The nonprofit Chekhov Theatre Ensemble, which has developed original works in the past and still provides extensive student programs in theatre, reports additional progress in its return to production — specifically, a May staging of The Vocal Lords at the Theatre at St. Clements in Manhattan.
As reported, Chekhov artistic director Floyd Rumohr will direct this show, which is now in development. 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 group 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 financing. Since then, the group has networked extensively, enlisted top level volunteers and assuming 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 ration, 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. For further information visit firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.chekhovtheatre.org —By Murdoch McBride