“Nelson builds characters who are rich in spirt and soul and sets them in motion like tops.”
-The New Yorker
now running through october 10th
“I long ago happily surrendered to Nelson’s conceits, and so for this 12th play, as the actors marched on in familiar fashion, carrying the place settings and ingredients of a meal, I felt ensconced in a welcome space.”
- peter marks, the washington post
Begun 12 years ago with the four-play Apple Family play series, and continued with the three plays of The Gabriels, and again last summer with A Pandemic Trilogy (three Zoom plays), Nelson’s Rhinebeck Panorama has followed the lives of families from a small Upstate village for over a decade, with a total of 12 plays. The Michaels, about the third family in this series, premiered in the fall of 2019 and WHAT HAPPENED?: THE MICHAELS ABROAD, Nelson’s latest and last of this series, brings the Rhinebeck Panorama to a close.
No longer in comfortable Rhinebeck, New York, the Michaels family with deep roots in the world of modern dance, are crawling out from under the deadly pandemic, which has turned life as we knew it, upside down. It is now September 8th, 2021, and we find the Michaels in Angers, France, to attend a student dance festival. Called “As hopeful as it is heartbreaking” (New York Times), the first Michaels play took us into the kitchen of Rose Michael, a celebrated choreographer, as she faced a serious illness; What Happened? brings the family back together without the presence of its matriarch, Rose. Once again we are in a kitchen, and once again we witness the making of a meal; and like its title, What Happened?, the characters are asking questions – what just happened? What now? As they cook and eat and dance.
“Hunter Theater Project is honored to present the capstone play of Richards Nelson’s 12-play Rhinebeck Panorama,” said Gregory Mosher, Producer of the Hunter Theater Project. “There’s a special resonance to theatrical cycles by playwrights such as August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill, and Quiara Alegría’s Hudes, in which audiences experience more than each individual play, stand alone though they all certainly do. During the past decade, Nelson’s Apples, Gabriels, and now Michaels families have become part of the lives of theater-goers from around the world. As the Michaels and our audience alike emerge from the pandemic in this final play of the panorama, Nelson’s play explores both our sense of collective loss and a new beginning.”
WHAT HAPPENED?: THE MICHAELS ABROAD will have a strictly limited engagement at the Frederick Loewe Theater at Hunter College from August 28 to October 10 with a very intimate configuration for an audience of only 74. General admission tickets are priced at $39.50 with student tickets $17.50 for all students with valid ID, including service charge. Hunter ID gets $5 off either price. Running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes with no intermission.
CAST & CREATIVE
RICHARD NELSON (Playwright and Director). His plays include the recent Pandemic Trilogy (three Zoom plays) as well as The Michaels, Illyria, The Gabriels, The Apple Family Plays, Nikolai and The Others, Farewell to the Theatre, Conversations in Tusculum, Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award, Best Play), Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination, Best Play), Some Americans Abroad (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy), and others. His musicals include James Joyce’s The Dead (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award Best Book of a Musical); his screenplays include Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Michell, director). He directed Uncle Vanya in 2018 for Gregory Mosher and the Hunter Theater Project. With Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he has co-translated plays by Chekhov, Gogol, Turgenev, and Bulgakov. He is an honorary associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company and recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels “Master Playwright” Award.
WHAT HAPPENED?: THE MICHAELS ABROAD features Charlotte Bydwell, Haviland Morris, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Matilda Sakamoto, Rita Wolf and Yvonne Woods. The design team includes set design by Jason Ardizzone-West; costume design by Susan Hilferty; lighting by Jennifer Tipton; and sound design by Will Pickens. Production Stage Manager Theresa Flanagan.
All guests must provide proof of completed immunization via Excelsior Pass or Vax Card, upon arrival to event. Any individual who fails to present proof of immunization, as required, will not be admitted into the event. Audience must be masked while in the theater space.
Children under the age of 12 who are not yet vaccine eligible, and under the age of 16 who have not yet been vaccinated, may accompany and be seated with a vaccinated adult if masked.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
119 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
Entrance on 68th Street btwn Park and Lexington Avenue
6 to 68th St. Hunter College
F or Q to 63rd St. Lexington Ave
N, Q, R, 6, 4, & 5 to 59th St. Lexington Ave
The Loewe Theater is on the north side of 68th St, just west of Lexington Ave.