DRAMA NOTES: The Allure of ‘Other People’s Money’

Reuters. Photo by Lucas Jackson.

Reuters. Photo by Lucas Jackson.

Wall Street has long since captured the pop culture imagination: the tales of wealth, power, and excess, and of hubris, greed, and loss is the stuff of modern day Greek tragedy. We’ve seen it all on the big screen, from the collapse of the housing market (and the massive profit made off of it) portrayed in the 2015 film The Big Short, to the downfall of excess in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and the granddaddy of them all, Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street, which made famous the phrase “greed is good”. In an age where the shrinking middle class and income gap between the super-rich and everyone else are hot-button issues, Jerry Sterner’s 1986 play Other People’s Money—about “Larry the Liquidator’s” play for the established-but-outmoded New England Wire and Cable Company—resonates with the national conversation. Other People’s Money premiered Off Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in 1989, at the tail end of the “decade of greed,” and became a megahit, running for 990 performances.

By the mid-1980s, corporate take-overs were on the rise. In early January of 1986, the Los Angeles Times reported that about $125 billion in mergers and acquisitions occurred in 1985, an amount up by almost $75 billion from just two years prior. The spree was thought to be due mostly to a combination of easy financing, a lax attitude on mergers by federal regulators, the decline of some industries, and shareholder’s sky-high expectations. Sterner says, “When I wrote Other People’s Money in 1986, the takeover boom wasn’t hysterical yet. But I could see it coming. Kate [New England Wire and Cable Company’s lawyer] says, ‘One day we’re going to smarten up and pass some laws to stop you, Garfinkle.’ Well, we didn’t pass any laws…”

Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen in the 1987 hit film Wall Street.

Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen in the 1987 hit film Wall Street.

Jerry Sterner had always wanted to write plays, but didn’t start doing so in earnest until mid-life. After spending more than six years in college as a philosophy major with no degree to show for it, his mother pressured him to get a job. He did, working the graveyard shift as a subway token collector. He would write plays during the long nights, but they never made it above ground.  When a friend convinced Sterner that “writing leases was more profitable than writing scripts,” he decided to change careers. For the next decade, Sterner worked in real estate, assembling and financing limited partnerships. He specialized in tax shelters where investors put up as little money as necessary for overpriced real estate that delivered large tax write-offs. His business was enormously profitable, and he began to dabble in the stock market.

One of his most successful investments actually later served as the basis for Other People’s Money. In the early 1980s, Sterner started looking into a Michigan company that made things like nuts, bolts, and rivets. He went to visit the company and liked its managers, and began buying the stock at $11 a share. “Most people bought chickentronics [fast-food stock] or high tech,” he explained. “But here was a company in the worst of times that was making money, that had a good product, that had a great balance sheet.” Two years later, though the firm was more profitable, the company’s stock had slumped to $9 a share. It was in the Rust Belt, and was no longer as appealing or sexy an investment as something like technology.  When a corporate raider entered the picture and offered stock for $18 a share, Sterner didn’t think twice about selling—he took the money and ran. But then, a year later, he was vacationing with his wife near Grand Rapids, Michigan and decided to visit the company he had once invested in. The plant was still there, but the community had been gravely changed. “It was really what I saw there that made me re-examine how smart I was and whether I did the right thing,” he says. When making money is the name of the game, morality can get murky. Sterner posits the question: “Is business here to satisfy the needs of its citizenry or are we here to serve the needs of business? How do we balance the need to have a long-term point of view with our incredible desire for instant gratification?”

1.Kevin Conway and Mercedes Reuhl in the Off Broadway premiere of Other People’s Money, Minetta Lane Theatre, 1989.

1. Kevin Conway and Mercedes Reuhl in the Off Broadway premiere of Other People’s Money, Minetta Lane Theatre, 1989.

After more than a decade, Sterner left the real estate business. Other People’s Money was the second play he wrote after quitting his day job. The first, Be Happy For Me, was a flop that never made it to opening night.  When working on Other People’s Money, he had hoped to write a play about the world he knew and lived in for so long, and to create a story that his peers in business would appreciate. But even though the subject matter was timely, Sterner initially had trouble getting the play produced—producers feared the financial jargon would be a bore for audiences. But the real-life insider-trading scandal and fall of Ivan Boesky captured the imagination of the theater-going public, and Other People’s Money made its debut in early 1987 at the American Stage Co. in Teaneck, NJ. In February 1989, it moved Off Broadway, opening at the Minetta Lane Theatre to rave reviews, particularly from the business community. Other People’s Money was later made into the 1991 movie of the same name with Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck. Sterner died in 2001, but the hard questions he asks about other people’s money still haunt us today.

-Christine Scarfuto

Works Cited:
Lin, Jennifer. “Money Talks on the N.Y. Stage,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 March 1989. http://articles.philly.com/1989-03-14/business/26129004_1_takeovers-corporate-raiders-new-england-wire

Mason, M.S. “Jerry Sterner: Playwright, Capitalist,” The Christian Science Monitor, 15 November 1991. http://www.csmonitor.com/1991/1115/15161.html

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All About Ed Lab

ed-lab-blog-2016-cover-photoOn three Saturdays per year, you can find over twenty schoolteachers from all over Connecticut gathered in one of Long Wharf’s rehearsal halls. They might be performing Shakespearean monologues, sharing memories from their childhoods, or writing original plays. No matter the day’s topic, there is always a palpable feeling of warmth and community.

This is Ed Lab; Long Wharf’s dedicated professional development series for teachers of all subjects and grade levels focusing on arts-integration in the classroom.

“Words cannot express just how amazing the ED LAB program has been for my own professional growth and my students’ enrichment,” says Rob Esposito of Cooperative Arts High School in New Haven. “Each and every workshop I attend gives me practical hands-on techniques and exercises I can bring right into my classroom.  Almost every Saturday workshop gives me something I use in Monday’s class.”


Each ED LAB consists of two master classes on various topics. Past facilitators include members of the Fiasco Theater Company, Kym Moore of Brown University, and Godfrey K. Simmons of Civic Ensemble.

The most recent ED LAB featured workshops from actress/teacher Barbara Hentschel and spoken-word poet/performer Lemon Andersen. Barbara’s workshop focused on the play Endgame by Samuel Beckett, which hundreds of students from all over New Haven will attend as part of Long Wharf’s Student Theatre Series. Following this, Lemon’s workshop focused on writing and performing spoken-word poetry. This was intended to help teachers prepare their students for the theatre’s annual poetry competition, Moments and Minutes.

Lemon Andersen

Lemon Andersen

“For the first Ed Lab of the year we wanted to set the tone for both arts integration in the classroom and for tackling the art of storytelling, so we invited two fantastic facilitators (Barbara and Lemon) to make this a reality. We knew that these two artists would bring very different elements to the table that would not just work on their own, but would enhance each other and give the teachers tools to approach our season and our Moments & Minutes Festival for k-12 students,” said Director of Education, Madelyn Ardito.

David Weinreb and Barbara Hentschel

David Weinreb and Barbara Hentschel

By the end of the long day, the teachers were both exhausted and invigorated.

“It was an empowering day, with techniques and activities I can incorporate RIGHT NOW!” said Tim Kane of James Hillhouse High School.

If you’re a Connecticut teacher and would like to sign up for future ED LABs, please sign up for the Education mailing list at longwharf.org/education

- Eliza Orleans 

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Creative Exchange


LWT Education Staff and Creative Exchange attendees. Photo by Heaven Anderon

This past Friday evening, over twenty teachers gathered in one of Long Wharf’s rehearsal halls to mingle with members of the theatre’s Education staff and discuss goals for the new school year. The night always consists of a cocktail hour and a show and occurs six times over the course of Long Wharf’s season.

“I always look forward to meeting teachers from new schools, hearing about what types of artistic collaborations they are looking to create, and getting to know more about each school and their needs. Our goal to provide a space where teachers can express what they are frustrated or excited about in their school year, fortify their relationships with Long Wharf staff, and everyone can enjoy an evening of wine, cheese, and world class theatre!” says Director of Education, Madelyn Ardito.

Director of Education Madelyn Ardito and LWT Managing Director Joshua Borenstein address those gathered for Creative Exchange

Director of Education Madelyn Ardito and LWT Managing Director Joshua Borenstein address the group at Creative Exchange. Photo by Heaven Anderson

Our hope is that these events provide an opportunity for teachers to preview our shows before bringing student groups to our theatre.  Ardito comments, “I love to hear what the educators think of the play and how it might connect to their curriculum.”

At this particular Creative Exchange, the guests represented several schools from throughout the New Haven area, including Betsy Ross Arts Magnet, Hopkins School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Emmett O’Brien Technical High School, Metropolitan Business Academy, Albertus Magnus College, and more.

The evening also became an informal birthday celebration for Timothy Kane; an English teacher at James Hillhouse High School and a participant in Long Wharf Education’s ED LAB Series.


Creative Exchange. Photo by Heaven Anderson

Following a cocktail hour, guests attended a performance of Meteor Shower by Steve Martin, which is currently playing on Long Wharf’s main stage. The audience for this performance was stunned to be graced with the presence of Steve Martin himself for a pre-show speech! “You never know who you might run into at a Creative Exchange!” Ardito exclaims.

Creative Exchange is open to teachers, administrators, and other leaders in youth programming. The next one will take place in November and will include a preview performance of the second show in Long Wharf’s season, Other People’s Money.  If you would like to attend in the future, join the Education Department’s mailing list at longwharf.org/education

-Eliza Orleans

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Meet the Staff: Madelyn Ardito

Madelyn Ardito, Director of Edcation

Some of my most indelible memories of Fall are intertwined with my memories of going back to school; from picking the perfect backpack for grade school to moving in to college dorms. It seemed appropriate to me then that just as we approached Fall this year, we named a new Director of Education at LWT. Well, actually, ‘new’ isn’t exactly the best word to describe her. She’s a familiar face in the Long Wharf community and has been a proponent of arts education in the Greater New Haven area through her work for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Collective Consciousness Theatre, and as a theatre teacher at Co-op High School. It’s time to get to know Madelyn Ardito, Director of Education!

In your own words, who are you? 

I am a teacher, director, writer, and much much more. I think it is important for people to know how incredibly passionate I am about my work. You don’t enter into the world of education or theatre without an absolute love for what you do, and combining the two has been a dream come true.

People who know me, know that I am dedicated to my work in theatre education and using it as a tool to make the work a better place. I know that theatre changed my life and I have watched it transform individuals and classrooms alike. I believe that the arts build and heal communities.

They also know that I am a complete goofball. If I can do something to make you smile and laugh, I will. So if you are ever feeling down, come visit me!

I imagine you’ll be answering this question a lot as Director of Education, but if somebody asked you ‘what does LWT Education do?” what would you tell them?

Every year we work with over 6,000 students in K-12 schools, undergraduate and graduate university programs, and senior citizen communities. Our mission in the Education Department is to provide students with opportunities to engage in discourse and reflection by using Long Wharf’s productions as a cornerstone for our programming.

The best examples of how we do this are our Educator’s Laboratory (ED LAB), our Partnering Artist in Residence (PAIR) Program, and our Student Theatre Series.

ED LAB is a series of three professional development days hosted at Long Wharf Theatre. We have 25 teachers ranging from K-12 in all subject areas who participate in workshops based on the themes of our season and that give them tools to integrate the arts into their classroom. These workshops are taught by our teaching staff, local and national guest artists, and influential members of our community. Teachers who participate in all three ED LAB days are eligible for complimentary tickets to our Student Theatre Series shows and our PAIR Program for free!

PAIR is an amazing program that partners up one of our teaching artists with an ED LAB teacher to help them use the tools that they learned in ED LAB into their classroom. The idea behind it is that the two teachers co-write curriculum that can be co-taught once a month over the course of the year. As the year progresses, the LWT teaching artist steps back to allow the teacher to take the reins in the artistic elements of the lesson.

Our Student Theatre Series consists of LWT shows that have dedicated 11AM matinees for teachers and students to attend during the school day. Our department creates an interactive Teacher Information Packet to use in their classroom, a Video Study Guide that documents the entire production process, and a 2-day residency where we visit schools before and after they come to our theatre to deepen each students understanding and connections to the play. We also host a talkback after every Student Theatre Series show to ensure that questions and curiosities have a chance to be expressed.

These programs can exist separately, but they work best when combined by teachers and administrators.

Our team of teaching artists also craft curriculums for in-school and after-school programs that not only teach the art of theatre, but how to be a more creative, empathetic, and responsible person. This year we are collaborating with schools participating in Unified Theatre, Co-op High School for the August Wilson Monologue Competition, Edgewood School, Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy, CT Experiential Learning Center Middle School, Harborside Middle School, Tower One Tower East, and would love to add more!

Sounds like a busy schedule. What’s a typical day at work like for you? Where are you going? What are you doing?

I am not entirely sure there is such a thing as a typical workday for me!

Some days you can find me at Long Wharf collaborating with Education team members on curriculum and programming, working with our Managing Director and Development staff to build a vision and find support for that vision, processing student ticket requests, and so much more.

Some days I might be out in the community, creating and nurturing relationships with teachers and students, teaching residencies all over the Greater New Haven area, or seeking out professional development through workshops and seeing other theatres shows.
If I am lucky, it is a healthy mix of all of the above!

What LWT Education program/initiative do you get most excited for?

I am MOST excited for our 3rd annual Moments & Minutes, our performance and visual arts festival is a truly stunning experience. Students are invited to submit poems, monologues, stories, and visual art pieces that respond to a prompt. Those who are accepted are coached by LWT Education staff and get to present their work in one electric evening at Long Wharf Theatre. Last year we had over 90 submissions and 28 were selected and we are hoping to grow our numbers every year! I am a sucker for spoken word and poetry and am even more of a sucker for students who are brave enough to express themselves through art and to share it with the world. This year’s festival will be held on May 19th and the question is “What do you hope for?” I hope to see you all there!

What do you think are the greatest benefits of arts education?

Our department imagines a time when the arts are present in every greater New Haven area classroom and a world in which all students learn empathy, creativity, and teamwork through theater.

I stand by this vision with every fiber of my being because theatre has taught me all of life’s most important lessons. I always felt most comfortable in art, music, and theatre. These were places where I could truly express myself while learning about history, math, science, literature, and life. Now as a theatre educator I make a point to highlight to my students and all of the teachers and administrators that I work with that theatre is not just about putting on a show (although that is a big part of it!), it is about honoring peoples stories and learning how to work with an entire team of people. It teaches patience, teamwork, communication, and dedication to achieving a goal.

Do you have a favorite moment from working with students that afterwards you said to yourself “that’s why I do what I do”?

On the last day of our summer camp entitled THE WORKS, a group of students from Marcella Monk Flake’s camp for Talented and Creative Youth visited my camp to watch the piece they created. My students had taken the week to explore telling their stories and highlighting their many talents and had come up with an exciting, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking look at their lives.

I knew instantly when Marcella’s group arrived that it was going to be an exciting morning, and my intuition was correct! Her students listened intently during the whole performance. They leaned in, laughed, cried, and DANCED! When the piece was over the Talented and Creative Youth campers got up and sang individually and together and blew us all away with their talent. THEN… Marcella invited my campers up and conducted a choir in an instant and the room was filled with beautiful music.

There was not a dry eye in the room, everyone was moved to tears by the sight of students from all walks of life instantly banding together through art. It can be difficult to see beyond news stories about violence, fear, and the hopelessness of it all, but our students showed us a different story. They showed us one of hope, peace, and art and I could not have been more blown away by them.

When the group departed there were hugs and selfies all around, and that is the way it should be!

To finish up, any teasers you want to give for what might be coming up from Education this season?

You’ll have to join our email list to receive updates about the season, classes, camps, and more! Visit our site longwharf.org/education  to sign up!

-Kimberly Shepherd

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Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein talks about METEOR SHOWER with LWT staff, cast, and crew at the show's Meet & Greet

Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein talks about METEOR SHOWER with LWT staff, cast, and crew at the show’s Meet & Greet

Ever describe someone as a wild and crazy guy? Heard someone say “Excuuuuussseee me!”? These verbal tics didn’t develop on their own. Whether you know it or not, you are quoting Steve Martin, or more specifically, characters Martin created.

“These phrases entered the vernacular. That’s doesn’t happen very often,” said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

Edelstein celebrated Martin’s comic genius at the first rehearsal of his new comedy Meteor Shower, debuting on the Mainstage September 28. The play features Craig Bierko, Patrick Breen, Sophina Brown, and Arden Myrin. “In it’s own way (Meteor Shower) is not an unserious look at marriage and relationships. It’s a play about love, marriage, and sex,” Edelstein said.

Edelstein took a few moments at the top of the day to lay out the arc of Martin’s career before settling down to read the script. “It is easier to say these things in his absence because he gets embarrassed when people say nice things about him, but Steve Martin is one of the most influential comic minds of the last 50 years,” Edelstein said.

When Martin began his career in earnest in the 1970s, his comedy was unlike anything else at the time. If part of comedy is creating the tension an audience feels before a punch line is delivered, what happens if that punch line never comes? This was the territory Martin was exploring at the beginning of his career. “Martin was an anti-comic comic. It was a kind of postmodern comedy. The concept is the comedy,” Edelstein said.

His work spoke to zeitgeist of the 1970s in a way that few comedians could achieve. Even Bill Cosby, one of the most popular stand up performers of the 20th century, could not match Steve Martin at the height of his popularity. “Steve was selling out Madison Square Garden like Bruce Springsteen. He was the first stand-up comic to sell out Madison Square Garden for five nights in a row,” Edelstein said. “His first record album, Let’s Get Small, was number one in the country for months.”

Then one day, to oversimplify it, Martin simply gave up touring. The thought of another solitary night on the road was too much, so he began writing films, starting with The Jerk, launching his star even further. “It is astounding the quantity and quality of his output,” Edelstein said. Plays like Picasso at the Lapin Agile and novels like Shopgirl came later.

Meteor Shower, like all of Martin’s other comic ventures, mixes the serious and the silly in a delightful way, Edelstein said. “He’s a man of extremely high intelligence and literacy and his comedy is as stupid as it comes. Nobody combines stupid and smart the way Steve Martin does and therein lies his extraordinary genius,” he said.

- Steve Scarpa

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Playwright Clare Barron and ‘Dance Nation’

clare barron blog pic In Clare Barron’s play Dance Nation, an army of pre-teen competitive 
dancers plot to take over the world. A play about ambition, growing up and how 
to find our souls in the heat of it all. 

LWT: Can you talk about the inspiration for the play? Barron: I wrote this play because I wanted to explore ambition and how that intersects with gender. I was also interested in self-perpetuated ideas of destiny, and our ability (and other people in our lives ability) to determine our fate just by naming us: she’s amazing at this; he needs to work on that. I still remember deciding that I “wasn’t a writer” for years and years because of something a teacher said to me that made me think I wasn’t good at it. The power of that kind of interaction – whether it’s positive or negative, and whether it’s coming from someone you look up to or from inside your own head – fascinates me. More literally, I was inspired by Dance Moms — a horrific reality TV show where a grown woman verbally abuses and bullies pre-teen girls and everyone’s kind of okay with it (also known for spawning the likes of Maddie Ziegler aka the brilliant dancing girl in Sia’s music video). And my own background in dance.

LWT: Do the themes in the play appear in other things you’ve written? Barron: Not on purpose! But yes. Questions of fate, shame, and repressed rage keep popping up in what I write. I also am always writing about the body (in all its gruesomeness and transcendence) and trying to represent it honestly.

LWT: What or who as a writer inspires you? Barron: Right now I am pretty inspired by Beyoncé and Rihanna.

LWT: Does being an actor inform the way you write? Barron: Yes, I think so. I write things that I would like to act in — highly rhythmic and verbal monologues. Lots of crazy physical business. (I think like a lot of kids I was spellbound by acting because it let me do forbidden, insane things like stand on tables and spit in people’s face and fall in love.) The more I make work the more I consider the entire physical and aural theatrical experience as I’m writing the play, and I think that comes, in part, from all the years I spent on my feet in a rehearsal room acting.

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Steve Martin Uses Urban Legend to Make Us Laugh

meteor pic astro blogWe’ve all heard the saying “there must be a full moon” or, at least, some version of it. Whether there’s any scientific truth to it or not, most of us seem content to continue this prevalent idea that astronomical events cause ‘strange’ things to happen. Sure, a full moon can cause more extreme tides making storm flooding more severe. Solar flares hurdling at Earth have the potential in extreme cases to mess with satellite communications and the power grid (and, of course, there’s that whole theory about a giant asteroid impact causing the extinction of the dinosaurs). But none of these have anything to do with altering human behavior, which is really the common effect this urban legend has taught us to connect to stellar phenomenon. Think about it for a second. From stories of medical professionals who claim individuals with mental illness tend to be more unstable during full moons to police forces that schedule more officers on duty during full moons because they predict a higher likelihood for crime, this unproven idea of our behavior mysteriously being connected to celestial happenings is often reinforced to us.

This idea has become a great device for writers. How about the character of the werewolf? That’s probably one of the most enduring examples of it. Modern horror and sci-fi novelist and screenwriters obviously employ it regularly, but even Shakespeare liked to make references to the idea (“It is the very error of the moon. She comes more near the earth than she was wont. And makes men mad.” – Othello) It’s really nothing new. Usually in these instances this device is used to propel the story into suspenseful, mysterious, horrific, or even tragic territory. However, some clever writers have seen the humorous potential in this supernatural idea. After all when most of us make those connections between strange occurrences and astronomical events it’s usually laced with a laugh and an undertone of playfulness.

In that vein did Steve Martin write his newest comedy Meteor Shower. Of course, Martin has his own unique brand of humor. He doesn’t just make a playful nod to a meteor shower possibly causing people to act oddly; he delivers an all-out absurdist night for a very unsuspecting couple (and audience, for that matter). But then what else would you expect from the guy who asked what would happen if Picasso and Einstein met in a bar, and then threw in an appearance by Elvis at the end. (Sorry to have spoiled it for any of you unlucky few who didn’t see our 2014 production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile.) Steve Martin uses this classic writing device to create a play so hilariously brand new it could only have come from his genius mind. We invite you to this world premiere comedy to kick off our 52nd season. And if you’re looking for the most absurd performance to tickle your funny bone, might we suggest attending Meteor Shower during a full moon?

-Kimberly Shepherd

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DRAMA NOTES: Steve Martin, Playwright

1. Steve Martin

Steve Martin, photo courtesy of The Broad

Steve Martin is one of the most acclaimed and beloved talents in entertainment. His work has earned numerous honors including an Academy Award, five Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. Many of Martin’s films are considered modern classics including: The JerkPlanes, Trains & Automobiles, Roxanne, Parenthood, L.A. Story, and Father of the Bride.

Martin is also a well-known screenwriter, essayist, fiction writer, art collector, Grammy-award winning banjo player and songwriter and playwright. Martin wrote his first play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile—an exuberant take on Picasso and Einstein meeting at a bar on the brink of marvelous discovery—in 1993. It went on to have successful runs in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, appearing in Long Wharf’s 2014-2015 season in a production directed by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. Martin also wrote The Underpants, a satirical adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s 1911 play Die Hose, about a conservative couple, Louise and Theo, whose existence is ruined when Louise’s underpants fall down in public. The play premiered at Classic Stage Company in 2000, and was produced at Long Wharf in 2013 in a critically-lauded production also helmed by Mr. Edelstein. Most recently, Martin penned Bright Star, an original musical written in collaboration with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, which ran on Broadway this past year and earned five Tony nominations.

3. Picasso at lapin Agile LWT 11-14 161

Robbie Tann, Grayson DeJesus, Dina Shihabi in LWT’s 2014 production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Photos by T. Charles Erickson.

Meteor Shower, Steve’s newest play, features the kind of plays on logic, absurdism, and anti-humor that Martin has built his career on. In a sense, the play’s humor originates from the sensibility Martin developed when first discovering comedy: Indeed, part of what makes Steve Martin’s humor so distinctive is not just that it incorporates a sublime mix of the intellectual and the wacky, the high and low brow—but also that he lets his audience choose when to laugh.

Steve Martin, Carmen Cusack, and Edie Brickell on the set of Bright Star at the Cort Theatre. Photo by Mark Schafer.

Steve Martin, Carmen Cusack, and Edie Brickell on the set of Bright Star at the Cort Theatre. Photo by Mark Schafer.

Steve Routman, Jeff McCarthy, Jenny Leona, and Burke Moses in LWT’s 2013 production of The Underpants. Photos by T. Charles Erickson.

Steve Routman, Jeff McCarthy, Jenny Leona, and Burke Moses in LWT’s 2013 production of The Underpants. Photos by T. Charles Erickson.

- Christine Scarfuto

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Non-Equity Auditions for the 2016-17 Season

Quiz_headerLocal Non-Equity actors, ages 16+, with access to local housing are invited to audition for the 2016/2017 Season at the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.

Actors will be seen at the theatre on Tuesday, August 30 from 10 am to 5 pm. Actors should prepare a brief modern or contemporary monologue not to exceed three minutes in length. All actors should bring a current resume and headshot. While walk-ins will be accommodated where possible, appointments are strongly recommended and may be made beginning today by calling the Long Wharf Theatre box office (203-787-4282) between 10:00am and 5:00pm.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Because Long Wharf holds auditions in NYC for each production, we are especially seeking actors with access to local housing at this call.

2. Actors will be seen by Drew Gray, Associate Producer.

3. Long Wharf will be casting for all available roles for the 2016/2017 season at these auditions (see attached list).

4. Directions:
a. Train: Metro North to Union Station, New Haven, CT, and take a cab to the theatre.
b. Car: Take Exit 46 off I-95 and follow the signs.
Long Wharf Theatre is casting the following roles for our 2016-2017 Season:



Written by: Steve Martin
Director: Gordon Edelstein
***Co-production with The Old Globe

First Rehearsal: September 6th, 2016
Runs September 28th, 2016 – October 23rd, 2016


CORKY- Female, mid-thirties to mid-forties
NORM- Male, mid-thirties to mid-forties*
GERALD- Male, mid-thirties to mid-forties*
LAURA- Female, mid-thirties to mid-forties*



Written by Jerry Sterner
Directed by Marc Bruni

First Rehearsal: October 25, 2016
Runs November 25, 2016 – December 18, 2016

BILL COLES- Male, mid-thirties to mid-fifties
ANDREW JORGENSON- Male, mid-sixties to mid-seventies
LAWRENCE GARFINKLE- Male, mid-forties to mid-sixties*
BEA SULLIVAN- Female, mid-forties to mid-sixties
KATE SULLIVAN- Female, mid-twenties to mid-thirties



Written by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

First Rehearsal: November 29, 2016
Runs January 4th, 2016 – February 5th, 2016

CLOV- Male
HAMM- Male*
NELL- Female, Hamm’s mother
NAGG- Male, Hamm’s father*



Written by Meghan Kennedy
Directed by Gordon Edelstein
**Co-production with Roundabout Theatre Company

First Rehearsal: January 10th, 2017
Runs February 15th, 2017 – March 12th, 2017


FRANCESCA- Female. 16. Italian American
JEAN- Female. 24. Italian American
NINA- Female. 20. Italian American
ANNA- Female. 40s. Italian. Strong Italian accent.
PAUL- Male. 40s. Italian. Strong Italian accent.
CONNIE- Female. 16. Italian American
ALBERT- Male. 40s or 50s. Italian. Connie’s father.
CELIA- Female. 24. African American


Written by Lydia Diamond
Directed by Desdemona Chiang

First Rehearsal: February 14th, 2017
Runs March 15th, 2017 – April 9th, 2017


VALERIE JOHNSTON- 24. African American. Recent graduated A.R.T. Acting MFA
JACKSON MOORE- 28. African American. Harvard Med School. Surgical Intern on Rotation.
BRIAN WHITE- 36. White. Tenured professor at Harvard. Neuro-psychiatrist. Studies patterns of racial identity and perceptions.
GINNY YANG- 34. Chinese-Japanese American. No accent. Only speaks English. Respected tenured professor of psychology at Harvard. Studies race and identity among Asian American women.


Book & Lyrics by Adam Gopnik
Music by David Shire
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

First Rehearsal: March 21st, 2017
Runs May 3rd 2017 – May 28, 2017


DAVID- Male. Mid-thirties to mid-fifties. Chef
CLAIRE- Female. Mid-thirties to mid-fifties. David’s wife. Former dancer who runs their restaurant.
BIX- Male, David & Claire’s 17 year old son.
KATE- Female. David & Claire’s 10 year old daughter.
SERGIO- Male. Mid-thirties to mid-fifties. The world’s most famous chef. David’s nemesis
CARLO- Male. Mid-thirties to mid-fifties. Anarchist pizza maker.
ANNA- Female. Carlo’s 17 year old daughter
PHOEBE- Female. The market manager, goat cheese maker. Married to Gloria
GLORIA- Female. More elegant goat cheese maker. Married to Phoebe
IRWIN- TV producer
NATASHA- Female. Sergio’s assistant.
GEO- Farmer
FRANCA- Farmer


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Fall Means Back to (Studio) School

fall 16 ss blog image

Last season, during one of our post-show discussions, a patron raised their hand and commented, jokingly, “Those guys looked like they were having so much fun that I wanted to be up there with them!” This gave the Education department an idea – what if we could connect the acting classes in our Studio School program to the Long Wharf season?

The result is a new class for actors 18+ called Scene Study: The Comedy of Steve Martin. Over the last few years, Steve Martin has become one of Long Wharf’s favorite playwrights. You may have seen the theatre’s previous productions of The Underpants or Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Over the course of five sessions, actors will work on scenes from some of Martin’s most famous works.  Topics will include mastering comedy and fully embodying a character.

“I am excited to work on Steve Martin’s plays because his comedy tends toward the absurd,” says actress and resident teaching artist Barbara Hentschel. “We find ourselves laughing, sometimes mysteriously, because of the human behavior of the situation – not just a punch-line (although there are plenty of genius punch-lines!) We’re going to have a lot of fun!”

And the most exciting part? Class participants will receive a ticket to a performance of Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower this fall at LWT. Seeing the show as a class will help students get a deeper sense of Martin’s work and invite discussion about making choices as actors.

Besides this opportunity for adults, the department is also thrilled to announce a class for young actors ages 8 – 13 called An Actor’s Showcase. This class is ideal for young actors or for those in search of a creative outlet. Through games and exercises, students will learn the tools that actors need to be successful onstage and create their own theater pieces. The class culminates in a final performance for friends and family! An Actor’s Showcase will be taught by a member of the Education Department staff.

If you’d like to register, check out longwharf.org/studio-school. If you have questions, please contact Eliza Orleans at eliza.orleans@longwharf.org

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