Thursday, January 21, 2016

David Rush’s NUREYEV’S EYES at George Street Playhouse

George Street Playhouse presents David Rush’s Nureyev’s Eyes, February 2 through February 21 at the New Brunswick theatre.

Bill Dawes will portray Russian defector and star of ballet and screen, Rudolf Nureyev; William Connell will play painter Jamie Wyeth, the son of famed artist Andrew Wyeth and grandson of illustrator N.C. Wyeth. The production will be helmed by George Street Playhouse Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro.

“I am thrilled to welcome William and Bill to George Street Playhouse,” said Mastro.  “Audiences can expect to see these two talented, versatile actors perform with the energy and passion necessary to truly bring these two perfection-seeking artists to life on stage.”

Nureyev’s Eyes – the top prize winner at both Dayton Playhouse’s FutureFest and Firehouse Theatre’s Festival of New American Plays in 2012 -- is a riveting fictional account of the very real interaction between two great artists.  Beginning in 1977 and lasting over a period of several years, Wyeth produced hundreds of paintings and drawings of Nureyev.  Fighting personal demons and demanding perfection, the two developed a friendship that transcended their differences and lasted until the end of Nureyev’s storied career and too-short life in 1993. Struggling to capture the icon on paper and canvas, Wyeth is not satisfied until an unexpected breakthrough provides new inspiration – opening his eyes to what is right in front of him. 

Nureyev was a frequent guest of Wyeth and his wife at their family farm in Chadds Ford, Pa., where the Brandywine River Museum of Art features galleries showcasing works by the Wyeth family.  Jamie Wyeth is still very active and appeared at the museum a year ago, in conjunction with a special exhibition of his work.

Individual tickets, starting at $25, are now on sale, as are 3-Play subscription packages.  Contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717 or visit for tickets and information.  George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in heart of New Brunswick’s vibrant downtown dining and entertainment district, steps away from plentiful parking and dining options for every palate and pocketbook.

William Connell’s New York City credits include A View from the Bridge (2010 Broadway revival); The Coast of Utopia (Lincoln Center); Alphabetical Order (Keen Company).  Regionally, he has appeared in One Man, Two Guvnors (Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Pioneer Theatre); Hamlet (Aspen Music Festival); The Hour of Feeling (Humana Festival); The Winslow Boy and The Mousetrap (Rep Theatre of St. Louis), The 39 Steps (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); Bell, Book and Candle (San Francisco Playhouse); and The Importance of Being Earnest (Gulfshore Playhouse), among others. His film and television appearances include Manhattan Love StoryMASmashNot Fade AwayGossip GirlLaw & Order, and Guiding Light.

Bill Dawes is a three-time Broadway veteran, most recently appearing as Mickey Mantle in Bronx Bombers.  He has appeared in a dozen off-Broadway productions, and many more at esteemed regional theatres like Williamstown, Ford's Theatre and Dallas Theatre Center.  His television credits include Law & Order, Criminal Minds, Damages, The Following, Royal Pains, Sex and the City, and many more. His fifth lead role in a feature film will be in the award-winning "Before the Sun Explodes."  As a comic, Bill has performed all over the world, including tours of Iraq and Afghanistan with the USO, and has his own channel of comedy videos at and on YouTube.

David Rush has written plays produced at such theaters as American Stage, Stage Left, Mark Taper Forum, GeVa Theater, and Manhattan Theater Club, among others. His work has won or placed in national contests and has earned a variety of awards, including several Chicago Jeffs, a Los Angeles Drama Logue and two Midwest Emmies.  He has received Illinois Arts Council grants and was a writer in residence at the Inge Center in 2010.  His books, A Student Guide to Play Analysis and Building Your Play, are used by many colleges and universities. 

Michael Mastro will be directing his third mainstage production at George Street, after previously helming The Fabulous Lipitones in 2014 and The Subject Was Roses with Stephanie Zimbalist in 2011.  He also directed a celebrity play reading of Matt Hoverman’s Thrillsville with a cast featuring Edie Falco, Richard Kind and Grant Shaud at GSP in late 2015.  He has also appeared on stage at George Street in such productions as The Sunshine Boys, The Pillowman, The Fox on the Fairway and Inspecting Carol. Last season, he directed Ingmar Bergman’s Nora at Delaware Theatre Company and he appeared in Ayckbourn’s The Things We Do For Love at the Westport Country Playhouse. In recent years, he has helmed several NYC celebrity play readings to benefit various nonprofits, working with actors like Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Jean Smart, Beau Bridges, Michael McKean, Stockard Channing, Melissa Leo, Laura Benanti, Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery and Cecily Strong. He served as associate director of the recent first national tour of West Side Story, helmed by GSP Artistic Director David Saint, and has directed many new American one-acts for several NYC theatre companies. As an actor, he works regularly on and off Broadway, regionally, and in film and TV, where he is currently recurring on Law and Order: SVU. Member: Actors Equity, SAG-AFTRA, SDC, Naked Angels, The Actors Center.

The set has been designed by Alexis Distler, who was an assistant on Broadway’s Act One, which earned a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.  The creative team also includes costume designer Esther Arroyo, lighting designer Christopher Bailey, and sound designer/original music composer Scott Killian – all of whom were part of the 2013 world premiere production of Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies with Marlo Thomas at George Street Playhouse as well as the current off-Broadway production of that show at New York City’s Westside Theatre.

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