Every day is opening night.

Richard Dreyfuss and Rinde Eckert to Star in Premiere of “Imagining Heschel” for Culture Project

Rick Miramontez / Elizabeth Wagner
rick@oandmco.com / elizabeth@oandmco.com





New York, NY – Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Artistic Director) will present the world premiere of Imagining Heschel, a new play by Colin Greer, directed by Larry Moss, who was last represented Off-Broadway by his acclaimed production of Syringa Tree. The two-character play will feature actors Richard Dreyfuss and Rinde Eckert. Performances begin at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, NYC) on Thursday, November 4th, 2010, and continue through Sunday, November 28th, 2010, for 20 performances only. An official opening night is set for Monday, November 8, 2010.

Imagining Heschel explores private conversations between Cardinal Augustin Bea and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel from 1962 – 1973, when Heschel was asked to aid the Vatican Council in formally exonerating the Jews for the death of Christ – a crucial repudiation of anti-Semitism. Heschel resists, demanding the Vatican apologize for their acquiescence to the Holocaust, and an ideological test of wills ensues. Colin Greer's imagined discussions between these philosophical giants in the midst of the numerous struggles of the late 1960s -including the war in Vietnam which Heschel strenuously opposed, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, which he supported – lend enormous insight into contemporary issues of peaceful resolution in the Middle East. Imagining Heschel raises important questions about the justification of violence by any faith, and the limits of forgiveness. In 1994 Richard Dreyfuss read excerpts from Leonard Bernstein's Kaddish performed for Pope John Paul II in the very first official Vatican commemoration of the Holocaust. This event foreshadowed the role he was born to play: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Imagining Heschel will play the following performance schedule: November 4 – November 9, November 11 – November 14, November 16 – November 20, November 22 – 23, and November 26 – 28. Mondays – Saturdays @ 8:00pm, Sundays @ 3:00pm. Tickets are $80.00 and are available via www.telecharge.com.

Culture Project is New York’s premier destination for artistic work that investigates urgent social and political issues. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and theatre, music and film artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue and policy, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time. Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Allan Buchman, Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright’s My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer’s Betrayed and Temple University’s acclaimed production of In Conflict. Most recently, Culture Project produced Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum, a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations to commemorate the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and Twin Spirits, a poetic meditation on the passionate relationship between composer Robert Schumann and wife Clara Wieck in celebration of Schumman’s 200th birthday, starring Sting and Trudie Styler. For more information, visit www.cultureproject.org.


Colin Greer (Playwright) is President of The New World Foundation. Formerly, he was Professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY. He is best known for The Great School Legend and Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling (which won the American Library Association’s Eli M. Oboler Intellectual Freedom Award). He was a founding editor of Change Magazine and Social Policy Magazine, and a contributing editor to Parade Magazine. He is the author (with Herbert Kohl) of A Call to Character, Harper Collins. Other books include: What Nixon is doing to Us, The Solution is Part of the Problem, After Reagan What? among others. Dr. Greer participated in and directed several studies of US Immigration and urban schooling policy and history (at Columbia University and CUNY). He wrote briefing papers on philanthropy and government for First Lady, Mrs. Clinton, and on education policy for Senator Paul Wellstone. He chairs, The LARK Theatre Company (NYC), and The Culture Project (NYC) and serves on the Board of the NYC Interfaith Center and The Center for Social Inclusion. He was a founding member of the Jewish Fund for Justice. Dr. Greer is also a published poet and a playwright.

Larry Moss (Director) began his career at New York’s famed cabaret Upstairs at the Downstairs and went on to appear on Broadway in numerous productions including Joe Layton's Drat! The Cat!, Neil Simon's God’s Favorit, directed by Michael Bennett, Burt Shevelove's So Long 174th Street, Gerald Freedman's The Robber Bridegroom, and Gene Saks' I Love My Wife. After teaching in New York at Julliard and Circle in the Square, he moved to Los Angeles and founded The Larry Moss Studio. It was here that he directed and developed Pamela Gien’s The Syringa Tree, which had its world premiere at ACT in Seattle. The Syringa Tree opened in New York in September 2000 and won the Obie Award for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor and a nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. The Syringa Tree has played to sold out houses and critical acclaim around the world, including London (The National Theater), Toronto (Can Stage), where it won the Dora Award for Best Actress and Best Play of 2005. Moss directed the TV version that was filmed by Trio Arts Network and most recently, Pamela and Larry, and their producer Matt Salinger, took The Syringa Tree on a profound journey of the heart, home, to South Africa to the Baxter Theater. Moss developed and directed Bo Eason’s Runt of the Litter at Manhattan Class Company in January 2002 and when it re-opened in November 2007 at 37 Arts Theatre. It was voted one of the top ten plays of the year by New York Daily News and was bought by Castle Rock to be made into a major motion picture. Runt is currently on a National Tour which began in Seattle at ACT. Moss has directed Michael Raynor's Who is Floyd Stearn; Richard Kalinoski’s Beast on the Moon; Jack Holmes’s RFK (Drama League Award); April Daisy White’s Sugar; Richard Vetere’s How To Go Out On A Date in Queens; Richard Hellersen’s Dos Corazones both as a play and film; and the World Premiere of JAM a new musical, starring Clint Holmes at The Judy Bayley Theater. He did a workshop of John Osborne’s Epitaph for George Dillon in New York for the first time in fifty years in June 2008. He recently directed Josh Jonas’s Capture Now off-Broadway, Michael Stewarts I Love My Wife starring Jason Alexander at Reprise in Los Angeles and John Patrick Shanley’s Beggars in the House of Plenty in Los Angeles. He will be directing Relative Insanity, a new film which begins shooting early 2011. Moss’s teaching career includes US, Canada and Europe, he is one of the master teachers on Triple Sensation, whose second season began spring 2009 on CBC in Canada. His book on Acting The Intent to Live was released by Bantam Dell in 2004.

Richard Dreyfuss has been a feature-film, TV and theatre actor for 55 years. His films include Jaws, The Goodbye Girl, Tin Men, Once Around, Mr. Holland’s Opus, among many others. He produced and co-wrote for The History Channel shows about Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, a program on why we build monuments, and worked on projects for HBO such as the film Prisoner of Honor. Dreyfuss was the executive producer of the award-winning ABC special honoring the bicentennial of the Constitution, Funny, You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville. He is the founder of L.A. Works, a community-based volunteer program that has become a template for over 15 cities in the U.S. For two years he funded a newsletter in Jerusalem aimed at academics and authors of the Israeli intelligence community that simply included the opinion and commentaries of the left and right, “so no one could say they didn’t know what the other was thinking.” As the first Intifada was slowly ending, Dreyfuss co-created, with The Columbia School of Journalism, a three-day conference in NY that brought Arabic, Palestinian and Israeli journalists together for the first time. He created, then partnered with, CSIS of Washington, D.C., in bringing the media networks of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera together to explore the question, “Which Gods do you worship?” The participants were spontaneously surprised when they became journalists bonding under fire. In 1988, Dreyfuss created a proposal for a “docufiction” with Francis Fukuyama, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Sam Lewis, Nightline producer Jay LaMonica and approximately 15 political theorists, columnists, foreign policy experts from the US, Europe and the Middle East called Imagining the Peace: The Middle East Conference of 1992. When Dreyfuss and LaMonica returned from Israel, Ted Koppel refused to broadcast it, dismissing it as fantasy. On the lawn of The White House in 1993, as Prime Minister Rabin was signing a treaty with Arafat, Dreyfuss said to Mr. Koppel, “We were off by one year.” The Chief of IDF said, “We have never gamed the peace, we have only gamed war. Now we will game the peace.” Most recently, Dreyfuss is the founder of The Dreyfuss Initiative (TheDreyfussInitiative.org). The non-profit organization achieves to revive an enhanced study of the pre-partisan tools of civic expertise necessary to comprehend and maintain this republican democracy as the starting point toward our weaving values through all sectors of the culture, establishing the ethic foundation upon which we stand.

Rinde Eckert the 2009 recipient of The Alpert Award in the Arts for his contributions to Theatre and finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is a writer, composer, performer and director. His Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured throughout America, and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. Eckert’s career began as a writer/performer in the 1980’s, writing librettos for Paul Dresher (Pioneer, Power Failure, Slow Fire, Ravenshead). He subsequently began composing dance scores for choreographers Sarah Shelton Mann and Margaret Jenkins, including the evening-length Woman, Window, Square for The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. He began composing and performing his own music/theater pieces with The Gardening of Thomas D, a 1992 homage to Dante which was performed on tour in the United States and France. Eckert’s staged works for solo performer include An Idiot Divine, Romeo Sierra Tango and Quit This House. Shoot the Moving Things and Four Songs Lost in a Wall were written for radio. Recent writing credits include Horizon (2007-2008 Drama Desk Nominations for Best Play and Best Director, Lucille Lortel Award: “Unique Theatrical Experience”); Orpheus X (Pulitzer Prize nomination); Highway Ulysses and Four Songs Lost in a Wall (The American Academy of Arts and Letters 2005 Marc Blitzstein Award); And God Created Great Whales (OBIE Award: Best Performance, Drama Desk Nomination: “Unique Theatrical Experience”); and the two, one-act plays An Idiot Divine, performed at Zankel Hall in New York City. Three of his plays – And God Created Great Whales, Horizon and Orpheus X – have had successful off-Broadway runs. His work for the theater has been produced by Theatre for a New Audience, the New York Theatre Workshop, The Foundry Theatre and Culture Project in New York, American Repertory Theatre, Center Stage in Baltimore, Dobama Theatre Company and Berkeley Repertory Theater. Tony Taccone, Robert Woodruff, David Schweizer, Richard ET White and Ellen McLaughlin have directed his plays. Rinde Eckert has directed his own and others’ plays and operas for The Asia Society, Juggernaut Theater, Opera Piccola and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. Writing and directing projects involving new music productions include The Schick Machine with virtuoso percussionist Steven Schick in a solo-theater work composed/produced by Paul Dresher, Imaginary City with So Percussion, Sound Stage for the ensemble Zeitgeist, and Steven Mackey’s oratorio Dream House. Eckert wrote the text and performs in Slide with composer/guitarist Mackey and eighth blackbird, which is touring to major university campuses. Mackey and Eckert are members of BIG FARM, the 4-person ‘prog-rock’ band. Rinde Eckert’s uniquely eclectic music is available on the Intuition label in Germany and through Songline/Tonefield Productions. The critically acclaimed Sandhills Reunion (music by Jerry Granelli, text by Eckert) was released in 2005. Following his success teaching a course in creativity at Princeton University in 2007 and began a 3-year residency in Spring 2009. He was the 2008 Granada Artist-in-Residence at the University of California at Davis Department of Theater and Dance where he wrote and directed Fate and Spinoza, and was in partnership with the University of Iowa to create, direct and perform in Eye Piece, a play exploring the loss of vision and involving 30 theater students. Gurs Zyklus, a new music/performance/multi-media installation and collaboration with sound sculptor Trimpin debuts at Stanford University in May 2011. Rinde Eckert lives in New York with his wife, Ellen McLaughlin, the playwright and actress.

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