to visit my parents, and I had two copies of the play with me.

"The next afternoon, I said, 'Daddy, I would love your opinion of this part I'm about to do. Would you read through this with me? I'll read the women and you read the men.' So we did. Afterwards, we talked about my part, and I asked what he thought about Nonno.

"The next day, we were going to L.A., and I suggested we stop on the way down to have lunch with Karyl Lynn and Jim. Karyl Lynn just sprung it on him."

"I was in shock," Efrem recalled. "I hadn't even thought about it. At my age, you get to the point where you don't have anything to contribute any more. People my age play golf three days a week. I had to think about getting back in the saddle again."

So what did getting back in the saddle entail?

"I've been exercising a lot," he said. "I'm playing this decrepit old man, but there's a tremendous amount of energy in him. He yells a lot! I have to be in the best shape I can manage."

Efrem and Stephanie are actually the third and fourth generations of a family of performing artists. Efrem's grandfather was a conductor. His father, Efrem Zimbalist Sr., was one of the greatest classical violinists of his generation; his mother was a singer who performed with the Metropolitan Opera.

Although - or perhaps because - they were in the arts, Efrem's parents were less than enthusiastic when, after getting thrown out of college, he decided to pursue an acting career.

"My mother nearly died when I told her," he recalled. "She was very unhappy - and she was right (to be skeptical of my choice). My reasons were all wrong.

"I wanted to be an actor originally because I thought it was easy and glamorous. My mother knew the opposite, because she had acted. She considered herself a bad actress - and she might have been, too! Opera singers in those days just stood there and sang.

"My father wasn't crazy about the idea (either), although he loved the theater. He totally sublimated his own feelings and was supportive in every possible way."

While Efrem was struggling to start his career, America entered World War II, which meant his and nearly everyone else's life was put on hold. He spent the next five years in the army, where he met two men who would launch his career: writer/directors Garson Kanin and Joshua Logan.

"After the war, my sister, Marcia Davenport, a wonderful novelist, gave me a dinner party and said I could invite anyone who might be able to help me," he recalled. "I mentioned Garson Kanin and Josh Logan. She invited them and their wives, and that's how my whole (career began).

"Three weeks later, Kanin gave me this offer to appear on Broadway - a wonderful, flashy part. Ten years later, Josh Logan brought me to Warner Bros. in Los Angeles to do a screen test. That's how I came to Hollywood. I was terribly lucky."

Stephanie's interest in the theater emerged early. "I wrote and directed my friends in many plays in the hallway of our house," she recalled.

"Daddy had to pay to sit down and watch them. I didn't want to go on stage, but I made everybody else do the plays. I'd shout the words from the closet if they couldn't memorize them."

Then, at age 14, "My mother sent me off to summer camp in Vermont to be a horsewoman, because I had ridden all my life. She expected me to come back with more equestrian training. But I came back crazy about the theater."

It was there Stephanie started doing theater. "I was so astonished at the feedback I got, I thought, 'Maybe I'll do this,' " she said.

"I saw her in summer camp, in 'Little Mary Sunshine,' " recalled her father. "It was astonishing to me. I saw an actress."

And what sage advice did he give her?

"He told me being an actor is 99 percent rejection, which is true," Stephanie said. "That percentage does weigh heavily on you. You have to get used to rejection all the time."

Stephanie learned that lesson early. She was accepted into Juilliard, but at the end of her first year, school officials told her to take a year off to mature. She returned to Los Angeles and started to work, appearing in the television movies "Centennial" and "The Gathering" before landing "Remington Steele."

"When I was on 'Remington,' we had these fabulous guest stars, and they were all stage actors," she recalled. "I thought, 'There's something here. All the best actors we have are from the theater.' I had done theater as a kid, and I wanted to go back to it."

Which she has.

"My line about my life right now is I'm so busy doing theater, I don't have time to notice that I don't have a career left," she said. "I don't have time to be sad that I'm not doing television. I don't have time to watch television! I took my daddy's advice and didn't spend all my money while I was making it, so I'm solvent. I can afford to do theater."

Stephanie's approach to a role "is very physical. It seems to me a character gets born in my elbows and shoulders and knees and hips and ankles. If I move a certain way on a stage, then the emotion I need is there.

"I just played the part of Ursula in 'Vincent in Brixton' (at the Pasadena Playhouse). There are a lot of tears (on stage), but we were such a happy company! You hit the stage and your body sends you down (to the emotional depths the piece requires). It's like a hidden river."

Efrem studied the method with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, but he has nothing good to say about method acting. While it may work for some, "I don't believe in it," he said.

So how does he work? "I can only say the character overtakes me. I have felt my whole life that whatever I have done in any form of creative work, it has been given to me. I work as hard as I know how (to hone my craft), but I can't create anything."

Stephanie has performed Tennessee Williams before ("Summer and Smoke" at the Williamsport Theatre Festival); Efrem has not. But they both feel a connection to "The Night of the Iguana," which premiered on Broadway in 1961.

"My godmother, Paula Lawrence Bowden, was understudying Bette Davis in the original production," Stephanie said. "My godfather, her husband, Chuck, produced that first production and ended up directing it.

"She sent me some notes (she received) from Tennessee. In the end, he said, the overall aim of the play is a kind of poetic reality, in which everything seems spontaneous and easy, but it's all according to a design."

And what a design it is.

"Shakespeare is the greatest writer who ever lived, but I don't think Williams is far behind him," Efrem said. "Nonno is a small part but a delightful part."

Stephanie interrupted to correct him.

"Small," she said, "but pivotal."

©2004 Santa Barbara News Press


The 10/14/04 InsideVC.com article on Armando Rey, entitled: "Rey of "Night"":

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_3251975,00.html

header_entertainment_stage.gif


Rey of 'Night'

Ventura actor gets a chance to shine with Rubicon Theatre Company in classic Tennessee Williams play

By Karen Lindell, klindell@VenturaCountyStar.com
October 14, 2004

Armando Rey's biggest fear about his debut with the Rubicon Theatre Company isn't the spotlight on opening night, or acting with Stephanie Zimbalist, or flubbing his lines as Pancho in Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana."

It's the doors.

Doors are a directional problem backstage at the Rubicon Theatre.

"There are so many doors in the back, it's like a maze," said Rey, 33. "The stage manager joked that he's going to have to put out a sign that says, 'This way, stupid.' What if I get lost?"

So far, the Ventura resident has found his way onstage just fine, and he's also found his natural niche: acting.

Rubicon opened its doors wide to Rey after he wowed everyone at his audition — with a monologue they didn't even understand because it was entirely in Spanish.

Aspiring actor Rey, who's performed in many Los Angeles productions, and locally in shows by Teatro de las Americas (an Oxnard-based troupe that stages Spanish-language plays), called the Rubicon last year and said he was interested in auditioning for a play there.

A few months ago, Rubicon called him to audition for "The Night of the Iguana," which opens the company's 2004-05 season.

Rey, who had to perform a two-minute monologue for the audition, picked the highlights from a 20-minute speech he'd done in Teatro de las Americas' "Primavera Con Una Esquina Rota" ("Spring With a Corner Torn").

His character in the play was a man imprisoned for taking part in the 1970s student political movement in Uruguay. During the monologue, the man writes a letter to his father, confessing that he's killed his cousin, who worked for the government.

In "Night of the Iguana," Rey's character, Pancho, speaks Spanish, but that's not the reason he chose a Spanish monologue. "I thought it was important for them to see my range as an actor," he said, "and that monologue has very different ranges — flashbacks to when this guy was laughing and happy playing with his cousin, and to the moment he kills his cousin."

When he was done with the emotionally draining monologue, Rey didn't hear, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Instead, director Jim O'Neil invited him right then to join the cast.

"I rarely do that," said O'Neil. "This was one of those exceptional times; he was so engaging."

Rey has a minor role in "The Night of the Iguana." But as English professor Barry Ulanov noted about Williams' plays in "Makers of the Modern Theater," "not only are the central actors important but (also) the men and women who slink behind the scrim, who play delicate obbligatos to the large solo roles."

The "large" roles in "Iguana" are four characters who meet in the summer of 1940 on the veranda of the Costa Verde hotel, a seedy seaside resort in Mexico.

The main character, the Rev. Lawrence Shannon (played by Richard Eden), is an Episcopal minister who's been defrocked because of his sexual dalliances. Nearing a nervous breakdown, he arrives at the hotel seeking empathy from the owner, an old friend. The friend has died, however, leaving behind his wife, Maxine, to run the hotel.

Shannon then encounters Hannah Jelkes (Stephanie Zimbalist), a penniless, unmarried artist, and her 97-year-old grandfather, Nonno (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), a poet-philosopher who's writing his last great poem.

Shannon and Jelkes are drawn to each other, but the lusty Maxine beckons as well.

Pancho and his friend Pedro are hired hands at the hotel. They also provide Maxine with favors that have nothing to do with manual labor.

"We do a lot of night swimming together," said Rey cryptically.

Many critics and scholars call "The Night of the Iguana," which opened on Broadway at the Royale Theater in 1961, Williams' last great play. The show earned three Tony Award nominations, including best play, and a Drama Critics Circle Award for Williams, who'd already won Pulitzer prizes for "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

"The Night of the Iguana," although hardly a comedy, is considered more optimistic than Williams' other plays because the ending, if not happy, is at least hopeful.

As in many of Williams' works, the play is about the desperation of humans who, like the iguanas literally tethered in "The Night of the Iguana," are at the end of their rope.

In 1972, Williams wrote that "essentially my plays have been an effort to explore the beauty and meaning of the confusion of living."

The "Iguana" characters are tormented souls crippled by sexual desires but also by deeper questions of life, death and what it means to be human.

Pancho and Pedro contribute to the sexual tension, but they also "liven up the play a little when it gets too heavy," Rey said.

Rey laughed when talking about Pancho's Spanish-only lines. When his friends who don't speak Spanish heard he was working with Rubicon, Rey said, they were glad because they thought he'd be performing in English for once.

Rey, a relative latecomer to the acting profession, has performed mainly in Spanish or bilingual productions.

A Camarillo native who hammed it up at home as a kid, he didn't step on a stage until after he had graduated from Rio Mesa High School. His first play was a Spanish version of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" at the Santa Paula Theater Center in 1990.

He played Stanley in Teatro de las Americas' Spanish-language version of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" and has worked with theater companies in Los Angeles including the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, Nosotros and Frida Kahlo Theatre. He's also done commercials in Spanish for Sears, Blockbuster, Ford, McDonald's and Carl's Jr.

In April, he played Bernardo in the Ventura College Opera Workshop's production of "West Side Story," his first singing and dancing role. According to "West Side Story" director Mel Swope: "Bernardo has the opportunity to be both humorous and serious. Rey did both very well."

Like many actors waiting for their big break, Rey has a day job, although it's not waiting tables. He works as a teacher's aide for special-education classes at Channel Islands High School.

Rey is somewhat optimistic about opportunities for Hispanic actors.

"I think it's opening up, but just when I think people are becoming more aware of Latino actors," he said, "I'll see an actor who doesn't even speak the language playing a role in Spanish."

Rey doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a Latino actor.

"I would love to get calls for auditions that have nothing to do with color. If you can bring a character to life, who cares what color you are anyway?" he said.

Swope agreed. "The more people realize his depth, the more opportunities he'll have," he said.

Rey said that Rubicon, although it's cast him in a Spanish-speaking role, is a top-name theater company that's giving his career a boost. "I'm grateful someone in my city gave me this opportunity," he said. "Some places don't even open the door, or they slam it in your face. Here they rolled out the red carpet."


"THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA"

The Rubicon Theatre Company opens its 2004-05 season with Tennessee Williams' classic play. The show has previews at 8 p.m. Oct. 14-15, then opens at 7 p.m. Oct. 16. Regular performances continue at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 7 at 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. For tickets, $25-$47, call 667-2900.



Nick Weissman, Brooks Institute 
of Photography

When Armando Rey auditioned for
 Rubicon Theatre's production of 
"The Night of the Iguana," he 
performed a two-minute 
monologue entirely in Spanish. "I 
thought it was important for them to
see my range as an actor," he said, 
"and that monologue has very 
different ranges."


RELATED STORIES
Get two Zimbalists for the price of one
2004 © The E.W. Scripps Co.       Ventura County Star subscription services
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The 10/14/04 InsideVC.com article on Efrem and Stephanie Zimbalist, entitled:  "Get two Zimbalists for the price of one":

http://www1.venturacountystar.com/vcs/on_stage/article/0,1375,VCS_253_3251977,00.html

header_entertainment_stage.gif

Get two Zimbalists for the price of one

By Karen Lindell
October 14, 2004

Two A-list Zimbalists are central characters in the Rubicon Theatre Company's production of "The Night of the Iguana."

Stephanie Zimbalist and her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., are starring onstage together for the first time.

Although she and her dad have acted together in films and television, Stephanie Zimbalist said, a father-daughter stage pairing didn't work out until now.

In "The Night of the Iguana," Zimbalist plays Hannah, a watercolor and sketch artist who travels around with her grandfather Nonno, a poet. As they wander from one hotel to another, she paints and he waxes poetic in exchange for a room.

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is a Broadway veteran whose first professional role was in 1946 with Spencer Tracy in "The Rugged Path." He starred in several movies in the 1950s and 1960s, and two television shows, "77 Sunset Strip" and "The FBI."

Stephanie Zimbalist, best known for her role opposite Pierce Brosnan on television's "Remington Steele," has starred in many theatrical productions. Her most recent role at Rubicon was in "Defying Gravity" in 2003.

Zimbalist said her relationship with her father onstage is purely professional.

"Acting with my dad doesn't affect me much; we don't make concessions for each other," she said. "We follow our instincts."

She doesn't deny the family ties, however.

"It's a bonus spending all this wonderful time together," said L.A. resident Zimbalist, whose parents live in Solvang. "We see each other every day, and the theater is a very cozy experience."



Nick Weissman, 
Brooks Institute of 
Photography

"It's a bonus spending 
all this wonderful time 
together," says 
Stephanie Zimbalist of 
the chance to act with 
dad Efrem Zimbalist Jr. 
in Rubicon Theatre's 
"The Night of the 
Iguana."

2004 © The E.W. Scripps Co.       Ventura County Star subscription services
Users of this site are subject to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement
Contact VenturaCountyStar.com at Feedback@venturacountystar.com
E.W. Scripps Co.
   

 

The 9/30/04 Issue of Crossings - the RTC Newsletter (and it contains some Beckettfest and general RTC info as well):


Crossings

Rubicon Theatre Company Patron E-Newsletter

September 29, 2004

In this Issue:

1. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. & Stephanie Zimbalist star together on stage for the first time ever in Rubicon’s 2004-2005 season
    opener The Night of the Iguana!

2. More about the leads in Iguana

3. Build a rainforest! Assistance needed on Monday and Tuesday putting together foliage for the Iguana set.

4. The wait is almost over! Last chance to see Rubicon's acclaimed production of Waiting for Godot and other BeckettFest
    events.

5. Director's Preview for Iguana this Monday, October 4 at 7 p.m. hosted by Dottie Pas for Jewel Club members. James
    O'Neil interviewed on Williams, the Canada connection and more.

6. Our wunderkind Managing Director is one of "40 under 40" movers and shakers in Pacific Coast Business Times.

7. Grandes Dames volunteer luncheon October 11 at 11:30 a.m. at Pierpont Inn with cast of Iguana and singers who starred on
    Broadway in Beauty and the Beast.

====================

1. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. & Stephanie Zimbalist star together on stage for the first time ever in Rubicon's 2004-2005 season
    opener The Night of the Iguana!

     Tickets are now on sale for the first production of Rubicon Theatre Company's 2004-2005 Season, Tennessee Williams'
    courageous and compassionate American classic THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST, a favorite
    with Rubicon audiences from her performances in Defying Gravity, Dancing at Lughnasa and The Rainmaker, stars with her
    father -- celebrated actor EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. in their first ever appearance together on the professional stage.
    RICHARD EDEN also stars as Shannon, with Ovation award-nominated James O'Neil (All My Sons, Driving Miss Daisy)
    directing.

    This production is the first of two co-productions this season between Rubicon Theatre Company and Manitoba Theatre 
    Centre of Canada. THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA previews on Thursday, October 14 and Friday, October 15 and opens on
    Saturday, October 16. The production continues for four weeks through Sunday, November 7th at Rubicon Theatre, 1006
    East Main St. in Ventura.

    Tennessee Williams' autumnal masterpiece is set on the veranda of a Mexican resort hotel on the edge of the rainforest.
    Here, four of life's castaways converge to share their desperate circumstances and wistful dreams:

    Shannon, a defrocked minister-turned-tour guide who struggles to hold on to the last shreds of his own decency (RICHARD
    EDEN); Hannah (STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST), the serene New England painter with whom Shannon has a strange and
    immediate connection; Nonno (EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR.), the oldest living poet who longs to complete his final stanza; and
    Maxine (Canadian STEPHANIE McNAMARA in her American debut), the lusty hotel owner who wants Shannon all to
    herself.

   Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, this poetic play is described by the New York Daily News as,
   "Williams in a searching, mystic, poetic mood, the mood that gave us The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire. 
   This play will haunt you, haunt you with the things said and unsaid; haunt you with its beauty!"

2. More About the Cast

EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. was given his first professional role by Garson Kanin, acting alongside Spencer Tracy in the 1946 Broadway production of The Rugged Path. Zimbalist went on to appear with the American Repertory Theatre in Henry VII, Androcles and the Lion, What Every Woman Knows and Yellow Jack, followed by Hedda Gabler with Eva Le Gallienne. Zimbalist next produced Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Medium and The Telephone at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Three years later he produced The Consul by Menotti, which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. During the same year, he was cast in his first film House of Strangers by Joseph Mankiewicz. His work on television included such shows as the Theatre Guild's The U.S. Steel Hour, Philco Playhouse and The Goodyear Playhouse.

After a hiatus following the death of his wife, Zimbalist returned in a daytime television series with Louise Albritton, followed by an appearance in the Broadway production of Noel Coward's Fallen Angels. Offered a seven-year contract by Warner Brothers, Zimbalist settled into a movie career, which began with Bombers B52 opposite Natalie Wood and Karl Malden, followed quickly by Band of Angels, The Deep Six, Violent Road, Too Much Too Soon, The Crowded Sky and Home Before Dark. In later years he was to add such pictures as A Fever in the Blood, The Chapman Report, By Love Possessed, Wait Until Dark and Airport 75.

Somehow Zimbalist also managed to fit in two television series, 77 Sunset Strip, which ran for six years, and The FBI, for nine. There was a host of television specials and guest appearances as well, too numerous to list except for his favorite of all: his daughter Stephanie's series Remington Steele. He returned to the stage in Charley's Aunt, The Tempest, The Pleasure of His Company, The Cocktail Hour and I Shall Return, a one-man play based on the life of General Douglas MacArthur. His last screen appearance was in Hot Shots. In July 2003, Zimbalist's memoir, My Dinner of Herbs, was published by Limelight Editions, New York.

STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST has starred in many theatrical productions including Romantique (World Premiere, A.R.T., Boston); Dancing at Lughnasa, Love Letters, and two runs as Lizzie in The Rainmaker (Robby Award) at Rubicon; The Cherry Orchard (with Alfred Molina, Odyssey Theatre); Side Man (Guthrie Lab, MN); Mr. Bundy (World Premiere, Humana Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville); Wonderful Town (Reprise! concert series, L.A.); Sylvia ( L.A. premiere, Coronet Theatre (L.A. Drama-Logue, Robby Awards); AdWars (Court, Tiffany Theatres, L.A. Drama-Logue Award); The Crimson Thread (world premiere at Seven Angels Theatre, CT, and The Pasadena Playhouse, CA); The Threepenny Opera (with Betty Buckley, Williamstown Theatre Festival, MA); Jane Anderson's The Baby Dance (original production w/ Linda Purl, John Perry, directed by Jenny Sullivan, at Pasadena, Williamstown, Long Wharf Theatre in CT, and Lucille Lortel in NYC); My One and Only (National Tour with Tommy Tune); Barbarians and Summer and Smoke (w/Chris Reeve and Ann Reinking, Williamstown); The Cherry Orchard (Long Wharf); The Tempest (with Anthony Hopkins, Mark Taper Forum, L.A.).

Feature films include The Prophet's Game (with Dennis Hopper), The Awakening (with Charlton Heston) and The Magic of Lassie (with James Stewart). On television, Zimbalist has starred in 31 movies, including The Golden Moment, The Babysitter, Centennial, The Gathering, The Story Lady (with Jessica Tandy), Caroline? (for Hallmark - Golden Globe nomination), Incident in a Small Town (with Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan), and Stop the World, I Want to Get Off for A&E. She co-starred as Laura Holt in the MTM series Remington Steele.

RICHARD EDEN started his stage career in his native Toronto, before heading to New York where he played the lead in the Off-Broadway hit Entertaining Mr. Sloane opposite Joe Maher and Barbara Bryne. Richard's Los Angeles theatre credits include Breman Freedom at the Odyssey Theatre, Trust Me at the Jewel Box and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Gascon Theatre. His performances as Henry Grenfel in The Long Beach Studio's production of The Fox and as Stanley Kowalski for the LA Art Theatre's A Streetcar Named Desire earned Richard two Drama-Logue Awards. In television, Richard played Dame Judith Anderson's grandson on the daytime series "Santa Barbara", and was nominated for an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Robocop in "Robocop the Series". Richard was honored in France with the Cine-Revue Award and was guest of honor at the Monte Carlo Television Festival. His recent television and film roles include "Callback" ,"Tear it Down", "Crossed Over" (with Diane Keaton), "Feast of All Saints", "Whitewash" and "10,000 Black Men Named George" for Showtime and "Woman Wanted" starring Holly Hunter. The Night of the Iguana marks Richard's debut with Rubicon Theatre.

The cast also features: Ojai resident Chris Cotone as Hank; Rubicon company member Joseph Fuqua as Jake; Victor Gomez from Toronto as Pedro; Amanda Hulme as Hilda; Laurel Lyle from Santa Barbara as Miss Fellows; Canadian Stephanie McNamara in her U.S. debut as the sultry Maxine; Craig Mulgrew, former Rubicon Young Professional (Santa Ynez resident) as Wolfgang; Anne Ross as Charlotte; Ventura native Armando Rey as Pancho; Santa Barbaran Rudolph Willrich as Herr Farhenkopf, and Von Rae Wood as Frau Fahrenkopf.

3. Production needs for The Night of the Iguana

HELP BUILD THE RUBICON RAIN FOREST!

Scenic Designer, Gary Wissmann (sets for Rubicon productions of All My Sons and The Importance of Being Earnest) is back to WOW us with his most impressive Rubicon set design! Picture a beautiful tropical oasis on a mountain side in Mexico. How would you like to be a part of this creative process?

WHAT IS NEEDED: Rubicon is looking for people to help put together the foliage for the Iguana set. It's a very simple job and does not require heavy lifting or pounding. If you can put together a fake Christmas tree you can build a tropical rain forest! This is a great group activity so bring your friends along! We are also looking for someone to bring in a non-alcoholic (at least until we're finished) tropical punch for volunteer refreshments - small umbrellas in plastic glasses okay).

WHEN: At Rubicon, on Monday October 4th or Tuesday October 5th whether it be for 1-hour or 4-hours- EVERYONE IS WELCOME AND NEEDED! You can come anytime between 11AM - 5PM.

WHO TO CONTACT: Please call in advance- Brian McDonald, Associate Producer at (805) 667-2912, ext. 34.

5. The wait is almost over! Last chance to see Rubicon's acclaimed production of Waiting for Godot and other BeckettFest
    events. Events thru Friday:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2004

BROWN BAG BECKETT LUNCH SERIES: A SOLITARY LIFE

Noon, Ventura City Hall in the Santa Cruz Room (Room 227) $10.

Journalist TOM JACOBS of Santa Barbara News-Press and Backstage West facilitates a conversation about the themes of loneliness and isolation in Samuel Beckett's work with WALTER ASMUS, JENNY SULLIVAN, and PORTER ABBOTT, Ph.D., Bring your own lunch or order one in advance for $10 by calling (805) 667-2900.

Panelist WALTER ASMUS is a renowned German director who was Beckett's collaborator and who has directed the entire Beckett canon. JENNY SULLIVAN is Rubicon's Artistic Associate and is the director of Happy Days in the Festival. Panelist H. PORTER ABBOTT is the author of two books and numerous articles on the work of Samuel Beckett, and is a past president of the Samuel Beckett Society. His most recent work includes "The Cambridge Introduction to "Narrative" (2002) and  On the Origin of Fictions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives" (2001, editor). His most recent book on Beckett is "Beckett Writing Beckett: The Author in the Autograph" (Cornell). Abbott is a Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

ON STAGE: "Krapp's Last Tape" (Talkback after the show)

2pm, Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street. $35 ($15 students)

RICK CLUCHEY, a former inmate at San Quentin who was pardoned by Governor Brown after his life was transformed, and who has been the mainstay of the San Quentin Drama Project for 40 years, stars in a revival of the production originally staged by Beckett himself. On the occasion of his 69th birthday, a slovenly old man sits alone at a desk, surrounded by boxes of tapes and a single recorder. He records a self-deprecating and conflicted diatribe of longing, hopelessness and regret.

FILMS: "Endgame"

5:30 pm; 70 minutes, Ventura Downtown Century Theatres, 555 E. Main St. $10. Open seating.

MICHAEL GAMBON and DAVID THEWLIS in the play many consider to be Beckett's greatest masterpiece. Directed by CONOR McPHERSON.

ON STAGE: "Waiting For Godot"

8pm, Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street. $35

Instilled with a large dose of Irish wit, Samuel Beckett's groundbreaking play explores the delicate line between hope and despair as two tramps wait by the side of a deserted road for a salvation that never comes. As they question, argue and complain, comedy rises to tragedy in a predicament reflecting humanity's search for meaning. The play that changed the course of dramatic writing in the 20th century features Emmy® Award-winning actor JOE SPANO as Vladimir, television and stage actor ROBIN GAMMELL (Guthrie/Old Globe) as Estragon, CLIFF DEYOUNG (Broadway/Rubicon's "Art") as Pozzo, and TED NEELEY (stage and film versions of "Jesus Christ Superstar") as Lucky. Directed by renowned German director and Beckett's longtime collaborator WALTER ASMUS. Asmus has directed the entire Beckett canon and helmed acclaimed productions at BAM and the Gate production which toured internationally (recently to Shanghai). FILMS: "Play" and "Krapp's Last Tape".

10:30 pm; 70 minutes, Ventura Downtown Century Theatres, 555 E. Main St. $10. Open seating.

ANTHONY MINGHELLA directs ALAN RICKMAN, KRISTEN SCOTT THOMAS and JULIET STEVENSON in thrilling tour de force performances in "Play", the story of a love triangle where each character narrates a bitter history and their role in it; followed by JOHN HURT'S exquisite rendition of "Krapp's Last Tape", directed by ATOM EGOYAN. (See the play on Wednesday or Thursday and then see the film for comparison and contrast!)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2004

BROWN BAG BECKETT LUNCH SERIES: "Knowing the Unknowable, Naming the Unnamable: Religious Themes and Images in Beckett's Writings"

Noon, Ventura City Hall Community Meeting Room $10.

Samuel Beckett is generally thought of as the "existentialist poster boy" as one L.A. Times writer recently said. His characters walk a fine line between  hope and despair. Did Beckett really reject the Protestant belief system which was a part of his upbringing? Or the Catholic faith held by many of his friends and schoolmates in Ireland? BETTY ALVAREZ HAM and RICK CLUCHEY discuss Christian and Catholic references and symbols in "Waiting for Godot" and other Beckett plays and draw conclusions from them about the meaning of life and the nature of existence. Moderated by JOHN BLONDELL. Bring your own lunch or order one in advance for $10 by calling (805) 667-2900.

Panelist BETTY ALVAREZ HAM is the Founder and President of City Impact, a faith-based non-profit organization working with at-risk youth and families. She is an Ordained Minister as well as being an Adjunct Professor at Azusa Pacific University in the area of Urban and Youth Ministry. Betty has ministered in the Church and Para-church organizations over the last 25 years. Betty is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University in which she majored in Psychology and Biblical Literature. She then attended Fuller Theological Seminary and received a Masters of Divinity. RICK CLUCHEY grew up in Chicago's southside, where he was a boxer and small-time criminal. At the age of 21, he was sentenced to life without parole in San Quentin Prison for his role in a botched L.A. armed robbery in which his victim was injured. Years later, he received word of Governor Brown's pardon for him in Samuel Beckett's presence in the midst of their working collaboration. The 1998 film Weeds, starring Nick Nolte, is based on Cluchey's life. While in prison, he was reintroduced to his Catholic faith by the Chaplain at the prison. JOHN BLONDELL is Founding Artistic Director of the Lit Moon Theatre Company, an internationally recognized physical theatre ensemble, and is director of the Lit Moon World Theater Festival, produced yearly at Santa Barbara's Center Stage Theater. Blondell holds a Ph. D. inDramatic Art from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is Professor and Chair of the Theatre Arts Department at Westmont College, where he directs and teaches classes in theatre history, dramatic theory and directing.


A DON'T MISS - LAST CHANCE!

ON STAGE: "Cliff DeYoung in the Collected Works of Samuel Beckett"

2pm, Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street. $35 ($15 students)

This one-man compilation, originally created by Beckett's favorite actor Jack McGowran, was presented in the U.S. for the first time in 30 years in L.A. in 2002 with renowned actor Cliff DeYoung (also Pozzo in Rubicon's Waiting for Godot). Rubicon Theatre brings this unique theatrical event to life once again. The Los Angeles Times says, "DeYoung brilliantly mines Beckett's irony, despair and absurdity." Directed by Dennis Redfield.

ON STAGE: "Waiting For Godot"

8pm, Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street. $40

Instilled with a large dose of Irish wit, Samuel Beckett's groundbreaking play explores the delicate line between hope and despair as two tramps wait by the side of a deserted road for a salvation that never comes. As they question, argue and complain, comedy rises to tragedy in a predicament reflecting humanity's search for meaning. The play that changed the course of dramatic writing in the 20th century features Emmy® Award-winning actor JOE SPANO as Vladimir, television and stage actor ROBIN GAMMELL (Guthrie/Old Globe) as Estragon, CLIFF DEYOUNG (Broadway/Rubicon's "Art") as Pozzo, and TED NEELEY (stage and film versions of "Jesus Christ Superstar") as Lucky. Directed by renowned German director and Beckett's longtime collaborator WALTER ASMUS. Asmus has directed the entire Beckett canon and helmed acclaimed productions at BAM and the Gate production which toured internationally (recently to Shanghai).

FILM: "Ohio Impromptu", "Not I", "Rough for Theatre I and II"

10:30 pm, 84 minutes, Ventura Downtown Century Theatres, 555 E. Main St. $10. Open seating.

"Ohio Impromptu" captures that universally human emotion of losing the one you love the most and expresses it in its purest and most terrifying form. "Rough for Theatre" features a blind man and a physically disabled man, who meet by chance and consider the possibility of joining forces to unite sight and mobility in the interests of survival. In "Rough for Theatre II", two men try to assess the life of a third, who is ready to jump out of the window. JEREMY IRONS, JULIANNE MOORE, MILO O'SHEA and other remarkable actors illuminate these provocative plays.

6. Director's Preview this Monday for Jewel Club Members

Thank you to DOTTIE PAS for hosting the Jewel Club Director's Preview for The Night of the Iguana on Monday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. Director JAMES O'NEIL will talk about Tennessee Williams, his thoughts about the play, and our Canadian counterparts. Dessert and coffee will be served during the social time after the presentation. If you are not a Jewel Club member yet and would like more information on attending these events, please call DIANA SMITH at (805) 667-2900, ext. 23.

7. Definition of Wunderkind: a) A person of remarkable talent or ability who achieves great success or acclaim at an early age;
    b) Norbert Tan.

Yes, it's official now! Norbert has made the list of young movers & shakers in the Tri-Counties. In the September 24 issue of Pacific Coast Business Times, Norbert was named one of the "40 Under Forty" up-and-coming business leaders in our region. The article talked about Norbert's training as an Arts Management Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, his work at IMG in Hong Kong, his prior experience in marketing for the internet, legal and advertising industries, his bachelor's degree in business administration from UC Berkeley and his master's in business administration and arts management from the Anderson School at UCLA. The article also mentioned his involvement in the City of Ventura Cultural Plan steering committee as well as the Downtown Ventura chapter of Rotary International. An awards dinner for the recipients is on Monday, October 18 at 5:30pm at the Tower Club. The cost is $50 per person. Call Chris Rennolds if you'd like to go and she'll organize our table.

8. It'll be a grand Grandes Dames Luncheon on October 11.

Be sure to send in your reservation for our first Grandes Dames luncheon of the season Monday, October 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the Pierpont Inn. Meet cast members from The Night of the Iguana, and enjoy entertainment performed by Kim Huber and Roger Befeler, who played Belle and The Beast in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. Mail your check for $35 made out to RTC by Monday, October 4 to the attention of Lori White at the RTC Box Office. Or, charge by phone by calling (805) 667-2900. See you there!

PHOTOS FROM THE "IGUANA" GALA"

 

 

Merle DiVita, Joseph Fugua, and Dottie Novat
 Photo courtesy of Steve Magidson

"S


UPDATE: 11/22/04:

FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Night of the Iguana has relocated to Manitoba Theatre Center in Canada, as the first production in the new RTC/MTC partnership begun at BeckettFest.  Here is the link for the current engagement, which plays from November 18 - December

http://www.mtc.mb.ca/iguana.html

the link to the MTC Iguana links page:

http://yuliya.topcities.com/Cast/SZ/Iguana.html#articles 

A link to the November 16, 2004 article on Stephanie Zimbalist in the Winnipeg Sun entitled: "Her Heart Belongs To Daddy":

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/WinnipegSun/Spotlight/2004/11/16/716351.html

A link to the August 27, 2004 Winnipeg Sun article entitled: "Stephanie tricks Efram into MTC play"

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/WinnipegSun/Spotlight/2004/08/27/604065.html  

Fri, August 27, 2004

Stephanie tricks Efram into MTC play

By PAT ST. GERMAIN, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER

A bit of trickery led veteran actor Efram Zimbalist Jr. to the cast of the Tennessee Williams play Night of the Iguana at Manitoba Theatre Centre Nov. 18 - Dec. 11. His daughter, Stephanie Zimbalist, was cast some time ago in the MTC co-production with Rubicon Theatre of Ventura, Calif. She suggested to Rubicon co-founder and director Jim O'Neil that her father play 97-year-old poet Jonathan Coffin -- she plays his granddaughter Hannah Jelkes -- and the pair cooked up a scheme to hook him on the role.

"We kind of ambushed him actually," O'Neil says.

Stephanie Zimbalist, best known for playing private eye Laura Holt opposite Pierce Brosnan in 1982-87 NBC series Remington Steele, took a script to her 86-year-old father's home under the pretense that she wanted him to hear her read her lines before the pair met O'Neil for a social lunch the following day.

"We made arrangements to meet for lunch and we sprung it on him right then -- he was shocked at first and ultimately overjoyed," O'Neil says.

The New York City-born son of concert violinist Efrem Zimbalist and opera star Alma Gluck, Efram Zimbalist Jr. played private eye Stu Bailey in 1958-64 ABC series 77 Sunset Strip and senior agent Lewis Erskine in 1965-74 ABC series The F.B.I. He has a long list of stage and movie credits. He acted with his daughter in a 1979 TV movie, but this will be their first theatre collaboration.

O'Neil says the veteran actor is in great shape, and his role is not physically demanding since he sits in a wheelchair for most of his time onstage.

His daughter has a long association with the Rubicon Theatre. She attended a play there during its debut season in 1998 with her friend Jenny Sullivan -- who will direct Ronald Harwood's The Dresser at MTC next spring -- and has since performed in four Rubicon productions.

MTC and Rubicon Theatre co-produced Mating Dance of the Werewolf, which debuted at MTC Warehouse in March.

 

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A link to the November 19, 2004 Winnipeg Sun's review entitled: "Zimbalists make Night of the Iguana a night to remember":

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/WinnipegSun/Spotlight/2004/11/19/720802.html

 


 

BECKETTFEST

Joseph was to play Lucky in "Waiting For Godot", (the featured RTC production during the BeckettFest Festival), but was sidelined with pneumonia and had to withdraw from the show.  Ted Neeley has taken over the role.  Joseph will, however, be moderating some of the discussions in the festival.  See more news on BeckettFest here.

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