Theater Close-Up: The Originalist

Air date: 03/13/2017

Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia In “The Originalist” From Washington, D.C.‘s Arena Stage on Theater Close-Up Monday, March 13 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN

 Theater Close-Up — the unique collaboration between THIRTEEN and the large community of New York City area Off-Broadway and regional theaters – continues with John Strand’s The Originalist, captured live on-stage at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Monday, March 13 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN, with an encore presentation on Sunday, March 19 at 3:40 a.m. The play will also air Sunday, March 26 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21. The play, directed on the stage by Molly Smith, will be available for streaming for two weeks after the broadcast.

Four-time Helen Hayes Award winner Edward Gero (Red) returned to Arena Stage as one of America’s most brilliant and polarizing figures: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. When bright, liberal, Harvard Law School graduate Cat (Kerry Warren) embarks on a nerve-wracking clerkship with Justice Scalia, she discovers him to be both an infuriating sparring partner and an unexpected mentor. How will their relationship affect one of the most incendiary cases ever to reach the nation’s highest court? Along the way, Cat’s relationship with Scalia is complicated further by Brad (Harlan Work), an adversarial law clerk on Scalia’s staff.

Gero last appeared at Arena Stage as Mark Rothko in “Red.” He is a four-time Helen Hayes winner and 14-time nominee. Regional credits include Mark Rothko in “Red” at the Goodman Theatre; the title role of “Sweeney  Todd” at Signature Theatre; “The Chosen” at Theater J; Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” and Horace Vandergelder in “Hello, Dolly!” at Ford’s Theatre; “American Buffalo,” “Shining City” (Helen Hayes  nomination) and “Skylight” (Helen Hayes Award) at Studio Theatre; and “The Matchmaker”  at Center  Stage. In 30 seasons with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, he’s played 70 roles, including Helen Hayes-winning   turns in “Henry IV,” “Richard II” and “Macbeth.” In New York, he’s appeared at South Street Theatre and Classic Stage.

Author John Strand is a resident playwright with Arena Stage through the American Voices New Play Institute. His previous work at Arena Stage includes “The Miser,” an adaptation of the Moliere play set in Reagan-era America; “Lovers and Executioners,” winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play; and Tom Walker, also commissioned by Arena Stage. His recent work includes the book and lyrics for “Hat! A Vaudeville,” a new musical with a score by composer Dennis McCarthy (South Coast Repertory); “Lincolnesque,” a dark comedy about politics and madness in D.C. (The Old Globe, dir. by Joe Calarco); and “Lorenzaccio,” his adaptation of Alfred de Musset’s 1834 French classic (Shakespeare Theatre Company, dir. by Michael Kahn).

Of the Arena Stage production, The New York Times wrote, “… The meat of the play draws a portrait of the private man in accordance with the public record: rigid in his views, deeply moralistic and unafraid to express his florid contempt for those benighted souls who see things from any perspective other than his own. Also: He’s funny.

DC Theatre Scene opined, “Arena and director Molly Smith have given this fine work a good, rigorous production … Edward Gero is a continuing wonder …”

Theater Close-Up on THIRTEEN has most recently featured Rasheeda Speaking from The New Group, Fashions for Men from Mint Theater, Wiesenthal filmed at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, Repairing a Nation from Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Incident at Vichy from Signature Theatre Company, The Woodsman recorded at New World Stages, Buried Child from The New Group, and Buyer & Cellar from Westport Country Playhouse.

THIRTEEN is using its unrivaled expertise in producing national PBS arts programming – which began with such classic series as Theater in America, part of the award-winning series Great Performances and special limited series such as Stage on Screen — to provide New Yorkers with unparalleled access to one of the City’s greatest underexposed cultural assets.

The Originalist is a production of Stage17, and was directed for television by Diana Basmajian.

For Theater Close-Up, Mitch Owgang is producer; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; and David Horn is executive producer. Executive-in-charge for WNET is Neal Shapiro.

Major support for this presentation of Theater Close-Up is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, and Bernard and Irene Schwartz.

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 About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

About Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Director Edgar Dobie, is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists. Arena Stage produces plays of all that is passionate, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit, and presents diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Arena Stage is committed to commissioning and developing new plays and impacts the lives of over 10,000 students annually through its work in community engagement. Now in its seventh decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. Arenastage.org

Photos
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Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Kerry Warren as Cat and Harlan Work as Brad in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Harlan Work as Brad and Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

(L to R) Kerry Warren as Cat and Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

Harlan Work as Brad in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.

The set of The Originalist designed by Misha Kachman in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. The Originalist runs March 6-April 26, 2015. Credit: C. Stanley Photography.