After years of production and building credibility within the theatre community, the popularity of the American Theatre Wing's seminar series has reached a point where people rearrange their schedules in order to participate on the panels.
"Nobody I've called has said no," said Wing president Roy A. Somlyo. "It's come to the point where nobody says 'no' if they are physically available to be here. I take that as a sign that we've arrived and that we have earned the respect of the community, because people move their schedules to make it."
This year, Somlyo said the list of theatre notables who want to be on the list includes a familiar name, ATW chairman Isabelle Stevenson, who created the series and who will return as host for the seminars this year. Stevenson's participation is noteworthy because she has been recuperating from surgery after a serious heart attack following last season's Tony Awards ceremony. Describing Stevenson as a "genuine trooper," Somlyo said she has made a remarkable recovery and has been in motion and attending theatre.
In all, ATW's fall seminar schedule comprises four tapings: an Oct. 31 seminar for playwrights/directors and choreographers; a Nov. 1 production seminar titled The Full Monty; a Nov. 1 seminar on composers and lyricists; and a Nov. 2 performance seminar.
The seminars will take place at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York at 365 Fifth Ave. (at 34 St.) ATW's Fall 2000 "Working in the Theatre" Seminars break down as follows:
• Playwright/Director/Choreographer Seminar, Oct. 31, 11 AM- 1 PM
Panel features playwright David Aubrun (Proof), playwright-actor Charles Busch, director and choreographer George Faison, choreographer David Marques, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, director John Rando and moderator Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.
• Production Seminar, The Full Monty, Nov. 1, 11 AM- 1 PM
Panel features producers Thomas Hall and Lindsay Law, press representative Michael Hartman, director Jack O'Brien, general manager Charles Wilcox, composer David Yazbek and moderator Roy A. Somlyo.
• Composers and Lyricist Seminar, Nov. 1, 2 PM- 4 PM
Panel features musical theatre notables Susan Birkenhead, Fred Ebb, Marvin Hamlisch, John Kander, Charles Strouse and Don Schlitz. Moderated by playwright Peter Stone.
• Performance Seminar, Nov. 2, 11 AM- 1 PM
Panel features actors Len Cariou (The Dinner Party), Patrick Cassidy (Annie Get Your Gun), Andre De Shields (The Full Monty), Mary Louise Parker (Proof), Michael Learned (The Best Man) and Marian Seldes (The Butterfly Collection. Moderated by Pia Lindstrom.
"Working in the Theatre" are broadcast six times a week on CUNY-TV in the New York metropolitan area as well as on PBS. Attendance is free to theatre students, theatrical union members and casts from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Reservations are required and can be made at (212) 765-0606 or by fax to (212) 307-1910.