Working Theater’s 1st Decade

10th Season 1994 - 1995

Mainstage Production

Heroes and Saints
by Cherrie Moraga
directed by Albert Takazauckas
produced in conjunction with the Downtown Art Company and Judson Memorial Church
with Isaiah G. Cazares, Doris Difarnecio, Matt Edwards, Elsie Hilario, Adriana Inchaustegui, Mario Mendoza, Claudia Rocafort, Jualkyris Santiago and Marta Vidal
One Dream Theatre
Inspired by the United Farm Workers documentary video, “The Wrath of Grapes”,Heroes and Saints brilliantly explores the inner life of a Chicano farm worker community under siege from ruthless growers and the poisonous pesticides of agribusiness run amok.
Although Heroes and Saints is fiction, it came in response to the numerous events that took place in 1988 which brought growing visibility to the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott in protest against pesticide poisoning. The greatest public attention came as a result of the 36-day fast by the president of the union, Cesar Chavez, which ended on August 21, 1988. Less than a month later, the vice-president of the union, Dolores Huerta, was brutally beaten by San Francisco policeman while holding a press conference protesting George Bush’s refusal to honor the boycott.
“A powerful blend of gripping family drama and unabashed agitprop, the play is easily one of the stand-out productions of the season.” Michael Fox, San Francisco Independent, date
“I saw Heroes at its San Francisco premiere and was deeply moved by its powerful depiction of our struggle in the fields. I want to commend The Working Theatre, Judson, and Downtown Art for the brilliant idea of staging this play in the main space of an historic church that has long been associated with important justice struggle. The collaboration will help ensure that new audiences, especially church and working-class audiences, get a chance to experience great drama and learn about the struggles we share with working people everywhere.” Dolores Huerta, Vice President, United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Rhetorical Oratorio
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Robbie McCauley

9th Season 1993 - 1994

Mainstage Production

The Windowman
book and lyrics by Matthew Maguire
music by Bruce Barthol and Greg Pliska
directed by Bill Mitchelson
musical direction by Genji Ito
coproduced by Creation Production Company
with Angela Bullock, Frank Deal, John Nesci and Kaipo Schwab
with musicians Steve Alcott, Jules Cohen, John Jenkins and Henry Mann
Inspired by a true story of the murder of an Asian-American teenager by a Detroit autoworker in 1982, The Windowman addresses issues of racism, xenophobia and changes in the American blue-collar economy.
“Matthew Maguire is less interested in a literal recounting of events than in getting inside the head of racist rage . . . stopping time and repeating conversations till they’re pushed to a breaking point, we feel a bit of the aggressor’s heat, the stress of creditors and repo men that sends an already volatile personality over the edge.” Jan Stuart,New York Newsday, May 13, 1994

8th Season 1992 - 1993

Mainstage Productions

I am a Man
Commissioned by The Working Theater
by OyamO
directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composition and direction by Olu Dara
with Robert Arcaro, Paul Butler, A. Benard Cummings, Guy Davis, Larry Keith, James Murtaugh, Harold Perrineau Jr., Monte Russell, Howard Samuelsohn, Mark Kenneth Smaltz, Myra Taylor
On February 12, 1968, African-American sanitation workers, members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1733, struck the Memphis Department of Public Workers. Prior to the strike, newly elected Mayor Henry Loeb had refused to negotiate with Local 1733’s president or to recognize the union. Within weeks, the city’s African-American community, under the leadership of 150 black clergymen, united to defend and support the sanitation workers. I am a Man tells the story of this fight for workers’ and civil rights that erupted into riots and culminated in the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“A gripping new play by OyamO . . . Bill Mitchelson has assembled a first-rate cast and mounted an evocative production . . . the play takes unflinching aim at the often vitriolic feuds between the militant and the nonviolent arms of the civil rights movement and the liberal Jews who marched beside them.” Wilborn Hampton, The New York Times, May 20, 1993

Persimmon Peel
written and performed by Laurie Carlos and Robbie McCauley
Persimmon Peel explores the lives of African-American women through dreams, monologues, and improvisations.
“By turns poetic and slapstick . . . every moment is richly earned with fluid bodies and pointed writing”.  Laurie Stone, The Village Voice, December 15, 1992

7th Season 1991 - 1992

Mainstage Production

Ascension Day
by Michael Henry Brown
directed by L. Kenneth Richardson
with Michael Beach, Jesse Bernstein, Betty K. Bynum, Matthew C. Cowles, Andre de Shields, Arthur French, Jack Gwaltney, Novella Nelson, Colleen Quinn, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Stuart, Earl Whitted, Rozwill Young
Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays award, Ascension Day dramatizes the 1831 slave revolt led by Nat Turner.
Ascension Day is . . .a long, sprawling, and swirling play in which we come to understand that the erosion of human spirit is not a straight descent, but maze- like . . . This is historical drama to outstay black history month: light on sanctimony, long on theatrical vigor.” Jan Stuart, New York Newsday, February 17, 1992

6th Season 1990 - 1991

Mainstage Production

Let Me Live
by OyamO
directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composed and directed by Olu Dara<
with Randy Frazier, LeLand Gantt, Earl Hagan, Rande Harris, Lawrence James, Robert Jason, Mitchell Marchand, Jasper McGruder, Eugene Nesmith, Monte Russell
The Harold Clurman Theatre
Let Me Live is based on the autobiography of labor-union advocate Angelo P. Herndon. After organizing thousands of destitute white and black workers to march in protest against the city of Atlanta when it summarily ceased relief payments, Herndon was harassed, beaten and illegally imprisoned. After a rigged trial, he was sentenced to life on a chain gang, a perverse form of living death. With the help of union members and enthusiastic public support, Herndon was freed after his appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He went on to work on behalf of labor for many years.
“A striking new play by OyamO ostensibly about the political plight of real-life ’30’s labor activist Angelo P. Herndon, but actually about the constant negotiation of power that defines a black man in the racist U.S. of A.. . . buoyed by raunchy, irresistibly listenable black dialogue and an energetic, larger than life cast, Let Me Live . . . always remains, in the face of its characters’ probable destinies of living chain-gang death, a play very much alive.” Scott Poulson-Bryant, The Village Voice, January 22, 1991
“It is from transcripts of the trial and Angelo Herndon’s autobiography that playwright OyamO has fashioned his powerful drama. . . the movement and timing were executed with precision, and kudos to Anne Patterson for her coordination of costume and set design which, like OyamO and Mitchelson’s concern for realism, was right on the money.”Herb Boyd, Amsterdam News, February 16, 1991

Working One Acts 1991

Bitter Cane
by Genny Lim
directed by Mark Plesent
with Mel Duane Gionson, Kiya Ann Joyce, Akira Takayama, Allan Tung and Ian Wen
Theatre Row Theatre
Lim combines myth and realism in a play about Chinese immigrant workers.

Betting on the Dust Commander
by Suzan Lori Parks
directed by Liz Diamond
with Kevin Davis and Pamela Tyson
Theatre Row Theatre
An innovative, comic look at the endless repetition of daily life.
“[Betting on Dust Commander is] hypnotically written…it is a pointed,  beautiful play.”Brian Parks, The Village Voice

Abandoned in Queens
by Laura Maria Censabella
directed by Bill Mitchelson
with Dean Nichols and Roger Serbagi
Theatre Row Theatre
A moving portrayal of a father and son struggling to come to terms with their abandonment by their wife and mother.

New Hope for the Dead
by John Sayles
directed by Earl Hagan
with Lyn Greene and Joseph Palmas
Theatre Row Theatre
A quirky comedy about immortality by one of America’s most exciting filmmakers.
“[New Hope for the Dead is] infused with the same generosity and spirit that runs throughout Mr. Sayles screenplays” Stephen Holden, The New York Times, June 26, 1991

Late Night Performance Series 1991

Black Male Characters
by Eugene Nesmith
Theatre Row Theatre
A one-man show exploring family life in the rural South.

Half a Dozen Broads in Grab Bag
with Maura Clifford, Evelyn Hathaway, Anne Lilly, Laura Millis, Honour Molloy and Donna Villella
Theatre Row Theatre

Persimmon Peel(excerpts)
written and performed by Robbie McCauley and Laurie Carlos

An Evening with Hazelle
written and performed by Hazelle Goodman

Monday Night Reading Series

Having it All
by Ellen Melaver
Theatre Row Theatre

Maiden Voyages
by Bronagh Murphy and Honour Molloy
Theatre Row Theatre

Union Station
by David Becker
Theatre Row Theatre

5th Season 1989 - 1990

Mainstage Production

Special Interests
by Joe Sutton
directed by Mark Lutwack
with Lynn Anderson, Robert Arcaro, Jude Ciccolella, James Dumont, Judith Granite, Lorey Hayes, Fracaswell Hyman and William Wise
The Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center

Special Interests presents sympathetic views of people caught in situations that bring out the best and worst in them. It is a traditional play well told, an observer of how we behave rather than a proponent of how things should be.” Richard P. Shepard, The New York Times, February 18, 1990

4th Season 1988 - 1989

Mainstage Production
Henry Lumper
by Israel Horovitz
Directed by Grey Cattell Johnson
with Robert Arcaro, Ralph Bell, Carol Bradley, Brian Delate, Michael DellaFemina, David Wolos-Fonteno, Randy Frazier, Kilian Ganly, Bill Gillogly, Luis Guzman, Joseph Jamrog, Cullen Johnson, Mary Klug, Jordan Lund, Honour Molloy, Paul O’Brien, Courtney Peldon, Cathy Reinheimer, Monte Russell and Roger Serbagi
Actors Outlet Theatre
Set in Gloucester, Massachusetts in the 1970’s, the fishermen and longshoremen known as lumpers fear that the growing Asian American community will threaten their livelihood. Henry Lumper mirrors the plot of Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Parts I and II) as two families vie for power within the longshoremen union.
“The play . . . . reveals an intrinsic strength…Mr. Horovitz, an accomplished playwright, has an interesting story to tell about the decline of a port town and morality.” Mel Gussow, The New York Times, February 5, 1989

Working One Acts 1989

The Closer
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater
by Will Holtzman
directed by R.J. Culter
with Earl Hagan, Jr. and Murray Rubenstein

Floor Above the Roof
New York premiere
by Daniel Theriault
directed by John Pynchon Holms<
with Richard Fiske, Randy Frazier, Mark Kenneth Smaltz and David Wolos-Fonteno

Freeze Tag
World Premiere
by Jackie Reingold
directed by Evan Handler
with Julie Boyd and Lyn Greene

Sand Mountain Matchmaking
New York Premiere
written and directed by Romulus Linney
with Robert Arcaro, Mary Foskett, Earl Hagan, Jr., John Karol, Paul O’Brien, Scott Sowers and Adrienne Thompson

3rd Season 1987 - 1988

Working One-Acts 1988

The Road to Ruin
New York Premiere
by Richard Dresser
directed by John Pynchon Holmes
with Robert Arcaro, Victor Bevine, Cedering Fox and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

Harvest Sun
New York Premiere
by John Olive
directed by Kent Paul
with Janet Aspers, Ralph Bell and Robin Polk
INTAR Stage II

No Time
World Premiere
by Lawrence Klavan
directed by Paul Dorman
with Susan Blommaert, Pam Cuming, Jay Devlin, Jordan Lund, Suzanne Marshall, Paul O’Brien and Murray Rubinstein
INTAR Stage II

The Last Temptation of Joe Hill
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater
by Willy Holtzman
directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Mary Daciuk, Herb Downer, Brad Greenquist, Johnny Kline, Thomas Kopache, Bill Mitchelson and Honour Molloy
INTAR Stage II

2nd Season 1986 - 1987

Mainstage Production

Man with a Raincoat
New York Premiere
by William Wise
directed by Steve Rosenfield
with Robert Arcaro, Janet Aspers, Maggie Burke, J. Kenneth Campbell, Mary Daciuk, Greg Giordano, Michael Grodenchik, Earl Hagan Jr., Jonathan Lipnick, Frank Lowe, Spartan McClure, Bill Mitchelson, Robin Polk, Barbara Ramsey, Marisa Redanty, Joel Simon, Nelson Simon, Ron Stetson, Wendy Weill and Daniel Whitner
American Folk Theatre
A detective loses his marriage and career in his compulsive need to solve the murder of three teenage boys in Chicago.
“. . . as urgently directed by Stephen Rosenfeld, written by Wise, designed by Michael C. Smith and performed by Campbell and company, this was one of the most exciting and satisfying evenings of theatre in many a year  . . . . The Working Theatre under the direction of Robert Owens is a place to watch.” Victor Gluck, Back Stage, December 12, 1986

Working One Acts 1987

The Great Labor Day Classic
New York Premiere
by Israel Horovitz
directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Janet Aspers, Joseph Daly, Greg Giordano, Earl Hagan, Jr., Kristina Loggia and Nicola Sheara
INTAR Stage II

Montana
New York Premiere
by David Kranes
directed by Richard Bly
with Janet Aspers, Spring Aspers and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II

Mac Terrance Muldoon’s Dress Rehearsal
World Premiere
by John Heller
directed by Stephen Rosenfield
with Robert Arcaro, Bill Corsair, Johnny Kline, Honour Molloy and Jackie Reingold
INTAR Stage II

San Antonio Sunset
World Premiere
by Will Holtzman
directed by John Pynchon Holms
with Dennis Green, Earl Hagan, Jr. and Bill Mitchelson
INTAR Stage II

Walking Papers
World Premiere
by Michael Stephens
directed by William Alderson
with Honour Molloy and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

Breakdown
New York Premiere
by Bill Bozzone
directed by Peter Zapp
with Jonathan Lipnick and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

Comrades
World Premiere
by Elizabeth Diggs
directed by Gabrielle Roth
with Janet Aspers, Laralu Smith and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

How Women Break Bad News
New York Premiere
by John Bishop
directed by Lee Costello
with Johnny Kline and Robin Polk
INTAR Stage II

Asleep on the Wind
World Premiere
by Ellen Byron
directed by Kent Paul
with Danielle Du Clos and Earl Hagan, Jr.
INTAR Stage II

Deep Sleepers
World Premiere
by Charles Leipert
directed by JoAnna Beckson
with Robert Arcaro, Mary Daciuk, Robin Polk and Ron Stetson
“The idea is that a writer can say more-or at least, as much-in a brief period of time, if he limits his scope. . ..The Great Labor Day Classic is a pithy example of the form .. .for the sedentary audience the play can be a vicarious experience . . . San Antonio Sunset takes a look at the values. . . it establishes the bleak, blues-like atmosphere of the period and takes a prismatic view of its characters. The acting is accomplished and the steady direction is by John Pynchon Holms.” Mel Gussow, The New York Times, May 27, 1987

1st Season 1985 - 1986

Mainstage Production

Crown Cork Cafeteria
by William Wise
Directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Robert Arcaro, James Carruthers, Mary Daciuk, Rich Ferguson, Greg Giordano, Earl Hagan Jr., Johnny Kline, Jonathan Lipnick, Bill Mitchell, Honour Molloy, Robin Polk, Marisa Redanty, Jack Shmidt, Nelson Simon, Ron Stetson and Wendy Weill
Actors Outlet Theatre
Set in the 1960s in the lunchroom cafeteria of a bottle cap factory on the southwest side of Chicago, frustrated workers discuss their working conditions.
“Mr. Wise has an ear for the flat, harsh language of that group, a tongue that smashes and tears rather than cuts.” D.J.R. Bruckner, The New York Times, February 9th, 1986

Working One Acts 1985

Buck Fever
New York Premiere
by Bill Bozzone
directed by Stephen Lim<
with Robert Arcaro, Bill Mitchelson, Jackie Reingold and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

Sky Readers
New York Premiere
written and directed by William Wise
with Herb Downer, Johnny Kline and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

The Person I Once Was
Commissioned and Produced by the Actors Theater of Louisville
by Cindy Lou Johnson
directed by David Briggs
with Mary Daciuk, Greg Germann and Holly Hunter
INTAR Stage II

Johnny & Evan
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater
written and directed by Tomy Re
with Robert Arcaro and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

No Trains for Harris
by John Heller
directed by Christian Angermann
with Earl Hagan Jr, Robin Polk, and William Wise
INTAR Stage II

Horse
World Premiere
by Michael Stephens
directed by Stephen Rosenfield
with Bill Mitchelson and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

The Buffer
World Premiere
by Edward Allan Baker
directed by Ed Bianchi
with Jonathan Lipnick, Honour Molloy and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II
The Three O’Clock Appointment
World Premiere
written and directed by William Wise
with Johnny Kline and Wendy Weill
INTAR Stage II

Till Then
World Premiere
by William Wise
directed by Jeff Martin
with Earl Hagan, Jr., Johnny Kline, Jonathan Lipnick, Bill Mitchelson and Evan Pappas
INTAR Stage II

Bridget & Katherine
World Premiere
by Kevin Murphy
directed by Alice Spivak
with Honour Molloy and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II
“As one might expect, the emphasis is on acting and directing. The pieces are designed precisely to challenge actors-and directors-to impose their own meaning. . .in [The Person I Once Was]. . .Greg Germann’s realization is a fine exercise in revelation of character. . .his command of intonation and timing makes his lines rainbows of rhetoric and his movements match his words. . .William Wise’s Sky Readers is a wise little episode in racial and social understanding.” D.J.R. Bruckner,The New York Times, June 17, 1986