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Press Reviews and Articles

Cultural Council Announces 2017 Grants

Martha's Vineyard Gazette

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James Langlois in (Mostly) Black and White

Louisa Hufstader, Martha's Vineyard Gazette

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Tom Mullins’ Art Knows No Bounds

Solo show at the Playhouse Art Space features acrylics and collage.
By Gwyn McAllister, Martha's Vineyard Times

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Shakespeare for the Masses Presents Romeo and Juliet

Patricia Neal Stage
Quick & Painless & and Free.
Martha's Vineyard Gazette

For its final show of the season, Shakespeare for the Masses is presenting fan favorite Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist. In the theatrical world, everyone wants the coveted role of Juliet, but of course only one person per show gets this gem. Until now that is. Shakespeare for the Masses is known for putting new spins on the mighty English bard, including slicing and dicing his plays down to a manageable hour.


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Romeo and Juliet, Juliet, Juliet, Juliet

By Gwyn McCallister, MV Times

Which four art thou Juliet? That’s the question audiences will be confronted by in the upcoming production of “Romeo and Juliet” by the popular Shakespeare for the Masses group. It’s every actress’ dream to play Juliet, according to S for the M co-founder and writer Chelsea McCarthy. To accommodate that ambition, Ms. McCarthy and her co-writer Nicole Galland have opted to cast four of the five actors participating in the upcoming production in the coveted role. As a matter of fact, those four will interchange in all of the roles, except for Romeo. “It’s basically going to be like Boggle, where you shake them up and see where they land,” says Ms. McCarthy, who promises that the role changes will be done in such a way that the audience can easily follow the action.


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A musical escape through ‘Reconciliation: Songs of Peace and Protest’

by Gwyn McAllister, MV Times

Looking for a late winter pick-me-up? Or a positive way to relieve some current-events-related anxiety? Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse on Friday, March 17, for an evening of uplifting music in a program called “Reconciliation: Songs of Peace and Protest,” to be performed by a trio of students and alumni from the Berklee College of Music.

The culturally diverse group will draw on their various backgrounds for the song selections. The trio was brought together by Jason Sibi Okumu who, last year, came to the Vineyard to perform at the playhouse as part of Berklee’s African Club. This time around he has invited two fellow Berklee-ites along. Mr. Okumu is from Kenya. He will be joined by Israeli-born Sagit Zilberman, who will sing and play a variety of instruments, and harpist and vocalist Allegra Cramer from the U.S.


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Patricia Neal Film Series Honors Big Star With Small Town Humility

By Louisa Hufstader, Vineyard Gazette

When Patricia Neal attended events at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse she always sat in the front row and made a point of speaking to the cast members after the show. It’s not every day an Oscar and Tony award winning actress chats with cast and crew of a local theatre group, but Patricia Neal was not an ordinary actress. The very opposite of a cloistered celebrity, Ms. Neal was known on the Vineyard for her friendly manner around town, chatting with children on the street, eating at the Edgartown diner, and graciously accepting recognition from fans.


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King John for the Masses, a Populist Affair

The folks at Shakespeare for the Masses often perform King John before important elections. Even though it depicts a monarchy from a long time ago, the play has many parallels to a the drama of modern day elections. The drive for power, the gray area of who should really be crowned, plus the backstabbing (literal and metaphorical of course), theft, mayhem most foul — it’s just another day on the stump for most politicians today.


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Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse honors Patricia Neal with film series

During the month of January, the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse will hold a film series to honor one of its longtime supporters, actress Patricia Neal. “Her birthday is Jan. 20,” playhouse artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo said. “We thought this was a good time to pay homage to a great friend.” The films will be shown at the playhouse’s intimate theater, whose stage is named for the actress.


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Warming Up Winter With Acoustic Carols

Patricia Neal Stage
By Louisa Hufstader, Vineyard Gazette

A holiday-themed, all-female acoustic music group that plays to sold-out mainland audiences every December is making its Island debut Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Wintery Songs in Eleventy Part Harmony features a blend of strings, vocals and glockenspiels in an expansively eclectic program of Christmas carols, holiday standards, winter-themed originals and unexpected cover tunes like In the Cold, Cold Night by The White Stripes.


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Monday Night Movies, and more, return to the Vineyard Playhouse

By Gwyn McAllister, Martha's Vineyard Times

There’s a lot going on at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse these days. While the summer season of theater ended on Oct. 8, the playhouse is once again keeping its doors open all winter with a variety of programming. According to artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo, “Our motto is: Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, where the off-season is the on-season!”


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Vineyard show focuses on O’Neill characters

By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll, Cape Cod Times

The centennial celebration of Eugene O’Neill’s start as a playwright is spreading: While the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival has been marking the connections between O’Neill and Williams this weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse is presenting a show about O’Neill-related characters nobody has known much about.


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Basia Jaworska presents ‘Lives on the Line: Activist, Dissident or Agitator’

By Gwyn McAllister, Martha's Vineyard Times

The series of seven paintings, which are currently on view in the lobby Art Space of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, are powerful, attention-grabbing portraits created with strong colors, bold lines, and images that fill the frame completely. Like her previous series, which focused on musicians, the current collection is done in a primitive folk-art style incorporating defining images, letters, and other elements to heighten the message.


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Long Day’s Journey into the Kitchen

By Louisa Hufstader, Vineyard Gazette

Meet Bridget Conroy, Cathleen Mullin and Jack Smythe: three characters who had been searching for an author — and full names — since they were first invented by playwright Eugene O’Neill in the 1940s. With Ronan Noone’s play The Second Girl, they have found themselves.


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“The Second Girl” is the final play of the season at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse

By Holly Nadler, MV Times

There’s probably no theatergoer alive who hasn’t seen at least one production of Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” an autobiographical portrait of the playwright’s own family, set in pre-World War I days in an East Coast summer cottage — a home and hearth saturated with whisky, morphine, and other substances that make parents and their grown children less than delightful. In O’Neill’s drama, a single servant is given a cameo role, a young Irish lass named Cathleen. Cathleen is “the second girl,” lesser in rank than others on the staff, but matriarch Mary Tyrone detains her for a happy hour before the family’s happy hour, eager to share details of the Tyrone tragedy from her own woozy POV.


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Catch the Monday Night Special at MV Playhouse

Patricia Neal Stage
By The Martha's Vineyard Times

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Tony Award-Winning Play ‘RED’ hits the Vineyard Playhouse

By Holly Nadler, MV Times

In “RED,” the newest play at the Vineyard Playhouse, the boss man meets the young intern, and we instantly know this will be the job from hell. But not just any job from hell. This one takes place in 1958 and ’59, in a hermetic New York studio, with roughed-up grey walls and giant canvasses of the ultra famous abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, played with stunning yet carefully bottled intensity by Victor Talmadge.


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Shakespeare for the Masses honored

Martha's Vineyard Times

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Set designer Lisa Pegnato on painting ‘Red’

By Gwyn McAllister, Martha's Vineyard Times

When you’re an actor portraying a real person, you do your research, and to some extent — to a considerable extent if you’re a Method actor — try to inhabit that person’s world.

For Lisa Pegnato, set designer for the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse’s upcoming production of “Red,” a play about artist Mark Rothko, creating the set entailed a similar process. An abstract painter herself, and a fan of Rothko’s, Ms. Pegnato delved into the troubled artist’s life in order to create her own version of his studio.


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The Nature of Shakespeare Is Best Enjoyed Outdoors

By Mike Kotsopoulos, Vineyard Gazette

The familiar smell of bug-spray greeted director Alexandra London-Thompson from across the Tisbury Amphitheatre. Ten years later and everything still looked the same too. The dirt stage. The mosquitoes. The tangled trails. Everything. A nostalgic Mrs. London-Thompson returned to the Tisbury Amphitheatre this summer as the director of Much Ado About Nothing, which had its premiere last Thursday evening. Ten years earlier she starred alongside her husband in the same play, the last time the MV Playhouse produced the show.


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‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a romping rom-com at the Tisbury Amphitheater

By Holly Nadler, Martha's Vineyard Times

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Theatre of the Heart Has Big Ideas

By Mike Kotsopoulos, Vineyard Gazette

Death, Jim Crow and communism — it’s a full meal for one play to tackle. But Crumbs from the Table of Joy, which opens on Thursday, July 7, at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, delivers the goods by focusing on the heart of each issue rather than just the anger. “I thought that sometimes when you deal with big issues and you sort of preach to people, they don’t hear you,” explained director Adrienne D. Williams. “But when you can deliver it to them with humanity and humor, somehow they seem to hear the story in a different way.”


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Palette of Emotions in Black and White

By Katherine Gianni, Vineyard Gazette

Oak Bluffs artist Harry Seymour is no stranger to problem solving. In fact, he sees art as “just multiple problems to solve.” From achieving the perfect brush stoke to combating his allergies to oils, acrylics and watercolors, Mr. Seymour has harnessed unique methods to create his intricate collections, the latest of which will be showcased at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse from July 15 to August 4. Mr. Seymour’s collection, The Vineyard in Black and White, is a retrospective of his work over the past 10 years in the mediums of egg tempera, scratch painting and wax pastels. Each piece is labor-intensive, as the artist typically spends at least a month creating an aesthetically pleasing and dynamic picture. The pieces are each derived from giclee prints that represent their originals, but present small alterations.


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Women and Will: Female trio combine forces for Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Tisbury Amphitheater, State Road, Vineyard Haven
By Nicole Galland, Martha's Vineyard Times

Imagine yourself in the Tisbury Amphitheatre on a summer afternoon. On the earthen stage before you, a comedy unfolds. As is common in Shakespeare, this one is marked by a woman disguised as a man, and intricate connections between characters.


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‘Crumbs From the Table of Joy’ hits the stage at the Vineyard Playhouse

By Holly Nadler, Martha's Vineyard Times

The best plays are about families falling apart. One could call it dysfunction, but that sounds a tad dry. “Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” by Pulitzer prizewinning playwright Lynn Nottage, which premiered in 1995, and is set in 1950, reveals a family so fraught and fragmented that an audience member might muse that had any of the characters possessed any amount of disposable income whatsoever, she or he would have moved happily away. Far away.


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War letters humanize history on the Performing Arts Center stage

By Kelsey Perrett, Martha's Vineyard Times

In a world of social media, emails, and text messaging, Andrew Carroll is one of the few who still seek out good old-fashioned letters. War letters to be exact, and he has collected thousands since his project began in 1998. The play “If All the Sky Were Paper” is the latest product of Mr. Carroll’s collecting efforts, and it makes its Island debut at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center this Wednesday, July 6.

Mr. Carroll, also the New York Times best-selling author of “Letters of a Nation: A Collection of Extraordinary American Letters” and “War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars,” which was adapted into an episode of PBS’s “American Experience,” first became interested in letters when his family’s home burned down in his sophomore year of college. “The worst thing was losing all the letters,” Mr. Carroll told The Times in a telephone interview. “The books, the furniture could be replaced, but the letters were gone forever.”


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War Letters Are Window Into History

By Mike Kotsopoulos, Vineyard Gazette

On Wednesday evening, July 6, the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse welcomes Andrew Carroll’s play If All the Sky Were Paper for a one-night-only showing at the Performing Arts Center. Based on the New York Times best-selling author’s journey to over 30 different nations accumulating war letters, the play is literally a project born from ashes. “I had no interest in history growing up and did not come from a military family,” said Mr. Carroll. A fire at his Washington D.C. family home changed everything in 1989.


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Shubert Foundation Awards Over $25 Million in Grants

By Andrew Gans, Playbill

“Every organization receiving a 2016 Foundation grant has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the performing arts,” said Foundation Chairman Philip J. Smith. “We want to help lift some of the financial burden so that the companies we support are able to focus on producing thought-provoking, relevant work for the widest possible audience.”


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High Time Equals Profound Times with Dose of Laughter Too

By Louisa Hufstader, Vineyard Gazette

The set of High Time, the new play that opened at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse last week, is an early-1960s suburban interior with a kitchen, living room, front hall and jumble of low-fi audio-visual equipment to one side. It was designed by Lisa Pignato and the domestic surroundings give no hint of the psychedelic joys and existential lows that lie ahead for the play’s six characters.


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Michael Chiklis drops by Martha’s Vineyard theater

By Eryn Carlson, Boston Globe Correspondent

Actor Michael Chiklis was in the audience at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse Thursday, there to see his daughter Autumn — who for many years played the daughter of Chiklis’s character Vic Mackey on “The Shield”


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Onstage, a trip back in time with Timothy Leary

By Terry Byrne, Boston Globe Correspondent

Larry Mollin’s “High Time” traces one fateful night at a Newton home when Harvard professor and researcher Timothy Leary led poet Allen Ginsberg, philosopher Alan Watts, JFK mistress Mary Meyer, and model Rosemary Woodruff on a guided LSD trip.


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Having a ‘High Time’ at the M.V. Playhouse season opener

By Holly Nadler, Martha's Vineyard Times

The latest offering from the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse finds Timothy Leary in a living room lab, with a tray of sugar cubes soaked in LSD for his day’s volunteers: the poet Allen Ginsberg; American Buddhist Alan Watts; Mary Pinchot Meyer, D.C. socialite and mistress of J.F.K.; and a darling, dancing Rosemary Woodruff, destined to become Leary’s fourth wife.


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‘High Time’ opens for a world premiere on the Patricia Neal Stage

Larry Mollin’s latest play showcases ’60s LSD exploration.
By Rich Saltzberg, Martha's Vineyard Times

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Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse Trips into Its Summer Season

By Louisa Hofstader, Martha's Vineyard Gazette

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Leslie Baker paints with the power of raw color

By Hermione Hull, Martha's Vineyard Times

The name of Leslie Baker’s most recent show is “Raw Color” and that is what you will see: a collection of paintings and monotypes of stunning beauty and color. Flat. Layered. Transparent. Dense. “Non-objective abstraction” is the precise description. They have no recognizable subject; no boats, no houses, no beaches. Their subject is the artist’s exploration of possibilities.


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Writer’s career: from ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ to new LSD play

After three decades of writing and producing television dramas, including “Beverly Hills 90210,” Larry Mollin was ready to do a different kind of writing. His first choice was his first love: theater.


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If walls could speak, photos capture their ‘distant voices’

By Gwyn McAllister

Photographer Max Skjöldebrand points his lens toward subjects that most of us overlook. Where other Vineyard photographers might document nature or the accomplishments of man in the form of beautiful buildings, Mr. Skjöldebrand takes a look at structures in decay.
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