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Friday, January 27, 2012


Salt Lake Acting Company                       News Release


“I am here to stop your heart...I am not here to make pretty pictures.”
-Artist Mark Rothko

SLAC brings Broadway to Salt Lake with RED by John Logan, directed by Keven Myhre. Winner of the Drama Desk Award, Drama League Award and six Tony Awards, RED is an intimate glimpse into the world of outspoken and opinionated artist Mark Rothko. This two man drama illustrates the struggle between mentor and student as it illuminates their attempts to communicate through intellectually thrilling artistic encounters.

Referring to one of his gallery shows Rothko once said, “This is not a show, it is an event.” RED Director Keven Myhre interprets the play similarly, “RED makes an event out of Rothko’s life.” The audience is invited to delve into this unique drama alongside one of the world’s most contemplated visionaries

When Rothko lands the biggest commission in the history of modern art – a series of murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York – the achievement becomes agonizing. Master abstract impressionist Mark Rothko is challenged by his young assistant Ken and by the threat of his own undoing. Director Keven Myhre says, “For me, this play is more than just an artistic biopic of a historical figure.  It’s about two men at a primal level just trying to communicate.” RED portrays an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he attempts to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.  Playwright John Logan uses the stage as a canvas where we witness the layers of Rothko’s battle through dialogue, texture, and through electrifying revelation.

Mark Rothko was a Russian-American painter born in 1903. Though he was classified as an abstract expressionist, he rejected this and all labels. Rothko resisted explaining his work, once saying, "Silence is so accurate," fearing that words would only paralyze the viewer's mind and imagination. Rothko’s most recognizable work depicts “fuzzy rectangular clouds of color” which some find deeply moving, despite their lack of imagery or recognizable subject matter, while others claim their lack of substance. Rothko once said, “If you are only moved by color relationships [in my paintings], you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom.”

The NY Times quotes, “RED captures the dynamic relationship between an artist and his creations.” It is an intense, witty play that will ignite passion and creativity.

RED premiered at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London on December 3, 2009. 

Salt Lake Acting Company’s production of RED is directed by Executive Producer, Keven Myhre who was chosen to receive the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts for 2009. He has designed all of SLAC’s sets and many of the costumes for the last seventeen years. His most recent directing credits at SLAC include ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENIUM APPROACHES and PERESTROIKA which opened SLAC’s 2010-2011 Season. Salt Lake Acting Company is thrilled to welcome veteran actor Morgan Lund (Rothko) back to the SLAC stage. This will be Morgan’s twelfth production at SLAC since 2002. Morgan was most recently seen at SLAC last spring as James in CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION. He is the Artistic Director of The OtherSide Players a new professional acting company in residence at the Rio Theatre in Helper, Utah. Morgan has been a professional actor/writer/producer/director/teacher and artist for 30 years. Ted Powell (Ken) will be making his SLAC debut. A native Philadelphian with a BA in Theatre from Temple University, Ted has several credits from productions across the country.  Ted is also a musician with a solo outfit called The Study, as well as a playwright, author, and teaching artist. 

Born Marcus Rotkovitch in the town of Dvinsk, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, Mark Rothko immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of ten, settling in Portland, Oregon. A gifted student, Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921-23, but disillusioned by the social milieu and financial hardship, he dropped out and moved to New York to "bum around and starve a bit." A chance invitation from a friend brought him to a drawing class at the Art Students League where he discovered his love of art. He took two classes there but was otherwise self-taught. Rothko painted in a figurative style for nearly twenty years, his portraits and depictions of urban life baring the soul of those living through The Great Depression in New York. The painter Milton Avery offered Rothko both artistic and nutritional nourishment during these lean years. In the 1930s, Rothko exhibited with The Ten, a close-knit group of nine (!) American painters, which included fellow Avery acolyte, Adolph Gottlieb. Success was moderate at best but the group provided important incubation for the Abstract Expressionist school to come. The war years brought with it an influx of European surrealists, influencing most of the New York painters, among them Rothko, to take on a neo-surrealist style. Rothko experimented with mythic and symbolic painting for five years before moving to pure abstraction in the mid 1940s and ultimately to his signature style of two or three rectangles floating in fields of saturated color in 1949. Beginning in the early 1950s Rothko was heralded, along with Jackson Pollock, Willem deKooning, Franz Kline and others, as the standard bearers of the New American Painting--a truly American art that was not simply a derivative of European styles. By the late 1950s, Rothko was a celebrated (if not wealthy) artist, winning him three mural commissions that would dominate the latter part of his career. Only in the last of these, The Rothko Chapel in Houston was he able to realize his dream of a truly contemplative environment in which to interact deeply with his artwork. RED presents a fictionalized account of Rothko’s frustrated first attempt to create such a space in New York’s Four Season’s restaurant. Rothko sought to create art that was timeless; paintings that expressed basic human concerns and emotions that remain constant not merely across decades but across generations and epochs. He looked to communicate with his viewer at the most elemental level and through his artwork, have a conversation that was intense, personal and, above all, honest. A viewer’s tears in front of one of his paintings told him he had succeeded. While creating a deeply expressive body of work and garnering critical acclaim, Rothko battled depression and his brilliant career ended in suicide in 1970.

Tickets range from $15-$41 depending on performance. Discounts available for students, 30 & under, and groups of ten or more.

Tickets available at 801-363-SLAC (7522), at www.saltlakeactingcompany.org, or in person at 168 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103


SLAC PRODUCTION                                  RED

PLAYWRIGHT                                             John Logan

DIRECTOR                                                    Keven Myhre

CAST                                                              Morgan Lund, Ted Powell

SET DESIGN                                                 Keven Myhre       

COSTUME DESIGN                                     K.L. Alberts

LIGHTING DESIGN                                    Jesse Portillo

DIALECT COACH                                       Adrianne Moore

SOUND DESIGN                                          Josh Martin

PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER          Penny Pendleton

DATES                                   Previews:         February 8 & 9, 2012
                                                Opening:         February 10, 2012
                                                Closing:           March 4, 2012

TIMES                                    Previews:         Wednesday & Thursday- 7:30 p.m.
                                                Regular:           Wednesday - Saturday- 7:30 p.m.
                                                                        Sun- 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
SLAC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 professional theatre found in 1970 and is dedicated to producing, commissioning and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists.  SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a STP Actors Equity Association contract. SLAC is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group, a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres, and the National New Play Network.

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