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Friday, October 17, 2014

Midtown Direct’s Theatre in the Loft reading of Jack Canfora’s ‘The Road Down the Mountain’

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MIDTOWN DIRECT REP (MDR), the company that brought New Jersey the award-winning Rated P for Parenthood and Listen to Your Mother: North Jersey, returns to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) with a Theatre in the Loft reading of Jack Canfora’s The Road Down the Mountain. Directed by MDR company member Michelle Tattenbaum, The Road Down the Mountain premieres on Sunday, November 2 at 7 pm at SOPAC (One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079).

The reading is $15 and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased online http://www.sopacnow.org/505/mdr or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). Same day student tickets are available for $10 at the Box Office only (subject to availability, one ticket per ID, two-hours prior to curtain).

About The Road Down the Mountain:
A rock journalist with one last shot at redemption travels to interview a legendary musician living in seclusion with his caregiver wife and a live-in assistant. Public legend collides with private realities in this new play from Jack Canfora (Jericho, Poetic License) that explores love, art, and intimate secrets.
The cast is led by MDR member Stephanie Kurtzuba (The Wolf of Wall Street), with special guests Ella Dershowitz (Intimacy) and Andrew Rein (Jericho), with more casting to be announced.

About the Creative Team

Jack Canfora’s (playwright) plays have been read and performed throughout the United States and England since 2001. His first full length play, Place Setting, was read in Los Angeles in September, 2005 and starred Steven Weber and Jon Cryer. In June, 2007, the New Jersey Repertory Theatre staged Place Setting where it received excellent notices. The New York Times wrote that the play has “unusually punchy writing” while the New Jersey Star-Ledger raved that the play is “funny and fascinating,” had “wonderfully incisive wit” and “tells the truth about how 21st century men and women view relationships.” The paper named it, along with plays by Teresa Rebeck, Elaine May and Edward Albee as one of the best plays of 2007.

Jericho was named a winner of the 2010 National New Play Network and premiered at The New Jersey Repertory Company as one of three theaters producing it as part of the NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere series. The New York Times wrote the play is “a lovely, humorous work with laughs that resolve into a meditation on the pains and satisfactions of living after a tragedy,” adding “Mr. Canfora has delivered a smart, hard-hitting drama filled with biting wit.” The Newark Star –Ledger raved “Canfora’s dialogue shows a true writer at work.”

His play Poetic License, after debuting at New Jersey Rep in 2008, opens this fall Off-Broadway at 59E59. The Abingdon Theatre awarded him their 2011 Playwriting Award forPoetic License.

Michelle Tattenbaum (director) directs extensively in New York City and regionally. She directed the New York premiere of the musical Nobody Loves You by Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter at Second Stage Theatre after directing the show's world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre (Craig Noel Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical). Other projects with Itamar Moses include directing his play Fucked at the Flea Theater, following up on her twice-extended production of Moses's Love/Stories (Or, But You Will Get Used To It) also at the Flea. She directed and co-produced The Sublet Experiment, a site-specific, touring production that played to sold-out crowds in New York City for over six months.

Other projects in New York include: Mother Jones and the Children's Crusade for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (Best Director, Honorable Mention); The Chromium Hookfor Manhattan Theatre Club, and Lincoln Center Directors' Lab; Untitled Short Play and Szinhaz for Naked Angels; Gallathea (which she also adapted) at Here Arts Center; An Archipelago Of Clouds and Laughing All the Way From the Sperm Bank at FringeNYC; 'Til Sunday for Loeber Entertainment at the Abingdon Theater Arts Complex; Sunday on the Rocks for Yolo! Productions; Hands in Me for the Women of Color Festival; Stand Up Girl at Center Stage; Too Much Information at Ars Nova; Idea and Authorial Intent at Manhattan Theatre Source; Dia de los Muertos for New Directors/New Works; and Guyler Beguiled at the Maverick Theater.

Regionally, she directed the Los Angeles premiere of Itamar Moses's The Four of Us. She has directed staged readings of the musicals Reality! (now titled Nobody Loves You) at the Cape Cod Theatre Project and Goodspeed Musicals, and Tales From the Bad Years also at Goodspeed Musicals. She has directed Dov and Aliby Anna Ziegler at the Chester Theatre,Pinocchio, Anatol, and Gallathea at the Hangar Theatre; Educating Rita, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, The Secret Garden, and Baby at the New London Barn Playhouse; The Miss Firecracker Contest at the Clinton Showboat; and The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window and Souvenir at the Women's Theater Company.

She spent two summers directing at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. From 2000 to 2007, she was a member of the First Look Theatre Company, in residence at NYU's Dramatic Writing Program, and she continues to direct and develop musicals at NYU's Musical Theatre Writing Program. She was a two-time Drama League Directing Fellow and is an SDC member. Michelle graduated from Yale with a degree in Theatre Studies.

sopac2-2About Theatre in the Loft
Midtown Direct Rep presents Theatre in the Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in South Orange, New Jersey. This series of public readings of new plays and musicals showcases new work in development in an elegant and safe setting in front of a sophisticated and engaged audience. The series focuses on works that reflect the complexities of a uniquely diverse community; writers or subjects with a local connection; and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble. Recent projects include work by Jeremy Desmon, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchinson, David Johnston, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, and others. In January, Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis joined company members Sebastian Arcelus, Jenny Bacon, Stephanie Kurtzuba and others in Absence, a new play by Peter Flaherty.

About Midtown Direct Rep
With perhaps more professional theater artists than any suburb of NYC, Maplewood/South Orange (NJ) is “where Broadway comes home to sleep.” MDR, a theatre company created by and for these NJ-based artists, develops and presents relevant, world-class theatre for its community.
Midtown Direct Rep company members include two-time Tony Award®-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award® nominee Stephanie J. Block, Tony Award® nominee Christiane Noll, Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, Michele Pawk, and many others. The Company is led by Managing Director Jeffrey Shubart, Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin, Producing Director Evan Fleischer, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, and Literary Manager Marni Raab.
For more information, visit http://www.middirrep.org.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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