I’m grateful to Stephanie Schubert, Operations Coordinator of the Pacifica Network, for conducting and publishing this interview she did with me about the recent Arts Express production of To The Lighthouse. At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to our podcast page, if you’d like to hear the production.
To The Lighthouse was a novel I had been intrigued with since my twenties. When I heard that it had just gone out of copyright, I thought it would be fun to write a radio adaptation and to direct and edit it.
I started writing this adaptation back in January of this year, rehearsed it and recorded it in April and May with a fine company of actors, and then edited it in June and July. I’m happy to say we’ve finally completed it.
Here’s the logline:
In this adaptation, prepared especially for radio, Virginia Woolf’s ground-breaking stream of consciousness novel, To The Lighthouse, is brought to life.
In a sort of ghost story that plays with time, memory, and recollection, a young boy, over a period of ten years, tries to journey to the lighthouse, a stormy boat ride away from his family’s summer vacation home. The life of his nurturing mother, hemmed in by social and family strictures, is contrasted with that of her artist friend who lives in artistic freedom, but alone.
Included is a brief three minute introduction to give the context of the novel and the era in which Virginia Woolf was writing.
Our cast, in order of appearance:
James Ramsay…..Byron O’Hanlon
Mrs Ramsay….Mary Murphy
Mr. Ramsay…Jack Shalom
Charles Tansley….Joe Levine
Andrew Ramsay….KeShaun Luckie
Lily Briscoe….Lucy McMichael
William Bankes….Marty Levine
Cam Ramsay….Sarah Taylor
Prue Ramsay….Vivienne Shalom
Minta Doyle….Emma Mueller
Paul Rayley….David Lepelstat
Tony award winning director/actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson gives a beautiful speech, under the marquee of Broadway’s August Wilson Theater this past June 29th, “Lloyd Richards Day,” celebrating the great American director, nurturer of playwrights, acting teacher, and artistic director.
Alan Arkin died this week. Something about the guy that had this core of humanity in whatever he did. I first saw Alan Arkin when I was a teen, before he became famous. He was a member of the famed Second City improv group which was a totally new kind of thing at the time. The audience would call out a time, place, and a beginning and closing line, and then the actors would improv some hilarious scene on the spot incorporating those elements. The performers were all very good, but Arkin was the standout by far. And then he was in the play of Murray Schisgal’s Luv, where he spends the whole play on top of a bridge, ready to jump, because he feels unloved, and he made that true, but very funny too. He could handle drama also–his role as one of the real estate agents in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross was really excellent and touching. He was really a unique presence in everything he did. You knew you would see something interesting no matter how good or bad the rest of the movie or play was. Above you can see him in a scene with Ed Harris in Glengarry Glen Ross as a failed real estate agent trying to get the good leads. In his later years, he wasn’t always the lead, but he often stole them.
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Thanks to Borough President Mark Levine, and City Council Member Erik Bottcher and everyone else who worked to make this happen at the August Wilson Theater today. And our next job is to get West 47th Street, where Raisin in the Sun was performed at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, co-named after Lloyd Richards as a permanent marker of his contribution to Broadway, NYC, and American Theater.
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!!UPDATE: The event will happen under the marquee of the beautiful August Wilson Theater on West 52nd Street at 12 noon, June 29th!!
We are so happy to announce the details about the public ceremony for Lloyd Richards Day. The public ceremony will happen in Times Square, Thursday, June 29th, 12 noon. We anticipate some Tony and Emmy Award winning theatrical colleagues of Lloyd to be there. You’re all invited! Feel free to share this notice.
To learn more about what Lloyd Richards has given to Broadway, New York City, and American Theater, see this post.
The City of New York is proclaiming June 29th, 2023 as Lloyd Richards Day!
This is personal for me. First let me tell you about Lloyd.
Lloyd Richards was a fabled theatrical director, acting teacher, and theatrical artistic director; in addition to directing the groundbreaking Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun in 1959, starring Sidney Poitier, he won a Tony award for best direction of the play Fences starring James Earl Jones by August Wilson. In fact, it was Lloyd Richards who discovered August Wilson at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, of which Lloyd was the Artistic Director for many years. There is much more I can say about him, including his work as the Dean of the Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of the Yale Repertory company, and of his students, including Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, Steven McKinley Henderson, Kate Burton, Courtney Vance, Angela Bassett, and on and on.
He also taught at Hunter College when I was a student there back in the 1970s. I was extraordinarily lucky to have wandered as an undergrad into taking acting and directing classes with Lloyd.
He was the finest teacher of anything that I have ever had. He was a master pedagogue. I was also cast in a play he directed at the college. Though I didn’t go on to act professionally, his teaching profoundly affected me and my outlook on art and life. It was the same with literally thousands of his students. He was a deeply generous, unassuming, brilliantly perceptive and modest man.
Some forty-five years after taking class with Lloyd, I met up with some alums from Hunter who I had not seen since then. How that happened is a story for another time! But we decided it was high time the City of New York honored Lloyd in one way or another. After all, he had been awarded the National Medal of Arts by the Clinton White House, yet the City of New York had never officially honored him. We were determined that we would work to make more of the public aware of Lloyd’s essential and enormous contribution to American theater and Broadway.
And so, after two years of forming the Committee to Celebrate Lloyd Richards 6.29 and working to make this happen, we were thrilled when Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and City Councilmember Erik Bottcher agreed to proclaim June 29th–the day that Lloyd Richards was born, and the day that he passed–as “Lloyd Richards Day.”
More to follow!
Left to Right: Julius Hollingworth and Sharron Cannon of the Committee to Celebrate Lloyd Richards 6.29, New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and myself. (Click to enlarge)
The song “Shy” from the Broadway musical, Once Upon a Mattress, made a star out of Carol Burnett. The score was composed by Mary Rodgers, and of course, the last name Rodgers should ring a bell because indeed, Mary Rodgers was the daughter of Richard Rodgers, which was both her blessing and her curse. “Shy” is not only the name of the song but also the name of Mary Rodgers’ recent autobiography, published posthumously with the help of NY Times theatre critic Jesse Green. if there is a major theme in the story of Mary Rodgers life, it is how does a talented daughter get out from under the shadow of a very famous musical genius.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my review of Shy, as broadcast today on the Art Express radio program, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Monday morning, Ella Fitzgerald with a great Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart song.
More at Ella Fitzgerald
Imagine please: A working class uprising. The lower classes are starving. They demand the right to eat. They want access to the great stores of grain that have been won in the recent war, confiscated from the enemy, but withheld from the peasants. And so begins the most class-conscious play that Shakespeare ever wrote, called Coriolanus.
Click on the triangle above or mp3 link to hear our commentary on Coriolanus, as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation
This is a radio segment based on an article I wrote a few decades ago about the theatrical elements of hustles like three-card monte.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
** Actress Inger Tudor of Goliath speaks about Voodoo Macbeth and playing Rose McClendon, the legendary Depression-era African-American theater actress.
** A portfolio of photos from the actual historic 1936 Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth
** 28 Children: Artist Mary McClusker’s moving tribute to children killed by guns
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In our Arts Express Playhouse, a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman is best known for her novella The Yellow Wallpaper, but she also wrote hundreds of other short stories. The one I’m reading above, “If I Were a Man,” was written in 1914, before women even had the right to vote in the US, but it seems a whole lot more modern.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
It’s April 23rd, and for us it marks the anniversary of both the birthday of William Shakespeare and the day he died. In celebration of the date, we have produced a new radio version of one of the most intriguing of Shakespeare’s plays, Measure for Measure. I call it Shakespeare’s #Me Too play, and with its up to the minute Me Too themes of sexual harassment and hypocritical Puritanical seeming lying politicians, it couldn’t be more relevant to today. Of course, we couldn’t broadcast our entire play in our Arts Express time slot, but we are happy to present to you a key scene featuring two of our Arts Express stalwarts, Mary Murphy and KeShaun Luckie.
So let’s set the scene: We’re in 16th century Vienna and the newly appointed interim Mayor, Lord Angelo, has just declared a new Puritanical ban on out-of-marriage fornication, punishable by death. A young woman, Isabella, learns, just as she is about to take vows to become a nun, that her poor brother Claudio has run afoul of these laws and is about to be executed. She runs to Lord Angelo to beg him to spare her brother’s life, but Angelo insists that the law must be done. However, Angelo is secretly enamored by Isabella and he wants to see her again, so he tells her to come back the next day and maybe he will reconsider. And so, Isabella returns to Lord Angelo to plead again for her brother.
And now what happens next, from Measure For Measure.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the segment as broadcast today on Arts Express radio, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
And If you’d like to listen to our entire production of the play, you can hear it here:
Nurse: Which arm?
Shakespeare: As you like it
Nurse: Was that painful?
Shakespeare: Much ado about nothing.
Nurse: Did any of your family or friends have the virus?
Shakespeare: Oh, lots: Two noble kinsmen, Antony and Cleopatra, and Troilus and Cressida
Nurse: You will have to have a second jab.
Shakespeare: Measure for measure?
Nurse: So, how was the experience?
Shakespeare: A midsummer night’s dream!
Nurse: So what do you think of the govt handling of Covid?
Shakespeare: it’s a Comedy of errors.
Shakespeare: There’s been a recent surge in the virus?
Nurse: Alas, The winter’s tale
Shakespeare: When will my quarantine end?
Nurse: On the Twelfth night.
Shakespeare: Who will foot my quarantine bill?
Nurse: The Merchant of Venice.
Shakespeare: Where will I be put up for my quarantine?
Nurse: In a Hamlet.
Shakespeare: Thank you for helping me!
Nurse: All’s well that ends well.
Thanks to Pearl Shifer for sending me these (with a few of my own additions)
The great Sidney Poitier died this month.
Here he is in one of his most masterful performances as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
The play was originally directed on Broadway by Lloyd Richards, the first Black director on the Broadway stage. In their lean days as struggling actors, Richards and Poitier would pool their money to buy and split a hot dog. They promised each other that if one got an opportunity, they’d bring the other along. When Poitier got Hansberry’s script, he insisted that Lloyd direct the play. Lloyd worked intensely with Hansberry to shape the play and then cast and directed the play perfectly. The stage cast, many of whom were also in the film– and who you can see in this clip from the film–included Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Claudia McNeil, and John Fiedler.
Thanks to YouTuber The aesthetic of the Image: [world] cinema clips
As snow and cold invades these parts, Renée Elise Goldsberry seeks some warmth from Will Chase in Rent.
Thanks to BroadwayInHD
There’s a long history of actors and variety performers who have had their first taste of theater with a basement childhood puppet stage. But actor Robert Brock of Lancaster PA was determined to make good on his childhood dream of building a marionette theater for the public and living in an apartment upstairs. Now in a new documentary, director Alexander Monelli brings to life the joys and woes of Robert’s single-minded adult pursuit of his childhood dream in Monelli’s new film Marionette Land.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview with Alexander Monelli, as broadcast yesterday on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Daniel Radcliffe in a non-Harry Potter-ish role, insists on the unity of us all, as his corporate brethren in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying agree. Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick who both played the same role, introduce the high-spirited number at the Tony Awards.
Who knew that Radcliffe was such a great song-and-dance man?
Thanks to YouTuber The xNYr
Monday morning, put the oxygen tanks on standby.
That’s Graeme Henderson putting the chorus gypsies through their paces in the London West End revival of 42nd Street
Thanks to YouTuber Great Performances | PBS
At the closing performance of Jonathan Larsen’s Rent, after 12 years on Broadway, the cast was joined in their finale by the original 1996 cast to sing “Seasons of Love.”
Thanks to YouTuber BroadwayInHD
A romantic ghost story of the transients from O Henry, adapted and performed by myself.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program heard on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Monday Morning, waking up hyperactive, the power is out and last year’s rent is due.
The frenetic choreography is over the top for me, but the music and lyrics as sung by the 2008 Broadway cast of Jonathan Larsen’s Rent are still zippy.
Thanks to YouTuber BroadwayInHD
On location in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, your intrepid correspondent brings you this live report from the 94th annual World Pun Competition.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the report as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
This is a play by Lionelle Hamanaka concerning the wave of anti-Asian hate crimes that have occurred in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The play was performed live on the streets of NYC. The cast also got together to do a radio version which I helped put together. This radio version was heard yesterday on WBAI FM.
You can hear the radio version of “Covid Crime” by clicking on the triangle or mp3 link above.