Every day is opening night.

Suzanne Vega’s “Carson McCullers Talks About Love” to Premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

Rick Miramontez / Richard Hillman
rick@oandmco.com / richard@oandmco.com

For Ms. Vega:
Aliza Rabinoff
Dan Klores Communications
(212) 981-5157




New York, NY (3/14/11) – Rattlestick Playwrights Theater concludes its 16th season with the world premiere of Carson McCullers Talks About Love, a theater piece with music written and performed by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Suzanne Vega (“Tom’s Diner,” “Luka”) with music by Ms. Vega and Tony Award-winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening). Directed by Kay Matschullat, performances begin Wednesday, April 20th at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Place – off Seventh Avenue South between W. 11th & Perry Streets). The official opening night is set for Thursday, May 5th. The production is scheduled to run through Sunday, June 4th.

In Carson McCullers Talks About Love, Suzanne Vega performs the role of the iconic author Carson McCullers, reminiscing about her life, her loves and her art. While explaining herself, McCullers wrestles with the demons that have intruded on her from the beginning of her life. Seamlessly moving between spoken word and song, Ms. Vega channels the resilient spirit and relentless humor of Ms. McCullers in a way that reveals the meeting of two souls in a single work of art. A compelling hybrid of music and theater, Carson McCullers Talks About Love is a musical portrait of one of the most important figures in American literature.

The creative team includes Louisa Thompson (scenic design), Jessica Pabst (costume design), Lenore Doxsee (lighting design), and Nick Kourtides (sound design). Gerry Leonard, who has worked with David Bowie, Rufus Wainwright and Duncan Sheik, will serve as Musical Director.

The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm and Monday at 8pm. Tickets are $55 and are available by calling SmartTix at (212) 868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com. For more information, please visit www.rattlestick.org.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is a multi-award-winning company which has produced over forty-eight world premieres in the past fifteen and a half seasons and was the recipient of the 2007 Ross Wetzsteon Memorial OBIE Award for its work developing new and innovative work. Rattlestick’s Advisory Board participates in The Emerging Playwrights Project, which matches a new playwright with an established artist for an experienced eye and creative support. Playwright and artist mentors have included Edward Albee, Jon Robin Baitz, Zoe Caldwell, Arthur Kopit, Craig Lucas, Joe Mantello, Terrence McNally and Marsha Norman. Previous plays include Two Boys in a Bed, Message to Michael, Carpool, Volunteer Man, A Trip to the Beach, Ascendancy, Stuck, Vick’s Boy, The Messenger, Saved or Destroyed, Neil’s Garden, My Special Friend, Faster, Bliss, St. Crispin’s Day, Where We’re Born, Five Flights, Boise, Finer Noble Gases, God Hates The Irish: The Ballad of Armless Johnny, Miss Julie, Acts of Mercy: passion-play, Cagelove, It Goes Without Saying, Dark Matters, Stay, American Sligo, Rag and Bone, War, Geometry of Fire, That Pretty Pretty; or The Rape Play, The Amish Project, Killers and Other Family, Post No Bills, Blind, Little Doc, underneathmybed, There Are No More Big Secrets, the Off-Broadway GLAAD Award-nominated hit The Last Sunday in June, Craig Wright’s The Pavilion (Drama Desk nominee – Outstanding Play of 2005) and Lady (Drama Desk nominee – Outstanding Play of 2008), as well as The Aliens by Annie Baker (2010 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play).


In 1985, singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega released her stunning self-titled debut album. 25 years and 7 million albums sold later, Suzanne is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation. “Luka,” released in 1987, was one of the earliest songs to address the subjects of child abuse and domestic violence, and is considered a “classic” by music critics. Vega was the first artist on the main stage at the very first Lilith Fair. Her voice and song “Tom’s Diner” was used in the refinement of the MP3, earning her the nickname “The Mother of the MP3”. She recorded “Tom’s Diner” a cappella but it has since been remixed upwards of 50 times. She was also the first major label artist to perform a concert on Second Life in the form of an avatar. Suzanne Vega is an artist that continues to surprise. A pioneer among singer-songwriters, she has embarked on a project to re-imagine her own songbook in a stripped down and intimate manner, a new four-album thematic album series entitled “Suzanne Vega: Close Up.” The first installment, “Vol. 1 Love Songs” was released in March 2010, followed by “Vol. 2 People & Places” in October 2010. “Vol. 3 States of Being” will be released in May 2011.

Duncan Sheik – Theatre credits include; Spring Awakening (2007 Tony Awards for “Best Orchestrations” and “Best Original Score”, 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Show Album”), Whisper House, American Psycho (currently in development), Alice in Wonderland (currently in development), Nero (Another Golden Rome) (currently in development), The Nightingale (currently in development). Recorded works include: Whisper House (Sony/Victor 2009), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), Duncan Sheik (Grammy Nomination “Best Male Vocal”) (Atlantic Records 1996). Film Scores include: Harvest (2009), DARE (2009), Little Spirit: Christmas in New York (2008), Capers (2007), The Cake Eaters (2007). Producer Credits include: Holly Brook O’ Dark 30 Thirty, Micah Green (2008), Spring Awakening Original Cast Album (Universal 2007), Chris Garneau Music for Tourists (2006).

Kay Matschullat has adapted and directed theater with some of the world’s greatest artists and writers. She directed the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Derek Walcott’s To Die For Granada at The Cleveland Playhouse and the New York premiere of his Pantomime, as well as the world premiere of Ariel Dorfman’s Widows at Williamstown Theater Festival. She also recently directed the English language premiere of Vaclav Havel’s The Conspirators. President/Playwright Havel announced that his viewing of the performance renewed his faith in the play. In New York she directed world premieres of Eyes of the Heart by Catherine Filloux at National Asian American Theater Company and Filloux’s Beauty Inside at New Georges Theater. At Williamstown, she also served for 4 years as Director of the Second Stage, originating the Festival’s new play program, producing premieres by Tennessee Williams, Trevor Griffiths, and A.R. Gurney. She has also directed her own adaptations of Moliere’s Rehearsal at Versailles, Georges Dandin, Schiller’s The Robbers, and a musical version of Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyard at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In the inaugural 2008 season of Red Bull Theater’s “In The Raw” series, she directed her own Don’t Fuck with Love. Most recently, she has written and adapted several works for performance: Fast, A Play on the Devil Story, a contemporary spin on the Faust legend. Spring, 2009 – End of Beginnings/Beginning of Ends at the Czech Art Center in New York, in collaboration with internationally known rock musicians. She is currently finishing a music theater piece with Elizabeth Swados, Dance of Desire.

Carson McCullers (1917–1967) is known for her novels, short stories, plays, numerous essays and poetry, which explores the spiritual isolation of outcasts in the South and is often written in the Southern Gothic style; many of her characters deal with loneliness. Her novels include “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” (1940), which was named # 17 of the 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century by Random House Modern Library, “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1941), which brazenly tackled the subject of repressed homosexuality, “The Member of the Wedding” (1946), “The Ballad of the Sad Café” (1951), an exploration of loneliness and unrequited love and “Clock Without Hands” (1961). Her play, The Square Root of Wonderful (1957), deals in part with the traumatic experience of her husband’s suicide. Well known in numerous artistic circles, McCullers’ many colleagues included W. H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, Gypsy Rose Lee, Paul and Jane Bowles, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. In addition, McCullers was an alumna of Yaddo in Saratoga Springs. McCullers sadly suffered from several illnesses, including rheumatic fever, alcoholism, depression and a series of strokes that caused her left side to be paralyzed when she was in her early 30s. She died on September 29, 1967 at the age of 50.