Drama at Yale continues to thrive on and off campus: a show about terrorism in Israel goes up at the Whitney Humanities Center, the new Yale Institute for Music Theatre selects summer shows and a Yale alum ventures into playwriting. Esther Zuckerman gives a run down of recent theater developments.
ANOTHER SALOVEY ON CAMPUS
A second Salovey is making his presence known on campus tonight. “The Blessing of a Broken Heart,” a play written and directed by Todd Salovey, Provost Peter’s brother, will be performed Tuesday at the Whitney Humanities Center at 8 p.m.
The play is based on the eponymous book about Sherri Mandell, a mother whose son was murdered in Israel by terrorists, and her grieving process.
“I think it’s a real meditation on why there is evil in the world,” Todd Salovey said.
The play, originally produced at the San Diego Repertory Theater where Todd Salovey serves as associate artistic director, is currently on an East Coast tour.
Since the show was on the East Coast already, Todd Salovey said he asked his brother if there would be interest at Yale. Peter Salovey put him in contact with the Joseph E. Slifka Center, which is co-sponsoring the event along with the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.
Todd Salovey also teaches acting and directs at the University of California, San Diego in the undergraduate theatre major.
SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT
Got something to sing about? Kublai Khan and Marco Polo do. They are characters in “Invisible Cities,” one of the three works chosen to be workshopped by the Yale Institute for Music Theatre.
The piece features a score and libretto by Christopher Cerrone MUS ’09.
The creation of the Institute, a collaboration between the School of Drama and the School of Music, was announced in November. The Institute will hold its first workshop will take place from June 7 to 21, and two pieces of music theater in addition to Cerrone’s will be workshopped.
The other selected pieces have topics that also seem unconventional. “POP!,” with music by Anna K. Jacobs and books and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman, puts the events leading to the shooting of Andy Warhol in murder-mystery format. “Cancer? the musical,” with book, music and lyrics by Sam Wessels, is about a young man about to graduate from college who learns that he has leukemia. The show follows him through his diagnosis and treatment.
“They weren’t derivative,” Mark Brokaw DRA ’86, the artistic director of the institute, said of the pieces chosen. “They really seemed like their own thing.”
‘ABSALOM,’ A PLAY WITH YALE ROOTS
Zoe Kazan ’05, who appeared this year on the Broadway stage in “The Seagull” and on the big screen in “Revolutionary Road,” is getting media attention again, but this time for another artistic pursuit.
Kazan’s play “Absalom” is having its world premiere at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky.
The play is about a family meeting at a country house in the Berkshires to celebrate the release of their father’s autobiography. All members of the family portrayed are writers or editors.
A piece on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” noted the play’s Yale roots.
Kazan told NPR that the play originally started as a class exercise for Yale adjunct professor of English and professor of theater studies Donald Margulies’ class in her junior year. Another version of it was workshopped during her senior year at the Yale Playwrights Festival.
In an interview with the News in October, Kazan said she had some “cooks in the kitchen” regarding her writing career.
“I never really thought of myself as a writer, even when I am writing,” she said.
The play is running at the Humana Festival through April 11.