Tag Archives: Susan Merson

Staged Reading of ‘Cyrano’ Soars at New York Theatre Workshop

'Cyrano' at New York Theatre Workshop

‘Cyrano’ at New York Theatre Workshop

The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre brought their lyrical and romantic  deaf/hearing updated-version of Cyrano to New York last Monday, April 29, for a special staged reading at the acclaimed New York Theatre Workshop. The staged reading was performed for a full house of NY theater producers and invited VIP’s for the purpose of solidifying interest in a possible New York production.

Four original cast members were flown in from Los Angeles: Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Victor Warren and Al Bernstein.  The rest of the ensemble was cast with local New York actors Matt Biagini, Robert De MayoSamira Wiley, John McGinty, Puy Navarro, James W. Guido, Alexandria Wailes, Richard Dent, and original cast member Maleni Chaitoo who happens to now live in NY.

The company rehearsed with director Simon Levy for only three days. Our thanks to our friends at Primary Stages for providing their rehearsal studios to the Cyrano company. Also in attendance at rehearsals were playwright Stephen Sachs, Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs, Fountain Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, DWT Founder Ed Waterstreet and his wife, actress Linda Bove.

The highly regarded New York Theatre Workshop is the Tony-winning company dedicated to developing new plays and musicals.  Over their 30-year history, they have launched many acclaimed productions and have transferred several to Broadway, including Rent, Dirty Blonde, Homebody/Kabul, Peter and the Starcatcher, Once, and more. The Cyrano staged reading was held Monday in the NYTW upstairs rehearsal hall. An invited list of producers and VIP guests attended, including representatives from New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, 59E59 Theatres, Broadway director Jeff Calhoun, and more. The actors performed Cyrano entirely memorized and off-book and cleverly incorporated the use of captioning and video design on a large TV flat screen monitor.

Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to our Cyrano donors who contributed to our fundraising campaign and made this very important New York opportunity possible: Phillip Baron, Cal Bartlett, JB Blanc, Eve Brenner, Carlease Burke, Johnny Clark, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Cathy Colloff, Debra Conklin, James Conley, Kimberly Cyzner Family, Lorraine Danza, Timothy Davis-Reed, Fred Dean, Donna Duarte, Susan Duncan, Michael Edwin, Mark Freund, Amy Frost, Heidi Girardoni, Jane Gordon, Gaby Gross, William Dennis Hurley, Trice Koopman, Ken LaZebnik, Robert Leventer, Dennis Levitt, Ruth Linnick, Betsy Malloy, Caitlin Marcus, Donne McRae, Susan Merson, Mills, Michelle Montooth, Joel Moreno, Russell Nore, Jenny O’Hara, Susan Oka, Z. Oppenheim, Patricia Parker, Cynthia Paskos, Patty Paul, Terry Paule, Sharon Perlmutter, Ralph Pezoldt, Allison Pickering, Lawrence Poindexter, Priscilla Pointer, Bill Pugin and The Sign Language Company, Terri Roberts, Mark Routhier, Rita Schneir, Sandy Schuckett, Susanne Spira Survivors Trust, Suanne Spoke, Marjorie Throne, Eileen T’Kaye, Zoltan & Dorcas Tokes, Andrede Toledo, Tate Tullier, Jessica Turner, Nick Ullett, Heidi Girardoni, Carol Watson, Marianne Weil, William Wilk. We could not have done it without you!

What happens now? We’ll see what the future holds for our unique, thrilling and moving ASL/spoken English version of Cyrano. In the meantime, enjoy these snapshots of the rehearsal process and the staged reading!

‘Cyrano’ in New York 

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Opening Night: “When They Go, And You Do Not”

Susan Merson and director Bob Jaffe

The birth of something new. The start of a new journey. Summoning the joy and courage to declare to another human being:  This is who I am. This is where I’ve been. The path ahead is uncertain. But join me as I take the next ecstatic step forward. The joyful noise of a soul opened and exposed. A heart shared. These affirmations swirl throughout Susan Merson’s new solo play, and illuminated the Opening Night of the World Premiere last night at the Fountain.

When They Go, And You Do Not is a funny and moving solo journey about love, loss and starting over. In the play, Wendy rediscovers the elements of living that pull her toward her new beginning after recovering from the death of her husband. Giving up old habits, letting go of what was, accepting new lovers and a new beginning, she finds the richness in her loss and the ways in which we all make it to the next step.

Last night at the World Premiere Opening, the tzotchke-laden trailer home set for Bakersfield Mist was masked by black flats and curtains to create a simple neutral environment for When They Go. The funny and touching one-hour solo play is performed by Merson herself.

The project furthers the Fountain’s mission to support the creation, development and presentation of new work. The guest production at the Fountain is presented in association with New York Theatre Intensives.

When They Go And You Do Not is FREE to all Fountain Members ($15 to the general public). Fountain Members in attendance last night included Candace Anderson, Donald Broder, Leslie Carlson, Pam Ford, Andre DeToledo, Ashken Evrard, Marc McVey, Lois Miller, Debbie and Ashley Posner, Leno Sislin, Susan Spira, and Kathy Weiss.  Fountain Membership Maven Diana Gibson was in the lobby greeting and trading quips with members as they arrived.

Many thanks to Fountain tech Director Scott Tuomey, Stage Manager Terri Roberts, and Box Office attendant Paige Potter for helping to make the night a success.

When They Go And You Do Not runs Mon-Wed, Oct 10 – 12, 17 – 19, 8pm. Call (323) 663-1525.