Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Civilians' Gone Missing to Play Barrow Street Theatre

by Brian Scott Lipton

The New York-based experimental theater troupe The Civilians will make their official Off-Broadway debut when their acclaimed show Gone Missing begins a summer run at the Barrow Street Theatre on June 14. The production, to be directed by Steven Cosson, will open officially on June 24.

Featuring a score by Michael Friedman and a text devised by the company based on interviews with real-life New Yorkers, Gone Missing is a collection of personal accounts of things lost, ranging from keys and personal heirlooms to a Gucci pump and a dog. It was first seen in 2001 and has been revised over the past six years.

The show will star Emily Ackerman, Damian Baldet, Jennifer Morris, Stephen Plunkett, Robbie Sublett, and Colleen Werthman, who will play more than 30 characters. The creative team includes Takeshi Kata (sets), Sarah Beers (costumes), Thomas Dunn (lighting), and Ken Travis (sound).

The Civilians' other work includes Canard, Canard, Goose, The Ladies, and (I Am) Nobody's Lunch. Their newest project, This Beautiful City, explores the Evangelical movement in America.

For more information, visit

Photo of Damian Baldet (© Julia Benyon)


Civilians get commerical run 'Gone Missing' set for Barrow Street Theater

by Gordon Cox

Downtown docu-legit troupe The Civilians gets its first commercial Off Broadway run with a return of its show "Gone Missing," set for a summer engagement at the Barrow Street Theater.

Company has attracted attention for productions, often with musical numbers, based on research and interviews about a particular topic. Shows include "The Ladies," "(I Am) Nobody's Lunch" and "Canard, Canard, Goose?"

"Missing," whose earliest incarnation was performed in late 2001, tackles the subject of loss by chronicling the stories of lost objects along with those of the people, such as a cop or a pet psychic, who find them. Created collaboratively with the company, the show is directed by Civilians founder Steve Cosson. Composer-lyricist Michael Friedman provides the songs.

Scott Morfee, who programs the Barrow Street, and Tom Wirtshafter produce the show at the theater, where "No Child..." shutters June 3 before launching its tour.

"Missing" begins previews June 14 for a June 24 opening.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Civilians to Present Musical Documentary Gone Missing

by BWW News Desk

The Civilians, the acclaimed New York-based experimental theater troupe, will play a rare local summer season (and make their commercial Off Broadway debut) with their documentary musical of loss, Gone Missing. Directed by Steven Cosson, and featuring music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, Gone Missing will begin performances on June 14th with an opening night set for Sunday, June 24th, at the Barrow Street Theatre, signaling a Musical Summer along Barrow Street.

"Devised by the company from interviews with real-life New Yorkers, Gone Missing is a collection of very personal accounts of things lost everything from keys, personal identification and a Gucci pump to family heirlooms, your dog and your mind creating a unique tapestry of the ways in which we deal with and relate to loss in our lives. A company of six (Emily Ackerman, Damian Baldet, Stephen Plunkett, Robbie Sublett, Colleen Werthmann and Jennifer Morris) performs more than 30 characters, intertwining stories of lost objects with those of the 'finders,' from a retired NYPD cop to a pet psychic. Since its initial performance, just after September 11, 2001, Gone Missing has continued to morph into its new incarnation, set against Friedman's score, which incorporates salsa, ballads, operetta and tuneful pop. (Mr. Friedman will also be represented in New York this summer by his score for the Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo & Juliet, directed by Michael Greif)," according to press notes.

"Since their founding in 2001 by Artistic Director Steven Cosson, The Civilians have created four original shows that have been presented in a range of sites downtown and in theatres, nightclubs, art centers and festivals throughout the United States and in Europe. Using methods that combine documentary and artistic practices, The Civilians works illuminate the interplay between the personal and larger social phenomena and their collaborations take inspiration from the full range of theatrical forms from cabaret to experimental theater."

Gone Missing features set design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Sarah Beers, lighting design by Thomas Dunn and sound design by Ken Travis and is produced by Scott Morfee and Tom Wirtshafter in association with The Civilians.

The Barrow Street Theatre is located at 27 Barrow Street at 7th Avenue South in the heart of Greenwich Village. Nearby subway stops are the 1 at Christopher Street (walk 1 block South on 7th Avenue to Barrow) and the A, C, E, B, D, F and V at West 4th (walk West on 4th Street, left on Barrow). For more information, visit

The performance schedule for Gone Missing is Tuesday Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 - $45.00 and are available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or by visiting


Studio Theatre's New Season


For her company's 30th-anniversary season, Studio Theatre's Joy Zinoman has bagged "The History Boys," Alan Bennett's West End and Broadway success (and also a recent film). And the company's smaller, risk-taking wing, Studio Secondstage, will do the London hit "Jerry Springer: The Opera."

- A revival of South African playwright Athol Fugard's "My Children! My Africa!" (Sept. 5-Oct. 14), about an interracial friendship between two teenagers during apartheid, will be staged by Associate Artistic Director Serge Seiden.

- Conor McPherson's Irish drama "Shining City" (Nov. 7-Dec. 16), about a widower (played by Edward Gero) who seeks counseling after he starts seeing his dead wife, will be directed by Zinoman, who calls it another example of "that two-person, high-acting stuff" she did with Gero in "Skylight" and "Afterplay."

- "The Brothers Size" (Jan. 2-Feb. 10, 2008) by Tarell Alvin McCraney, an MFA candidate in Yale's playwriting program, includes elements of West African myth and culture in a drama about two brothers in the Louisiana bayou country. Tea Alagic directs the New York Public Theater production coming to Studio.

- "The History Boys" (March 2-May 4, 2008) takes place in the 1980s at a working-class British boys' school, where two teachers with opposite philosophies vie for the hearts and minds of the brightest boys. "The conflicts in it about how to teach and what to teach were so brilliantly revealed, and then just the pure theatricality of those eight boys -- who they are," says Zinoman, who fell in love with the show in London and will direct.

- The mainstage season will close with "The Internationalist" (May 14-June 22, 2008), about a businessman abroad who, as Studio's press blurb says, gets "lost in translation." Anne Washburn's play was developed by the 13P company in New York, where she is a resident playwright.


-In Kia Corthron's "Breath, Boom" (Dec. 12, 2007-Jan. 6, 2008), a girl grows into and out of the gang life.

-"All That I Will Ever Be" (Feb. 13-March 9, 2008), by Alan Ball (TV's "Six Feet Under," the film "American Beauty") is about a sexually charged relationship between two men in Los Angeles, one American, the other from the Middle East.

- A television talk show turns violent -- and goes operatic -- in "Jerry Springer: The Opera" (July 16-Aug. 10, 2008), by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas. Secondstage Artistic Director Keith Alan Baker will direct.

With two special events featuring experimental troupes at Secondstage, "We're really going to use the space as it was intended," Zinoman says, "letting these really hot national companies into the Studio to rehearse and develop the work, and then we'll do the premieres. That's something that we've never, ever done before."

- Rainpan performers Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle will present three works during the Rainpan 43 Festival (March 18-April 6, 2008): their off-Broadway hit "All Wear Bowlers," the newer "Amnesia Curiosa" and the premiere of work-in-progress "machines machines machines machines machines machines."

- The Civilians' premiere work, tentatively titled "This Beautiful City" (June 11-July 6, 2008), uses interviews and other elements to explore the evangelical movement in Colorado Springs.