Gideon Media Presents Wallace Shawn’s The Designated Mourner & Grasses of a Thousand Colors, 6/25 & 7/9


Gideon Media
 will present The Designated Mourner and Grasses of a Thousand Colors, two unnervingly prescient plays from legendary playwright Wallace Shawn and director André Gregory, as part of their new slate of scripted fiction podcasts, with distribution from public media organization PRX. The podcasts will be available free on-demand to listening audiences.

These productions will reunite the legendary duo behind My Dinner with André and Vanya On 42nd Street to reimagine two of Shawn’s finest plays for the world of podcast drama. The creative team will also include the original casts from the U.S. productions of both plays, including Jennifer Tilly (Bullets Over Broadway), Julie Hagerty (Marriage Story), Deborah Eisenberg (writer, Let Them All Talk), Larry Pine (House of Cards), and Emily Cass McDonnell (Marie and Bruce). 
“For many decades my colleague André Gregory and I have tried to create work that is intimate and intense, private and personal, so this amazing medium, the podcast, is the fulfillment of a dream”, said playwrightWallace Shawn. “I love the fact that listeners can participate in what I’ve written by imagining it in their heads, and I love the fact that no one has to pay money or go to a specific place to dwell in these made-up worlds.”

“It was a thrill to work with these legendary artists,” says Gideon Media co-founder Sean Williams. “But at the same time it was shocking how freshly relevant the material turned out to be. Hearing these seasoned actors recreate these productions, while outside a pandemic raged and an insurrection was launched against our democratic process was incredible and unnerving. Wally has been developing these shows for years, but they seem as if they were written for us, now.”

The Designated Mourner – All Episodes Released June 25 Written by Wallace Shawn, Directed by André Gregory Something’s happening in the country where Jack lives. There’s violence in the streets. Leaders are being replaced. Public life is transforming. The government is cracking down on anyone suspected of subversion. But Jack – consumed with his atrophying marriage to Judy, his corrosive envy of his famous poet-intellectual father-in-law Howard, and his disintegrating sense of self – barely notices. As the once-liberal society around him descends into authoritarianism, Jack plunges into his own parallel decline, a chilling abdication of everything he once valued. 

The Designated Mourner is a searing and unnervingly prescient drama that The New Yorker’s John Lahr called “among our generation’s few great plays, one of the most memorable evenings of theatregoing in my life.” 
This six-part podcast adaption reunites the entire creative team behind the original New York production, including director André Gregory, whose collaborations with Shawn have been celebrated for decades, and the original cast, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Deborah Eisenberg. 

Grasses of a Thousand Colors – All Episodes Released July 9 Written by Wallace Shawn, Directed by André Gregory In Wallace Shawn’s most disturbing and dreamlike drama, a doctor invents a groundbreaking nutrient intended to end world hunger. Instead it radically transforms the food chain, chemically disrupting animal and human bodies, leading to a global illness and outbreaks of disturbing behavior. Isolated from the worst of it by his wealth, the doctor loses himself in a series of tumultuous relationships with his wife Cerise, his mistress Robin, and his girlfriend Rose. A cat called Blanche, who leads him into an enchanted world of bizarre eroticism, also figures crucially in the drama. 

Grasses of a Thousand Colors is a challenging, dream-logic exploration of the intersection between human beings and nature, with a sense of encroaching apocalypse that will feel all-to-familiar to listeners after the last few years. Of the stage production The New Yorker raved that Shawn’s “visionary satire of decadence  powerfully dramatizes our country at a spiritual tipping point.”
Once again reuniting Shawn with his celebrated collaborator André Gregory, Grasses also features the original US cast of the play, including Shawn himself, Jennifer Tilly, Julie Hagerty, and Emily Cass McDonnell. 

Wallace Shawn (Playwright) started writing plays in 1967.  His plays have been performed at the Public Theater and The New Group in New York and in London at the National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. They include Our Late NightA Thought in Three PartsMarie and BruceAunt Dan and LemonThe FeverThe Designated MournerGrasses of a Thousand Colors, and Evening at the Talk House. The plays are published in the US by TCG Books and Grove Press and in the UK by Faber and Nick Hern Books. Shawn’s translation and adaptation of Ibsen’s A Master Builder is available from TCG Books. His translation of Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera will be published when the underlying work enters the public domain. His translation of the libretto by C.F. Ramuz for Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale is legal in the United States. His latest book is a long essay, Night Thoughts. His earlier essays are collected in Essays. Both books are published by Haymarket Books. Allen Shawn’s opera The Music Teacher, with a libretto by Wallace Shawn, is available from Bridge Records. Shawn became a professional actor in 1977 when he appeared on stage at the Public Theater in New York in his own translation of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, directed by Wilford Leach. His film work includes appearances in ManhattanRadio DaysCluelessThe Princess BrideToy Story 1, 2, 3, and 4, The Moderns, and Rifkin’s Festival. His three films with André Gregory, available in a boxed set from Criterion, are My Dinner with Andre and Vanya on 42nd Street, both directed by Louis Malle, and A Master Builder, directed by Jonathan Demme. He has been a recurring character on many television shows, including “Taxi”, “The Cosby Show”, “Murphy Brown”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Gossip Girl”, “She’s Gotta Have It”, “The Good Wife”, “Mozart in the Jungle”, and “Young Sheldon”, where he can currently be seen as Dr. John Sturgis.

André Gregory (Director) has been one of the most important forces in the American theatre for nearly forty years. Gregory was one of the original creators of the regional theatre movement, the off-Broadway movement in New York, and with his partner Wallace Shawn, the American independent film movement. His production of The Blacks ran for years in New York and featured now legendary performers James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Lou Gossett and Maya Angelou. His forty-year collaboration with Wallace Shawn began with his critically acclaimed production of Shawn’s Our Late Night, at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Shawn and Gregory went on to create My Dinner With André, directed by Louis Malle. The partnership of Shawn, Malle and Gregory later created Vanya on 42nd Street. In 2000, Gregory directed Shawn’s play, The Designated Mourner, in an abandoned men’s club in Lower Manhattan. In 2009 he directed Grasses of a Thousand Colors, also by Shawn, at the Royal Court Theatre in London. In the summer of 2013, Gregory directed two Shawn plays at the Public Theater – Grasses of a Thousand Colors and The Designated Mourner. Criterion has released a boxed set that includes My Dinner With AndréVanya on 42nd Street and A Master Builder. As an actor, Gregory has performed in a dozen films, including The Last Temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese, Mosquito Coast by Peter Weir and Celebrity by Woody Allen. Gregory starred in the HBO series “The Young Pope” directed by Paolo Sorrentino in 2017. THIS IS NOT MY MEMOIR is Gregory’s latest project, written in collaboration with Todd London. It is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Gideon Media proudly brings the award-winning theatre tradition of Gideon Productions to audio, crafting gripping productions that explore human grace and darkness through the kaleidoscope of popular genre forms. Gideon Media draws on its founders’ two-decade record of acclaimed onstage storytelling to meticulously craft new audio series that use thrilling entertainment as a delivery system for challenging stories that take on religion, sexuality, politics, culture, and the often strange bonds that tie people together in a rapidly changing world. Gideon Media’s debut production, Steal The Stars, was downloaded over two million times and was an Audie Awards Finalist for Best Audio Drama. Gideon Media is represented by CAA, Circle Of Confusion, and Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams, & Shepherd. www.gideon-media.com

PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio ranging from iconic public media programs such as “The Moth Radio Hour,” “TED Talks Daily,” “This American Life”, “Snap Judgment,” “Latino USA,” “The World,” and “Reveal,” PRX also powers a growing body of podcast-first productions, including the Radiotopia podcast network and the TRAX podcast network for tweens. www.prx.org

Andromeda’s Sisters Arts and Advocacy Gala on June 26th

IN-PERSON TICKETS

Tickets + Donation: $250

VIRTUAL TICKETS

Streaming Access: $25

SPONSORS

Jackie Lowey, Saunders & Associates

Melissa Cohn, Raveis Mortgage 

Julie Sigler Baum, East End Acupuncture
Danos Tequila

VIP ADVOCACY GUESTS

Alexis McGill Johnson, President, Planned Parenthood

Serena Liguori, Founder, New Hour

Angie Cruz, award-winning Author of Dominicana

PERFORMANCES

Performance reading of playwright Kathryn Grant’s one act play Order My Steps starring Catherine Curtin (Homeland, Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black) directed by Florencia Lozano (Narcos, Labyrinth Theater, Life After You) and Kate Mueth

Irena Sophia Luchio (WIT on Broadway, The Americans)

Cocktails and catering provided

COVID protocols in place

ABOUT THE NEO-POLITICAL COWGIRLS

The Neo-Political Cowgirls is a not-for-profit dance theater company dedicated to making theater for and from the perspectives of women* and the under-represented in our society. Founded in 2007 by Kate Mueth, NPC is committed to making work that puts powerful stories center stage and creates a space where humans from all walks of life can share their stories through professional dance theater and other arts. Storytellers at heart, their site-specific projects are ground-breaking and invigorating, and they believe in removing conventional walls that traditionally separate audience and actors. Called “Unapologetically raw” and “Gorgeous vision-makers,” NPC also ignites communities through their Arts Education arm, Making Space.

Meet Sloppy Bonnie

Sloppy Bonnie Announce New Streaming Dates: June 21-July 15

Nashville, TN: No Puppet Co. (funded by a grant from Vanderbilt University and the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy)announces new performance dates for their streaming World Premiere of Sloppy Bonnie, a roadkill musical for the modern chick created by playwright Krista Knight and composer Barry Brinegar and directed by Leah Lowe. The online experience, pre-recorded from live performances May 20-June 5 at OZ Arts Nashville, will be streamed live for a national audience at www.SloppyBonnie.comJune 21-July 15 (previously announced performances were scheduled for June 11-27) with performances on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 5pm PST/8pm EST and Wednesday at 12pm PST/ 3pm EST. Tickets ($10) are available for advance purchase at www.SloppyBonnie.comThe performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission. 

Sloppy Bonnie is a country western musical comedy about a rambunctious bride-to-be named Bonnie (aka Sloppy Bonnie when she’s drunk). With the best of intentions, Bonnie sets off on what she hopes will be an inspirational roadtrip to be with her fiancé, Jedidiah, who has ghosted her ever since he left for a revival retreat in the mountains. But along the way, her cookie-cutter femininity causes havoc, turning her into an accidental serial killer.

Irresistible and deliciously irreverent songs and story coalesce in this collaboration by incisive playwright Krista Knight (Vanderbilt Writer in Residence), composer Barry Brinegar, and prominent Nashville director Leah Lowe. Featuring 3 talented actors/singers who portray more than a dozen roles, this fable on the dangers of female subordination offers an unhinged, delightful evening that will have you begging for seconds and maybe even doing the chicken dance.

Virtual media studio No Puppet Co. (Crush) in collaboration with Griffin Dunn is filming this once-in-pandemic production in order to bring Sloppy Bonnie to even the most distanced of audiences. For the price of an eight-piece box, streaming audiences can enjoy a taste of Nashville theatre along with some special digital fixin’s. 

The cast for Sloppy Bonnie features Nashville-based actors Amanda Disney, Curtis Reed, and James Rudolph II with Filming Assistant Carter Beardmore, Dramaturg Joy Brooke Fairfield, Illuminator Phillip Frank, Choreographer Gabrielle Saliba, Production Assistant Katia Sievert, and Stage Manager Sara Bolek.

Krista Knight (Playwright) is a Juilliard School Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program Fellow (2016-2018), Page 73 Playwriting Fellow (2007), MacDowell Fellow (2008), Shank Playwriting Fellow at the Vineyard Theatre (2011-2012), Vanderbilt Writer-in-Residence (2020), Chance Theater Resident Playwright (2020), winner of the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville (2016), and winner of the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival (2020). Her work includes Crush (NY Times Recommended; Time Out New York Best Theater to Stream Online; Nashville Scene Critics Pick, featured in American Theatre Magazine), Lipstick Lobotomy (Kilroys List; Trap Door Theatre), Don’t Stop Me (musical with Dave Malloy), Kirk at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt (NYTW’s Summer Residency; Vineyard Theatre reading series; Playwrights Foundation Rough Reading; Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse/ MacDowell Benefit), Primal Play (New Georges; Playwrights Center of MN), Hissfit (Cradle Theatre; Berkeley Rep School of Theatre; McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College; seven Ostrander Awards), Salamander Leviathan (Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Ars Nova Ant Fest; Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival; Inkwell; KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center for best book), Doomsurfing (Parkside Lounge; UCSD), Selkie (Williamstown Workshop; Dutch Kills), and 17 plays and musicals for young audiences. Commissions include the script for a ride at Tokyo Disney, The Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, The Assembly, Live Girls!, Crystal Springs Uplands School, The Steinmetz Lab, and an EST/Sloan Commission (2020). Krista has been in residence at La Napoule Art Foundation, Tofte Lake, The Orchard Project, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Page 73’s Summer Residency at Yale, Santa Fe Art Institute, UCROSS, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Alum of EST’s Youngblood, terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers, Page 73’s Interstate 73, Civilians R&D Lab, New Georges JAM, Fresh Ground Pepper Playgroup, and The Orchard Project Professional Lab collaborating with singer/songwriter Jill Sobule. BA: Brown University. MA: Performance Studies from NYU. MFA Playwriting: UC San Diego. www.KristaKnight.com

Barry Brinegar (Composer) is a composer, performer, and multi-media artist originally from Siloam Springs, Arkansas. His minimalist approach to production yields short, simple, infectious pop hooks that are both familiar as references/allusions and original in execution and context. Brinegar fronts the band David’s Pegasus in NYC while continuing development of various multimedia and theatrical IPs with Krista Knight including the VR Puppet play Crush, the bit-pop grand guignol Salamander Leviathan, the apocalyptic surf-rock musical DoomsurfingThe Nanoman, a multimedia outreach program that interfaces STEM disciplines with the performing arts via an original video game, stage show, and animated shorts, the Icarus adaptation Light Embrace, coliseum-rock Julius’ Super Sunday Bloodsporting GamesForlandia, the Orwellian Hee-Haw allegory of capitalism Corn Cobbers, and the short holiday plays Blood Elves: Polar Justice and The Snowman Frostywww.davidspegasus.com

Leah Lowe (Director) is a native Tennessean who began her directing career in the Twin Cities and has made theatre in Los Angeles, Miami, Connecticut, Ohio, and Nashville, where she currently teaches at Vanderbilt University.