Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Wooster Group's Famous BFF's Are Onboard for Couscous and Some Edith Piaf; 'The Gin Game' and Other Tales That Have a Seamless Change in Complexion

Ari Fliakos and Suzzy Roche in "The Room," which will soon be staged by The Wooster Group. Photo courtesy of The Wooster Group.


and special theatrical events are about helping organizations by showing off the people who support them.

After all, everybody needs a little help sometimes. A gala is a great way to do someone a favor and have fun to boot.

Consequently, the stage of The Performing Garage is to be illuminated with star power for the 2015 benefit of The Wooster Group. The Wooster Group is a company of New York City-based artists who make works for theater, dance and media.

A constellation of big names is expected to show for The Wooster Group's soiree on Monday, 5 Oct. Frances McDormand is to host the couscous dinner catered by Chef Alejandro Alcocer of Green Brown Orange.

Said dinner will be consumed by guests as well as the luminaries co-chairing the benefit committee. Martha Wainwright is one of the many co-chairs. She is going to sing (Edith Piaf) for her supper.

Others expected are Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Wes Anderson and Sarah Jessica Parker. They, too, will sing (EP) for their supper.

Those who purchase tickets for the dinner and benefit will also receive tickets to The Wooster Group's upcoming production of Harold Pinter's "The Room" later in the season. Further, dinner guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with the gala's celebrity organizers.

Many of the stars championing The Wooster Group have a long history with the company. FMcD and Maura Tierney, for instance, are associate members.

MW comes to the benefit through her brother Rufus Wainwright's involvement as an associate member. WA admires the work The Wooster Group does and was impressed by Willem Dafoe's association when he hired him for "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

Visit to learn more about The Wooster Group and its 2015 benefit.

One Race and Many Universal Experiences

James Earl Jones and Cecily Tyson in D.L. Coburn's "The Gin Game." Photo by Joan Marcus.

TRULY colorblind casting is exemplified in, say, the role of S. Epatha Merkerson in William Inge's “Come Back, Little Sheba.” SEM is Lola Delaney, the disillusioned wife of a recovering alcoholic played by Kevin Anderson.

Frances McDormand, opposite Morgan Freeman in Clifford Odets' “The Country Girl” was also a production in which the audience is "blinded" to the color of the characters.

Productions such as the recent all-Asian production of CO's “Awake and Sing” change the complexion of the characters. In doing so, they underscore the universality and humanity of the playwright's work. That, of course, really is the point either way.

Cecily Tyson's Tony Award-winning role as Miss Carrie Watts in Horton Foote's “The Trip to Bountiful” is yet another example. CT was joined by a (nearly) all-black cast.

The National Asian American Theater Company staged a production of "Awake and Sing" earlier this year. Photo by William P. Steele.

Now in “The Gin Game,” at the Golden Theatre through 10 Jan., CT plays opposite two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones in the two-hander that originally starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. JT won a Tony for the role. She and HC were also featured in the film version of the play.

Could Lorraine Hansberry's “A Raisin in the Sun” be transposed thusly? Would it make any difference to the universality and humanity in her play?

Probably not.

Visit to learn more about “The Gin Game.”

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