Congratulations to Martin Casella who received a 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting for his compelling new drama The Report, adapted from the novel by Jessica Francis Kane, and directed by Alan Muraoka, which had its world premiere at the Lynn Redgrave Theater @ Culture Project during the New York International Fringe Festival in August.
Broadway veteran Michael Countryman (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, A Few Good Men, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Common Pursuit, You Can Count on Me) lead a marvelous ensemble of British, Welsh, Canadian and American actors including Philippa Dawson, Denny Desmarias, Natalie Frost, Jenny Green, Louis Lavoie, James Physick, Sophie Sorensen, Jonathan Stephens, Zoë Watkins, David Wells and Stuart Williams.
The Report examines the true, unknown story of the British government’s cover-up of the largest civilian disaster of World War II. On March 3, 1943, 173 people died in London’s Bethnal Green tube station, which served as a bomb shelter during air raids. But not a single bomb was dropped that fateful night. The cause of this tragedy was kept secret for almost 30 years, until a young BBC journalist making a documentary began to uncover what actually took place. As the truth is revealed, we discover how trauma, fear and the paranoia of war impact our very humanity, and how the specter of a single public calamity resonates throughout multiple generations.
During his acceptance speech, Casella said, “May the memories of the 173 who died in the Bethnal Green tube station over 70 years ago always be a blessing. And may this beautiful and haunting play remind the world of the humanity required from everyone as we deal with overwhelming refugee populations in so many countries across the globe.”
Casella received the Outstanding Playwrighting Award in the 2005 FringeNYC for The Irish Curse, which has enjoyed successful Off-Broadway and worldwide productions. Other recent theater credits include the award-winning Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead and Scituate. He is the screenwriter of Tom’s Dad starring Will Ferrell and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and The Land of Sometimes, an animated British feature film.
The Report is being presented by Barry Goralnick, Sarahbeth Grossman, Craig Zehms in association with Cutting Hedge Productions.
Winners of the 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Awards were announced by festival Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy during a brief ceremony at Drom in New York on August 30, 2015. As selected by an independent panel of over 30 theater professionals, the winners are as follows:
The Broken Record
Night of the Living
The Crack in the Ceiling
Far From Canterbury
butyou’reaman or: The Seven Men I Came Out to in India
An Inconvenient Poop
The Curious Case of Phineas Gage
Martin Casella – The Report
Ashley J. Jacobson – The American Play
Lisa Lewis – Schooled
Jim Shankman – The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will
Stephen Broteback – St. Francis
William Oldroyd – Fuente Ovejuna
Courtney Ulrich – Sousepaw: ‘A Baseball Story’
Jennifer Brawn-Gittings – She-Rantulas From Outer Space in 3-D!
Lianne Arnold – The Mad Scientist’s Guide to Romance, Robots and Soul-Crushing Loneliness
Lauren LaRocca – Coping
Lori Hammel – Hell Is For Real
Jesse Carrey – To Dance – The Musical
Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman – Your Love, Our Musical
Xander Johnson – The Boys Are Angry
David Logan Rankin – Night with Guests
The critics raved about The Report:
“A more scrupulous approach to history is offered in The Report. The story itself is gripping, and the script hops ably between 1943 and 1973…the actors, among them the Broadway veteran Michael Countryman, are excellent.” – Alexis Soloski, New York Times
4 STARS! “Gripping. The outstanding (Michael) Countryman plays Dunne as both a young investigator brought in to speak to witnesses and an old man looking back on his legacy. The play’s powerful depiction of wartime panic, guilt and ethical confusion offers a fascinating look into a forgotten corner of England’s wartime experience.” —Dana Varinsky, Time Out
“The play is as challenging as it is worthwhile, sure to haunt you for days as you try to unfold the conflicting accounts and motives of the characters involved. Director Alan Muraoka marshals the 12-person ensemble through a barrage of overlapping scenes jumping across time and space. With the help of Darren Lee’s hyper-specific choreography and Lauren Halpern’s utilitarian set, Muraoka thrillingly succeeds in not only keeping everything straight, but adding the little details that one would expect from a particularly good mystery novel. Brian Hemesath’s handsome costumes give us a sense not only of the period, but the individual personalities at play. The Report tells the story of the messy relationship between truth and reconciliation, two concepts that don’t necessarily go hand in hand.” – Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
“This is a show not to miss and a producers dream … a play that could win the Pulitzer Prize and possibly the Tony. Martin Casella’s script is heartbreaking and powerful. From the first moment we are drawn in. Michael Countryman performance is a layered well thought out masterpiece. Director Alan Muraoka, draws us in and keeps the suspense. The scenic design by Lauren Helpern, costume design by Brian Hemesath, lighting design by Michael O’Connor, sound design by Chris Sassano, specialty movement by Darren Lee and incidental music by Paul Rudolph are all first rate and add to the over all feeling. – Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicles
NY Post Pick! “the rare Fringe show to sport a big-ish cast and an ambitious subject, as Martin Casella — switching genres after his comically endearing “The Irish Curse” — revisits a catastrophe that killed 173 people in the London tube during WWII.” – Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post
“…this play is all about shades of gray. The nuanced writing by Martin Casella, based on the novel by Jessica Francis Kane, is strong. Alan Muraoka provides smart and inventive direction and lead actor Michael Countryman is mesmerizing. It’s a serious, superb production that will likely go on to a commercial run. If you’d enjoy an exceptionally well done dramatic play, take a break from the cake and ice cream of most Fringe shows and partake of this steak dinner. – Hy on the Fringe
One of the Festivals hottest shows. Not to be missed! – Playbill
“One of the shows leading the pack in ticket sales. Saw The Report w/ Michael Countryman at Fringe Saturday. It is a moving and complex play that succeeds both as melodrama and thoughtful serious play. Excellent production by any standard. Should sell out quickly. – Talkinbroadway.com/All That Chat
For more information about THE REPORT, please visit www.TheReportThePlay.com.
AsAmNews.com: Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka Directs New Off Broadway Drama THE REPORT
Theaterscene.com: The Report
Times Square Chronicles: Fringe Festival: Calling All Producers The Report is the Play to See
StageBuddy.com: FringeNYC Review: The Report
FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy. In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco. FringeNYC has presented over 3000 performing groups representing every continent, prompting Switzerland’s national daily, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” FringeNYC has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Matt & Ben, Never Swim Alone, Jammer, Debbie Does Dallas, Dog Sees God, Brandon Teena, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, 21 Dog Years, Bash’d, The Irish Curse, Jurassic Parq, The Fartiste, Silence! The Musical and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche; movies including WTC View and Armless; and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC alumni include Bradley Cooper, Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, CNN’s Inside Man),Mindy Kaling, Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), Alex Timbers (Rocky), Leigh Silverman (Violet), W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Chris Lowell (Enlisted), David Anders (iZombie) and Kristen Schall (Last Man on Earth), among countless other success stories.
The 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival will run in August 12 – 28, 2016 and will once again feature nearly 200 of the worlds best emerging theater and dance artists. Applications for the 2015 festival will be available online in November; completed applications are due February 14, 2016. For more information visit www.FringeNYC.org
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.
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