The New York Times, Theater Review: “A Family’s Songs of Love and Loss, ‘Myths and Hymns,’ Directed by Elizabeth Lucas”

Performing Arts students Donell James Foreman ’12, Matthew Farcher ’12 (pictured), Pace alumna Ally Bonino ’11 and Performing Arts Assistant Professor Robert Meffe are getting major accolades for their work in “Myths and Hymns.”

Chief Theater Writer Charles Isherwood’s review of “Myths and Hymns” appeared on the front page of The New York Times “TheArts” section on February 9 and included accolades for several members of the Pace Performing Arts community – Donell James Foreman (BFA ’12), Matthew Farcher (BFA ’12), Pace alumna Ally Bonino (BFA ’11) and Performing Arts Assistant Professor Robert Meffe.
 
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ISHERWOOD’S THEATER REVIEW:
 
As the original title indicates, it’s a musically eclectic collection of songs that alternates between adaptations of 19th-century hymns and classic myths with contemporary lyrics supplied (mostly) by Mr. Guettel (best known for his Broadway musical “The Light in the Piazza”). Ms. Lucas has shown judicious taste in supplying only minimal dialogue for the new version: the songs remain the focus of the show, expertly performed by a five-member band in spare orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin and Robert Meffe and sung with bright fervor by a six talented singers.
 
Over a simple, lilting music-box melody Ms. Larsen laments the disappearance of yet another lover. (They are all played by the fine tenor Matthew Farcher – pictured)
 
Myths and Hymns

Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, with new narrative by Elizabeth Lucas; directed by Ms. Lucas; choreography by Wendy Seyb; music supervisor, Robert Meffe; sets by Ann Bartek; costumes by Emily Morgan DeAngelis; lighting by Herrick Goldman; sound by Janie Bullard; musical director, Katya Stanislavskaya; stage manager, Kristine Ayers. Presented by Prospect Theater Company, Cara Reichel, producing artistic director; Melissa Huber, managing director. At the West End Theater, Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street, Manhattan; (212) 352-3101; prospecttheater.org. Through Feb. 26. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

WITH: Linda Balgord (Woman), Ally Bonino (Trickster), Matthew Farcher (Lover), Donell James Foreman (Shapeshifter), Anika Larsen (Daughter), Lucas Steele (Son) and Bob Stillman (Husband).

NEWS RELEASE: It’s a Pace TRIFECTA! Director Grant Kretchik, Producer Rebecca Cunningham and Actress Samantha Steinmetz Will Preview “Scottish Sperm” at Pace’s NYC Campus July 21 – 23 Prior to Edinburgh Festival Fringe Debut

“Scottish Sperm” Director/Professor Grant Kretchik, Performing Arts Alum/Producer Rebecca Cunningham and BFA Acting Student/Co-Star Samantha Steinmetz will travel to the largest arts festival in the world in Scotland’s capital city in August. But first, a stopover at Pace’s New York City Campus to host three special theatrical previews (July 21, 22 and 23).

Pace Media Contact: Samuella Becker, sbecker2@pace.edu, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Pace University Trifecta: Pace University Professor (Grant Kretchik) Directs; Performing Arts Alum (Rebecca Cunningham) Produces; BFA Acting Student (Samantha Steinmetz) Co-Stars

SCOTTISH SPERM TRAVELS FROM NEW YORK TO THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE

Special Previews at Pace University, NYC Campus – July 21, 22 and 23

New Yorker Jacqueline McLaren’s New Play to be performed ALL OF AUGUST at The Fringe. 

AOL’s PATCH Calls Ms. McLaren “The Next Wendy Wasserstein” and “Indeed a Young Writer to Watch.”

July 12, 2011 – Jacqueline McLaren’s new play Scottish Sperm (Directed by Grant Kretchik) will debut in Edinburgh, Scotland August 5 at 18:40 at theSpace@Jury’s Inn on 43 Jeffrey Street (Venue 260) and will run thru August 25th Monday- Saturday at 18:40.

Previews for Scottish Sperm will be held on July 21, 22, and 23 at Pace University’s Schaeberle Studio Theatre, 41 Park Row – 10th Floor, New York City (East of City Hall). Admission is $10 and reservations (strongly recommended) can be made at Scottishspermtheplay@gmail.com  

McLaren’s new irreverent, incisively funny play focuses on three characters as they face life’s challenges.  What’s so great about Scottish sperm?  The characters in this dark comedy know the answer to this question, but not much else. Emma, Sarah, and Robert are stuck in the crossroads of their lives, and their refusal to move on leads them to destroy the relationships that they are attempting to save.  Filled with hilarious, irreverent, and piercing dialogue, Scottish Sperm follows these three characters as they learn to handle love, loss, and whiskey.

The Creative Team:

Jacqueline McLaren (Playwright) is a playwright known for her irreverent, cutting humor and ear for dialogue.  Scottish Sperm will be Ms. McLaren’s first production at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Ms. McLaren’s previous play How to Build a Bomb won the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Award.  How to Build a Bomb was also selected for Pace University’s New Works Festival in Manhattan in 2010.  Two of Ms. McLaren’s plays were chosen for the University Theater’s New Plays Festivals in Chicago.  Ms. McLaren is a writer on Tu Nite con Lorenzo Parro, on NBC/Telemundo, that network’s first bilingual talk show.  Ms. McLaren is a graduate of the University of Chicago.  She taught at several public schools in the notoriously rough South Side of Chicago throughout her four years. 

Grant Kretchik (Director) holds an MFA in Acting from the New School University, and is the head of Pace University’s BFA Acting Program. He has appeared as an actor Off Broadway and regionally.  Film/TV: Law and Order, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Man on the Moon, and When Harry Tries to Marry (which Kretchik also helped produce). He has worked as both an actor and director at La Mama etc., and been accepted into the Stage Directors Choreographers Society’s 2010/2011 Observership Season. This past October Kretchik assisted on the first Broadway National Tour of Next to Normal, directed by Michael Grief. In September 2011, he will be directing The Parade by Tennessee Williams at the Tennessee Williams International Theater Festival in Provincetown, MA.

Rebecca Cunningham (Producer) – Rebecca is recent graduate of Pace University in New York City with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Directing. Directing credits include: The Vagina Monologues, Out in the Open: Stories of Queer Oppression and Empowerment, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, Uncommon Women and Others, How to Build a Bomb, Freshwater, romance, and With the Lights Out. AD credits: Sign Me, Who is Dan Schiller?, Gin Joint, The Beggar’s Opera, and Glory of Living.

 The Cast:

Megan Channell (Sarah) recently appeared in Spleen Theatre Company’s inaugural production of Bound at New York Theatre Workshop. Theatre credits include work at Theater for the New City, The Abingdon Theatre, Manhattan Repertory, Curan Repertory, and Phare Play Productions. Film/TV: Sarina’s Song, All My Children. She is a graduate of Emory University.

Dylan Lamb (Robert) is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the recipient of the Chair’s Award of Excellence in Dramatic Writing. He has worked for Warner Brothers Television as part of their Creative Lab and apprenticed at the Guthrie Theater in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. New York Theater: Demon Dreams (Gene Frankel), Glengarry Glen Ross (Cooper Union), John Faustus And The Overclocked Death Drive (Magic Futurebox), Ivanov (Tank Theater). Writing: Alligator Summer (New York Fringe), There Is No Isabelle (Minnesota Fringe), Rebirth of a Little Beauty (3LD), A Man Of My Word (NYU Festival of New Works).

Samantha Steinmetz (Emma) Recent credits include The Remarkable Rooming House of Mme. Le Monde (La Mama), Uncommon Women and Others, The Little Dog Laughed, The Bald Soprano, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Zoo Story, The Vagina Monologues, School, and A Piece of My Heart. Samantha moved from Kansas to New York in 2009 to study at BFA Acting at Pace University. She also trains with Ken Schatz in New York and is a recent graduate of the Circle in the Square Summer Conservatory.

For more information about the play Scottish Sperm, go to McLaren’s blog: scottishsperm.tumblr.com; Twitter:  Scottishsperm; Facebook page:  Support Scottish Sperm.  Contributions may be made at the Facebook page.  

Special Thanks: This Project is supported by Inigo Ramirez de Haro, Consul, Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Spain; Caroline Hirsch, owner, Caroline’s on Broadway; and Shelly and Steve Antinelli, managing director, Rothschild. Inigo is not only an ambassador, but also a well-known playwright, and takes great pleasure in presenting new works. Caroline is not only a great supporter of the arts, but her organization is a launching place for new talent— Scottish Sperm’s playwright, director, and producer are all former employees of Caroline’s. Steve and Shelly are great patron of the arts and have been an integral part of getting this play produced.

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