A PUBLIC PANEL DISCUSSION
Moderated by Geoffrey Johnson.
Noted Coward interpreters talk about playing his work – With guests:
Monday, October 6, 2014 | 7:30pm (doors at 7pm)
HB Playwrights Theatre, 124 Bank Street, NYC
All are welcome! Meet & Greet Reception to follow
$10 suggested donation | $5 HB students & staff
We have reached our reservation limit for the capacity of the venue, but interested attendees are encouraged to come early and sign up at the door for the standby list. Additionally, please add your name to the Wait List now to be notified of any cancelations.
Geoffrey Johnson (moderator) is recognized as one of the theatre industry’s most respected and successful casting agents. For three decades, Geoffrey and his business partner Vincent “Vinnie” Liff, have cast more than one hundred shows including the original productions of AMADEUS, DREAMGIRLS, CATS, LES MISERABLES, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and THE PRODUCERS. Yet he started out in the Yale School of Drama acting program. He had wanted to act ever since, as a child, he saw Laurette Taylor in THE GLASS MENAGERIE; but once Geoffrey moved to New York after Yale, he found the life of an actor less stimulating than he had in graduate school. He applied for work as an assistant stage manager at the St. Louis Municipal Opera, an 11,000-seat amphitheatre. He stage-managed many musicals before entering into life-changing collaborations, as David Merrick’s casting director and Noël Coward’s United States representative. His casting agency’s contributions to American theatre were eventually recognized in 2003 with a Tony Award Honor for Excellence in Theatre and a Drama Desk Career Achievement Award. “Anything you do in life is a gamble, really,” Geoffrey says, and taking himself out of the New York acting pool was a risk. But his experience as a young actor made him an empathic and compassionate presence backstage and especially in the audition room, where for almost 40 years he calmed the frayed nerves of hopeful auditioners. In recent years Geoff has served as one of three American trustees of the Noël Coward Foundation.
Bianca Amato was born in South Africa and studied at the University of Cape Town. She lives in New York City. Her Broadway experiences include: MACBETH, ARCADIA, and the Tony award-winning Tom Stoppard trilogy THE COAST OF UTOPIA. Her Off-Broadway work includes KING LEAR (Regan) and THE BROKEN HEART (Calantha) at Theater For a New Audience, NEVA (Olga Knipper) at The Public Theater, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Gwendolyn) at BAM, TRUMPERY at The Atlantic Theater, and MR. FOX: A RUMINATION at The Signature Theater. Other American experiences include playing Amanda in PRIVATE LIVES (Elliot Norton Award for Best Actress, and IRNE nomination for Best Actress) at both The Huntington and The Shakespeare Theater, Kate in the THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at Chicago Shakespeare theater, Titania in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at PPT, Lady Croom in ARCADIA at CTC, and AS YOU LIKE IT (Rosalind), PYGMALION(Eliza Doolittle) PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Elizabeth) and TOPGIRLS (Marlene) all at the Guthrie Theater. International theater work includes PROOF, GREEK (Vita Award for Best Supporting Actress) KINDERTRANSPORT, A DOLL’S HOUSE, and UNDER MILKWOOD (Fleur du Cap award for Best Newcomer). Bianca’s Television work includes: ALPHA HOUSE (recurring) UNFORGETTABLE, THE BIG C (recurring), BLUE BLOODS, THE GOOD WIFE, SEX AND THE CITY, “ISIDINGO – THE NEED (Series Regular, South Africa), THE ADVENTURES OF SINBAD, and GEGEN DEN WIND. Bianca is also a two time Audie Award-winner for her audiobook narration. She has narrated over 50 Audiobooks to date.
Jonathan Lynn: Film directing includes the cult classic CLUE (he also wrote the screenplay), NUNS ON THE RUN (also written by Mr Lynn), MY COUSIN VINNY, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN, SGT. BILKO, GREEDY, TRIAL AND ERROR, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS (NAACP Image award) and most recently, WILD TARGET. For television, Lynn has acted in and written dozens of episodes of various British comedy series, including YES, MINISTER and YES, PRIME MINISTER, co-written and created with Antony Jay. Lynn authored the books THE COMPLETE YES, MINISTER and THE COMPLETE YES, PRIME MINISTER, which cumulatively sold more than a million copies in hardback and have been translated into numerous languages and are still in print nearly 30 years later. His latest book, COMEDY RULES (Faber and Faber) received rave reviews. After receiving a law degree from Cambridge University, Lynn’s West End theater debut, aged 23, was as Motel the Tailor in the original London cast of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Subsequent London directing credits include: THE GLASS MENAGERIE working with Tennessee Williams; SONGBOOK (Best Musical: Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award); ANNA CHRISTIE (RSC, Stratford and the Donmar); Joe Orton’s LOOT, PASS THE BUTLER by Eric Idle, Shaw’s ARMS AND THE MAN and David Wood’s THE GINGERBREAD MAN (Old Vic, twice). While Artistic Director of the Cambridge Theatre Company, Lynn directed twenty productions and produced twenty others, nine of which transferred to the West End. At the National Theatre, Lynn directed A LITTLE HOTEL ON THE SIDE by Georges Feydeau and THREE MEN ON A HORSE by George Abbott (Olivier Award, Best Comedy). More recently, he co-wrote and directed the play YES, PRIME MINISTER at the Chichester Festival Theatre, then at The Gielgud Theatrein London, playing to full houses for sixteen weeks. It subsequently played longer return seasons by public demand at the Apollo, the Gielgud again and the Trafalgar Studios, and numerous foreign cities including LA (but not yet New York)! His work on Noël Coward includes directing TONIGHT AT 8.30 in London’s West End, and PRESENT LAUGHTER at the Cambridge Theatre Company in England. He recently moved to New York.
Marsha Mason currently appears on ABC’s hit comedy, THE MIDDLE. This year she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gulf Coast Film Festival and co-starred in the Westport Country Playhouse’s production of W. Somerset Maugham’s THE CIRCLE. Film credits include: 1973’s CINDERELLA LIBERTY (Best Actress Academy Award nomination, Best Actress Golden Globe Award); 1977’s GOODBYE GIRL (Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award); 1979’s PROMISES IN THE DARK and CHAPTER TWO (Academy Award nomination, two Golden Globe Awards); ONLY WHEN I LAUGH (Academy Award nomination); THE CHEAP DETECTIVE; STELLA; MAX DUGAN RETURNS; HEARTBREAK RIDGE; NICK OF TIME; TWO DAYS IN THE VALLEY; BRIDE AND PREJUDICE: A BOLLYWOOD MUSICAL. Theatre credits include: CYRANO DE BERGERAC, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, A DOLL’S HOUSE, THE CRUCIBLE and THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at ACT in San Francisco; New York: Norman Mailer’s THE DEER PARK, Israel Horovitz’s THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX, Neil Simon’s THE GOOD DOCTOR, RICHARD III and A FEMININE ENDING by Sarah Treem at Playwrights Horizon; Charles Mee’s WINTERTIME at the McCarter Theatre and the Second Stage; and STEEL MAGNOLIAS on Broadway. Also: 1996’s NIGHT OF THE IGUANA; Michael Cristofer’s AMAZING GRACE; THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in London; HECUBA at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and Shakespeare Theater Company’s ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. TV credits include: NBC’s LIPSTICK JUNGLE; Lifetime’s ARMY WIVES; Showtime’s BEREFT; NBC’s LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND; Hallmark Channel’s THE LONG SHOT; and FRASIER (Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy nomination).
Brian Murray – Broadway: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, MARY STUART, THE RIVALS, THE CRUCIBLE (Tony nom.), UNCLE VANYA (Drama Desk nom.), TWELFTH NIGHT, THE LITTLE FOXES (Drama Desk Award, Tony nom.), RACING DEMON, A SMALL FAMILY BUSINESS (Drama Desk nom.), NOISES OFF (Drama Desk Award), BLACK COMEDY, SLEUTH, DA, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (Tony nom.) Off Broadway: ME, MYSELF AND I, KEEP YOUR PANTHEON, GASLIGHT, COLDER THAN HERE, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, BECKETT/ALBEE, SCATTERGOOD, HOBSON’S CHOICE, THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY (Obie Award), LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, THE ENTERTAINER, ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE, MISALLIANCE, MOLLY SWEENEY, TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT (Drama Desk, OCC awards), MUD RIVER STONE, ASHES (Obie), SPREAD EAGLE, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, HAMLET, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING AND THE BUTTERFLY COLLECTION. Regional: The world premieres of Edward Albee’s ME, MYSELF AND I and A SEAGULL IN THE HAMPTONS at the McCarter and Alfred Uhry’s EDGARDO MINE at Hartford Stage and The Guthrie. As director (Broadway): THE CIRCLE, BLITHE SPIRIT, HAY FEVER, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, THE SHOW OFF, THE WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS. Film/TV: BOB ROBERTS, CITY HALL, TREASURE PLANET (voice of John Silver), PERSON OF INTEREST, THE GOOD WIFE, 30 ROCK, DOLLEY MADISON, THE INVESTIGATION, LIBERTY, HAMLET, TWELFTH NIGHT. Recipient: 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, 1998 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, Fox Foundation Fellow.
Deborah Rush – Broadway: BLITHE SPIRIT, ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, HAY FEVER, NOISES OFF (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award), DANCE WITH ME. ENCORES!: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES. Off Broadway: WOMEN OR NOTHING (Atlantic), MAYBE I’M DOING IT WRONG (Public Theater); THE MISANTHROPE, ALICE.Shakespeare in The Park: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.Regional: Powerhouse Theatre, Williamstown, Goodspeed Opera House. Films include THE BOX, AMERICAN WEDDING, STRANGERS WITH CANDY, HALF NELSON, THE VISITOR, JULIE & JULIA for directors Woody Allen, John Schlesinger, Frank Oz, Frank Perry. Recent television: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, GIRLS, THE GOOD WIFE, LAW & ORDER(S).
James Waterston: HB Alum! Broadway: ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (MTC). Off-Broadway: LOVE AND INFORMATION (NYTW), Jack in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (BAM, Sir Peter Hall, director), Orlando in AS YOU LIKE IT (The Public Theater/NYSF), PARENTS’ EVENING (opposite Julianne Nicholson), and BUFFALO GAL (Primary Stages). Regional credits include: Sir Andrew in TWELFTH NIGHT (Jack O’Brien, director), Elyot in PRIVATE LIVES (Huntington Theater and again this past spring at Shakespeare Theater DC), Iago in OTHELLO (CSC), Edmund in LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (Syracuse Stage), Konstantin in THE SEAGULL (George Street Playhouse), Daniel in CHINGLISH (Goodman Theatre), and Ted in AMERICAN HERO (Williamstown Theatre Festival). International: Mark Antony, Brutus, and Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR (American Repertory Theater, Paris’ Theatre Gerard Philipe, and touring in Bogotá, Colombia and throughout France). His film credits include: CERTAINTY, VISITING, DEAD POETS SOCIETY, LITTLE SWEETHEART. TV: TREME, THE GOOD WIFE, a recurring role on SIX FEET UNDER, LIVE FROM BAGHDAD, WEDDING DAZE, CHRISTY: THEMOVIE, DEAR DUMB DIARY. Upcoming: recurring role FLESHAND BONE (Starz), and Jean Genet’s SPLENDIDS in France 2015. He plays the piano, happily so.
This program is made possible by the generous support of the Noël Coward Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.