Just off the Press

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  • Translating Shakespeare: A Guidebook for Young Actors

    Translating Shakespeare: A Guidebook for Young Actors

    For actors both young and old, the prospect of preparing to perform a Shakespearean role can be intimidating…even terrifying!   Translating Shakespeare seeks to make the actor’s preparatory work on the Bard’s plays both stimulating and fun by de-mystifying the experience.  It offers step-by-step explanations of the fundamental processes involved in creative preparation: comparing edited texts, analyzing...Read More »
  • The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2014

    The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2014

    In The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2014 you will find fifty terrific new ten-minute plays, all successfully produced during the 2013-2014 theatrical season. They are written in a variety of styles. Some are realistic; some comic; and some are dramatic. Included in this volume is a comprehensive list of theatres which do ten-minute plays. View on...Read More »
  • The Best Stage Monologues 2014

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  • Monologues for Latino/a Actors

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Hot News

BostonNew Rep Extends THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE Through March 8

New Repertory Theatre announces THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE, now playing through March 8, 2015 in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA. Tickets are $30-$60 and may be purchased by calling the New Rep Box Office at 617-923-8487 or visiting newrep.org. Student, senior, and group discounts are available. Added performances include: Friday, March 6, 8pm; Saturday, March 7, 3pm; Saturday, March 7, 8pm; and Sunday, March 8, 2pm.

"To host a creative team as accomplished as we have working on THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE is absolutely thrilling," says Artistic Director, Jim Petosa. "Robert Brustein and Hankus Netsky have written a wonderfully witty and lyrical new play that will certainly delight our audiences. The recent title change from KING OF THE SCHNORRERS to THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE is proof that what we have here is a living and breathing new work being carefully crafted, and helmed masterfully by its creators."

"Too many people were confused about the title," explains playwright and lyricist, Robert Brustein. "Though it is clarified in the play, I decided to change it to something less bewildering. I thought that THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE grounded the play more in its adapted modern period than Zangwill's 19th century London."

"New Rep's commitment to new work is a critical part of our mission," says Managing Director, Harriet Sheets. "THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE will enjoy a world premiere production after several years of development by collaborators Robert Brustein and Hankus Netsky. With a cast of New Rep and Boston area favorites, this fun and funny production is a perfect addition to our 30th anniversary season."

Based on a famous Israel Zangwill story, Robert Brustein's THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE is a new musical with a lively klezmer score by composer Hankus Netsky. This world premiere comedy features a Romeo and Juliet love story set against the background of antagonistic Jewish sects in the Lower East Side of 1960s Manhattan. A wily Sephardic actor named Da Costa, now down on his luck, dupes Joseph E. Lapidus, a wealthy Hollywood producer, out of his clothes, money, groceries, and self-respect. All the while Da Costa's lovely daughter Dolores is courted by both one of her father's beggar companions, and Lapidus' ill-mannered son. THE KING OF SECOND AVENUE is a hilarious sequence of con-games, swindlings, and the search for true love.

New Repertory Theatre is the award-winning, professional theatre company in residence at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary season as a leading self-producing theatre in greater Boston, New Rep produces contemporary and classic dramas, comedies, and musicals in both the 340-seat Charles Mosesian Theater and the 90-seat Black Box Theater. Annually, New Rep serves over 40,000 patrons, including 2,000 season subscribers. In addition to its mainstage productions, New Rep produces Next Voices, a program dedicated to developing new plays with four playwrights through three staged readings and one world premiere production. Under its Lifelong Enrichment Arts Programs (LEAP), New Rep also produces its Classic Repertory Company, Page To Stage, Insider Experiences, and Spotlight Symposium Series.

New Rep's Mission - New Repertory Theatre produces plays that speak powerfully to the essential ideas of our time. Through the passion and electricity of live theater performed to the highest standards of excellence, New Rep expands and challenges the human spirit of both artists and audience. New Rep presents world premieres, contemporary and classic works in several intimate settings. We are committed to education and outreach, including special dedication to the creation of innovative in-school programming and providing access to underserved audiences. New Rep is an active advocate for the arts and a major voice in the national dialogue defining the role of theater in our culture.
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DAVID MONTEE'S "Translating Shakespeare: A Guidebook for Young Actors," 415 pages. Smith & Kraus, Inc. 2014. paperback, $21.95. ISBN 9781575258898, High school; Professional reading

Written to inspire young actors and serve as reference material for teachers, this guidebook begins by outlining the Stanislavsky system and then jumps right into using Hamlet’s “Speak the speech, I pray you…” as a lesson on how to grapple with Shakespearian language. Subsequent chapters include advice on researching and choosing which text to use, how to fill the role or connect with characters and language from so long ago, and verse scansion and rhythm.
Among the other topics are “The Vital Antithesis,” “Exercising with the Text,” “Contexts, Icons, Contrasts, and Contradictions,” and “Shakespeare Scenework: Plays in Miniature.” In the ample appendices, readers will find “Examples of Dramatic Contexts for Shakespearean Production.” Clearly a labor of love, this guidebook is required reading for those serious about acting or teaching Shakespeare.
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A serving of borscht in Brustein’s ‘King of Second Avenue’

By Joel Brown, The Boston Globe Correspondent January 31, 2015

Robert Brustein “has the soul of a borscht belt comedian,” actor Jeremiah Kissel says. “He likes a good Jewish joke. He knows how to tell ’em, he knows how to time ’em.”

Brustein, of course, is better known as the founder of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater. He is a critic, director, teacher, playwright, and author. He’s written a trilogy of plays about the life of William Shakespeare. At the ART, he adapted works by Ibsen and Chekhov, Pirandello and Aristophanes, often directing too.

Not exactly a borscht belt resume. But Brustein says, “I’m a burlesque artist at heart.” And his latest play is a comic klezmer musical called “The King of Second Avenue,” starring Will LeBow, Kissel, and Remo Airaldi. It begins its world premiere performances Feb. 7 at New Repertory Theatre in Watertown.

The play is based on a 19th-century novel by Israel Zangwill, “The King of Schnorrers,” but Brustein has moved the setting from 1800s London to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1960s. At times it will make you think of the Marx Brothers, or maybe the Three Stooges. “It’s like a great, big cream pie being thrown across the stage,” says Kissel.

Inspiration? “I just felt like writing something, or maybe I dreamt it,” Brustein, 87, says with a chuckle and a shrug. “Most things I do now, I dream. It’s the most bizarre thing. I wrote those three Shakespeare plays and I dreamt most of them,” he says. “I dream a lot of stuff now as I get older; it comes out of the unconscious.”

Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown 617-923-8487.

Robert Brustein
Matthew “Motl” Didner
Other Credits:
Music by Hankus Netsky
Performing company:
New Repertory Theatre
Date of first performance:
Date closing:
March 1
Ticket price:
Company website:
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