It is my pleasure to announce additional cast members for On the Twentieth Century, our next production at the American Airlines Theatre. The previously announced Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher will be joined by Tony Award nominee Andy Karl (Bruce Granit), Mark Linn‐Baker (Oliver Webb), Tony Award winner Michael McGrath (Owen O'Malley) and Tony Award winner Mary Louise Wilson (Letitia Primrose).
All four of these wonderful actors are already part of the Roundabout family, and I’m so happy to welcome them back. Andy Karl was most recently seen in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Mark Linn-Baker in A Flea In Her Ear, Michael McGrath in Little Me, and Mary Louise Wilson in The Women.
Warren Carlyle will choreograph the show, and with Scott Ellis at the helm it’s bound to be a fantastic production.
On the Twentieth Century begins previews February 12, 2015 at the American Airlines Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.
Immerse yourself in the world of The Real Thing with our recommended listening, reading and tasting lists!
The Crystals, “Da Doo Ron Ron”
HENRY: It’s not supposed to be eight records you love and adore.
CHARLOTTE: Yes, it is.
HENRY: It is not. It’s supposed to be eight records you associate with turning-points in your life.
CHARLOTTE: Well, I’m a turning-point in your life, and when you took me to Zermatt your favourite record was the Ronettes doing ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’.
HENRY: The Crystals. (scornfully) The Ronettes.
Émile Waldteufel, “The Skater’s Waltz”
HENRY: Look, ages ago, Debbie put on one of those classical but not too classical records -- she must have been about ten or eleven, it was before she dyed her hair -- and I said to you, ‘That’s that bloody tune they were driving me mad with when I was trying to write “Jean-Paul is up the Wall” in that hotel in Deauville all those years ago.’ Or Zermatt.
Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, “Um-Um-Um-Um-Um-Um”
Neil Sedaka, “Oh, Carol”
CHARLOTTE: He likes pop music. The problem is he’s a snob without being an inverted snob. He’s ashamed of liking pop music.
HENRY: This is true. The trouble is I don’t like the pop music which it’s all right to like. You can have a bit of Pink Floyd shoved in between your symphonies and your Dame Janet Baker -- that shows a refreshing breadth of taste or at least a refreshing candour -- but I like Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders doing ‘Um Um Um Um Um Um.’
MAX: Doing what?
HENRY: That’s the title. (He demonstrates it.)‘Um-Um-Um-Um-Um-Um.’ I like Neil Sedaka. Do you remember ‘Oh, Carol’?
MAX: For God’s sake.
The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’”
HENRY: I was taken once to hear a woman at Covent Garden in a sort of foreign musical with no dancing which people were donating kidneys to get tickets for. The idea was that I would be cured of my strange disability, which took the form of believing that the Righteous Brothers’ recording of ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’’ on the London label was possibly the most haunting, the most deeply moving noise ever produced by the human spirit, and this female vocalist person was going to set me right.
MAX: No good?
HENRY: Not even close.
Bach, “Air on a G String”
Procul Harum, “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
ANNIE: It’s Bach.
HENRY: The cheeky beggar.
HENRY: He’s stolen it.
HENRY: Note for note. Practically a straight lift from Procul Harum. And he can’t even get it right. Hang on. I’ll play you the original.
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup crushed pineapple(well-drained)
1 6-ounce can cooked crabmeat (drained and flaked)
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
2 teaspoons minced French tarragon
Salt and pepper (to taste)
In a medium serving bowl, mix together cream cheese and pineapple until thoroughly blended. Add crabmeat, mushrooms, celery, chives, and tarragon and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In Haiti, at night, entire villages gather around fires and candlelight to listen to folklore whispered by a single storyteller. My family carried that tradition with them to the states, where my six older siblings and I grew up listening to magical and fantastical stories, many based on religious and voodoo figures. I never knew what was real or supernatural, or if the supernatural was just as real as I. In these stories, characters were constantly running from their family and their land in search for a new identity. But in a world where spirits, deities, and God guide life, these characters were bound to their destinies.
These oral and mythical traditions are what brought me to where I am today. The other worldliness, the power of language, the poetry and rhythm inspired me to write all of my plays, and had perhaps it’s strongest impact on Little Children Dream of God. But I spent the first twenty-some years of my life running from this play, and from a life in the theatre altogether.
I didn’t do theatre in high school. It wasn’t a thing that a kid from Overtown Miami did. So instead my artistic outlet became singing/rapping along to Lauryn Hill (before she went crazy) and performing Spoken Word trying to emulate Lemon Andersen, Staceyann Chin, and Saul Williams. Many of my poems came from an anger I felt towards “white hetero capitalist America.” So I did what any good revolutionary would and moved to Boston to attend a Catholic school (Boston College—go Eagles!) and study to become a corporate lawyer. But of course, something inside me (and I suppose a pesky fine arts requirement) made me register for Intro to Theatre, and it might have been the fun parties, or maybe the fact that now famous movie critic Richard Lawson was the cool senior I hoped to one day be, but I was hooked.
Fast forward five years, I’m living broke in New York City (at least back then Brooklyn was still affordable… sort of), I’ve just finished my third literary internship, and in a desperate attempt to actually make some money while still being around new plays, I started a soul sucking job as an agent’s assistant. A steady income (not to mention quitting my job at The Gap) was nice, and despite the aforementioned soul-suckery I made some great friends and got to interface with some of the country’s top artists, but something was still missing. I decided it was time to slip off my business-casual wear and stop running.
I applied to grad school and was fortunate to be accepted to my top choice, University of California San Diego, to study with the inspiring and caring Naomi Iizuka. Every year at UCSD there is a new play festival featuring full productions of plays by all the MFA playwrights. As part of the festival, we invite ten theatre professionals from around the country to see our shows (and, if you’re really lucky, you get to have dinner with one of the playwrights at the local Applebee’s after their show). Jill Rafson was one of our guests my second year, the year we did Little Children Dream of God.
Jill became a big advocate for the play. She scheduled a reading of the play in November for the artistic staff at Roundabout. I flew out, happily catching some east coast fall breezes (something I missed deeply during my time in California), and returned to the west coast at the end of the weekend, opting to fly into LA to visit some friends and take a few days before returning to provincial La Jolla. I figured I wouldn’t hear anything for weeks—possibly months—and that it’d be best to take my mind off of things.
But on the train back to San Diego, mere days after the reading, I got the call from Jill, Robyn Goodman, and Josh Fiedler saying they’re going to program the play in the Underground. I would’ve screamed and jumped up & down, but I hate making a scene when in transit. (But I did go out dancing that night to celebrate!)
A few months later, thanks to a generous grant from the Tow Foundation, I found out I would be Roundabout’s first playwright-in-residence. Which means for the next year I’ll have health insurance, a living stipend, funds to see theatre and travel for research – in other words I can spend the year exploring the magical and fantastical, the real and supernatural. I can be what I dreamt of being as a child, a storyteller.