Producer Joseph Papp's quest to offer Shakespeare's works in Central Park, facing bureaucratic adversity, is the subject of Ernest Joselovitz's world-premiere play, Shakespeare, Moses and Joe Papp, scheduled for a staging by Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, MD, in June 2001.
The play, heard and embraced in Round House's New Voices Play Reading Series, shows Papp, who founded New York City's Public Theater, facing a "later-day Tammany Hall backdrop of graft and greed and bureaucratic corruption." The play is said to be a kind of political thriller in which New York State and City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses is a major character.
It begins in 1958, when Moses controlled decisions about city parks. Other characters include Papp's partner, Jacob Rose, and Rose's wife, Peggy; Moses' secretary Jesse Seligman; a Narrator who plays multiple roles; and New York City Mayor Robert Wagner.
Round House, a small Equity theatre outside Washington DC, is run by producing artistic director Jerry Whiddon, who will play the role of Mayor Wagner.
Previews begin May 30, 2001 and performances continue to June 24. Joselovitz is a DC-area writer whose works have been produced around the country. His plays include Hagar's Children, Jesse's Land, Catskills Tzimmis and Vilna's Got a Golem.
Shakespeare, Moses and Joe Papp was workshopped at New York Theatre Workshop after the Round House New Voices reading.
-- By Kenneth Jones