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Michael Frayn Goes “Downstage Center” with American Theatre Wing

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New York, NY (April 12, 2011) – The American Theatre Wing’s (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Howard Sherman, Executive Director) original interview series, “Downstage Center” continues with an exclusive conversation with four-time Tony Award®-winning author Michael Frayn. Acclaimed for his works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and theatre, Frayn discusses how he determines when an idea is right for the stage when he has multiple forms to choose from. He also recalls his longstanding professional association with director Michael Blakemore and why he values the director's “stupid questions”; whether he fully visualized the madcap frenzy of Noises Off as he wrote it – and why he's still prepared to tinker with the end of that highly successful play; how Copenhagen required him to do massive research, although his background in philosophy had given him a foundation in quantum mechanics; whether American audiences were less familiar than English audiences with the story of Willy Brandt as told in Democracy; and why it's easier to write about the distant past as opposed to the recent past. In addition, all-new interviews with South African actor and director Janet Suzman, director Austin Pendleton (The Three Sisters), actor Elizabeth Marvel (Other Desert Cities), and Manhattan Theatre Club Executive Producer Barry Grove are now available online by visiting www.americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/.

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 a new episode of the television program “Working in the Theatre” entitled The Characters Start Talking: Playwrights 2011. This episode features playwrights Annie Baker, Rinne Groff, Karen Hartman, and Alfred Uhry talking about their writing process; the role of the dramaturg; writing adaptations; collaborating with directors; whether they have a specific actor in mind when they're writing; and how they see the role of the playwright in theatre today. An acclaimed fixture on New York television and in the theatre community for 30 years, the American Theatre Wing's “Working in the Theatre” offers an unprecedented forum for the meeting of theatrical minds. “Working in the Theatre” can be streamed live at www.americantheatrewing.org/wit/.

Three new “In The Wings” features have been posted, including Technical Director Mike Cristaldi, Costume Shop Manager Carol Hammond, and Director of Community Engagement Anita Maynard-Losh. These short videos shine the spotlight on disciplines you may not even realize are a part of theatrical production and celebrate the full diversity of talent that contribute to bringing a show to the stage. For “In The Wings” installments past and present, visit www.americantheatrewing.org/inthewings/.

The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Trustees; 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.


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