Rothko shows his true colors in Red

Mark Rothko in the studio (Wikimedia Commons)

Mark Rothko in the studio (Wikimedia Commons)

Now known as Shadowland Stages as it expands to encompass a black-box theater in a nearby building, Ellenville’s favorite Art Deco cultural nexus continues its 2016 season with a three-weekend run of John Logan’s drama Red, opening June 24 and running through July 10. Directed by James Glossman, Red stars Tom Teti as world-renowned Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko and Alex Glossman as his assistant, known only as Ken.

The two actors have big shoes to fill, considering that these roles were inaugurated in the original 2009 London production, along with its move to Broadway, by Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. The latter won a Best Featured Actor Tony, and Red itself was named Best Play of 2010. Playwright Logan is a highly successful screenwriter, Oscar-nominated for both Gladiator and The Aviator; among his many other movies are Sweeney Todd, Rango, Hugo, Skyfall and Spectre. He was also the creator and sole writer for the recently concluded Gothic-horror TV series Penny Dreadful.

The new production represents the Hudson Valley premiere of Red, in which, according to Shadowland’s producing artistic director Brendan Burke, “we happily pull back the curtain on the creation of art, to see what motivates those of us in the arts, and to explore the creative mind and process.” The narrative takes place over two years in the late 1950s, when Rothko who has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art: a series of murals for New York’s Four Seasons restaurant. As his assistant gains the confidence to challenge him for taking on a “commercial” project, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his artistic undoing. The New York Times called Red “intense and exciting,” while The New Yorker described it as “smart, eloquent entertainment…that deftly conjures what most plays about artists don’t: the exhilaration of the act.”

Red premieres at 8 p.m. this Friday, June 24, with subsequent performances beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at a ticket price of $39. Matinées begin at 2 p.m. on Sundays ($34) and Ellenville’s First Saturday (July 2, $34). To order, call the box office at (845) 647-5511 visit Shadowland is located at 157 Canal Street in Ellenville.


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