Axial Theatre Premieres Nectar: Prize-winning Play by Katie Baldwin Eng Explores Love, Sex, Birth, Death and the Power of Magic
Runs Friday, November 3 through Sunday, November 19
WESTCHESTER, NY – Axial Theatre’s presentation of Nectar, Katie Baldwin Eng’s bright and bold new prize-winning play that tackles love, sex, birth, death and the power of magic, will have its world premiere for a limited three-week run in November as the company’s fall mainstage production. Sure to stun as much for its hilarity as its unexpected bursts of enchantment and, ultimately, its poignancy, the play follows the transitions and transformations of strong women coming to terms with a once strong, now dying, man named Max. Baldwin Eng, a Richard Rogers finalist, is known for writing ‘plays that are like musicals and musicals that are like plays.’ Nectar previews at Axial Theatre’s Pleasantville stage Friday, November 3 and Saturday matinee November 4, opens Saturday evening, November 4, and runs weekends through November 19.
Exceptionally lauded for a play only seen in staged readings to date, Nectar has already received numerous accolades and much critical acclaim including the Irv Zarkower Award for Excellence and the Hudson Valley Writers Center New Play Prize. Directed by Christina Roussos, a recent Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, it features six women in a cast of nine including eight members and associates of Axial Theatre. The play follows the company’s tradition of celebrating the work of women in theater as writers, directors and actors.
Drama Desk award-winning director Josh Hecht, artistic director of Profile Theatre, calls Nectar, “A magical, poignant, funny new play, full of a wistful, even nostalgic sense of romance and loss while also holding space for a hopeful future.”
Craig Lucas, Obie-award winning playwright, New York Film Critics award-winning screenwriter as well as an actor and director of stage and screen, says: “In Katie Baldwin Eng’s marvelous play Nectar, love, longing & sex lead to their inevitable destination as in life… Seldom has a writer so trusted the logic and veracity of her dream. There is enough in Nectar to occupy a fleet of Jungian analysts for lifetimes. Devouring passion and irrevocable loss join hands with the urgency of young lovers seizing their only chance to do what lovers must do. Nectar insists upon itself with that same drive. How does Two become One? That is the eternal question.”
Howard Meyer, founder and artistic director of Axial Theatre, calls it “a rare find, a play that exhibits rich, comedic language and fits right into the tradition of magical realism established by Gabriel Garcia Marques in 100 Years of Solitude.” An accomplished playwright and theater impresario, Meyer was honored by ArtsWestchester as one of 50 significant artists in Westchester.
Nectar tells the story of a midwestern woman, pregnant and on her babymoon in a great European city, who encounters a celebrated French film star, and discovers that they were both mistresses of the same legendary writer who now lies dying in a coma. An overnight vigil of astonishing revelations leads the beguiled and heartbroken to realize what it means to grow up, to love and be loved.
The cast includes Axial members and associates Catherine Banks (Ossining resident), Susan Ward (Ossining), Gail Greenstein (Katonah), Mary Roberts (Mount Kisco), Sandy Oppedisano (Dobbs Ferry), Anne Hammond (Bedford Hills), Michael Boyle Jr. (Ossining) and Patrick McGuinness (Brewster) and guest artist John Riley O’Handley.
Set design is by Heather Kornreich (Mount Kisco); costume designer, Isabelle Coler; lighting & projection design by Devorah Kengmana; sound designer is Sam Kaseta; music by Jeff Tang; props designer, Casey Alexander Smith; stage manager is Cat Hickerson; technical director, Diana Dávila; production manager, Mary Cate Mangum; carpenter, Dijon Jackson.
NB: For media interest, hometowns of cast and crew residing in Westchester and Putnam have been added.
Nectar performances are Friday, November 3, 10 and 17 and Saturday, November 4, 11 and 18 at 8 p.m. plus matinees each Saturday at 3 and Sundays at 4 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 8 Sunnyside Avenue, Pleasantville 10570. Tickets are $27.50; $22.50 for students and seniors; student $10 rush tickets will be offered for this run if purchased 1 hour before curtain. Opening Night will include hors d’oeuvres and sweet treats. A talkback with the playwright, actors and director follows the Nov. 11 evening and Nov. 12 matinee performances. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-838-3006. Tickets can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com (search Axial Theatre).
KATIE BALDWIN ENG, PLAYWRIGHT
Katie Baldwin Eng’s short play All That Glitters has been made into a film directed by Yaara Sumeruk. Her adaptation of the George Macdonald story The Day Boy and The Night Girl was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award and was produced by Indiana University’s Premiere Musicals Workshop. Her three short musicals, Passage of Dreams, with composer Jeff Tang were developed in Minneapolis at Playlabs and premiered Minneapolis’ Theater Latte Da. DISORDER: A Mother-Daughter Vaudeville with composer Gihieh Lee and lyricist Julianne Wick Davis, was part of William Finn’s Musical Theater Lab at Barrington Stage Company. She has a BA in religious studies from Brown University and an MFA from NYU’s Musical Theater Writing Program.
CHRISTINA ROUSSOS, DIRECTOR
Christina Roussos, originally from the Boston area and currently based in New York, focuses primarily on new plays. Her work has been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Caps Lock Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Lark, Brooklyn College and Theater Breaking Through Barriers among others. At TBTB she was an associate director from 2009 to 2011. She also directs web series (Bodega and The Share – both on Youtube), short films, and music videos. She received her undergraduate degree in theater studies from Emerson College, and her MFA in directing from Brooklyn College where she was a graduate teaching fellow in acting and improvisation. Roussos directed The Hippos of the Eastern Enclosure by Jen Silverman at Clubbed Thumb last spring.
ABOUT AXIAL THEATRE
Founded in 1999, Axial Theatre is a professional theater company that presents contemporary theatrical hits, timeless stage classics, and original works, in mainstage fall and spring productions, plus a series of book-in-hand staged readings. Axial’s affiliated Howard Meyer’s Acting Program offers acting classes for young people through adults, as well as workshops for voice, movement, auditions and improvisation. Playwriting classes also are offered.
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