February 2-21, 2016
William Connell to play artist Jamie Wyeth; Bill Dawes to play ballet & Hollywood star Rudolf Nureyev
New Brunswick, NJ -- George Street Playhouse today announced the cast of David Rush’s Nureyev’s Eyes, which runs February 2 through February 21 at the New Brunswick theatre. Bill Dawes will portray Russian defector and star of ballet and screen, Rudolf Nureyev; William Connell will play painter Jamie Wyeth, the son of famed artist Andrew Wyeth and grandson of illustrator N.C. Wyeth. The production will be helmed by George Street Playhouse Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro.
“I am thrilled to welcome William and Bill to George Street Playhouse,” said Mastro. “Audiences can expect to see these two talented, versatile actors perform with the energy and passion necessary to truly bring these two perfection-seeking artists to life on stage.”
Nureyev’s Eyes – the top prize winner at both Dayton Playhouse’s FutureFest and Firehouse Theatre’s Festival of New American Plays in 2012 -- is a riveting fictional account of the very real interaction between two great artists. Beginning in 1977 and lasting over a period of several years, Wyeth produced hundreds of paintings and drawings of Nureyev. Fighting personal demons and demanding perfection, the two developed a friendship that transcended their differences and lasted until the end of Nureyev’s storied career and too-short life in 1993. Struggling to capture the icon on paper and canvas, Wyeth is not satisfied until an unexpected breakthrough provides new inspiration – opening his eyes to what is right in front of him.
Nureyev was a frequent guest of Wyeth and his wife at their family farm in Chadds Ford, Pa., where the Brandywine River Museum of Art features galleries showcasing works by the Wyeth family. Jamie Wyeth is still very active and appeared at the museum a year ago, in conjunction with a special exhibition of his work.
Opening night, set for Friday, February 5, 2016, is sponsored by by The Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation.
William Connell’s New York City credits include A View from the Bridge (2010 Broadway revival); The Coast of Utopia (Lincoln Center); Alphabetical Order (Keen Company). Regionally, he has appeared in One Man, Two Guvnors (Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Pioneer Theatre); Hamlet (Aspen Music Festival); The Hour of Feeling (Humana Festival); The Winslow Boy and The Mousetrap (Rep Theatre of St. Louis), The 39 Steps (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); Bell, Book and Candle (San Francisco Playhouse); and The Importance of Being Earnest (Gulfshore Playhouse), among others. His film and television appearances include Manhattan Love Story, MA, Smash, Not Fade Away, Gossip Girl, Law & Order, and Guiding Light.
David Rush has written plays produced at such theaters as American Stage, Stage Left, Mark Taper Forum, GeVa Theater, and Manhattan Theater Club, among others. His work has won or placed in national contests and has earned a variety of awards, including several Chicago Jeffs, a Los Angeles Drama Logue and two Midwest Emmies. He has received Illinois Arts Council grants and was a writer in residence at the Inge Center in 2010. His books, A Student Guide to Play Analysis and Building Your Play, are used by many colleges and universities.
Michael Mastro will be directing his third mainstage production at George Street, after previously helming The Fabulous Lipitones in 2014 and The Subject Was Roses with Stephanie Zimbalist in 2011. He also directed a celebrity play reading of Matt Hoverman’s Thrillsville with a cast featuring Edie Falco, Richard Kind and Grant Shaud at GSP in late 2015. He has also appeared on stage at George Street in such productions as The Sunshine Boys, The Pillowman, The Fox on the Fairway and Inspecting Carol. Last season, he directed Ingmar Bergman’s Nora at Delaware Theatre Company and he appeared in Ayckbourn’s The Things We Do For Love at the Westport Country Playhouse. In recent years, he has helmed several NYC celebrity play readings to benefit various nonprofits, working with actors like Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Jean Smart, Beau Bridges, Michael McKean, Stockard Channing, Melissa Leo, Laura Benanti, Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery and Cecily Strong. He served as associate director of the recent first national tour of West Side Story, helmed by GSP Artistic Director David Saint, and has directed many new American one-acts for several NYC theatre companies. As an actor, he works regularly on and off Broadway, regionally, and in film and TV, where he is currently recurring on Law and Order: SVU. Member: Actors Equity, SAG-AFTRA, SDC, Naked Angels, The Actors Center.
The set has been designed by Alexis Distler, who was an assistant on Broadway’s Act One, which earned a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design. The creative team also includes costume designer Esther Arroyo, lighting designer Christopher Bailey, and sound designer/original music composer Scott Killian – all of whom were part of the 2013 world premiere production of Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies with Marlo Thomas at George Street Playhouse as well as the current off-Broadway production of that show at New York City’s Westside Theatre.
About George Street Playhouse
In the 42 years since its founding, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists. Its leadership consists of Artistic Director David Saint, Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro and Managing Director Kelly Ryman. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the recent Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, George Street Playhouse has been represented by two productions in New York: the recent Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You, and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies, which opened off-Broadway in October. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Educational Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 40,000 students annually. George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
by David Rush
directed by Michael Mastro
with William Connell and Bill Dawes
February 2 – 21, 2016
Opening night, sponsored by The Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation:
Friday, February 5, 2016
George Street Playhouse
9 Livingston Avenue • New Brunswick
Box Office 732-246-7717 • www.GSPonline.org