Rain or shine, the Public Theatre will celebrate its fourth annual Block Party for the Arts Sept. 27, from noon until 6 PM.
A free event open to the public, the Block Party will feature rock band BETTY, Circus Amok, the District 6 Jazz Band (made up of 30 students grades fifth through twelfth), Djoniba Dance and Drum, Harlem Gospel Spirituals, Project 400 Theatre Group's Profit Motive: A Musical Vaudeville, Korean drum group Shimyungpae, the Silvercloud Singers, a Native American drum and dance group, the Bronx-based performance group Universes, and the Young Hoofers, a Brooklyn tap ensemble.
Other arts groups to be represented with booths include the Children's Museum of the Arts, Asian American Writers Workshop, New York Theatre Workshop, and New Georges.
There will also be a children's area with activities, a balloon artists, and strolling characters.
The Block Party for the Arts will be located on Lafayette Street between 4th Street and Astor Place. For additional information, call the Public Theatre's Community Affairs Department at (212) 539-8681. *
The Public Theatre 1998-99 season gets underway Off-Broadway, Oct. 13 with the first performance of the Brian Kulick-directed Pericles. Viola Davis (Seven Guitars) and Jay Goede (Sex and Longing), in the title role, are among the cast.
The Public presented the seldom-done Shakespeare play several years ago, with Michael Grief directing Campbell Scott in the title role. The new mounting will be helmed by Kulick, who last season directed A Dybbuk at the Public.
Davis was nominated for a Tony for her performance in August Wilson's Seven Guitars. She has also worked at the American Conservatory Theatre, Trinity Rep and the Guthrie Theatre.
Jay Goede appeared on Broadway in Christopher Durang's Sex and Longing. He was to play the title role in Edward II at Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre this fall until the show's director, Garland Wright, unexpectedly died and the production was replaced by Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance.
Also in the cast of Pericles are Vivienne Benesch (Ancient History, Deep Blue Sea), Torquil Campbell, Philip Goodwin, Gail Grate, Francis Jue, Miriam A. Laube, Julio Monge, Geoffrey Owens and Sam Tsoutsouvas.
* Also on the Public's roster are Diana Son's Stop/Kiss, and Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird.
McLaughlin provided one of the most memorable theatre images of the 1990s, playing the angel in Angels in America, before turning to playwriting. She debuted her latest drama, Tongue of a Bird, at Seattle's Intiman Theatre and then brought it to London's Almeida in November 1997. The upcoming mounting, commissioned and co-produced by L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum, will play first at the Taper in early 1999 before coming to the Public in the spring. (One unusual aspect of the aforementioned Seattle production: everyone in the cast, design and production team was a woman, led by director Lisa Peterson.)
Tongue of a Bird is described as "the powerful and poetic story of a search-and-rescue pilot who hunts for an abducted girl, while trying to come to terms with the loss of her own mother. . . about one woman's lost child, and another's lost childhood."
The play was developed in Seattle in a February 1997 reading on the "New Voices at Intiman" series. The mainstage premiere was made possible by a grant from "AT&T OnStage."
McLaughlin's other plays include "Iphigenia and Other Daughters," "A Narrow Bed," "Infinity's House" and "Days and Nights Within."
As for Stop/Kiss, author Son is currently swimming with the Fishes, her play at Off-Off-Broadway's New Georges Theatre. Jo Bonney, Eric Bogosian's wife and frequent collaborator (Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead), will direct Stop/Kiss, which received a staged reading at the Public's New Works Now series in May.
Other works by Son include Boy, which was directed by Michael Grief at CA's La Jolla Playhouse. Previews are tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 6.
Also due from the Public is the return of On The Town, with performances starting Oct. 20 at the Gershwin Theatre. Artistic director George C. Wolfe will again direct as he did at the Delacorte, with Lea DeLaria starring. Keith Young, a former principal dancer with the Twyla Tharp company, choreographs.
For more information on shows at NYSF/the Public Theatre call (212) 260 2400.