On June 20th at 7:30 p.m. the Hangar Theatre Company will perform Uncommon Excerpts and Others: The Wendy Chronicles directed by Hangar’s Artistic Director Michael Barakiva and Associate Artistic Director/Education Director Shirley Serotsky.
This virtual production is a collection of scenes and excerpts by Tony and Pulitzer Award winner Wendy Wasserstein, ranging from her well-known comedies (The Heidi Chronicles, The Sisters Rosensweig) to her insightful lesser-known essays and esoterica. This piece was compiled by Hangar Artistic Director Michael Barakiva, who worked for Wasserstein for the last five years of her life. Former Hangar Theatre and Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Bob Moss served as a mentor to Wasserstein.
Barakiva states, “I hold the most sincere respect and love for Wendy. Working for her was a life-defining experience, and the kind of apprenticeship on which the theatrical tradition has survived for thousands of years. The chance to revisit her material has been a powerful balm during national upheaval, and a reminder that Wendy's work not only defined the moment in which it was written, but was also decades ahead of its time.”
Wendy Wassertein was a one-of-a-kind artist, who broke boundaries and challenged societal views. She won a Tony for best new play for The Heidi Chronicles (the first time a woman had won the prize solo) and was honored with numerous other awards including the Obie, the Pulitzer Prize, a Drama Desk award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. More of her plays made it to Broadway than any woman playwright since Lillian Hellman. Her plays spoke to an entire generation and defined their moment. While often remembered for the populist nature and likable sense of humor present in all of her plays, Wasserstein herself noted the politics of being popular in a 1997 interview with the Paris Review, "My work is often thought of as lightweight commercial comedy, and I have always thought, No, you don't understand: this is in fact a political act. The Sisters Rosensweig had the largest advance in Broadway history" (for a straight play) "Nobody is going to turn down a play on Broadway because a woman wrote it or because it's about women." Wendy's impact on the theatre community was deeply felt and acknowledged; after her death in 2006 the lights across Broadway were dimmed in her honor.
Cast members include equity actors Ben Cherry, Gisela Chipe, Carol Halstead, Laura Heisler, Linda Larson, Manu Narayan, and Shona Tucker. Additional cast members include Ranana Chernin, Miles Gutierrez-Riley, and Lizzie Kehoe. The production and design team includes Costume Coordinator Megan Rutherford, Sound Designer Lance Perl, Video Producers Griffin Schultz and Chrissy Guest, Production Stage Manager Mackenzie Trowbridge, Assistant Stage Manager Kat Taylor, Production Assistant Sierra Hoss, and Assistant Director Jacob Ettkin. The event will feature a pre-show conversation with Julie Salamon, author of Wendy’s biography Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein.
Show sponsors include premier sponsor C.S.P. Management, Partners in Flight: CFCU Community Credit Union and Cayuga Radio Group, and Partner in the Arts: Ithaca College. The Hangar thanks André Bishop, the Wasserstein Estate, Patrick Herrold at ICM Partners and Robert Vaughan at Dramatists Play Services.
This production is the second of five unique artistic virtual experiences the Hangar Theatre is presenting as its 2020 Mainstage season. The first production, The Skin Of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, featured 25 local actors and had approximately 3,000 individual viewers. Remaining productions include Queens Girl In The World on July 11, Honk Your Horn: Celebrate! Musical! Theatre! on July 25, and Sense and Sensibility on August 8.
Four-pack subscriptions ($149) and virtual tickets ($20 each) are available at 607.273.ARTS and hangartheatre.org. Students can purchase $10 tickets with online promo code: LEARN. This is a one time only, live event, but subscribers can watch until 11:59 p.m. on the following Monday.