What happens when the squares of Seville meet the streets of New York? Find out on April 26 when Carmen's Place (A Fantasy) opens at the Castillo Theatre on 42nd Street, running until June 16. Featuring some of opera's best-loved music as well as six original musical numbers, Carmen's Place (A Fantasy) is helmed by the 2012 AUDELCO Award winner for directing, Gabrielle L. Kurlander, whose production of Sally and Tom (The American Way) was a popular and critical success at Castillo last season.
With a book by FrEd Newman and music by Newman, Annie Roboff and including excerpts of Georges Bizet's Carmen, Carmen's Place (A Fantasy) is a sweet New York tale of high culture and young love. In the play, we are introduced to three novice opera singers in rehearsal for a professional production of Carmen. They meet a local coffee shop waitress whose name (coincidentally) is Carmen. Through the friendships that form, Carmen teaches them how to love in ways that differ dramatically from the possessive, violent, fate-driven love of the opera.
In addition to beloved songs from Bizet's classic opera, Carmen's Place (A Fantasy) features original pop and R&B tunes that give simple expression to the love of people who are learning to grow together.
The Castillo Theatre (Dan Friedman, artistic director; Diane Stiles, Vice President/Theatre) is located at 543 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Performances are selected Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. April 26 through June 16. Tickets are $35 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased through the Castillo Box Office at 212-941-1234 or at www.castillo.org.
DIRECTOR: Gabrielle L. Kurlander directed last season's Sally and Tom (The American Way) [books and lyrics by FrEd Newman, music by Annie Roboff] at Castillo, which won five 2012 Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre (the "Viv" Award), including Best Director of a Musical Production and Best Musical Production of the Year. Most recently, she directed Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington by Clair Coss, starring Kathleen Chalfant and Peter Jay Fernandez. In 2011 Castillo won the "Viv" Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for her production of Playing With Heiner Müller.
Kurlander began her professional career as an actress in the national touring company of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues. She joined the Castillo Theatre company in 1987, and performed in over 35 Castillo productions including: Safe At Third (or Josh Gibson Don't Bunt) [Amelia Earhart], Backstage (A Love-Hate Story of the Women's Movement) [Susan B. Anthony], Marat/Sade [Charlotte Corday], and Othello (Act V, scene ii) [Desdemona] with Charles Dutton. Other directing credits include Coming of Age in Korea (co-director with Desmond Richardson), Still on the Corner, Billie and Malcolm: A Demonstration, Lenin's Breakdown and Revising Germany, all by FrEd Newman; Hot Snow by Laurence Holder; Heiner Müller's The Task, and the compilation Heiner Müller: A Man Without a Behind. She served as executive producer of FrEd Newman's award-winning independent film, Nothing Really Happens (Memories of Aging Strippers). Gabrielle is the president and CEO of the All Stars Project, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that uses performance to help young people in poor communities to develop. The innovative ASP is 100% privately funded with a $7.5 million budget.
PLAYWRIGHT, LYRICIST, COMPOSER: FrEd Newman (1935-2011) was the resident playwright of the Castillo Theatre and served as the artistic director from 1989 until his retirement in 2005. He wrote 44 plays and musicals between 1986 and 2009, including: Sally and Tom (The American Way), Stealin' Home, Billie & Malcolm: A Demonstration, Lenin's Breakdown, and Outing Wittgenstein. His play Satchel: A Requiem for Racism was co-produced by Castillo and the New Federal Theatre in 2008. In addition, Newman was America's leading director of the work of the German post-dramatic playwright Heiner Müller and also directed plays by Bertolt Brecht, Aimé Césaire, Yosef Mundy and Peter Weiss. In 2002, he wrote and directed the award-winning independent film Nothing Really Happens (Memories of Aging Strippers). In addition to his theatrical work, Newman was an independent political pioneer, a social therapist and a Stanford University-trained philosopher and teacher. He co-founded the All Stars Project, Inc. with Dr. Lenora Fulani. Carmen's Place (A Fantasy) appears in the anthology Still on the Corner and Other Postmodern Political Plays by FrEd Newman (1998).