Every day is opening night.

Athol Fugard, Howard Panter, Sir Ian McKellen & Alan Ayckbourn to be heard on “Downstager Center”

Press Contact:
O&M Co.
Rick Miramontez / Molly Barnett / Elizabeth Wagner
rick@oandmco.com / molly@oandmco.com / elizabeth@oandmco.com
(212) 695-7400




New York, NY – For the first time since its debut in 2004, The American Theatre Wing’s popular interview program “Downstage Center” has traveled outside New York City to secure interviews with a quartet of major world theatrical figures, producing upcoming episodes with South African playwright Athol Fugard at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven CT, actor Sir Ian McKellen and producer/theatre owner Howard Panter in London, and playwright/director Alan Ayckbourn in Scarborough, England.

Sir Ian McKellen’s career has spanned five decades on stages in England, the U.S. and Australia. Most recently he appeared in Waiting for Godot, first opposite Patrick Stewart and later with Roger Rees, and toured as the title role in King Lear. His Broadway appearances include Dance of Death, Wild Honey and the U.S. premiere of Amadeus. The McKellen interview will be released on October 20, prior to his U.S. visit on November 1 to host a benefit for the charity Only Make Believe.

Athol Fugard is inarguably the world’s best known South African playwright, whose work under the apartheid system broke down racial barriers both in his home country and abroad. His plays include Boesman and Lena, Hello and Goodbye, The Blood Know, A Lesson from Aloes, Master Harold…and the boys, Playland. Sorrows and Rejoicings and his newest play, The Train Driver, receiving its west coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre is Los Angeles and its East Coast premiere at the Long Wharf Theatre. The Fugard interview will be released on October 27.

Howard Panter is Managing Director of Ambassador Theatre Group, owner/operator of more than three dozen theatres in London and around England, prompting him to be named the most powerful man in British theatre by The Stage newspaper. In addition to producing numerous plays and musicals and operating the ATG venues, Panter lays claim to having done every possible job in theatre except acting.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn is making a return visit to “Downstage Center,” having been a guest in 2005 during the New York run of his play Private Fears in Public Places. Since that time, he has stepped down from his post as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; written five new plays, bringing his current total to 74, including My Wonderful Day, seen last year in New York at 59 East 59th Theatres, Life and Beth, and Life of Riley, the last currently receiving its world premiere at the Stephen Joseph; and received a 2010 Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement. He has also seen Private Fears adapted as a film by the French director Alain Resnais and his 1970s trilogy The Norman Conquests revived both in London and New York, where it received the Tony for Best Revival of a Play in 2009.

The Panter and Ayckbourn interviews will be released later in 2010.

American Theatre Wing Executive Director Howard Sherman commented, “While we have been able to secure an extraordinary range of guests in almost 300 programs without ever leaving Manhattan, there are some dream guests who haven’t been available to us in New York for a variety of reasons. For the benefit of our listeners, it seemed important to take the opportunity to get out of Manhattan and continue our conversations where the artists were accessible. I hope we have more opportunities to travel with DSC in the future. ”


As the home for America’s largest free online archive of media focused on how theatre is made, in the words of the very people who make it, in the past month, ATW has released a range of new content, including:

Four new editions of the podcast “Downstage Center”:

Jules Feiffer, Playwright and Pulitzer Prize-winning Cartoonist
o http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/jules_feiffer
Moisés Kaufman, Director, Artistic Director, and Playwright
o http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/moises_kaufman
Elaine Page, West End musical theater star
o http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/elaine_paige
Daniel Sullivan, Director of Time Stands Still and The Merchant of Venice
o http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/daniel_sullivan

Two new editions of the new backstage video podcast, “In The Wings”:

• “Musical Director” featuring Carmel Dean of American Idiot
o http://americantheatrewing.org/inthewings/detail/musical_director
• “Production Manager” featuring Ruth Sternberg of The Public Theater
o http://americantheatrewing.org/inthewings/detail/production_manager

ATW also added to its collection:

• A new conversation from the SDCF “Masters of the Stage” featuring Dance Arrangers David Chase, Mark Hummel, Kathleen Marshall and Jerry Mitchell, moderated by Edie Cowan
o http://americantheatrewing.org/sdcfmasters/detail/dance_arranger
• Classic editions of The Broadway League’s “This is Broadway” with Lenny Baker, Jack Gilford and Stephen Schwartz
o http://americantheatrewing.org/thisisbroadway/ 

The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Directors; Howard Sherman, Executive Director) is a not-for-profit organization best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, which it presents annually with The Broadway League. In addition to “Downstage Center,” “In The Wings,” “Working in the Theatre,” and a host of other online resources, The Wing operates many activities, all dedicated to recognizing excellence and supporting education in theatre, including SpringboardNYC, the Theatre Intern Group, the National Theatre Company Grants and the Jonathan Larson Grants. Visitors to www.americantheatrewing.org can listen to, watch or download from ATW’s extensive media collection, and learn more about all of its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences who want to learn more about the making of theatre. Follow ATW on www.Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing, www.youtube.com/americantheatrewing and www.Twitter.com/TheWing.