Friday, August 14, 2009

Tucson: Winding Road Theater Ensemble Announces First Production


Winding Road Theatre Ensemble



For Immediate Release



Dean Steeves




Winding Road Announces First Production


(Tucson, Arizona) – Winding Road Theater Ensemble announces its inaugural presentation, Dorothy Parker’s Last Call, which will take place this fall in the Cabaret Theatre at the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson, Arizona. Dorothy Parker’s Last Call was written by highly-acclaimed Tucson actress Lesley Abrams, who will also portray Dorothy Parker in this original one-woman show. The play will be presented cabaret style without intermission and is a dynamic exploration of the life of one of America’s first ladies of letters.


Dorothy Parker was a famous member of the infamous literary-group “The Algonquin Roundtable” in New York City, circa 1919 to 1929, and one of The New Yorker magazine’s original contributors. Quotes from her poetry and short stories are often un-attributed but have become part of the American lexicon. They include pearls such as: “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Another famous quip, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”


Parker was renowned for her humor and cutting frankness, and Abrams’ script takes full advantage of Parker’s considerable wit. Abrams’ ample comic abilities — she is a founding member of the LaughingStock Comedy Company — ensure she’ll deliver the material with the bite and irony with which Parker wrote. Dorothy Parker’s works are performed with the permission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which oversees her estate. The NAACP celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2009.


Dorothy Parker’s Last Call previews on Thursday, October 15. The play opens Friday, October 16, with evening performances on October 17, 22, 24, 29, 30 and 31, and matinees on Sunday, October 18 and Sunday October 25. (Note: A Sunday matinee may be added on November 1, if needed.) All evening shows are at 7:30 PM; matinees are at 2 PM. Tickets are $15, with a student and senior discount available for $12. Reservations can be made by calling (520) 749-3800. No credit card sales are available, cash and check only. The Cabaret Theatre is located on the second level of the Temple of Music and Art, 330 South Scott in Tucson.




Winding Road Theater Ensemble



Dorothy Parker’s Last Call -Backgrounder



Dorothy Parker


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was an American writer and poet, best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles.


From an unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the “Algonquin Round Table.” Parker also worked for a short time as a screenwriter in Hollywood; her successes there included two Academy Award nominations.


What is less known about Mrs. Parker is her involvement in left-wing politics. She was a union organizer, fierce civil libertarian and civil rights advocate who was a frequent critic of those in authority.


Parker went through three marriages and survived several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker." Nevertheless, her literary output and her sparkling wit have endured.


In 1988, the NAACP claimed Parker's remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside their Baltimore headquarters. The plaque reads: “Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, 'Excuse my dust'. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people. Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 28, 1988. (The NAACP celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2009.)


Lesley Abrams: Author, Actress


Lesley Abrams is co-founder of the LaughingStock Comedy Company, which specializes in creating customized-improvised comedy for business audiences nationwide. Her first one-person show, Where There’s Smoke, is an autobiographical serio-comedy about how a house fire restored her sense of perspective. She toured that show throughout New England and Florida. Locally, she has appeared in productions of Immortal Longings, Doubt, New House New Dog, Steel Magnolias, Noises Off, Sister Mary Ignatius, The Trojan Women and Frozen, for which she won an Arizona Daily Star “Mac” award.  She is a founding member of Winding Road Theatre Ensemble


Glen Coffman, Director


Glen Coffman's Tucson directing credits include Borderlands Theater (Mixed Messages), Beowulf Alley (Of Mice and Men), Live Theatre Workshop (Holy Spirit on Grand Avenue and Lemon Sky) as well as independent productions (That Slut! and New House, New Dog.  At the University of Arizona he directed productions of Tracers and The Trojan Women.


Coffman studied acting at Herbert Berghof Studios in New York and received a Masters Degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Arizona.  He is a founding member of Winding Road Theater Ensemble.


“I saw Lesley perform a workshop of Dorothy Parker’s Last Call a few years ago and thought the text captured Dorothy Parker's character and literary prowess with wit and elegance.  I told Lesley I'd love to direct it sometime.  We were already talking about it when Winding Road was being formed so it only seemed sensible to make it our debut production.”


“I've directed Lesley in The Actor’s Nightmare, The Trojan Women and New House, New Dog.  She is remarkably gifted and a dream to work with.  The prospect of working one-on-one on this great Dorothy Parker material is very exciting.  Her sly sense of humor captures the essence of Parker's wit and her skill as an actress brings a depth to the role that balances Parker's flip party-girl facade.  I look forward to many artistic collaborations with her and Winding Road.”



Winding Road Theater Ensemble


Winding Road Theater is an Ensemble of theatre artists whose mission is to tell dynamic, theatrical stories that illuminate the human condition and celebrate the theatre’s power to entertain us, move us and bring us joy. Guided by the principle that proscription is the enemy of imagination, we produce plays classic and new, traditional and unconventional, comic and tragic, and tell stories from as many perspectives as we are fortunate to discover.


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