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Turning off the Morning News

originally published: 04/24/2018

Turning off the  Morning News

The award-winning playwright and New Jersey native, Christopher Durang, is back with Turning Off The Morning News - his third World Premiere commission for McCarter Theatre in Princeton. It serves as a follow up to his Tony Award-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and runs from May 4th through June 3rd.

This time around, Durang is back with a new cast of eccentric characters - starting with Cliff and Salena, whose across-the-street neighbors are somewhere between peculiar and stark raving mad.  This decidedly dark and daring comedy takes aim at today’s absurd and dangerous world.

The cast includes Jenn Harris, Rachel Nicks, Nicholas Podany, Krisine Neilsen, Robert Sella, and John Pankow.  McCarter Theatre’s Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann directs the production.

Mann and Durang have known each other for a long time and the story of their professional collaboration and friendship will be told before each performance via a 20-minute talk led by a member of McCarter’s artistic staff.  The Inside Story, as it is called, takes place 45 minutes prior to each performance.  It reveals what inspired Durang to write the play and the hallmarks of “Durangian comedy”; Mann’s directorial vision for the play; and offers a few things to look for during the performance.

In a letter to McCarter subscribers, Emily Mann detailed the origins of her relationship with Durang and her thoughts on Turning Off The Morning News.



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“I first met Chris when we were students in William Alfred’s playwriting seminar at Harvard, and I remember Alfred predicting that Chris was going to be a new voice for his generation,” recalled Mann. “Chris’s writing was unlike anything I had ever heard before, and I was amazed by his brilliance. It was a delight when we were reconnected many years later by fellow playwright and mutual friend, Wendy Wasserstein.”

“With this reconnection, my professional collaboration and close friendship with Chris began. McCarter commissioned him to write the play that would become Miss Witherspoon, which I had the pleasure of directing here and at Playwrights Horizons in New York City in 2005. On the opening night of Miss Witherspoon, I gave Chris another commission, which brought us his enormously successful Tony Award®-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Now, I am thrilled to be directing his latest world premiere and McCarter commission: Turning Off the Morning News.”

“I love working with Chris Durang. He is clear sighted and generous. An absolutely unique voice in the American theatre, Chris is able to take on disturbing questions and issues that in another writer’s hands would take the form of tragedy and spin it into comedy. This is his own particular alchemy, his singular sense of humor and extraordinary craft as a playwright and a theater maker. I am honored that McCarter is an artistic home for Chris, and it is an exciting event to bring his newest play to life on our stage.”

“At its heart, Turning Off the Morning News explores the absurdity of our modern world. A fierce exposure of the ways that our personal and societal anxieties can bring out the worst in us, it also gently reveals the antidote—reaching out beyond ourselves to find connection with others. In the end, isn’t the desire for this kind of connection why we all go to the theater? Gloria Steinem once said: 'laughter breaks out when two thoughts come together and suddenly make a third, when we understand or learn something, when we recognize a truth.' Chris’s talent for dark comedy shows us recognizable truths of modern society, while keeping us laughing throughout.” 

Turning off the  Morning News

Director Emily Mann and Playwright Christopher Durang (center) with the cast of Turning Off The Morning News.  Photo by Matt Pilsner. The play runs from May 4th through June 3rd in the Berlind Theatre.






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Writers Theatre of New Jersey Presents 2019 Soundings Reading Series
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Pixie Dust Players Presents Home for the Holidays at UCPAC
(RAHWAY, NJ) -- To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Pixie Dust Players, Union County Performing Arts Center is happy to present Home for the Holidays on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 7:30pm. The event consists of a gala and a benefit concert featuring over 150 performers and music from 24 different shows, all from the past ten years of Pixie Dust Productions. Prior to the concert, there will be a gala with light fare, a magician, and more. Not only is this a fundraiser for UCPAC’s Youth Programming, but also a celebration supporting the continuance of this exciting partnership.
Grunin Center Hosts Lightwire Theater's "A Very Electric Christmas"
(TOMS RIVER, NJ) -- Lightwire Theater is traveling north from the members’ New Orleans home base to present “A Very Electric Christmas” at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on Sunday, December 23 at 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Lightwire Theater is known for its signature brand of dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling, and music designed to evoke imagery. The group debuted their first “A Very Electric Christmas” in New Orleans in December 2013, and now takes this captivating and magical tale of adventure, friendship, and love – centered on a young bird named Max – throughout the country and around the world. This show brings a whole new meaning to “home for the holidays.”
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(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- Holiday fun is on the schedule at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre with two special events in December: Dance Connection's family version of “The Nutcracker” ballet December 14 to 16 and an interactive live radio show, “Snow Day,” presented by MPOnstage December 22.


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REVIEW: "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn" at Paper Mill Playhouse
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Event calendar
Saturday, Dec 15, 2018


MUSIC

DOWNSTREAM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

LIFE OF AGONY/SICK OF IT ALL @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 6:30pm

JOHNNY O @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

WEIRD SCIENCE @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

The THE BAND Band @ Darress Theatre, Boonton - 8:00pm

Brian Fallon @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 8:00pm

KASHMIR THE LIVE LED ZEPPELIN SHOW @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

Holiday POPS! @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 3:00pm and 6:00pm

TAKING BACK SUNDAY @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

The Beat Tells @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm

The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm







THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm and 7:00pm and 7:30pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 7:30pm

Peter Pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 7:30pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S THE KING AND I - BASED ON THE LINCOLN CENTER THEATER PRODUCTION @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Louie Anderson @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


DANCE

NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with special guest Sweet Honey In The Rock @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm


FILM

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert Live to Film @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

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