17 Oct 2023 SOLO FLIGHTS PROJECT ADVANCEMENT FUND GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED FOR “EXHIBIT” AND “THE EXHIBITIONIST”
Aspen, CO (October 17, 2023) – Today, Theatre Aspen (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director) announced the two recipients of the grants from the Solo Flights Project Advancement Fund: Exhibit, written by and starring Golden Globe® and NAACP Award-winning playwright, actor and director Regina Taylor, directed by Tony Award and Drama Desk Award®-nominated actress Phylicia Rashad, with Regina Victor as dramaturg and associate director; and The Exhibitionist, written by Drama Desk Award-nominated playwright and Broadway actor James Hindman, starring HBO’s Somebody Somewhere’s Jeff Hiller and directed by former Executive Producer of Theatre Aspen Michael Rader. The Solo Flights Project Advancement grant winners will each be awarded $10,000 in support of a future production of that work.
“This year’s Solo Flights participants were an unusually stimulating and exciting group of new works in every aspect. We are delighted that the festival was able to support the further development of two of the selections,” said Producing Director Jed Bernstein. “We offer our congratulations to Exhibit and The Exhibitionist for their Solo Flights Project Advancement Fund grants this year and look forward to what comes next for all of the shows.”
The selection panel for this year’s grants was composed of distinguished members from across the entertainment industry, including The Washington Post’s chief theater critic Peter Marks, the artistic director of the Drama Desk Award-winning Keen Company off-Broadway Jonathan Silverstein, and two-time Tony Award-nominated actor for Hand to God and Tootsie Sarah Stiles.
This year’s Solo Flights Festival featured six new works including grant recipients Exhibit and The Exhibitionist, all receiving early developmental support from Theatre Aspen, including: Dead Center, written by principal dancer James Whiteside from American Ballet Theatre with music and lyrics by David Dabbon & James Whiteside and direction by Lorin Latarro (Waitress, Into the Woods); Dignity, with music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Bryce Pinkham and directed by actor, director and educator Zack Fine; First, written by American novelist and National Book Award finalist Kate Walbert and directed by Tony Award nominee Sheryl Kaller; and In That Little Village Near Perm, written by television producer and screenwriter Gary Dontzig and directed by Brooklyn- and Dublin-based director Marc Atkinson Borrull.
Solo Flights is an annual, week-long developmental festival of one-person shows presented in the beginning stages of their making. Launched in 2019, the festival has brought a variety of diverse works and celebrated actors and directors to Theatre Aspen. Past artists have included Beau Bridges, Kaye Winks, Sarah Stiles, Christine Quintana, Emma Ramos, Richard Greenberg, Lameece Issaq, Kate Baldwin, Taylor Trensch, Michael Gaston, James Naughton, Marsha Mason, Judith Ivey, and more.
Theatre Aspen’s Solo Flights Festival is presented in part by Rachel and Rick Klausner, Nancy Wall and Chuck Wall, Juliet Shield-Taylor and the Robins Foundation, Karen Brooks and Maja and Nicholas DuBrul.
As Theatre Aspen celebrates its 40th Anniversary season in 2023, it continues to rekindle a sense of discovery in audiences who live in and visit the Roaring Fork Valley by producing big theatre in a small space with intimate storytelling. Each season, Theatre Aspen promises to bring world-class theatre dramatically closer, with innovative and imaginative productions of both plays and musicals. These productions are complemented by an assortment of community events, including
cabarets, educational programs and performances, collaborations with other Aspen arts organizations, and new works presentations. Theatre Aspen also boasts an impressive Apprentice Program, one of the largest in the country, devoted to training the next generation of theatrical artists and administrators. For more information on Theatre Aspen, visit TheatreAspen.org or call (970) 925-9313.
2023 SOLO FLIGHTS NEW WORKS
Written by and starring Regina Taylor
Directed by Phylicia Rashad
An African-American woman, Iris, recalls pieces of her childhood as she integrated a school in Muskogee Oklahoma. Her personal recollections are flashes of a sharply polarized America in transition as the civil rights movement
rolls forward. Iris’s memories of her martyred innocence for a cause are triggered by things she thought she’d never see again in her lifetime- the enactment of today’s roll back of the social tides of change.
Written by James Hindman
Directed by Michael Rader
Starring Jeff Hiller
Amidst the hushed buzz of anticipation, Justin strides confidently toward the McMillon Arts Museum’s audience gathered to witness the unveiling of a recently discovered painting by Vincent Van Gogh. Little do they know that, just one floor below, Justin – an intern at the museum – is under scrutiny as one of a hundred other aspiring artists competing to have his artwork chosen as the grand prize winner, thrusting him onto the career trajectory of his dreams. The Exhibitionist delves deep into the nuances of what it means to be an artist and the lengths we will go to define our worth and success.
Written by James Whiteside
Music & Lyrics by David Dabbon & James Whiteside Directed by Lorin Latarro
Starring James Whiteside
James Whiteside is a thrilling multifaceted artist whose personal story is as unique as his artistic virtuosity as one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers. James uses dance, song, and high camp to process the death of his complicated and beloved mother, and the near death of his dance career after a brutal knee injury. He reminds us all that there is life after change and the only way through… is through. Join us for the most fun funeral you’ll ever attend.
Dignity, Always, Dignity
Created & Book by Zack Fine, Bryce Pinkham, Rona Siddiqui, and Kirya Traber
Directed by Zack Fine
Music by Rona Siddiqui
Lyrics by Zack Fine and Rona Siddiqui
Dramaturgy by Kirya Traber
Performed by Bryce Pinkham Starring Bryce Pinkham
The lights come up to reveal a small island surrounded by water, at the center of which is a broken-down baby grand piano. Out of it crawls The Performer, a shaggy, 21st-century Buster Keaton-type fellow. He was a performer before he washed up on this island. At least he thinks he was. He’s been stranded longer than he can remember. His name is…well actually he can’t remember that either, but before all this, he was certain he was a star. His companion is an imaginary piano player named Bobby and an island of memories washed ashore that he must somehow use to put on one last show that’s sure to “fix it all” before the final curtain falls.
Written by Kate Walbert
Directed by Sheryl Kaller
Starring Judith Ivey
It’s the winter of 1968, and in a dirt-floor kitchen in Watkinsville, Georgia, the country’s first congresswoman, now eighty-seven, prepares to head to Washington for the Women’s March against the Vietnam War. Inspired by the life and activism of Jeannette Rankin, First presents this complicated, irascible, and mostly forgotten character from history as she walks us through her story — beginning in 1916, before national suffrage, when she was elected to represent Montana in U.S. Congress: one woman swimming upstream in a sea of four-hundred and thirty-four men.
In That Little Village Near Perm
Written by Gary Dontzig
Directed by Marc Atkinson Borull
Starring Masha Mason
Olga, Masha, and Irina, Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, have become some of the most beloved characters in theatre history. The last time we saw them, they were embracing outside their home in an unnamed little village near the Ural Mountains and the town of Perm. They were all going through major transitions, wondering what meaning they could find in their lives, while facing uncertain futures: the loss of a life, the loss of a love, and the possible end of their dream to return to Moscow. Decades have passed, a revolution has taken place, two world wars have been fought, it is now 1950. In Russia, Stalin has been in power for 28 years; in America, HUAC is investigating the existence of communists in
Hollywood; Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are in the midst of a years-long feud, and we find that the three sisters are part of it all.
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