Thursday, May 13, 2010

edelstein/dukakis heading to ten chimneys

ten chimneys' prestigious lunt-fontanne fellowship continues this summer with barry edelstein stepping in for the late lynn redgrave, followed in 2011 by oscar winner olympia dukakis.
Ten Chimneys Foundation has just announced that renowned Shakespeare expert and director, Barry Edelstein, has been selected to fill the role of 2010 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Master Teacher. Widely respected as one of the leading Shakespeareans in the United States, Barry Edelstein is the Director of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative, overseeing all Shakespearean production at the theater, as well as The Public’s extensive educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs.

“Mr. Edelstein is greatly revered for his love and understanding of Shakespeare,” said Sean Malone, President of Ten Chimneys Foundation. “Lynn [Redgrave] was so in love with Shakespeare – its power and its truth – that I know she would have been thrilled to have someone of Mr. Edelstein’s talent, passion, and abilities carry on for her.”

Barry Edelstein has directed nearly half the canon at both The Public Theater and at venues around New York City and the country. Just a few highlights include Julius Caesar starring Jeffrey Wright; The Merchant of Venice featuring Ron Leibman’s OBIE award-winning portrayal of Shylock, Richard III starring John Turturro and Julianna Margulies, The Winter’s Tale starring David Strathairn, and As You Like It starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

Mr. Edelstein’s book Thinking Shakespeare (called by New York Magazine “a must-read for actors”) was published in 2007, and is now the standard text on American Shakespearean acting. His popular book Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions has just been re-released in paperback. Edelstein has taught at the Juilliard School, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and USC. He is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and has lectured on theatre around the USA and the world.

“I’m delighted to begin my association with the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, although I wish the circumstances were different. Lynn Redgrave’s passing is a blow to all of us who value the theater and love Shakespeare, and I hope my work at Ten Chimneys will be, in its own small way, a kind of memorial to her.

“I believe deeply that Shakespeare lives in the American actor with a special passion and resonance. My work as a director and teacher, and as a producer of Shakespeare’s plays at The Public Theater, is about bringing together the world’s greatest dramatist, the country’s finest talent, and the widest possible audience. I can think of nowhere more exciting to practice that work than in the home of two actors whose lives embodied the unique magic of the American stage.”

– Barry Edelstein, 2010 Master Teacher

Actress Olympia Dukakis, who is widely celebrated as one of the greatest American masters of interpreting and teaching the work of playwright Anton Chekov, will be the 2011 Master Teacher for the 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. After two years of focusing on Shakespeare, the third weeklong retreat and master class at Ten Chimneys (July 24-31) will focus on Chekov. Ms. Dukakis has been a master teacher of acting and directing, with special emphasis on Chekhov, at Columbia, NYU, Yale, and universities and studios around the United States and Europe.

“I am thrilled that Olympia Dukakis will be the 2011 Master Teacher,” said Sean Malone. “Ten Chimneys has a rich history of great actors mentoring great actors. Actors such as Laurence Olivier, Uta Hagen, Montgomery Clift, and Julie Harris proudly considered themselves protégés of the Lunts. So to have a great actress like Olympia Dukakis, with her extraordinary mastery of Chekov, mentoring a gathering of the top regional theatre actors in the country, couldn’t be more fitting – or, honestly, more exciting.”

Olympia Dukakis is best known as an Academy Award-winning film actress, garnering great popular and critical acclaim in movies such as Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias, and Mr. Holland’s Opus – as well as on the epic miniseries Tales of the City. Ms. Dukakis is also a revered, award-winning stage actress, with New York and London credits including: The Marriage of Bette and Boo, A Man’s a Man, Curse of the Starving Class, Electra, Hecuba, Mother Courage, Peer Gynt, Titus Andronicus, Social Security, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Rose. She has starred in and directed multiple productions of The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, and other plays by Chekov. For 15 years, Ms. Dukakis was the Artistic Director of The Whole Theatre Company, which she co-founded with her husband, actor Louis Zorich. In addition to Chekov, her prolific directing credits include Orpheus Descending, A Touch of the Poet, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest – and she has adapted plays including Mother Courage and The Trojan Women.

“I am proud to be a part of this program, which is so important to the future of American theatre, and am eager to work with the selected 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows. With Chekhov, our hearts will open with compassion and reverence for life in all its contradictions.”

– Olympia Dukakis, 2011 Master Teacher

Actress Lynn Redgrave was originally slated to be the Master Teacher for the 2010 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, a widely acclaimed national program to serve regional theatre actors and the future of American theatre. From July 11-18, nine of the most respected actors in America, representing nine of the nation’s premier regional theatres, were to join Ms. Redgrave for an intensive weeklong master class and retreat at Ten Chimneys, the National Historic Landmark estate of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin (just outside of Milwaukee). This was to be Ms. Redgrave’s second and final year as the Master Teacher, after also leading the inaugural year of the program in 2009.

Ms. Redgrave passed away on Sunday, May 2. In a public statement made shortly after Ms. Redgrave’s death, Sean Malone shared, “Last week, Lynn touchingly went out of her way to tell me how important it was to her that the Fellowship Program continues on this summer, with a new master teacher stepping in for her. I am determined to make sure that happens. And so, at the same time that we are mourning, Ten Chimneys Foundation is working to secure the right person to step in for Lynn this summer – to lead a week of Shakespeare at Ten Chimneys with nine of the top regional theatre actors in the country.”

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