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Pintilie at Guthrie, Mime Troupe in SF, and More

Updates from all over the U.S.

Moliere’s Con-Man

A controversial director took on the greatest con-man in dramatic literature when Lucian Pintilie returned last month to the Guthrie Theater to direct Tartuffe. Pintilie, who made his American debut directing a startling new interpretation of The Seagull at the Minneapolis theatre last season, is a native of Romania (also the homeland of Guthrie artistic director Liviu Ciulei). His 25-year directing career has encompassed theatre, opera, television and film. After serving as resident director of the Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest, Pintilie has recently been centered in France, predominantly at the Théâtre National de Chaillot and the Théâtre de la Ville.

Pintilie chose Richard Wilbur’s verse translation of Tartuffe for the Guthrie, and focuses his interpretation on the idea of Tartuffe as “an imposter, rather than simply a religious hypocrite.” The production features Guthrie perennial Gerry Bamman as the duped Orgon, Harris Yulin as Tartuffe and Isabell Monk as the play’s raisonneur, Dorine. It runs through Sept. 2.

Following Tartuffe on the Guthrie stage will be Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother, directed by resident director Christopher Markle and opening Sept. 6. The annual production of A Christmas Carol and Cole Porter’s Anything Goes round out the season.

Party Politics

When the speeches inside San Francisco’s Moscone Center droned on too long, delegates to the Democratic National Convention could find another brand of politics in the city’s parks—the buoyant comedy of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. The devoutly radical, collectively run group is marking its 25th year with 1985, a show tailor-made for the convention and the presidential election year—among its satirical targets are Presidents Reagan and Nixon, San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein and corporate yuppies, and its less-revolutionary-than-usual agitprop message boils down to “get out and vote.” Joan Holden, at typewriter above, set down the group-developed script, and Brian Freeman directed.

Newman Gets the Gold

Subscription wizard Danny Newman is the winner of the 1984 Gold Baton Award from the American Symphony Orchestra League. The prize is considered the nation’s highest honor for “distinguished service to music and the arts.”

Newman, author of Subscribe Now!, the all-time best-seller of the arts promotion field, has been an audience consultant to orchestras, theatres, dance and opera companies in the U.S. and around the world. His book is in use in 30 countries and has recently gone into its fourth printing.

Schuyler G. Chapin, chairman of the orchestra league board of direc-tors, praised Newman’s contributions as “legendary.” Past winners of the Gold Baton include Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Aaron Copland, Arthur Fiedler and Danny Kaye. The league represents more than 1,500 symphony and chamber orchestras.

Lillian Hellman, 1905-1984

“The words on the page were what you started with and are what you have left. The production is of great importance, but it is gone, in the end, and the pages are the only wall against which to throw the future or measure the past.”

—From “Theatre” in Pentimento (1975)

Chaikin Fund

Influential and innovative stage director and actor Joseph Chaikin suffered a stroke last spring, while undergoing major heart surgery. A number of his colleagues have established The Recovery Fund for Joseph Chaikin, to help defray his expenses over the course of what may be a lengthy recuperation period. Among those supporting the fund are Jean Claude van Itallie, Peter Brook, Arthur Miller, Joseph Papp, Sam Shepard, Susan Sontag and Ellen Stewart. Tax-deductible contributions can be made payable to The Other Theatre, 325 Spring St., Suite 347, New York, NY 10013.

Briefly Noted

OId Globe executive producer Craig Noel is the first recipient of San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock’s Living Treasure  Award. Noel is cited for “50 years of devotion and dedication to the Old Globe Theatre as its most eloquent and creative genius.”…In Cincinnati, exiting Playhouse in the Park producing director Michael Murray received a Senatorial proclamation for his contributions to the community over the past nine years…Robert Brustein, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, is the second recipient of the annual Elliot Norton Award for professional excellence in Boston theatre. “It really is the theatre’s award,” notes Brustein, who says he will apply the $1,000 cash portion of the tribute to ART’s deficits. In other ART news, Brustein has appointed David Wheeler associate director of the theatre, formalizing an association which began in 1982 when Wheeler directed ART’s award-winning production of True West.

Veteran Trinity Square Repertory Company actor Richard Kavanaugh recently received the William E. Smith Award for outstanding service to the Providence community. The laurel comes from the Foundation for Repertory Theatre of Rhode Island, and includes a cash award which Kavanaugh has donated to the Wickenden Gate Theatre in Providence -a young company which he feels has great promise and “deserves the support of the community.” Kavanaugh has been with Trinity since 1968.

Theatre Communications Group has awarded four summer Artist Observerships: to The Attic Theatre of Detroit for artistic director Lavinia Moyer, New York’s City Stage Company for artistic director Christopher Martin, Dell’Arte Players Company of Blue Lake, Calif., for artistic director Martin Fields and Virginia Museum Theatre of Richmond for associate artistic director Terry Burgler. So far this season, TCG Observerships have sent some 22 artists traveling to visit more than 60 theatres and organizations coast to coast…Bruce B. Makous has joined the TCG Management Services team, working primarily on the Arts Income Management System (AIMS) and TCG’s Computer Information Service. He was previously developing computer software and information systems for the national offices of Price Waterhouse.

Vincent Dowling leaves the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival of Cleveland in October to become producing and artistic director of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Santa Maria, Calif. Dowling said goodbye with a final on-stage appearance in a benefit evening dubbed A Two-er de Force, opposite colleague Kenneth Albers, who makes a move of his own this fall to become an actor and director at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Sarah Lawless has resigned her position as executive director of the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, to serve in the same capacity at the Denver Center Theatre Company. Educator John B. Davis, Jr. assumed the duties of interim executive director at CTC in mid-August—he expects to be with the company for a year, during which a national search will be conducted to fill the job on a permanent basis.

Timothy Near is currently serving as interim artistic director for Stage West in Springfield, Mass., after the resignation of producing director Stephen E. Hays. Near will be at the helm through May 1985, while a search for a permanent artistic director is underway….Eric R.

Dueweke, a Detroit native, is the new managing director of that city’s Attic Theatre. He was most recently the assistant to the managing director of New York’s WPA Theatre…After serving as general manager for four years, Stephen Richard assumes the newly created role of managing director at the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre. This and other staff changes are part of the organization’s imminent expansion into the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Kent Stephens, associate director of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Company, has joined the board of directors of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ/USA)…W. Grant Brownrigg is the newly appointed executive director of the National Corporate Theatre Fund, an organization established to develop corporate support for eight theatres. Brownrigg is the former director of the American Council for the Arts.

The Dramatists Guild’s new Midwest representative is Minneapolis-based playwright Barbara Field. Field, who is a co-founder of the Playwrights’ Center and former literary manager of the Guthrie Theater, will act as a liaison between the Guild and the playwrights, composers and lyricists of 11 midwestern states…Replacing Elizabeth Weil as director of the Challenge Grant Program at the National Endowment for the Arts is Jeanne Butler Hodges. Hodges is a Washington-based consultant with considerable experience administering visual arts and historic projects.

The American Arts Alliance, a national advocacy coalition for nearly 350 nonprofit arts institutions, has elected new officers. They are William Blair, chairman; Bruce Marks, vice chair; John Philip Kassebaum, treasurer; and Eldredge Hanes, secretary. William Wingate, managing director of the Mark Taper Forum, was re-elected by the TCG board of directors to another term as a theatre delegate to the AAA board.

Noted British playwright Trevor Griffiths was in residence this past summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where his new play Real Dreams received its world premiere. Directed by Griffiths himself, the play was specially commissioned by WTF and deals with a commune of young revolutionaries in the late ’60s. It is Griffiths’ first stage work set in America, and the production marked his U.S. directing debut.

Nine Rhode Island artists won $3,000 fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, including one playwright, Carl Richardson. Richardson’s voice is the first one you hear when you call the switchboard of the Trinity Square Repertory Company.

Colleen Dewhurst is directing a production of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Way Home, specially adapted for the National Theatre of the Deaf. In a style blending sign language and the spoken word, the production will tour the country over the course of the ’84-85 season.

Actress Amy Irving and her real life mother Priscilla Pointer recently shared the stage in the Santa Fe Festival Theatre production of The Glass Menagerie, marking the first time the famous roles have been played by a mother-daughter team…Tony Award-winner John Cullum plays the lead role in Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac at the Alliance Theatre, opening Sept. 5. Emily Frankel‘s new adaptation of the play premiered at Syracuse Stage last winter, directed by Arthur Storch. Storch again directs in Atlanta.

For the first time in 20 years, Arthur Miller has granted rights to a professional New York production of his After the Fall. Directed by John Tillinger, the play begins previews on Sept. 11 at Playhouse 91, featuring Frank Langella as Quentin.

John Bednar is the new acting manager of Dallas Theater Center, succeeding Albert Milano, who goes onto assume the job of managing director of the Cleveland Play House. Milano succeeds Janet WadeVictoria Holloway, who spent last season as consulting artistic director of the American Stage Company of St. Petersburg, Fla., has joined the company on a permanent basis…David Hurst, an actor and teacher, will become head of the graduate professional actor training program at Ohio University this month…When Stratford Festival artistic director John Hirsch‘s contract expires at the end of the 1985 season, the theatre will be in need of someone to fill his shoes—“either a Canadian or someone who has made a commitment to Canadian theatre.” Hirsch, the theatre is pleased to note, will direct one production in both the ’86 and ’87 seasons.

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