The new theatre company will present the first installment of its new reading series at 6:30 PM at the National Arts Club.
The Salon Series is described as "staged readings of new plays that address compelling contemporary issues, followed by food, drink and intimate discussion among the artists, audience and noteworthy guest speakers."
Such playwrights as Jose Rivera and The Exonerated's Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen will express their views on the war in Iraq in the works created for "At War." A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict.
The cast will feature Michael Cerveris (Sweeney Todd, Love Musik), Julianna Margulies (Festen, "ER") and David Strathairn ( Salome, "Good Night and Good Luck"). More writers and actors are to be announced shortly. Erica Gould directs.
Future Salons will include "The Theatre of Deception: Media Manipulation, Mob Consciousness, And American Politics" (an evening with Janeane Garofalo and friends), "Box Americana" (playwright Jason Grote's biting and comic look at Walmart, late capitalism, and "The American Dream"), "Video Games, Violence and Digital Culture" (an evening of new work) and "Bonfire of the Vanities" (new music-theatre adaptation of the Tom Wolfe novel from composer Stefania de Kenessey). The Fire Dept — initially inspired by The Exonerated and Brave New World: American Theatre Responds to 9/11 — "is made up of established and emerging writers, directors, actors and designers who have come together to create and produce work that cannot be replicated inside a television box or on a movie screen," according to an announcement.
Blank (The Exonerated), Gould (Brave New World) and Audrey Rosenberg (Elle) serve as artistic directors for the troupe.
The Artistic Advisory Board for The Fire Dept includes Peter Askin, Jill Clayburgh, Emily Mann, Lynn Redgrave, Marian Seldes and Sam Waterston. Founding members of the group include Kathleen Chalfant, Constance Congdon, Chuck Cooper, Peter Gallagher, Janeane Garafalo, Jeff Goldblum, Judith Hawking, Erik Jensen, Toby Jones, Harry Lennix, Matthew Modine, Dael Orlandersmith, Jose Rivera, Jake Robards and Rebecca Wisocky.
Tickets for "At War: American Playwrights Respond to Iraq" at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, are $35 and are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or toll free at (8660 811-4111. For updates and more information visit thefiredept.org.