Following a stint at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre and D.C.'s Arena Stage, the new-vaudeville quartet The Flying Karamazov Brothers will hover over the Mark Taper Forum, serving up a new rendition of the old farce, Room Service by John Murray and Allen Boretz , Nov. 14-Dec 21.
Adapted by The Flying Karamazov Brothers and directed by Robert Woodruff, the four Brothers will perform all 14 characters who are engaged in the plotline, which follows a corrupt and indebted Broadway producer as he escapes eviction from his Broadway hotel to raise money for a new show.
Best known as the vehicle for a comparatively restrained 1938 Marx Brothers film, John Murray and Allen Boretz's 1937 Broadway comedy, Room Service, also later served as a touring stage show for the siblings. This version has been specially adapted for the Karamazov quartet to incorporate their legendary juggling skills.
Said Karamazov Brother Dmitri (Paul Magid), "The plot of Room Service, about four guys trying to put on a show with no money and lots of intrigue, seemed a lot like the real life of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, so why not hold the mirror up to nature?"
Appearing with Magid are his other "brothers," Smerdyakov (Sam Williams), Rakitin (Michael Preston) and Ivan (Howard Jay Patterson). Designers for the show are Greco [sic] (set and costumes), Rick Paulsen (sound), with Doug Elkins providing choreography. The Brothers appeared Off-Broadway, winter 1996, in Sharps, Flats & Accidentals. Previous outings have included Juggle And Hyde and Club Sandwich, both seen at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre. They've also starred in a specially adapted version of A Comedy Of Errors, directed by Woodruff at NY's Lincoln Center.
Recent plays by Anna Deavere Smith, David Hare, Charlayne Woodard, Peter Parnell and Anthony Clarvoe -- plus a comedy classic starring the Flying Karamazov Brothers -- are highlights of the Mark Taper Forum's 31st season, announced May 5.
Clarvoe's Ambition Facing West replaces Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird, which has been moved to 1998-99.
The 1997-98 season (the Taper's 31st) also features new works by Anna Deavere Smith, Charlayne Woodard, Peter Parnell and Anthony Clarvoe. "This is a season that I'm particularly proud to say goes to the very root of the dramatic impulse and truly celebrates the art of storytelling," said artistic director Gordon Davidson. "These playwrights and performers spin fantastic yarns and cast those spells that only a good story can do."
David Hare's Skylight opened the season Sept. 7-Oct. 26. After the Karamazovs will come Charlayne Woodard in her one-woman show, Neat, Jan. 11-Feb. 1, which originally premiered at Seattle Repertory Theatre, opening their new theatre last season. In Neat Woodard shares her formative years, focusing on the pillar of strength and wisdom she found in her beloved Aunt Neat, whose strength and clarity pervaded Woodard's upbringing, despite the brain damage Neat suffered as a child.
*Ambition Facing West, a sweeping tale of Croatian immigrants to the U.S., by Anthony Clarvoe, begins previews Feb. 8, 1998. The drama charts the struggles of a 1910 young man who moves to Wyoming, and then his daughter (in 1980), who leaves Japan to blaze economic trails in Yugoslavia, bringing the familial story full circle. Opening Feb. 19, 1998 and running to March 29, 1998, Ambition Facing West replaces Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird, which will now play in fall 1998 so that Cherry Jones can star. (Tongue, which premiered at Seattle's Intiman, concerns a search and rescue pilot hunting for an abducted 12 year-old girl.) Ambition had its world premiere at Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Company.
* In a co-production with Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Washington DC's Arena Stage, Anna Deveare Smith will perform her long awaited new piece, House Arrest: First Edition, about the U.S. Presidency. (The show was previously titled, "The Press And The Presidency.") The new piece by the acclaimed playwright and performer, is scheduled to run at the Taper April 5-May 31, 1998.
Smith's Tony Award-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 was commissioned by the Taper and had its world premiere on the mainstage in 1993. The currently untitled work in her series of plays On the Road: A Search for American Character, defining the heart of the American experience, exposes the conduct and ways within the nation's capital city, collected from interviews with elected officials, political operatives and journalists. Unlike her other plays, Smith's new play features a cast of eight actors, who, true to the Smith's style, cross gender, race and culture to portray their characters.
* The season finale, The Cider House Rules adapted from John Irving's 1985 best-selling novel by Peter Parnell, conceived and directed by Tom Hulce and Jane Jones, and will run in two parts June 13 through Sept. 27.
"When I saw each of its parts in development at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Part One in the spring of 1995 in the theatre's former second space, and Part Two in January 1997 in their new second stage, I'm proud that the completed version of this big-hearted, Dickensian piece will have its premiere at the Taper mainstage, and will include the ever-popular marathon weekends," Davidson said.
Seven generations of rich characters in and surrounding the St. Cloud's Orphanage in rural Maine affect each other, and grapple with serious issues such as abortion, domestic violence, incest, racism and poverty, and other family-related and politically charged topics. The play seems in keeping with the heart of the Taper's successes, as Davidson concludes, "The Cider House Rules uses imaginative storytelling techniques to create a deeply moving and compelling event, in the tradition of the Taper's Angels in America and The Kentucky Cycle".
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