Brind School alum Lucas Steele (at far left) is featured in the cast of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, re-opening off-Broadway later this spring.
Brind School professor Johnnie Hobbs Jr. reprised his performance as Simon in the play The Whipping Man at the Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Florida. Johnnie first appeared in this role when the Arden Theater Company produced The Whipping Man a few seasons ago. Matt Pfeiffer, who directed that production (and the Brind School’s fall production of John Guare’s A Free Man of Color) handled the directorial duties again.
You can read the critics’ enthusiastic reviews here, here and here. From a letter to the editor:
The entire cast, but particularly Johnnie Hobbs, Jr., enthralled the opening night in his leading role in the production of “The Whipping Man.” It was difficult to take your eyes off this stellar performer.
His onstage presence, along with his versatility as he cajoled, quoted the Bible, lectured and sang Let My People Go (a cappella and pitch perfect) earned every round of a well-earned and appreciative standing ovation.
The Brind School recently presented the premiere of a new play, Self:Same, by the Irish playwright Ciana ni Chuirc, directed by DPP senior Brey Ann Barrett, at Theatre Exile’s Studio X. This project was the fruit of a friendship that began during the semester that Brey spent at Trinity College Dublin, where she met Ciara and commissioned the script from her. The playwright (on the left in the picture below) wrote this brief reflection on her experience working with Brey (on the right) and the other Brind School students involved in bringing her play to life:
I was only in Philadelphia for a short time, but it strikes me as a great city for budding theatre-makers and artists. Working on Self:Same with Brey was a real pleasure, and it was lovely to do so in a city filled with so many supportive and talented people. Writing can be quite isolating, especially in Ireland, where we have a long history of brilliant writers who are noted for their solitude (Joyce, Synge, Beckett, Kavanagh, Yeats…and on and on). I don’t think isolation is always a bad thing, but I found collaborating with Brey, and with the cast and crew of Self:Same, to be a wonderful learning experience, and I certainly discovered more about the piece while watching it and listening to it than I did writing and re-writing it.
I believe one of the primary functions of theatre should be to bring people together; whether it be a character and an audience member, an actor and a director, or, as in my and Brey’s case, a director and a playwright. Theatre is at its best when it’s a living thing, and in working on Self:Same with Brey, I felt that the play was something that was growing and transforming as time moved along. Collaboration helps you become the best writer you can be, because it gives you the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them - when you know someone is going to be pointing out your errors, you become less obsessed with perfection the first time round.
Above, acting majors Sydney Wilson and Colin Fahey in a scene from the production.
Brind School alumna Erin Weaver, a 1998 graduate of Cherry Hill East High School, returned to her former high school to coach students in a production of Peter Pan directed by her father, Tom Weaver. Read more in this Inquirer article.
The newest round of grants from the Jim Henson Foundation has just been announced, and the Brind School is prominently featured among the recipients. Lone Wolf Tribe, a troupe founded by Brind School alum Kevin Augustine, is the recipient of a $5,000 project grant for “The God Projekt,” while Brind School faculty member will receive a $2,000 seed grant for “The Body Lautrec,” a new piece he is developing with Philly actress Mary Tuomanen. Cromie has taught puppet-making and puppet theater skills (as well as Neutral Mask and, currently, Clowning) for the Brind School, and his production of “The Blue Monster” (which he adapted and directed) was a highlight of our season three years ago. A Brooklyn-based artist, Augustine brought his work “Hobo Grunt Cycle” to the Arts Bank in Philadelphia two years ago, and his work as a master puppeteer includes engagements at the Metropolitan Opera House. Congrats, guys!
Below: images from “Hobo Grunt Cycle” and “The Blue Monster”
Great piece on Jen Childs, our distinguished (Silver Star Alumni award winner) alum and former faculty member, in the Daily News. The accompanying photo from the show she’s currently directing, “To Fool The Eye,” also features our head of Acting, David Howey, who appears in the show.