American playwright Richard Kalinoski's play debuted in 1995 at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The intimate four-actor show later blossomed in American regional theatres, from Los Angeles to Boston, and has since appeared in 15 different countries winning over 30 awards (including five Moliere Awards in Paris and five Ace Awards in Buenos Aires, taking the award for Best Play in both cities).
Larry Moss, who directed The Syringa Tree to North American success, will direct Beast on the Moon in New York City. Casting is ongoing.
Playwright Kalinoski is a college professor at the University of Wisconsin, Osh Kosh, where he teaches in the Theatre Arts department.
David Grillo, an actor who appeared in a 1999 Boston production of the play, is to be lead producer for the commercial Off-Broadway stand. Roy Gabay will serve as general manager.
The title, Beast on the Moon, refers to an ominous lunar eclipse. "So much appeals to me about Beast that it is hard to find a place to begin," producer Grillo told Playbill On Line. "It is an extraordinarily challenging drama with a surprising number of well-earned laughs. The play takes its audiences through an emotional cataclysm and delivers them, at its finish, to joyful redemption. I don't like plays that ask me to jump through emotional hoops and then leave me beaten up by the side of the road. Beast is redemptive. The journey is hard, but one for which the audience is enormously grateful. Also very important for me right now is that Beast on the Moon is a play about Muslim/Christian relations that stresses healing."
Beast on the Moon is a four-actor romance about two survivors — Aram and Seta, a young man and his mail order bride — who settle in Milwaukee between the World Wars (spanning 12 years) and seek to start a family in the wake of the genocide of their past. They end up taking an orphan under their wing. A narrator provides context.
The play received the 1996 Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, recognizing an emerging playwright.
Rehearsals begin in January 2005 toward previews in February and a March opening. A theatre has not been announced.
Producer Grillo has two degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, in Economics and Dramatic Arts, plus a masters in fine arts in acting from the Yale School of Drama.
In 2003, Grillo acquired the rights to produce the play in New York, after 10 months of negotiations. This is the first time the playwright has granted the New York rights.