Geva Theatre Center presents the Geva Theatre Conservatory production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents by Andy Bayiates, SEan Benjamin, Gevenvra Gallo Bayiates, Chloe Johnson and Karen Weinberg and directed by Sean Daniels in the Fielding Nextstage from tonight, September 22 – October 6, 2012.
A smart, hilarious and irreverent look at whom our country chooses as its president …and why. Each President gets a two-minute play in a surprisingly informative, yet moving view of American History, with a 2012 Presidential vote by the audience at the end of each performance.
In 2002, the Neo-Futurists of Chicago presented their original production of 43 Plays for 43 Presidents. Not long thereafter, the play was performed by Dad's Garage Theatre in Atlanta, where the audience included former President Jimmy Carter. "It was exactly a week after he had won the Nobel Prize and he laughed really hard during the Reagan section, and that seemed to really tickle his Secret Service detail," stated Sean Daniels, who directed the Dad's Garage production and who directs this production at Geva. "Also, at intermission, he shook the hand of everyone in the house and thanked them for supporting live theatre." In 2004, the Neo-Futurists remounted the play, performing it at various venues around the country. Since then, the play has been published and continues to be performed at high school, community and professional theatres nationwide.
During this election year, there will be 44 Productions of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents from coast to coast, from the border of Canada to our border with Mexico in a national festival – Plays for Presidents 2012, of which Sean Daniels serves as co-chair. To connect all 44 Productions, the Neo-Futurists of Chicago have asked each producing group to submit a video of one of the two-minute plays for inclusion in a composite video project. Geva's chosen President is Abraham Lincoln. Plays for Presidents 2012 has partnered with "Rock the Vote" a national organization dedicated to engaging and building political power for young people in our country. For more information on the national Plays for Presidents 2012 Festival, visit www.playsforpresidents.org.
The cast for 44 Plays for 44 Presidents is comprised of students from area universities: Breanna Melino and Courtney Scheer are students at Nazareth College; Brooke Paolotto is a student at Monroe Community College; Christine M. Rose and Jonathan Wetherbee are recent graduates from the University of Rochester, and Ricky Thomas is a student at SUNY Brockport. Cast member Danny Kunz is a member of Geva Comedy Improv.
44 Plays for 44 Presidents is directed by Sean Daniels, Geva's Director of Artistic Engagement/Artist at Large. The production is stage managed by Katy Kepler, a recent graduate of SUNY Brockport and former Geva Theatre Center intern. Gustave Rogers, a student at Nazareth College is the dramaturg.
This production is Geva's entry into the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival with performances in the Fielding Nextstage tonight, September 22 and September 23. The production will continue to run in the Fielding Nextstage after the Fringe Festival through October 6.
"It's a show where every president gets a 2-minute play" says Director Sean Daniels, "so you get an American Civics lesson in two hours. It's amazing to have 44 Productions from the large Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY to the smaller drama program of the Little Rock High School – the same school where Eisenhower sent in the National Guard for the Little Rock Nine in 1957. Even better, we're partnering with "Rock the Vote," so that following each performance our audience has the opportunity to get involved for what the next chapter in our country's history will be"