With tickets sales underway for its staging of The Vocal Lords, the nonprofit Chekhov Theatre Ensemble has announced several special events that dovetail with the Vocal Lords schedule. The Vocal Lords runs May 9-June 23 at St. Clement’s in Manhattan.
Having developed original works in the past, Chekhov still provides extensive student programs in theatre, reports additional progress. The Vocal Lords marks its return to production.
As reported, Chekhov artistic director Floyd Rumohr directs the show. Eric Winick penned the play, which involves “Brooklyn youth aspiring to stardom.” Set in Bensonhurst in 1959, the story tracks the early days of a promising vocal duo before it suddenly disbands. Forty years later, the talented duo find themselves reliving poignant aspects of their youth through their kids — who are meanwhile busy discovering each other for the first time.
The Chekhov Theatre has established something of a model for reorganizing a struggling theatre, and it appears to be working. Formerly located in the Theatre District, the company initiated a reorganization in 1999 and suspended operations pending refinancing. Since then, the group has networked extensively, enlisted top level volunteers and assumed occupancy at new offices in Brooklyn under the auspices of the Alliance of Regional Theatres/New York (A.R.T./NY).
Artistic director Floyd Rumohr reports that Chekhov was successful is securing funding from the Jenesis Foundation, “a small Texas family foundation” that started giving Chekhov help a few years ago. “They appreciate our integrated programs,” Rumohr told Playbill On-Line, “particularly our ‘Stages of Learning’ program for children.” Jenesis has provided general operating support for the “Stages of Learning” program as well. At a mid-October fundraiser, Jenesis matched all contributions at a 3-1 ratio, netting the Chekhov “close to $33,000,” Rumohr said. The Chekhov also benefits from financing from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, which is providing $25,000 to market a Spring 2001 production of The Vocal Lords. Tickets are $24 and $18 for students and seniors. St. Clement’s is located at 423 W. 46 St. For further information call TicketCentral at (212) 279-4200 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.chekhovtheatre.org.
Chekhov has provided the following information on special events in April and May, some of which are connected with its staging of The Vocal Lords.
Doo-Wop Panel Discussion on May 12, 5-6:30 PM
Featuring Don K. Reed, host of WCBS-FM's "The Doo-Wop Shop", music historians Ed Engel and Bob Diskin. Call (718) 398-2494, x-205 for reservations.
“Let The Good Times Roll: A Fundraiser for The Chekhov Theatre Ensemble” on May 15, 8 PM
A special performance of The Vocal Lords and attend a post performance pizza party with the cast and other stars of the Chekhov Theatre Ensemble. $75. All proceeds to benefit the Chekhov Theatre Ensemble and its programs. For more information, call (718) 398-2494, x-206.
Monday Night Staged Readings of New Plays
New works will be read by actors of the Ensemble followed by discussions with the audience. Call (718) 398-2494, x-205 for reservations. Two short plays by Joe Hoover, May 14, 7 PM
The Lonely Mother, a bittersweet comedy about motherhood in which a woman kidnaps the son she abandoned years ago and tries to prove her worth; When Cotton Was King, a serious look at a fashion legend who uses the power of clothes to transform the values of a materialistic society.
Dan Gable by Joe Hoover, May 21, 7 PM
A one-time blue collar worker sees his new managerial position as a platform from which he can change the world.
Out of Our Father's House: A play with music based on Eve Merriam's "Growing Up Female in America: Ten Lives" arranged for the stage by Paula Wagner, Jock Hofsiss and Eve Merriam. Music by Ruth Crawford Seeger.
Meet the Cast Post Show Discussion, May 23 following the 8 PM show
Meet the cast, playwright Eric Winick, and Chekhov Theatre Ensemble artistic director Floyd Rumohr, in a post-performance discussion of The Vocal Lords and the play's inspiration and true-life story.
—By Murdoch McBride