Monday, April 7, 2014

Announcing Don Juan, or, The Wages of Debauchery!

Don Juan, or, The Wages of Debauchery! 

A traditional Czech Marionette play with some not-so-traditional touches; adapted and directed from an anonymous play of itinerant puppeteers by Vit Horejs.

In this production, Downtown meets the Folk Tradition. High and low, live performers and puppets of disparate sizes are blended to a startling comical and sometime touching effect. The puppets include antiques, puppets designed and constructed by master carver Jakub Krejci, toy puppets by Prague-based Milos Kasal, and a giant surprise by Alan Barnes Netherton. The actor/puppeteers are Deborah Beshaw, Otis Cotton, Tess Wonson, Vít Horejs and Theresa Linnihan. Costumes are by Theresa Linnihan and Egypt Dixon. Set design is by Theresa Linnihan and Alan Barnes Netherton. Music, performed by John Bowen, is composed expressly by Court Kappelmeister Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Tickets 800-838-3006 extension 1

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lynn Kable, The real Belle of Amherst!

 Lynn Kable with Amal
When Lynn Kable lived in New York City, she was a force to contend with.  More than a force, in fact.  As an arts administrator and producer, she conceived and created programs throughout the city, in homeless shelters, libraries, museums and professional theater venues from Broadway (when she worked for Merrick) to downtown La MaMa Experimental Theater Company and spaces between. Overseas, she worked on a number of landmark projects in East Central Europe (Macedonia, Poland,  etc), Central Asia (Uzbekistan) and more. 

This year, 2013, marks the 10th year that Lynn has lived and worked in Virginia, just south of historic Charlottesville and north of the seven hills of Lynchburg.   For most of these years, she has slowly been working towards the reputation of bringing to the public a wide range of diverse and professional music, theater and outreach engagement projects.   She formed her own non-profit organization in 2006, Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR) [see:  for the purpose of finding funding and community support for these public programs.  Some of the events take place in nearby historic churches and venues; from Amherst High School to St. Mark’s Church, and most recently a play performed for two weekends in the Parlor Room of her own landmarked home, The Glebe. 
What can I say about working with Lynn? For those who know her and have had the privileged opportunity to work with her, you know what I mean.  Lynn has an unfathomable energy to see through any obstacle and bring out the best in everyone she works with.  Her demands are large, so you cannot go into a project half-heartedly; but most often her enthusiasm prevails and we find ourselves working harder than ever to be part of her dreams. 
For 18 days in November, I was a more than willing witness and participant in the creation of The Belle of Amherst, a play that Lynn envisioned in her home the first day she saw the front Parlor. (In fact, I suspect that being able to have this play performed in her house was one of the reasons she and her husband Ned bought The Glebe.)  see: We rehearsed and presented the play for six performances.  The Parlor seating for the audience was limited to 24 maximum each day, and Lynn managed to bring in audiences that ranged in age from 12 to 90 years old!  What a delight to perform in that historic room.  Sally Parrish Southall, who portrayed Emily Dickinson in the play, brought her own special profound energy to the show and the space.  As we gathered furniture from all of the rooms in Lynn’s home to the Parlor, we saw the creation of our 19th century setting appear before our eyes.  Maxim Tumenev, my partner in gardening and theater, helped the vision of the play come to fruition; and helped carry sofas tables and chairs into the parlor!

What else can I say about Lynn?  Years ago, when Lynn lived in New York I tried, with no success, to persuade the BESSIE committee to award her a producer extraordinaire award.   At this point, I feel that Award would not even come close to the level of recognition that she deserves.  Lynn Kable is simply one of a kind and describing her is a challenge and a joy.  She is, without reservation, a fiercely moral individual, who sings in choirs, holds together a major household in a landmark home, the mother of three amazing young professional women, and one of the best event producers worldwide.  AGAR is her vehicle for bringing arts, education, healthcare and related programs to the lucky audiences of Amherst, Virginia, and beyond.  Lynn is fearless, and I am one of the lucky ones – to be encouraged and supported by her energy and love.

Lynn Kable – this is for you.  Bravo! Standing Ovation!  Please continue to do what you do.  This is my award to you.  I offer you devotion and love; for I had the fortune to have worked side by side with you for 8 years in New York City in the 1990s; and 18 days in Virginia this November.  Lynn- you made it happen and I shall be forever grateful for the experience.  Looking forward to more!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre
Coming soon to La MaMa..

Photo of Director Vit Horejs by Jonathan Slaff

Friday, August 30, 2013

Trudy and Me, 2012 
August 28, 2013
Dear Sarah, Michael, Mary, Alan, Ilene, Gale, Melvin, and all of the grandchildren and great ,grandchildren of the remarkable Gertrude Morse.

I wanted to contribute some words to commemorate your mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Trudy, who was a dear friend and fellow traveler for so many years.  It has taken a few days for me to find something that could really say what is in my heart.  As you know, she was a very special “force of nature”, and you are all fortunate to have had her in your lives.  Sharing her with me and the wide world must  have been a challenge at times, but it might also have been rewarding -- hearing all of the vast stories of her travels and meetings along the way.
Trudy, was to me, a mentor, teacher, fellow traveler, surrogate mother, energizer, companion in late night giggling, lover of life, lovely dancer, musician poet extraordinaire, artist and project supporter, lover of peace, life coach and dear friend.  We shared so many wonderful times together – watching performances, attending shules in Prague, visiting historic sites in Estonia and hanging out in New York City, where I live.  Trudy hopped the bus numerous times to New York- where she would attend a performance I produced, or we would go to see something interesting together.  Any time of year – she even came here on New Year’s Eve to see the Klezmatics (a founder, trumpetter Frank London was also a dear friend of hers), and got back on the 2am bus to DC.

I met her in the 1980s in New York. I have been trying to remember exactly when, but cannot find the exact moment.  We shared love for two virtuoso performers Cecil Taylor and Min Tanaka – two extraordinary artists that I worked with as a producer.  We saw them together in New York, at Jacob’s Pillow in Western Massachusettes and other wonderful venues.  Trudy always had wise words of caution and encouragement, and she followed my work around the world, often flying to the location of a project to “help out.”  Her presence was a joy to me and we shared some really crazy and fun times. 
One time that I will relate – there are so many – was more recently in Prague  in 2006, when she visited me there.  We went together to watch Min Tanaka dance into the chilly Vltava River.  (I covered the event for Dance Magazine)  One year earlier, Prague had been inundated with a terrible flood.  Trudy and I sat on the banks of the river as Min entered the cold water, keeping ourselves warm in the chilly autumn sunshine.  Min’s dance was commemorating one year after the great Prague flood – and the reopening of Archa Theater, where he danced annually. (invited by Ondrej Hrab, producer)
Trudy always thought of the best way to support  an artist on the road.  In this case, she happened to have an instant ramen CUP NOODLE with her, the perfect food for warming up.  She handed it to Min after he came out of the water and was drying off on the shore.  It was such a brilliant cultural idea – and the exact food he needed to regain his body temperature afterwards.  Min was very moved and pleased with her gift – an inexpensive but rich and smart gesture. 

Another time, in summer of 2001, we were in Tallinn, Estonia, and the presenter who I was working with (Priit Raud of AugustTants Festival), organized for Trudy to stay at the ornate and exclusive presidential hotel, not an easy thing to do. The day after checking in, she left the palacial abode and moved herself into the Youth Hostel located in the center of Tallinn, declaring the Presidential hotel to be too fancy and “too far from the action.”  Although Priit was surprised by her move, we quickly understood what she wanted and what she needed.  She did not want to be far from where we were holding daily rehearsals, which she loved to attend and wanted to leave for a nap if she needed and return later in the day.  She always gave me feedback about my production work, and kept me going strong.  I loved her for that.  We used to laugh so hard in the wee hours of the night on the internet together -- me in NY and she in Maryland -- telling each other stories that made me fall off my chair.  

So many memories.  I would need a book, and after reading the memories of so many others who were touched by her, it is clear that a book of memories already exists.

TRUDY MORSE(Moma Gila)  , April 7, 1919 – August  21, 2013
May her memory be blessed for all time.
Forever on my heart.

With love and care,

Bonnie Sue Stein, Executive Director and Producer, GOH Productions/New York City

Friday, January 4, 2013

Beate Gordon (Oct 25, 1923-Dec. 30, 2012)

The world class impresario, Beate Gordon died peacefully in her sleep, December 30, 2012.  She was 89 years old.

I worked for Beate from 1982 to 1988, at the Asia Society’s Performing Arts department in New York City.  Six incredible years that carved my life path.  As an impresario, she was schooled in politeness, always putting the artist first and as her assistants we learned the old ways of producing.  None of us had degrees in Arts Administration, we learned on the job.  There was a stellar team during the 80s that included some powerful, creative women: Paula Lawrence, Karen Haight, Marie Stella, Lisa Chan, Lynn Winters and one amazing guy, Somi Roy.  She was like a mother to me, more than a mentor.  We never got any work done, because her stories captivated us and distracted us from the tasks at hand.  So we stayed late often, working on deadlines for press releases and promotion.

In 1985 our Performing Arts Department won an Obie Award, a Special Citation for sustained achievement presenting performing arts programs from Asia, including that year’s triumphant tour of the spectacular dancing drummers from Korea, Samul-Nori.  Beate, or BG as we sometimes called her, was unlike any other cultural leader, and a dying breed. She spoke several languages fluently, was schooled in the proper etiquette of all the countries she traveled and was a fearless leader, championing artists and education about Asian performing arts through visceral experience.  Every performance we presented had a pre-performance lecture/demonstration and a tasty tidbit from that culture’s food group.  Audiences loved these presentations.  Finding samosa, dumplings or other tidbits was one of my jobs, as her assistant – a job I did with relish, literally.  I also had to find scholars and experts to write about the performing arts we were presenting, as BG –knowing that the press community were not well versed in these art forms--  insisted that each press release be accompanied by a monograph. So many firsts happened under her tutelage – traditional groups from Asia toured the USA including the first touring group from the People’s Republic of China, the premiere tour of dancers and musicians from the Silk Route (Uzkekistan, Mongolia, etc), Kathakali dance drama from South India, Samul-nori drummers from Korea…  And contemporary groups – puppet troupe Kaze-no ko from Japan, butoh master, Kazuo Ohno, and our own US based Eiko and Koma – and more.  A list would take up all of the space allotted for this brief highlight of a life well lived. 

 “Would you be so kind”…was how BG began nearly every request.  It was a sure way to get us to do anything that needed to be done.  I learned that type of politeness could open doors and motivate action.  Beate was like a mother to me, to all of us.  She led the crew and we followed happily and diligently, supporting the groups of artists that traveled from all corners of Asia to New York City and around the country. 

Beate was also responsible for helping to formulate an amendment of Japan’s postwar constitution which outlined Women’s Rights for the first time in that country --  a global achievement that was echoed in her book THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM.  These rights were something she felt strongly about and what she talked about most and leaves as part of her expansive legacy.  She was well aware that the current conservative government in Japan threatened preservation of these rights, and after a hiatus of several years, became vocal about the new initiatives to keep these rights safe.  A lot of her life was dedicated to equality of these rights.  More articles will be coming out in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.  She touched so many lives worldwide.  RIP dear friend and mentor.   

photo: Paula Lawrence, Beate Gordon, Bonnie Stein, Eiko and Koma, 2010 by John Gillespie

Friday, December 7, 2012

DECEMBER 22, 2012
8 PM


Tickets for A Kholem / Dreaming in Yiddish / A Concert in Tribute to Adrienne Cooper

Sunday, September 30, 2012