Raul Esparza, Thom Sesma, George Abud, Christopher Gurr, Mahira Kakkar, Eddie Cooper, Elizabeth A. Davis and Omozé Idehenre Set for Classic Stage Company’s THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, October 30 – December 22

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Classic Stage Company is presenting The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht’s unsettlingly timeless work, which kicks off CSC’s 2018-2019 season on October 30, with rehearsals beginning this week. Directed by John Doyle, this comical yet disturbing play from one of the greatest political satirists of all time follows a Depression-era Chicago mobster, Arturo Ui, who, with the help of his henchmen, manipulates and murders his way to totalitarian rule of the cauliflower trade. Society, of course, fails to act upon his “resistible rise.”

Four-time Tony Award nominee and “Law and Order: SVU” alum Raúl Esparza plays the Al Capone-like, Hitler-paralleling Arturo Ui in this production. Joining him is a talented cast that includes George Abud (CSC: Nathan The Wise, Peer Gynt, Allegro; Broadway: The Band’s Visit), Eddie Cooper (Off-Broadway: Atlantic Theater Company’s This Ain’t No Disco; TV: “Forever,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Banshee,” “The Night Of”),Tony nominee Elizabeth A. Davis (CSC: Caucasian Chalk Circle, Allegro; Broadway: Once; TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Blue Bloods,”), Christopher Gurr (Broadway: Cats, Tuck Everlasting, Kinky Boots, Amazing Grace, All the Way; National Tours: Memphis, Monty Python’s Spamalot), Omozé Idehenre (Her Portmanteau at the Boston Court Theater, Good Grief at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Caucasian Chalk Circle at ACT; Film: On the Road), Mahira Kakkar (Henry VI at NAATCO and The Winter’s Tale at TFANA, TV: “Friends From College,” “Blacklist,” “The Big C”),and Thom Sesma (CSC: Pacific Overtures; Broadway: The Times They are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha; TV: “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary,” “Jessica Jones”).

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

The creative team includes Anne Hould-Ward (Costume Design), Jane Cox and Tess James (Lighting Design), Matt Stine (Sound Design), Bernita Robinson (Production Stage Manager) and Jessica Fleischman (Assistant Stage Manager).

John Doyle says of Arturo Ui, “Everyday I read the play, I think, ‘I hear these words on CNN as I read them on the page.’ The play will be falling right around the midterm elections, and it’s fitting that it reminds us of the choices that are available to us in relation to the way the world can go. That really is at the foundation of what classical theater says. Classic plays have politics at their heart-you take a play like Richard III or the Scottish Play-they’re warnings. And there’s a warning in Arturo Ui. This is a time for theater to say something; if we’re not screaming and shouting now, when are we ever going to do it?”

Brecht wrote Arturo Ui in 1941, while in exile from Nazi Germany, in Finland. During that time, he was awaiting his U.S. visa, and thereby imagined a vision of totalitarianism fit for America, and the American stage. (Though the play, ultimately, was never performed until 1958 in Germany, after Brecht’s death.) In Arturo Ui, Brecht recast and reframed the fascism whose roots he had experienced firsthand, before leaving Germany for fear of persecution for his politically scalding works in 1933. Within a make-believe, vaudevillian portrayal of American mafia culture, the narrative of Arturo Ui is written to meticulously parallel events and individuals that brought the Third Reich to power, and led them to overtake their neighbors.

Though this is a highly contemporary work in the vast history of theater canon, Arturo Ui has a classical air, its “epic theatre” style emblematic of Classic Stage Company’s work. Written largely in verse, Brecht’s play nods to Richard III, speaking to the ubiquity of violent authority through time-while foreshadowing its potential for reemergence any time in the present and future. Before directing Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle in 2010, Doyle’s acclaimed style-often minimal and anti-naturalist, highlighting ensemble casts, making visible the act of performance-was noted for having already deeply incorporated Brechtian qualities. With the democratic ethos and introspection-inducing nature of Brecht’s and Doyle’s theater-making, the production takes to heart our ability to resist violent power structures.

Performances of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui take place at Classic Stage Company (136 E 13th St, New York), with previews beginning Tuesday, October 30, 2018. The production opens Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and closes Saturday, December 22. Performance times are Tues.-Thurs. at 7pm, Fri.-Sat. at 8pm, and Sat.-Sun. at 2pm.

There will be no Saturday matinee on the first Saturday, November 3, 2018. A student matinee scheduled for Wednesday, November 29, 2018. There will be no performances on Thursday, November 22, 2018 or Friday, November 23, 2018 due to Thanksgiving.

Tickets are currently on sale to members. Members receive the best prices, flexibility, exclusive benefits, and invitations to special events throughout the season. Memberships begin at $50 ($25 for Students). For more information visit classicstage.org or call 212.677.4210.

Single tickets ($75 previews, $80 post opening, $125 prime) are currently on sale, and can be purchased at classicstage.org or 212-352-3101(or toll free 866-811-411).

About the Cast
George Abud (Clark) is a proud Arab-American actor. CSC: Nathan The Wise (opposite F. Murray Abraham), Peer Gynt (opposite Gabriel Ebert), Allegro (dir. John Doyle). Broadway: The Band’s Visit starring Katrina Lenk & Tony Shalhoub (OBC Recording), The Visit starring Chita Rivera & Roger Rees (OBC Recording). Off-Broadway: The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company, dir. David Cromer). International: The New Prince with Barbara Walsh, Marc Kudisch & Paulo Szot (Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam). Regional: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Geva Theatre Center), Fiddler on the Roof (Human Race Theatre). Please consider joining George in supporting these incredible organizations: anera.org, sams-usa.net, maketheroadny.org.

Eddie Cooper (Roma) Atlantic Theater Company: This Ain’t No Disco (The D.A.). Bucks County Playhouse: The New World (Miles Standish). Encores! Off Center: Assassins; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Jerome); and Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II); Two Rivers: All-male A Funny Thing Happened… (Domina). TV: “Delco Proper”, “Forever”, “Mozart In The Jungle”, recurring on Cinemax’s “Banshee” as Fat Au and HBO’s Emmy nominated “The Night Of”. Proud graduate of Laguardia High School & Ithaca College. Big thanks to my family, and the team at Judy Boals Inc, and Ivy Rock Management. @MrEddieCooper

Elizabeth A. Davis (Giri) CSC: Caucasian Chalk Circle, Allegro (Drama Desk Nom; Dir John Doyle). Broadway: Once (Tony Award Nom; Dir John Tiffany). Select Off-Broadway: My Name’s Not Indian Joe (Book, Music, Lyrics; Director Don Scardino), King Lear, Zorba! (City Center Encores), Four Last Things (American Globe Theatre), Dust Can’t Kill Me (NYMF Award; Dir. Srda Vasiljevic) 39 Steps (New World Stages). Select Regional: Rain (The Old Globe), The Devil’s Disciple, The Misanthrope (STNJ), Once (American Repertory Theatre) Streetcar Named Desire (The Cleveland Playhouse). Film: Wisdom Tooth, Trauma Is A Time Machine, Blur Circle. TV: “L&O SVU,” “Blue Bloods,” “Jim Gaffigan Show, ” “Fringe.” BFA, MFA.

Raúl Esparza (Arturo Ui) is a Cuban-American actor, who has received Tony nominations for his performances in Broadway productions of Taboo, Company, Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, and David Mamet’s Speed The Plow. Other Broadway credits include the revival of The Rocky Horror Show, and the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He recently served as an actor and creative consultant for Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production of The Waves, a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. He is known for his roles in TV series such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Hannibal,” “Bojack Horseman,” and “The Path,” and in film as a voice artist in the Oscar-nominated Twentieth Century Fox animated feature Ferdinand, as well as the 2010 horror thriller, My Soul to Take.

Christopher Gurr (Dogsborough) Broadway: Cats (dir. Trevor Nunn, chor. Andy Blankenbuehler), Tuck Everlasting, Kinky Boots, Amazing Grace, and All The Way with Bryan Cranston. National Tours: Memphis (dir. Christopher Ashley), Monty Python’s Spamalot (dir. Mike Nichols). Regional: The Sting (Paper Mill), Titanic (Pittsburgh CLO), Copenhagen, 1776, Twelve Angry Men (Geva), Tommy, Oklahoma! (Berkshire Theatre Festival), The Lion in Winter (Indiana Rep), The Drowsy Chaperone (Human Race). Television: “Madame Secretary.” Guest Artist/Educator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Webster University, St. Louis, and Geva Theatre, Rochester, NY. Proud union member: Actors’ Equity, SAG/AFTRA, and Stage Directors & Choreographers Society. ChristopherGurr.com

Omozé Idehenre (Mrs. Dullfleet) Her Portmanteau (Boston Court Theater), Good Grief (Kirk Douglas), Runboyrun (Magic Theatre), Gem of the Ocean, The Convert, Seven Guitars(Marin Theatre Company), The Comedy of Errors and Richard III (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The Winter’s Tale, Spunk, Macbeth (California Shakespeare Company), Clybourne Park, Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Scorched, A Doll’s House, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (American Conservatory Theater). Film: On the Road. Education: MFA, The American Conservatory Theater and The Groundlings.

Mahira Kakkar (Flake / Dockdaisy) was born in Kolkata, India. Selected theater: Henry VI (NAATCO), The Winter’s Tale (TFANA), The Importance of Being Earnest (Two River), Monsoon Wedding with Mira Nair, Miss Witherspoon and Vanya, Sonia… with Christopher Durang, Clive with Ethan Hawke. Film/TV: Hank and Asha (Slamdance favorite, Best Actress Napa Film Festival, Best Actress Wild Rose Film Festival), Hechki, Bite Me, “Friends From College”, “Law and Order”, “Louie”, “Odd Mom Out”, “Blacklist”, “Blue Bloods”, “The Big C.” Training: Juilliard. Website: mahirakakkar.com

Thom Sesma (Givola) CSC: Pacific Overtures (Lortel nom., Featured Actor, Musical). Broadway/National Tours: The Times They Are-A Changin’, Lion King, Miss Saigon, Titanic, Man of La Mancha (2002 revival), Face Value, Search and Destroy, Nick & Nora. Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street Theatre), Discord (Primary Stages), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/Public Theatre), Othello (Public Theatre/NYSF), Cymbeline (NYSF). Regional: McCarter Theatre, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, Centre Stage, Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and more. Recent television: “Instinct,” “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary,” “Person of Interest,” “Jessica Jones,” “Gotham.” Connect with Thom via Twitter: @ThomSesmaNYC, Instagram: @thsesma.

About the Creative Team
John Doyle (Director) first joined CSC in 2013 as Associate Director, and became Artistic Director in 2016. He has directed productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures (2017) and Passion (2013, Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro (2014, Drama League Nomination, Best Revival of a Musical), as well as Dead Poets Society (2016), Peer Gynt (2016), and As You Like It (2017).

Additional theater in the U.S. includes: The Color Purple (Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award, Best Director of a Musical), Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Best Director of a Musical; Drama Desk Nomination Outstanding Set Design of a Musical), Company (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards Best Musical Revival; Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, Outstanding Director of a Musical), A Catered Affair (Drama League Award, Best Musical Production; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), The Visit (Tony Nomination, Best Musical; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Ten Cents a Dance (Williamstown/ McCarter), The Exorcist (The Geffen, LA), Road Show (Public Theater/Menier Chocolate Factory), Where’s Charlie? and Irma La Douce (Encores!), Wings (Second Stage), A Bed and a Chair (City Center), Kiss Me Kate (Stratford), Caucasian Chalk Circle (ACT), Merrily We Roll Along and Three Sisters (Cincinnati).

In the U.K., John Doyle has been Artistic Director of four regional theaters: The Worcester Swan, The Cheltenham Everyman, The Liverpool Everyman, The York Theatre Royal, and was also Associate Director of the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. During these residencies, he directed numerous productions of new and classic works. Notable credits include: Female Parts, Sweeney Todd, Gondoliers, Mack and Mabel (West End), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Oklahoma! (Chichester), Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Millenium Cylce of Mystery Plays (London), Carmen, Fiddler on the Roof (Watermill), The War of the Roses, The Madness of George III (York), The White Devil, Othello, Candide (Liverpool). He is co-author of Shakespeare For Dummies.

Ann Hould-Ward (Costume Designer) CSC: Passion, Allegro, Peer Gynt, Dead Poets Society, Pacific Overtures, As You Like It, Fire and Air. Select Broadway: The Color Purple, The Visit, The People in the Picture, A Free Man of Color (Drama Desk nom.), A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nom.), Beauty and the Beast (Tony Award), Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Falsettos, Sunday in the Park With George (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Saint Joan, Little Me. Other Off-Broadway: Notes from the Field, The Blue Flower, Russian Transport, Road Show, Lobster Alice, Cymbeline. Ms. Hould-Ward’s work can be seen in over 35 international companies of Beauty and the Beast, and her other designs are featured in shows all over the world. More than 100 regional theater credits. Recipient of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Patricia Zipprodt Award.

Jane Cox (Lighting Designer) CSC: Pacific Overtures, Peer Gynt, Allegro, Passion and Winter’s Tale. Broadway: Jitney (Tony nom.); Amelie, Color Purple (Drama Desk nom.); Machinal (Tony and Drama Desk nom); All the Way; Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic. Jane is a member of theMonica Bill Barnes Dance Company, has a long collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and is the director of the theater program at Princeton University.

Tess James (Lighting Designer) is a freelance Lighting Designer and Associate based in New York. Her recent projects as a designer include Roe at Asolo Rep and as an associate designer include Soft Power at The Curran Theatre and The Public Theatre’s Othello; Throughout her career she has working with a array of amazing intuitions including BAM, New York City Center and the Sydney Opera House. She is currently an artist in residence at Princeton University.

Matt Stine (Sound Designer) Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include: Sweeney Todd (Sound Design, Barrow Street Theatre), The Liar (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company ), A Christmas Carol (Music Producer, McCarter Theater), Dead Poets Society (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), The Clearing (Sound Designer, 59E59), The Black Crook (Sound Design, Abrons Art Center), Nathan The Wise (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), Misery (Music Producer, Broadway), Mother Courage And Her Children (Sound Design, Classic Stage Company), The Tempest (Music Producer, Delacorte Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Music Supervisor, Delacorte Theater) 27sound.com

Bernita Robinson (Production Stage Manager) is very happy to return to CSC with this wonderful production. Previous CSC Productions: PSM for Carmen Jones. Broadway credits include Ragtime(original) Thurgood, Man of La Mancha (revival), A Moon for the Misbegotten (revival), Aida, Beauty and the Beast among others. Regional theatre credits include Alabama Shakespeare, Pioneer Theater, Kansas City Rep and Casa Manana – productions of Ring of Fire, A Few Good Men, Evita and the world premiere of Roof of the World. Off-Broadway productions at Signature, Playwrights Horizons, The York, among others. Member of AEA National Council.

Jessica Fleischman (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to return to Classic Stage Company after working on Fire and Air this past winter! National Tours: Jersey Boys (2nd Nat’l). Off-Broadway: Jersey Boys (New World Stages), Little Rock (Sheen Center), King Liz, The Other Thing (2ST), Red Eye of Love (Amas Musical Theatre), Normativity (NYMF). Regional: Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Opera: Piramo e Tisbe (LOTNY). Jessica is a proud graduate of Penn State University. http://www.Jessica-Fleischman.com

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A Conversation with Jonathan Raviv of THE BAND’S VISIT

Jonathan Raviv in his dressing room at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

When the Tony Award nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, the cast of the Broadway production of The Band’s Visit was appearing live  on the Today Show.

Tony Shalhoub, Andrew Polk, Alok Tewari, Ari'el Stachel, Jonathan Raviv, Etai Benson, John Cariani and Bill Army at "The Today Show" on May 1, 2018. Photo: Instagram
Tony Shalhoub, Andrew Polk, Alok Tewari, Ari’el Stachel, Jonathan Raviv, Etai Benson, John Cariani and Bill Army at “The Today Show” on May 1, 2018. Photo: Instagram

During the live broadcast, the company learned of the 11 nominations they had garnered including Best Musical, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for Theatre (David Yazbek), Best Book of a Musical (Itamar Moses) and Best Direction of a Musical (David Cromer).

Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk and Ari’el Stachel are nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical,  Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is a Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical respectively.

Tony nominees Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk and Ari'el Stachel on The Tony Awards red carpet in New York on May 2, 2018. Photo: Instagram
Tony nominees Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk and Ari’el Stachel on The Tony Awards red carpet in New York on May 2, 2018. Photo: Instagram

The Band’s Visit is also nominated for Best Orchestrations (Jamshied Sharifi), Best Sound Design of a Musical (Kai Harada), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Scott Pask) and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Tyler Micoleau).

The Band’s Visit opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre on November 9, 2017, featuring music and lyrics by three-time Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek, a book by NY Drama Critics Circle, Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards winner Itamar Moses, based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, and is directed by Drama Desk, Lortel & Obie Award winner David Cromer.

Katrina Lenk, Jonathan Raviv, Tony Shalhoub in THE BAND'S VISIT. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Katrina Lenk, Jonathan Raviv, Tony Shalhoub in THE BAND’S VISIT. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Band’s Visit is a new musical based on the critically acclaimed screenplay which received 36 major international awards. An Egyptian Police Band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix-up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways.

THE BAND’S VISIT marks Jonathan Raviv's Broadway debut. Photo by Lia Chang
THE BAND’S VISIT marks Jonathan Raviv’s Broadway debut. Photo by Lia Chang

I caught up with Jonathan Raviv, who plays Sammy in The Band’s Visit, the day after the nominations were announced. Raviv was in the original cast of the critically acclaimed world premiere at the Atlantic Theater Company, which opened on December 8, 2016 and played a sold-out, limited engagement through January 8, 2017. 

Jonathan Raviv as Sammy in THE BAND'S VISIT. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Jonathan Raviv as Sammy in THE BAND’S VISIT. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Lia: How has your life changed since making your Broadway debut in The Band’s Visit?
Jonathan: I wouldn’t say my life has changed much actually. I’ve been busy with events with awards season coming up, but life doing 8 shows a week is the same on Broadway as it is off. I did move recently so that’s something. I guess the fact that I have a steady job and paycheck and a regular routine for the foreseeable future frees up brain space for other things and gives me stability that is rare for an actor; for that I’m very happy and grateful.

Lia: What was it like to learn about the Tony nominations on Live TV?
Jonathan: Finding out on Live TV was wild. We had no idea what was happening because we were about to perform as the nominations were coming out. Right before we started the performance Hoda and Savannah were interviewing Tony and Katrina and revealed to them that they were both nominated, that the show was nominated for best musical and that we had 7 nominations in total, but we didn’t know what the other 4 were. We were all waiting on the side ready to start the song and were obviously excited for Tony and Katrina and the best musical nomination, but we had to keep it together for the performance. After the song, we all came together to do the final sign off and Savannah and Hoda came up to us again and told us that the number had jumped from 7 to 11. Needless to say, we were shocked. 7 was great, but 11?! It was insane. Of course shortly thereafter, we got back inside from the plaza and found one of our dressers, Alex, who told us what all the nominations were. The whole thing was so exciting and surreal. It was a great day. Click here to watch the cast on The Today Show.

Lia: Last time we spoke, you mentioned that getting to speak Hebrew (your mother tongue) on the Broadway stage would be a notable debut. Please elaborate on the representation that is happening on the Ethel Barrymore Stage every night and how audiences have been affected, specifically reactions that you get at the stage door from young actors?
Jonathan: There are so many stories of people (adults and kids) of Middle Eastern descent DMing people in the cast on social media and telling us how happy they are to see themselves on stage. That means so much. Some of us were talking the other night about what it would have been like if this show existed when we were kids and how we would have felt so much more welcome in the American Theatre. I think about that kid in middle school hearing the album or coming to see the show and I think it’s so cool that we may be opening a door for them to feel included in an otherwise white-washed medium. I also think it’s great that we’re exposing American kids to this music and these instruments and showing them that these people that they may only see in one light on the news are the same as them.

Kristen Sieh, Jonathan Raviv, Ari'el Stachel at THE BAND'S VISIT at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristen Sieh, Jonathan Raviv, Ari’el Stachel at THE BAND’S VISIT at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What has the experience been like to work with this particular team of artists and the creative team?
Jonathan: This team from top down is the most talented group of people I have ever worked with. David Cromer is literally a genius (he won a MacArthur genius grant), David Yazbek is an amazing musician and a hilarious man, Itamar Moses is incredibly smart and well spoken and these group of musicians and actors amaze me every day with their intellect, humor and talent. It pushes me to be better and to always strive for more…it’s also incredibly humbling.

Jonathan Raviv in his dressing room at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonathan Raviv in his dressing room at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Have your parents or any other family members come to see the show? If so, what were their reactions?
Jonathan: Oh yeah, my parents came to opening night and were blown away by the show. They had seen it downtown and had mentioned then that they preferred the stage version to the movie (mostly because of Yazbek’s exquisite score), but on Broadway they said it was so much more fleshed out and richer. My brother also came to see both versions and he loved it. My sister and other family members in Israel are planning a visit soon. I’m really excited for them to come and see it.

Jonathan Raviv in his dressing room at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonathan Raviv in his dressing room at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: If you were to describe your show in one sentence, what would that be?
Jonathan: That’s tough. Everyone takes something different from it and reacts to it in their own way. If I had to describe it, I would say this show is about strangers forced to come together and learn about the other and, in the process, they end up learning something about themselves.

Lia: Have you been able to balance any other projects since you began previews in October?
Jonathan: I’ve been fortunate enough to do a few readings of new works, which I love.

The Broadway company of The Band’s Visit currently features Tony Award nominee Katrina Lenk, Tony Award nominee Tony Shalhoub to play select May performances, John Cariani, Tony Award nominee Ari’el Stachel, George Abud, Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Andrew Polk, Bill Army, Rachel Prather, Jonathan Raviv, Sharone Sayegh, Kristen Sieh, Alok Tewari, Pomme Koch, Ahmad Maksoud, Madison Micucci and James Rana. Musicians include Andrea Grody, Alexandra Eckhardt, Ossama Farouk, Philip Mayer, Sam Sadigursky, Jeff Theiss, Harvey Valdes and David Garo Yellin.

Adam Kantor, John Cariani, Jonathan Raviv, Yael Silver, Etai Benson at THE BAND'S VISIT at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Adam Kantor, John Cariani, Jonathan Raviv, Yael Silver, Etai Benson at THE BAND’S VISIT at The Barrymore in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The performance schedule for The Band’s Visit is: Tuesday – Thursday at 7pm; Friday & Saturday at 8pm; with matinees at 2pm on Wednesday & Saturday; Sunday at 3pm. Click here for tickets.

Up Close and Personal with Jonathan Raviv, Star of The Boy Who Danced on Air

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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John Doyle and Lynn Angelson Feted at Classic Stage Company’s 50th Birthday Celebration

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, Classic Stage Company marked its 50th birthday with a gala celebration at Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side, recognizing Artistic Director John Doyle and Board Chair Lynn Angelson. The evening featured special guest performances from Doyle’s New York career including Cynthia Erivo, Judy Kuhn, and Donna McKechnie.

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

A handpicked company of artists who have worked with John Doyle on past productions, the Doylies, including 2018 Lortel nominees Thom Sesma and Steven Eng (Pacific Overtures), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (As You Like It), along with George Abud, Keith Buterbaugh, Karl Josef Co, Matthew Deming, Ben Diskant, David Michael Garry, Megan Masako Haley, Lee Harrington, Amy Justman, Emily Mechler, Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, Megan Loomis, Jane Pfitsch, Leenya Rideout, Fred Rose, Bruce Sabath, Antoine L. Smith, Rema Webb, Elisa Winter, Jessica Tyler Wright, and Katrina Yaukey, also performed.

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Cynthia Erivo and Patti LuPone served as honorary co-chairs; with Barbara H. Marks as the event chair. The evening also featured a live auction hosted by actor Will Roland.

Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
1st row: Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company's PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company’s PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Three Sweeneys – David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang

Since 1967, Classic Stage Company, CSC, has been committed to re-imagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. the company has been a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with the great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today. CSC serves an average of 35,000 audience members annually, including more than 4,000 students through its nationally recognized education programs. Productions have been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com

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Katrina Lenk, Tony Shalhoub, John Cariani, Ari’el Stachel, Jonathan Raviv, and More in Previews of THE BAND’S VISIT, Opens October 26

Jonathan Raviv is making his Broadway debut in THE BAND'S VISIT at the Barrymore. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND's VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND’s VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)

The critically acclaimed new Broadway musical THE BAND’S VISIT is currently in previews on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street), and opens November 9, 2017.

Featuring music and lyrics by three-time Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek and a book by NY Drama Critics Circle, Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards winner Itamar Moses, based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, THE BAND’S VISIT is directed by Drama Desk, Lortel, Joe A. Callaway & Obie Award winner David Cromer.

THE BAND'S VISIT on the Drama Desk Awards red carpet at The Town Hall in New York on June 4, 2017. Photo: Instagram
THE BAND’S VISIT on the Drama Desk Awards red carpet at The Town Hall in New York on June 4, 2017. Photo: Instagram

The Broadway company of THE BAND’S VISIT includes Katrina Lenk, Tony Shalhoub, John Cariani, Ari’el Stachel, George Abud, Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Andrew Polk, Bill Army, Rachel Prather, Jonathan Raviv, Sharone Sayegh, Kristen Sieh, Alok Tewari, Pomme Koch, Madison Micucci and James Rana. Musicians include Andrea Grody, Alexandra Eckhardt, Ossama Farouk, Philip Mayer, Sam Sadigursky, Jeff Theiss, Harvey Valdes and David Garo Yellin.

Jonathan Raviv is making his Broadway debut in THE BAND'S VISIT at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonathan Raviv is making his Broadway debut in THE BAND’S VISIT at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

THE BAND’S VISIT will have twenty $40 Rush Tickets available for each performance, available only day of the performance at the Barrymore box office. There is a two-tickets per person limit on THE BAND’S VISIT Rush Tickets, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability.

THE BAND’S VISIT world premiere opened to critical acclaim at the Atlantic Theater Company on December 8, 2016, where the sold-out, limited engagement extended twice, playing its final performance on Sunday, January 8, 2017.

The musical was named BEST OF THE YEAR by The New York Times, Deadline, Newsday, New York Post, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, The Record, The Wall Street Journal, The Wrap, Time Out New York and BuzzFeed.

THE BAND’S VISIT won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical; two Lucille Lortel Awards, for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (Katrina Lenk); two Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Score (David Yazbek); two Obie Awards, for Musical Theater (David Yazbek & Itamar Moses), and Directing (David Cromer); three Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding Director of a Musical (David Cromer), Outstanding Music (David Yazbek) and Outstanding Lyrics (David Yazbek); The Joe A. Callaway Award for outstanding direction (David Cromer); and Theatre World Award’s Dorothy Louden Award for Theatre Excellence (Katrina Lenk).

After a mix-up at the border, an Egyptian Police Band is sent to a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways. THE BAND’SVISIT celebrates the deeply human ways music, longing and laughter can connect us all.

The creative team includes Patrick McCollum (Choreography), Scott Pask (Set Design), Sarah Laux (Costume Design), Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Maya Ciarrocchi (Projection Design), Charles G. LaPointe (Hair Designer), Jamshied Sharifi (Orchestrations), Andrea Grody (Music Supervisor & Music Director) and Dean Sharenow (Music Supervisor & Music Coordinator).

THE BAND’S VISIT is produced by Orin Wolf, Stylesfour Productions, Evamere Entertainment, Atlantic Theater Company, David F. Schwartz, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, Grove•REG, Lassen Blume Baldwin, Thomas Steven Perakos, Marc Platt, The Shubert Organization, The Baruch/Routh/Frankel/Viertel Group, Robert Cole, DeRoy-Carr-Klausner, Federman-Moellenberg, Roy Furman, FVSL Theatricals, Hendel-Karmazin, Horipro, IPN, JAM Theatricals, The John Gore Organization, Koenigsberg-Krauss, David Mirvish, James L. Nederlander, Al Nocciolino, Once Upon a Time Productions, Susan Rose and Paul Shiverick. The Executive Producer for THE BAND’S VISIT is Allan Williams.

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Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk, John Cariani, Ari’el Stachel, Jonathan Raviv and More Set for Broadway Debut of THE BAND’S VISIT

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND's VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)

The Broadway production of the critically acclaimed musical The Band’s Visit begins previews Saturday, October 7, 2017 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street). Opening night is set for Thursday, November 9, 2017. Click here for tickets.

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND's VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND’s VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)

The Band’s Visit will feature Katrina Lenk (Indecent) as “Dina,” Tony Shalhoub (The Price) as “Tewfiq,” John Cariani (Something Rotten!) as “Itzik,” Ari’el Stachel (We Live in Cairo) as “Haled,” George Abud (The Visit) as “Camal,” Andrew Polk (Burning) as “Avrum,” Bill Army (Act One) as “Zelger,” Rachel Prather (Once) as “Julia,” Jonathan Raviv (Martyrs Street) as “Sammy,” Sharone Sayegh (Mamma Mia!) as “Anna,” Kristen Sieh (The Fortress of Solitude) as “Iris,” Alok Tewari (Awake and Sing!) as “Simon.”

Musicians will include Andrea Grody (Music Director/Piano), George Abud (Violin, Oud, Darbuka), Alexandra Eckhardt (Bass), Philip Mayer (Drums, Arabic Percussion), Sam Sadigursky (Clarinet, Saxophones, Flute), Jeff Theiss (Associate Conductor/Keyboard), Harvey Valdes (Guitar) and Garo Yellin (Cello).

Featuring music & lyrics by three-time Tony Award nominee & Drama Desk Award winner David Yazbek and a book by NY Drama Critics Circle, Lortel and Outer Critics award winner and Drama Desk nominee Itamar Moses, based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin, The Band’s Visit will be directed by Drama Desk, Lortel & Obie Award winner and Outer Critic & Drama League Award nominee David Cromer.

The Band’s Visit world premiere opened to critical acclaim at the Atlantic Theater Company on December 8, 2016, where the sold-out, limited engagement extended twice, playing its final performance on Sunday, January 8, 2017.

The musical was named BEST OF THE YEAR by The New York Times, Deadline, Newsday, New York Post, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, The Record, The Wall Street Journal, The Wrap, Time Out New York and BuzzFeed.

The Band’s Visit won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical; two Lucille Lortel Awards, for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (Katrina Lenk); two Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Score (David Yazbek); two Obie Awards, for Musical Theater (David Yazbek & Itamar Moses), and Directing (David Cromer); three Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding Director of a Musical (David Cromer), Outstanding Music (David Yazbek) and Outstanding Lyrics (David Yazbek); Theatre World Award’s Dorothy Louden Award for Theatre Excellence and the 2017 Clarence Derwent Award (Katrina Lenk).

An Egyptian Police Band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix-up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways. The Band’s Visit celebrates the deeply human ways music and laughter connect us all.

The creative team includes Patrick McCollum (Choreography), Scott Pask (Set Design), Sarah Laux (Costume Design), Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Maya Ciarrocchi (Projection Design), Charles LaPointe (Hair Designer), Jamshied Sharifi (Orchestrations), Andrea Grody (Co-Music Supervisor, Musical Director), Dean Sharenow (Co-Music Supervisor), casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

Final casting will be announced shortly.

Actors’ Equity Foundation Honors Anthony Chisholm, Katrina Lenk, Will Pullen and Barbara Barrie 

Up Close and Personal with Jonathan Raviv, Star of The Boy Who Danced on Air

Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the cast of JITNEY, OSLO, THE BAND’S VISIT & More Among 2017 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Winners 

OSLO, THE BAND’s VISIT, SWEENEY TODD, VIETGONE and More Among 2017 Lucille Lortel Award Winners 

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in  Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachang.com