In the News: Remembering George Ferencz | Playbill

Film & TV News In the News: Remembering George Ferencz Plus: Colin Donnell, Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and more tapped for small screen gigs.
Ellen Stewart and George Ferencz courtesy of La MaMa archives

Read on for more theatre news you may have missed in today's headlines.

Mia Yoo Remembers George Ferencz
Stage director George Ferencz passed away September 14 at the age of 74 following a long illness. For over half a century, Mr. Ferencz was a fixture of New York’s Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatre scenes, directing premieres and revivals of works by Sam Shepard, Aishah Rahman, Amiri Baraka, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Mac Wellman, and Yasmine Rana, as well as older canonical works by Eugene O’Neill, Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Sean O'Casey, and Agatha Christie. He was also a resident director at La MaMa, beginning in 1982. At the Off-Broadway venue he spearheaded scores of original productions and readings; he also founded and ran La MaMa’s Experiments Reading series from 1998 through 2014. Mia Yoo, current artistic director of La MaMa, penned the following in memory of Ferencz:

George had an innate ability to make challenging, non-traditional texts and plays breathe and come alive on the stage. Beside all the remarkable productions he directed, Ellen Stewart had a special relationship with him and would call on him when things were not working on particular projects. ‘George, come fix it,’ she would say. He was deeply tied to La MaMa and to the non-conventional writers who joined him in breaking ground to create new forms in theatre making.

Colin Donnell Will Star in Peacock Steamer Series
Broadway alum Colin Donnell (Violet, Anything Goes) has landed the role of Paulo Keegan in Irreverent, a new Peacock drama that follows a criminal mediator as he flees the United States after a mediation gone wrong . Finding himself trapped in a small beach town in Australia, Paulo (under the alias of a reverend named Mack) must keep up appearances while planning his exit strategy. Also in the cast are PJ Byrne, Kylie Bracknell, Briallen Clarke, Tegan Stimson, Ed Oxenbould, Wayne Blair, Russell Dykstra, Calen Tassone, and Jason Wilder. Paddy Macrae serves as showrunner.

Loretta Devine, Michael Xavier, Treat Williams, More to Star in Hallmark Holiday Movies
Hallmark has announced 41 films that will debut on both the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries this holiday season, which will include performances from several Broadway favorites. Among them are Loretta Devine (Dreamgirls) in Christmas in Harmony, debuting October 29; Michael Xavier (Sunset Boulevard) in A Christmas Treasure, debuting November 7; Treat Williams in The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls, premiere date TBA; and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Dreamgirls) in Christmas In My Heart, debuting October 23. For the complete slate, visit

Back to School With FLS Academy
Freestyle Love Supreme's FLS Academy is now in enrollment for the fall. Its 'Foundations of Freestyle" course will consist of seven two-day classes between October 23 and December 12, with topics including "Rocking a Rhyme," "Hooks and Verses," and "Flows and Shows." The class will culminate in a final showcase. For more information—including details on scholarship opportunities—visit FLS.Academy. Before returning to Broadway next month, Freestyle Love Supreme will receive a special honor at the 74th annual Tony Awards.

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