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Behind the Curtain: A Virtual Tour of the Beginnings of Broadway
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:55 am EDT 04/27/21

The Episcopal Actors' Guild welcomes downtown theater-maker Ralph Lewis for Behind the Curtain: A Virtual Tour of the Beginnings of Broadway on May 20th

When: Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7:00 P.M. (EDT)

Where: Online via Zoom

Tickets: $0-$25, available at https://ticketstripe.com/eag-behind-the-curtain

Running time: Approximately 60 minutes


***

(New York, NY) EAG will be taking a peek Behind the Curtain with downtown theater-maker Ralph Lewis of Peculiar Works Project for a unique look at New York City's earliest theaters. Through this virtual tour of the beginnings of Broadway, audiences will be introduced to images of its locations, its builders and managers, and the actors who made history on its stages.

Inspired by a rare 1851 book, Before and Behind the Curtain by William Knight Northall, Lewis shares the writer's passion for the struggles and the growth of theater in New York City, from a single venue to an entire Theater District. "The book brought together my interests in local theater, community building, historic preservation, and even circus arts, so every page continued to amaze me in a bigger and better way."

Lewis originally wrote and performed this "talk" on a curator's dare for the inaugural Lower East Side History Month at Tompkins Square Library. After its success earned an encore invitation from the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, Behind the Curtain was developed in collaboration with director Jason Jacobs and visual designer Blue Bliss into an entertaining and informative one-hour solo show. Part storytelling, part history lesson, part personal revelation, Behind the Curtain is the down-n-dirty story of how the Great White Way was born and is tailor-made for anyone interested in American popular theater and its NYC history.

All proceeds from this special one-night-only performance will go to support the charitable programs of EAG. For nearly 100 years, EAG has been providing emergency financial aid and career support to New York City's professional performing artists in need. EAG can help qualified applicants with rent, utility, and medical bills; a food pantry; free headshots; scholarships and awards; and free monthly professional development and self-care workshops.

***

RALPH LEWIS (writer/performer) has lived downtown for over 30 years, having graduated from NYU in 1983 with an honors degree in Theater. Since 1993, he has been a co-director of Peculiar Works Project, an Obie Award-winning producer of site-specific performance, creating original theater as a director, writer, and teacher. Having produced diverse, multi-disciplinary events throughout the Lower East Side and NYC, some Peculiar performance sites include Judson Church, Old Merchant's House, Jimmy's No. 43, Marble Cemetery, C.H.A.R.A.S./El BoHio, Bowery Whole Foods, Greenwich House, the La MaMa Annex basement, and the streets of the Village for a performed walking tour. Recently, Ralph directed a Climate Change Theater Action for Artichoke Arts and Tom Murrin's Son of Cock-Strong in the Full Moon Festival at La MaMa. He has also directed terrific plays by William M. Hoffman, Megan Terry, Marina Shron, Hallie Flanagan, and Aristophanes, among others. He is a member of Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and the League of Independent Theaters/New York. When not making theater, Ralph lives in a 200-year-old Federal house on the Bowery and volunteers with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, NYC Loft Tenants, and Community Board 3's Arts Task-Force.

JASON JACOBS (director) is a New York-based director, writer, and teaching artist who was identified as a "Person of the Year" by NYTheatre.com in 2007. He has been obsessed with 19th century American theater most of his life and is preparing to co-direct a new version of Uncle Tom's Cabin at Pittsburgh Playhouse in winter 2017. His original play Another Horatio Alger Story was developed with the Theatre Askew Drafting Table and Metropolitan Playhouse's 2012 Living Literature Festival and presented in Chicago at Pride Plays and Film's Gay Play Fest 2016. As the former co-Artistic Director of Theatre Askew, he conceived and directed Bald Diva! (GLAAD Media Nomination and published in the anthology Playing With Cannons) and co-directed I Claudius, Live. Other New York directing productions include: East Side Stories: Ghosts (Metropolitan Playhouse), After the Chairs by David Koteles (Best Direction 2014 Fresh Fruit Festival), Lavender Songs by Jeremy Lawrence (Backstage Bistro Award), and Post Modern Living & Lost In Staten Island by Richard Sheinmel (LaMama Club). Jason is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a Master Teaching Artist with Roundabout Theatre. He received his BA from Yale and MFA from Columbia.

BLUE BLISS (designer) has been a glassblower, haunted house painter, fine artist, muralist, illustrator, animator, projection designer, graphic designer, motion graphics designer, photographer, videographer, portraitist, lyricist, sound designer and playwright. She's currently developing a play with music based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Blue also plays the fiddle and lives in Brooklyn.

THE EPISCOPAL ACTORS' GUILD (est. 1923) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. EAG 's mission is to provide emergency aid and support to professional performers of all faiths and none who are undergoing financial crisis. The Guild is also dedicated to helping emerging artists advance their careers through scholarships, awards, and performance opportunities. Throughout the year, EAG hosts events and fundraisers including concerts, variety shows, play readings, and professional workshops. www.actorsguild.org
Link https://ticketstripe.com/eag-behind-the-curtain
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