Look for the Off Broadway premiere of The Stone Witch, a play by Shem Bitterman (A Death in Colombia, Influence). Performances begin Monday, March 12, 2018 for an open-ended engagement at The Westside Theatre – Upstairs (407 West 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Opening Night is set for Sunday evening, March 25, 2018 at 6:30PM.
Directed by Steve Zuckerman (Nuts, “Murphy Brown”) the three-member cast features Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years,” Lombardi) as Simon Grindberg, with Rupak Ginn (Shakespeare at Fenway, “Royal Pains”) as Peter Chandler, and Carolyn McCormick (Equus, “Law & Order”) as Clair Forlorni.
Extraordinary art must be tamed. Simon Grindberg is the world’s most illustrious children’s book writer and illustrator —but his next masterpiece is a decade overdue. Peter Chandler is a starving artist with unparalleled potential—but he doesn’t yet know his own value. The two men are thrown together by Clair Forlorni, an ambitious editor who hopes Peter’s youthful exuberance can unleash Simon’s aging genius for one final story. But creativity comes at a cost. The Stone Witch is a wondrous, hopeful and heartbreaking new play where imagination runs wild. The world premiere production of The Stone Witch was produced at The Berkshire Theatre Group in association with Darlene Kaplan Entertainment and Brierpatch Productions in 2016.
The creative team for The Stone Witch includes Yael Pardess (set & projection art content design), Mimi Maxman (costume design), Shawn Edward Boyle (lighting design), Christopher Cronin (sound design), Rasean Davonte Johnson (projection design), and Roger Bellon, Bellchant Music (composer). The Production Stage Manager is J.P. Elins.
Single tickets for The Stone Witch are priced are priced at $89, $110 (Premium Seats), and may be purchased by calling Telecharge: 212-239-6200, or by visiting Telecharge.com. Student Rush Tickets are priced at $30 with valid Student I.D.
Dan Lauria (Simon Grindberg) has appeared as a guest star in over seventy television episodic programs and more than twenty “Movie of the Week” productions, plus a score of motion picture credits. Dan is a very familiar face to the Off-Off, Off and regional theatre scene having performed, written or directed over 50 professional stage productions. In 2010/11 Dan was seen on Broadway as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi in Lombardi, with the beautiful and talented Judith Light playing Marie Lombardi. The production was directed by Thomas Kail of Hamilton fame. He returned to Broadway in the 2013 & the 2014 production of the Tony nominated A Christmas Story: The Musical directed by John Rando. However, Dan is most recognized as the Dad on the highly acclaimed Emmy winning, ABC television show, “The Wonder Years.” He was recently seen in the Fox TV show “Pitch” as manager Al Lougo and has just joined the family of “This Is Us” both series written by televisions most talented writer, Dan Fogelman. Dan and dear friend, the lovely and talented Ms Wendie Malick have performed the play The Guys by Anne Nelson, for numerous theatre and firemen organizations around the country. The Guys is a tribute to those brave men and women who died on 9/11. Wendie and Dan now do Love Letters for fund raising events for regional theatres.
Rupak Ginn (Peter Chandler), raised in Harlem, originated the role of Peter in The Stone Witch for its world premiere at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and is delighted to be reprising it Off- Broadway. Other recent stage work includes Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare at Fenway. On film, he has starred in Khoya, and supporting roles include Friends with Benefits, Just Wright, The Namesake, and 5 Weddings. On television, he recently filmed the pilot episode of TNT’s “Highland,” played Raj on USA’s “Royal Pains” for seven seasons, and has guest starred on “Private Practice,” “Unforgettable,” and “Person of Interest.” Rupak holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University. He is also a board member of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).
Carolyn McCormick (Clair Forlorni). Broadway: Equus, Private Lives, The Dinner Party. Off-Broadway: What I Did Last Summer, The Open House (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel nomination), Family Furniture, Black Tie, Ten Chimneys, Celebration, Privilege, Biography, Eve-Olution, Dinner With Friends, Ancestral Voices. Regional: Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike (Paper Mill), Saint Joan (Denver), The Father (Geffen), Uncle Vanya (Old Globe), Present Laughter (Williamstown), Much Ado About Nothing (Seattle). Television: series regular on “Spenser For Hire,” “Cracker,” Dr. Olivet on “Law & Order” & guest star on “Billions,” “The Blacklist,” “Elementary,” Madame Secretary,” “Blue Bloods,” “Body of Proof,” “Cold Case,” “Judging Amy,” “The Practice,” “Homicide,” “Star Trek.” Film: Mapplerthorpe, The Post, You Know My Name, Loverboy, A Simple Twist of Fate, Enemy Mine, Whatever Works, Downtown Express. The voice behind The Hunger Games audio-books and myriad Ken Burns documentaries. Education: Williams College-BFA, American Conservatory Theatre-MFA.
Shem Bitterman (Playwright) is an alumnus of Juilliard, where he studied acting, and of the University of Iowa where he earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing in 1985. Recent plays include: A Death in Colombia (Katselas Theatre Company, LA, 2011), Influence (Katselas, 2010; Best Play, Best Production, Best Ensemble nominations, LA Weekly Awards), The Stone Witch (runner-up, 2010 Stanley Award for Drama) Harm’s Way (Circus Theatricals; winner, 2008 PEN USA Literary Award; runner-up, 2007 Smith Prize; published by Broadway Play Services), man.gov (Circus Theatricals, 2006; Best Play nomination, LA Weekly Awards), Sensitive Skin (The Elephant Theatre), The Circle (Circus Theatricals; 2005 PEN USA Literary Award Finalist; 2001 Best Playwright, SCA Fringe Festival). Under Mr. Bitterman’s direction, The Job won the 1999 LA Times Critic’s Circle Award for Best New Play and was published by Samuel French and in Smith & Kraus’s Best New Plays of 1998. Other plays include: Night-Side (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, starring Pamela Gien), Peephole (Geva, starring Josh Brolin; winner, Davie Award; subsequently made into a film directed by Mr. Bitterman), The Ramp (South Coast Rep; winner, California Playwright’s Competition), Beijing Legends (The Mark Taper Forum, the Pacific Jewish Theatre, Mixed Blood Versus America; winner, Fund For New American Plays), Self Storage (The Odyssey, subsequently made into the film Tinsletown starring Arye Gross), Ten Below (WPA Theatre, starring Kevin Conway and Anthony Edwards; winner, National Play Award and Lee Korf Playwriting Award), Iowa Boys (The Actor’s Studio; winner CBS/FDG New Plays Award). Feature films include: The Job (directed and produced by Mr. Bitterman; winner, Best Screenplay, The 2009 San Diego International Film Festival), Play Dead (co-authored and produced with director Jason Wiles, starring Fred Durst and Chris Klein), Full Count (co-authored and produced with Mr. Wiles), Out Of The Rain (directed by Gary Winick), Off The Lip (directed by Robert Mickelson), Open House (directed by Mr. Bitterman). Mr. Bitterman has written for Warner Brothers, Disney, Dreamworks, and many other independent studios, and his plays have been developed at Sundance, Steppenwolf, Midwest Playlabs, The Taper’s New Works Festival, and elsewhere. Mr. Bitterman has also lectured on the entertainment field and taught screenwriting, playwriting, and acting from the California Prisons to Beijing. Mr. Bitterman heads the Playwrights Unit at the Katselas Theatre Company. This summer, Mr. Bitterman’s play, A Death In Colombia was performed at the Festival Transatlantyk in Poznan, Poland with Frances Fisher and Joe Regalbuto under his direction, and his recently completed a biopic Betty and Coretta, starring Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige, about the friendship between Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, and Coretta Scott King airs on Lifetime in January.
Steve Zuckerman (Director) directed Nuts by Tom Topor on Broadway, which received two Tony Award nominations and a Drama Desk Award. As Associate Director of New York’s WPA Theater, he directed over 15 productions including the premieres of Nuts, Shem Bitterman’s Ten Below, and Israel Horovitz’s Unexpected Tenderness and North Shore Fish. His Off-Broadway revivals of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre and Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken, with Kim Hunter, both received Drama Desk Awards. Also Off-Broadway, he directed The Freak, Kennedy at Colonus and Today I am A Fountain Pen. Recent productions include Mr. Bitterman’s plays A Death in Colombia, their seventh collaboration; Influence, which garnered three LA Weekly Award nominations including Best Production and a LA Critics Circle Award nod; and Open House, which was voted one of the Ten Best Plays of 2014. He also directed Mr. Bitterman’s Man.Gov and Harm’s Way, which was a LA Pen Award Winner. At the Falcon Theatre he directed the premier of Garry Marshall’s Everybody Say Cheese. He has been Director of Play Development at The Circle in the Square Theatre and Artistic Director of the Impossible Ragtime Theatre in New York and the Sharon Playhouse. He has directed at many regional theatres including Baltimore’s Center Stage, The La Jolla Playhouse and the Yale Cabaret where he directed the world premiere of Christopher Durang’s Better Dead Than Sorry, which later moved to the Manhattan Theatre Club. He directed over 400 episodes of network and cable television shows including “Golden Girls,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Friends” and “Murphy Brown” for which he received an HUMANITAS award. Mr. Zuckerman was trained at the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama. He has taught at The University of Southern California, The Circle in the Square Theater School, NYU and Juilliard.