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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