Thornton Wilder's THE ALCESTIAD to be performed outdoors Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island - June 18 - 21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 07:38 pm EDT 05/19/21

In anticipation of Thornton Wilder's 125 Birthday Celebration

Magis Theatre Company

Announces its postponed production of

Thornton Wilder's


Will be presented June 18- 20, 2021

The production will take place outdoors at

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island

King Agis: "Then what is the cause of this pestilence?"
Alcestis: "... to call our attention to... to make us stop, to open our eyes."

The Alcestiad, Thornton Wilder

New York: Marking the lead-up to Thornton Wilder's 125 Birthday, The Magis Theatre Company's production of Wilder's The Alcestiad- A play in three acts, which was postponed from last summer due to COVID, will now be presented this June 18-20, 2021, during the summer solstice. It will be performed outdoors at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island, against the backdrop of Manhattan's skyline, FDR's Four Freedoms Speech, and the ruins of the smallpox hospital. This production will follow all State and City directives to keep both cast and audience members safe. This production will follow all State and City directives to keep both cast and audience members safe.

Tickets are FREE but reservations are required and can be made by visiting EventBrite.com and for more information, please visit Alcestiad.com.

One of America's most lauded playwrights, Thornton Wilder's rarely performed play, The Alcestiad, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 1955, directed by Tyrone Guthrie, and is inspired by Euripides Greek tragedy Alcestis. Wilder's third-act imagines a world after Alcestis returns from the land of the dead; her kingdom is overthrown by a tyrant and is ravaged by a plague. It deals with the power of irrational fear in society at the hands of those who would seek to intimidate others brutally, in the same way that FDR's speech urges us to strive for "Freedom from Fear." The play as a whole asks questions about the meaning of human life and its relationship to the divine.

Magis Theatre has been examining and exploring this play in workshop since 2017, long before the current pandemic struck. The Alcestiad features an ensemble cast including Jeanne Castagnaro,

Russ Cusick, Margi Sharp Douglas, George Drance, Jack Fadner, Kimbirdlee Fadner, Jacqueline Lucid, Tony Macht, Rachel Benbow Murdy, Gabriel Portuondo, Mae Roney, Diego Tapia, and Jenna Wyman with music by Sara Gallassini, stage management team Jennifer M. Leary and Sheree V. Campbell and production designers are GianMarco Lo Forte and Mark Tambella. This production will be presented outdoors at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park, against the Manhattan skyline and the ruins of the Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island in New York City.

During the shutdown, Magis Theatre Company launched an interactive website that explores the world of Thornton Wilder's The Alcestaid. For updates on this production and more information, please visit Alcestiad.com.

"This has been a very long and trying year for all of us, and although we continued to meet online as a company, we are beyond thrilled to announce that we will be performing live this summer. We chose The Alcestiad long before the pandemic, and the plague it deals with speaks to our present reality. Performing at Four Freedoms Park reminds us that there is still work to be done on "the freedom from fear" The ruins of the Smallpox Hospital reminds us of how we have made it through all this before. This play does what theatre is supposed to do – entertain audiences while reflecting the world around us."

Magis Theatre, director George Drance.

Thornton Wilder said of The Alcestiad, "On one level, my play recounts the life of a woman–of many women–from bewildered bride to sorely tested wife to overburdened old age. On another level, it is a wildly romantic story of gods and men, of death and hell and resurrection, of great loves and great trials, of usurpation and revenge. On another level, however, it is a comedy about a very serious matter."

FOUR FREEDOMS PARK CONSERVANCY (FFPC), a nonprofit that programs the State Park, has generously incorporated this production as part of their yearly public programming schedule. FFPC's mission is to produce and welcome public programming that aligns and supports the mission to encourage discourse around the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

MAGIS THEATRE seeks out neglected works of the past that still have something important to say to us in our present. "The Alcestiad" is one of those pieces and was brought to Magis Theatre's attention by Irene Worth in 1997. In a world where individualism and greed have been driving forces in recent years, Thornton Wilder's work celebrates the beauty of making sacrifices for the good of others and how this kind of courageous self-giving can transform society. Alcestis learning through her pain to overcome it by understanding is a theme that is crucial for us today.

The Alcestiad

Written by Thornton Wilder, directed by George Drance,

June 18 through June 20, 2021

Performance Schedule:

Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 7 PM

Running time is 90 minutes, no intermission.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island

Tickets are FREE (General Admission. RSVPs are required)

Tickets are FREE but reservations are required and can be made by visiting EventBrite.com

For more information about the Magis Theatre Company please visit Alcestiad.com


F Train to Roosevelt Island Subway Station

Roosevelt Island by the Tramway at East 59 Street

Press Performance: Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 7 PM

This production is being presented in compliance to all current AEA COVID guidelines and regulations.

Director George Drance and the cast are available for interviews to discuss The Alcestiad and their return to performing live. To arrange an interview or press tickets, please contact

JT Public Relations / joe@jt-pr.net (973) 568-8236


Magis Theatre Company is an actor-driven, physically-based ensemble, creating art and sharing our training with professionals, teachers, and students. We train together for 3-5 hours weekly while exploring literary works that examine the human condition across cultures and generations. The creative input of the ensemble forms each new artwork.

In 2005, Magis began working together to continue the unique kind of training we shared as artists in the Columbia University MFA program. For over ten years, we have opened our doors to student and professional actors seeking this kind of training, produced a yearly season of critically acclaimed performances, and presented our work at professional theatre education conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally.

As an ensemble, our weekly training sharpens our skills and lets us work with our texts for a long time before the formal rehearsal process begins. We normally study and work with a text for over a year before we begin rehearsal.

Magis Techniques have been shared at workshops at several universities and with the Kennedy Center's Cultural Visitors Program; and abroad in Italy, Albania, Honduras, Kosovo, Cambodia, and Guatemala.

In those years, we have presented a number of productions, including "Calderon's Two Dreams" (2017) "Mark," (2014), "Occupy Olympus" (2013) "Shakuntala and the Ring of Recognition." (2010) Our current programming also includes our monthly "Actor's Workout" training open to the public, collaborating across disciplines on new works based on neglected texts, opening readings and workshops for our audiences to experience our process.

Magis is committed to collaborating across disciplines to explore neglected texts.

The texts we choose to work on seek to foster a greater understanding of the human condition and are texts that speak to the present from the past.

Our last major production was the professional American premiere of the 1677 script of "Life is a Dream" by Calderon De La Barca. We presented this new translation in repertoire with the more familiar 1635 version so that audiences could experience the breadth of the playwright's life experience and wisdom as the plays reflected and echoed each other. The production entitled "Calderon's Two Dreams" featured a cast of 14 and 4 musicians playing music specially composed for the production by the late Elizabeth Swados.

As an ensemble, we train weekly practicing the "Magis method," which was developed after several alumni from the Columbia University Graduate MFA program in Acting wanted to deepen and develop the training they received at the hands of master teachers such as Andrei Serban, Anne Bogart, Kristen Linklater, Priscilla Smith, and Nikolaus "Niky" Wolcz. Recognizing that there was not yet any single place to go where they could continue to find the diversity and breadth of this training, they decided to work together to create a laboratory where different techniques could be investigated and interact with one another.

We are also committed to using theatre to generate a greater understanding of the possibilities of using our artform to help human growth and understanding. To that end, we have been running workshops in local state and federal prisons. Using Magis Company members as teaching artists working with Joseph Brockets' text of "The Odyssey" and engaging with incarcerated persons exploring the text and how the themes of personal struggle and responsible action might be mirrored in their own lives.

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