Theater folks coming to speak at Rollins

There’s a string of theater people at work at Rollins in the next few months, and an actual bevy of them here in the next couple of weeks. All of them will be interacting with students and with the public — and my experience has been with Rollins visitors in the past has been that if you possibly can make it to hear these people, you should. All of the public events are free.

Let’s start with this weekend and move onward:

  • Eric Nightengale, a New York director who’s on campus to direct Arlene Hutton’s new play Letters to Sala, will talk about turning documentary into theater at noon Saturday in the Fred Stone Theatre. His appearance is in conjunction with the Winter Park Institute. Here’s more info about Eric:

Eric Nightengale served as artistic director of 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York city from 1995 thru 2008, directing over 50 productions and overseeing the development of countless others. Other New York directing credits include work with Circle Repertory Theatre, The Acting Company, Circle in the Square, The River Ensemble, Ensemble Studio Theatre, HERE, and Classic Stage Company.

Eric has served as Artistic Director for Anchorage Theatre in Louisville, Zone 9 Productions in Indianapolis, and Actors Repertory Theatre in Chicago. Chicago directing credits also include work with Victory Gardens Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, the Broadway Arts Center, and Second City. He has served as Associate Artistic Director for the Developing Artists Series at the Drama League of New York and developed work at the New Harmony Project and the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. He has guest directed at universities including Indiana University, Brooklyn College, Towson University, Evansville University, and St. Johns University, among others.

Radio drama credits include work broadcast nationally over NPR affiliate stations, and in the UK over BBC channel 4. He has worked as a teaching artist for the Lincoln Center Institute, Theatre Development Fund, and as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College and Towson University. His work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has resulted in three Fringe First awards, eight published scripts, four adaptations for BBC radio, a Best Ensemble award, and a London transfer.

Recent work includes The Frog Singer, an electro-luminescent-wire puppet play, and The Natasha Plays, currently performing in Bratislava, Slovakia and Varna, Bulgaria.

  • Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal theater critic and author of Pops, the popular biography of Louis Armstrong, will talk about turning real life into a play at 7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 1 in the Busch Science Center auditorium. Here’s more about Terry, who has returned to Rollins several times under the auspices of the Winter Park Institute:

Terry Teachout, drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and the author of acclaimed biographies of Louis Armstrong, George Balanchine, and H. L. Mencken, is working simultaneously on three creative projects—each in a different medium. In this series of public presentations, he’ll show how a biography, an opera libretto, and a play move from conception to completion.

Teachout started writing his first play, a one-man show based on Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, during his 20010 visit to the Winter Park Institute. Now Satchmo at the Waldorf is moving toward its first commercial production. In collaboration with the drama department of Rollins College, Teachout will present the first public performance of staged excerpts from Satchmo at the Waldorf and talk about the process of transforming a best-selling biography into a one-man play. {A note from me: Orlando actor Dennis Neal appears in these staged excerpts.]

  • David Henry Hwang, the Tony Award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly and a book-writer for the Disney musicals Aida and Tarzan, will appear in Rollins’s Winter With the Writers series at 87 p.m. Thursday Feb. 3 in the Bush Science Center auditorium. (That’s his photo above.) Read on for more information about David:

David Henry Hwang is the author of M. Butterfly (1988 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Awards, Pulitzer finalist), Golden Child (1998 Tony nomination, 1997 OBIE Award), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance and the Railroad (Drama Desk nomination), Family Devotions (Drama Desk Nomination), Sound and Beauty, and Bondage. His newest play, Yellow Face, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and New York’s Public Theatre, won a 2008 OBIE Award and was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

He wrote the scripts for the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (2002 revival, 2003 Tony nomination), and Disney’s Tarzan. His opera libretti include three works for composer Philip Glass, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), and The Sound of a Voice; as well as Bright Sheng’s The Silver River, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards) and Unsuk Chin’s Alice In Wonderland (Opernwelt’s 2007 “World Premiere of the Year”).

Hwang penned the feature films M. Butterfly, Golden Gate, and Possession (co-writer), and also co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. A native of Los Angeles, Hwang serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild. He attended Stanford University and Yale Drama School, and was appointed by President Clinton to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng and their children Noah David and Eva Veanne.

He is the Irving Bacheller Professor of Creative Writing.

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