Temperatures rise in a French hotel when two married couples run into former mates.
After a tempestuous marriage, Amanda and Elyot got divorced. Just a few years later, however, each goes to the altar again - Amanda with Victor, and Elyot with Sibyl. Honeymooning at the same seaside hotel, a shared balcony is the fuse that detonates this sizzling comedy when the newlyweds discover they have rooms next to each other. Noël Coward's masterpiece about the lunacy of love radiates with diamond-bright wit and style to burn.
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RANDI and L.VAN V. DAULER, JR.
The set of Private Lives is made possible by a generous gift from Stephanie and Michael Bozic.
The costumes for Private Lives are made possible by a generous gift from Rebecca and Jeremy Kronman.
ELENA ALEXANDRATOS (Louise) is delighted to return to the Public Theater. Past productions at The Public: Cyranno de Bergerac, You Can’t Take it With You, Romeo and Juliet, Medea (Best Ensemble Award by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Much Ado About Nothing, and Mary Stuart. Most recently, Elena was featured in Bricolage’s Midnight Radio “The Super Hero Edition.” For Off the Wall Theater: ’Night Mother, The Club. For the University of Pittsburgh Rep: Mother Courage, Angels in America (both noted as Top Performances by the Post-Gazette), The American Clock. Ms. Alexandratos directed Adamo’s Little Women for Duquesne University. She teaches acting and stage makeup at Pitt and Stanislavsky for Opera Singers at Duquesne University.
MICHAEL BRUSASCO (Elyot Chase) is honored to make his Pittsburgh Public debut. Off-Broadway credits: Misalliance, Playboy of the Western World (Pearl Theatre Company), and Electra In A One-Piece (Good Company). Other New York City credits: Health and Fitness (Soho Rep/Soho Shorts) and Of Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati (Lincoln Center Festival). Regionally he has worked at The Shakespeare Theater in Washington DC, Round House Theatre, Berkeley Rep, ACT San Francisco, as well as the California, Pennsylvania, and Great River Shakespeare Festivals. He was also a six-year company member at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. www.michaelbrusasco.com
AMANDA LEIGH COBB (Sibyl Chase) Broadway: The Importance of Being Earnest (with Brian Bedford), The Country Girl (directed by Mike Nichols), Voyage, Salvage, Shipwrecked (The Coast of Utopia). National Tour: Dirty Dancing (Baby); Williamstown Theater Festival: The Front Page, The Corn is Green, Eurydice (Eurydice), The Stonewater Rapture; South Coast Rep: The Real Thing, Leitmotif; Yale Repertory Theater: The Black Dahlia, The Lonesome West; Eugene O’Neill Center: The Exchange, The Importance of Being Orson; Milwaukee Shakespeare: Richard II; Weston Playhouse: Cyrano. Film & TV: “Law and Order SVU,” “Medium,” “My Uncle Rafael” (Feature). MFA Yale School of Drama.
VICTORIA MACK (Amanda Prynne) Broadway: Venus In Fur (Vanda u/s). Off-Broadway: A Little Journey (Drama Desk nomination for Best Revival), The Truth About Blayds, Mr. Pim Passes By, and Far and Wide at the Mint Theater; Flight at the Lucille Lortel (w/ Brian D’Arcy James). Other New York theater: Jester’s Dead and Dear Penthouse at Studio Tisch; I Am a Camera and The Triangle Factory Fire Project at TACT Salon. Regional: Dead Accounts (by Theresa Rebeck, world premiere) at Cincinnati Playhouse; The 39 Steps (Denver Center); The Turn of the Screw (Fulton Theater); and at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey: Othello (Desdemona), The Taming of the Shrew (Kate), Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennet), As You Like It (Rosalind), Pygmalion (Eliza Doolittle), and many others. Film credits include The Stare (with Wynona Ryder and James Franco), Atlantis, A Song in the Shell. TV: “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and MTV. MFA: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
LAIRD MACKINTOSH (Victor Prynne) is delighted to be making his Public Theater debut in Private Lives. He recently played George Banks in Mary Poppins on Broadway and the U.S. Tour, including The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Eight seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, including Leonelo in Fuente Ovejuna, Billy Buck Chandler in My One and Only, Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird, Ewart Dunlop in The Music Man, Lieutenant Cable in South Pacific, Cornelius Hackl in Hello Dolly!, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes, Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, and Gigi, Oliver! and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Other roles include Raoul/Phantom (u/s) in The Phantom of the Opera, Robert in The Drowsy Chaperone, Phil Davis in White Christmas, Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest, Septimus Hodge in Arcadia, and 10 productions with Canada’s baroque theatre company, Opera Atelier.
TED PAPPAS (Producing Artistic Director) celebrates his 12th season as Producing Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Public Theater and his 19th year of close association with the company as a director. He has staged 39 productions for The Public, including the works of Euripides, William Shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Oscar Wilde, Gilbert & Sullivan, Lillian Hellman, and Stephen Sondheim. Some highlights include Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kaufman & Ferber’s The Royal Family, Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret, the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s RolePlay and the world premiere of Zeller & Collier’s The Chief, which played The O’Reilly for seven seasons and was filmed. His career began in New York City where he worked at Playwrights Horizons, Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, John Houseman’s The Acting Company, New York City Opera under the leadership of Beverly Sills, and shows on and off Broadway. His regional credits are numerous and varied and include productions for Williamstown Theatre Festival, Arena Stage in Washington DC, The Kennedy Center, the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto’s Royal Alexandra, and Goodspeed Musicals. He staged a hip-hop concert hosted by Harry Belafonte which galvanized the Cannes Film Festival, directed a Las Vegas extravaganza for impresario Steve Wynn, and served as choreographer for NBC’s legendary series “Saturday Night Live.” He studied Shakespeare with Samuel Schoenbaum and modern drama with Eric Bentley, and holds degrees from Northwestern University and Manhattan’s Hunter College. He is a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the national labor union.
NOËL COWARD (Playwright) was born in England in 1899 and became a prolific writer, composer, actor, director, trendsetter, and entertainer extraordinaire. In addition to Private Lives, his most famous plays include The Vortex, Cavalcade, Design for Living, Fallen Angels, Present Laughter, Blithe Spirit, and Hay Fever. His films include This Happy Breed, In Which We Serve, and Brief Encounter. In 1970 he received a special Tony Award for his “multiple and immortal contributions to theater.” The same year he was knighted by the Queen of England for his “services to drama.” He died in 1973. For further information on Noël Coward please contact the Noël Coward Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
JAMES NOONE (Scenic Designer) designs for Pittsburgh Public Theater include As You Like It, Electra, Camelot, The Royal Family, Time of My Life, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Little Foxes, Harry’s Friendly Service, Metamorphoses, The Lady With All the Answers, The Odd Couple, The Comedy of Errors, This Wonderful Life, and Amadeus. Mr. Noone’s Broadway credits include A Bronx Tale, Come Back Little Sheba, Match, Urban Cowboy, A Class Act, Judgment at Nuremberg, Jekyll and Hyde (Drama Desk, American Theater Wing Design Awards), The Rainmaker, Night Must Fall (Drama Desk nomination), Getting and Spending, The Sunshine Boys, The Gin Game, and Inherit the Wind. Off-Broadway credits include Fully Committed, Full Gallop, Three Tall Women, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, The Boys in the Band, Cowgirls, Breaking Legs, The Green Heart (Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Roundabout Theatre, Atlantic Theater, Second Stage). Regional credits include Huntington Theatre Company, Goodspeed Musicals, Long Wharf Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Washington Opera, Canadian Opera, Portland Opera, Geffen Playhouse, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Cleveland Play House. Tours included Jekyll and Hyde (1999), The Belle of Amherst, The Gin Game, Deathtrap, Three Tall Women, Stieglitz Loves O’Keefe, and also The History of Sex at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and Latin Soul in Atlantic City. He is the recipient of several design awards, including the Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing, two Helen Hayes, and the LA Ovation awards. Mr. Noone currently heads the Scenic Design Program at Boston University.
ANDREW B. MARLAY (Costume Designer) has designed the costumes for numerous plays, musicals, operas, and ballets. On Broadway: Strider and Truly Blessed. Off-Broadway: Fallen Angels, Heartbreak House, Man and Superman, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Mistress of the Inn, Ghosts, The Member of the Wedding, Enrico IV, Grand Magic, The Fantod, The Nice and the Nasty, and Hedda Gabler. For the New York City Opera: Naughty Marietta, Tosca, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, The Music Man, and The New Moon. In addition: Die Fledermaus (Santa Fe Opera), and The Mikado and Idomeneo (Opera Theatre of St. Louis). He has also designed the costumes for many regional productions including Fifty Million Frenchmen at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Other regional credits include Damn Yankees, Amadeus, The Philadelphia Story, Dracula, and Pygmalion, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Costume Design. Mr. Marlay is a graduate of the NYU School of the Arts.
PHIL MONAT (Lighting Designer) has designed 27 productions for Pittsburgh Public Theater over many years, most recently Freud’s Last Session. Regionally, his work has been seen at Seattle Rep, the Old Globe Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Studio Arena Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alliance Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cleveland Play House, La Jolla Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Intiman Theatre, Geva Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Festival, McCarter Theatre, Alley Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Indiana Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, and Dallas Theater Center, among others. Broadway designs include Sly Fox starring Richard Dreyfuss, Finian’s Rainbow, and Sally Marr…and Her Escorts. Off-Broadway credits include: Woman Before a Glass (OBIE Award); Adult Entertainment; Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill; Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah; If It Were Easy; Visiting Mr. Green; Mere Mortals; Robbers; The Springhill Singing Disaster; The Boys in the Band; Three Tall Women; Camping with Henry & Tom (1995 Lucille Lortel Award); The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged); The World Goes ’Round with Kander & Ebb; Fortune’s Fools; Godspell; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill; and Goblin Market (Drama Desk nomination). In New York he has also designed at Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center Theater, Circle Repertory Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, the WPA Theatre, Second Stage, and the Vineyard Theatre.
ZACH MOORE (Sound Designer) most recently designed the sound for Pop! at City Theatre, Around the World in 80 Days, Freud’s Last Session, As You Like It, and Red for Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Sweeney Todd for the University of Pittsburgh Rep. He has designed more than 60 productions for Pittsburgh Public, including the world premieres of The Chief, Harry’s Friendly Service, The Glorious Ones, The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, and Paper Doll; the American premieres of The Bird Sanctuary and RolePlay (also original music); as well as Electra, Circle Mirror Transformation (also original music), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Metamorphoses, I Am My Own Wife, Man of La Mancha, Tea, and Wit. Other designs include House and Garden (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre), Completely Hollywood (abridged) (Reduced Shakespeare Company), Falsettos (The Huntington), Paper Doll (Long Wharf Theatre), and Fully Committed (PPT, Dallas Theater Center, McCoy/Rigby Productions). Zach also plays guitar in Hero Destroyed, and operates small music mastering studio.
RANDY KOVITZ (Fight Director) At Pittsburgh Public Theater, Randy staged fights for As You Like It, Superior Donuts, and Comedy of Errors and acted in The Odd Couple. His work has been seen on and off Broadway, at the Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Yale Rep, South Coast Rep, and many others. Highlights include the world premiere productions of Angels in America and Burn This, the Broadway production of The Kentucky Cycle, Sir Peter Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and four seasons at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival. Film credits include The Ballad of the Sad Cafe with Vanessa Redgrave and Keith Carradine, the animated feature Quest for Camelot, The Addams Family — as fencing double for Raul Julia — and most recently Racing Daylight with David Strathairn. Randy is also an actor with many stage, film and TV credits, a writer, and director. His short film Lightweight is currently playing at festivals around the country.
DON WADSWORTH (Dialect Coach) over the past decade Don has served as the dialect/voice coach for many Public Theater productions; this season he helped the actors in Freud’s Last Session with their Viennese and British dialects and the many accents needed for Around the World in Eighty Days. On Broadway he taught the Irish dialect to the full cast of the musical The Pirate Queen. Don has the distinction of coaching six Oscar-nominated actors. For the film Warrior Don taught Australian and British actors how to sound like American brothers, voted by Esquire magazine to be “the most American non-Americans”! Upcoming projects include an ABC-TV movie called Elixir where he coached Jane Seymour. Don is a Professor of Voice and Speech for Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama where this year he coached the cast of Sweeney Todd (with various English dialects) and Mad Forest (with Romanian accents). Next Spring he will direct Romeo and Juliet on CMU’s mainstage.
McCORKLE CASTING, LTD. (Casting) Pat McCorkle (C.S.A.) and associates have most recently cast Broadway productions of The Toxic Avenger and Over the Rainbow and the Off-Broadway plays The Seventh Monarch and Tribes. Memorable Broadway casts include High with Kathleen Turner, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Glass Menagerie, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Amadeus, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers, and A Few Good Men among many others. Notable Off-Broadway projects include: Our Town, Almost Maine, Ears On a Beatle, Down the Garden Paths, Killer Joe, Mrs. Klein, Driving Miss Daisy. A partial list of feature film projects includes: Ghost Town, Secret Window, Basic, The Thomas Crown Affair, The 13th Warrior, Madeline, Die Hard With a Vengeance, School Ties, etc. Television shows: “Electric Company,” “Californication” (Emmy nomination), “3Lbs.,” “Barbershop,” “Chapell’s Show,” among several others. Premium Rush, a feature for Sony Pictures, is scheduled for summer release.
FRED NOEL (Production Stage Manager) marks his 23rd season at Pittsburgh Public Theater. He also completed four seasons with the National Theatre of the Deaf, touring throughout the United States and China. Mr. Noel was Stage Manager for the Performing Arts Season at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington DC and Gallaudet University’s tours of Europe, Argentina, Japan, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Romania. He also serves part-time as Production Manager for DC area Quest Productions, assisting the company in producing Deaf Way II, an international deaf arts festival, and several shows as part of the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe. His credits also include the Off-Broadway production of Women of Manhattan. Mr. Noel is a Pennsylvania native and alumnus of Duquesne University. In Pittsburgh, he has also stage managed for Don Brockett Productions, Pittsburgh CLO, and Carnegie Mellon Showcase of New Plays.
ADRIENNE WELLS (Assistant Stage Manager) is pleased to be finishing out the season at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Past local productions include: The Chief, Rabbit Hole, The Lady With All the Answers, The World Goes ’Round, Harry’s Friendly Service, The Little Foxes, The Price, Art, The Royal Family, Circle Mirror Transformation, God of Carnage, Freud’s Last Session, and The Servant of Two Masters at PPT; Beggar’s Holiday at Opera Theater of Pittsburgh; Hobson’s Choice, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Mask of Moriarty at Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre. She has also had the pleasure of working with the University of Pittsburgh’s Shakespeare in the Schools program as well as opera, jazz, fashion, and television. Ms. Wells is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. She is a proud member of Actors Equity.
Private Lives was just one of Noël Coward's many achievements in an amazing 60-year show business career.
Dozens of essays, often contradictory, have been written over the years about Noël Coward's masterpiece Private Lives, which has been described as the perfect comedy. In response to one of these early literary analyses, Coward said: "It was very intelligent and absolute rubbish."
Hundreds of productions and thousands of reviews have appeared since the play's 1930 debut in London, directed and starring Coward himselve as Elyot, along with his "muse" Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda, and Laurence Olivier as Victor.
Private Lives has been hailed for its exquisit construction, for having not a wated word or false move, and for its depth of observation and psychological insights. Since Coward has said that the primary purpose of a play is to entertain, he would probably be happier with the following descriptions of this work: it has been called delicious, a bubbly pleasure, and the funniest play of the 20th century, no question.
In addition, Private Lives has inspired many playwrights. Take Yasmina Reza, for instance. If you liked God of Carnage, which closed the season last year here at The Public, you're going to love Private Lives. Both feature two married couples in priviledged and chic settings. They begin conventionally enough, but quickly the plot starts to throw them curveballs. How the characters field these wicked pitches is the center of comedy in each play.
In both God of Carnage and Private Lives decorum is maintained while the coffee is served, but when the company moves on to alcohol etiquette flies out the window. With dialogue as flippant as it is funny, no one has ever accused either of these playwrights of being politically correct.
Both Carnage and Lives escalate from sophisticated verbal Ping-Pong to almost slapstick physical farce. Reza's character plunges a cell phone into a vase of water while Coward's Amanda breaks a gramaphone record over Elyot's head. But beneath the richly robed hysteria are naked truths - about life, love, and relationships. Only time will tell if Reza's perceptions last as long as Coward's. Amanda thinks love is chemistry. Coward knows that chemistry can cause explosions, and his are as hilarious now as on the day they were written.
Born in 1899 outside London, Noel Coward came from a family of modest means. Scholars of his work have suggested that because he understood life in the lower class, his writing about the upper crust was always done with a sly wink.
Noël Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in the 1930 debut of Private Lives.
From childhood Coward seemed destined for bright lights and high society. He attended dancing school and by age 11 had made his theatrical debut. The slim and elegant boy became a hit onstage and off, and made many friends among the smart set. As a teen he was diagnosed with tubercular tendencies which kept him out of World War I, and at this time he began writing plays and publishing short stories.
Coward definitely helped to put the roar in the Roaring 20s. His comedy, I'll Leave It to You, debuted in the West End in 1920 with Coward himself in the leading role. After that his play The Vortex, as shocking story about a socialite and her son (clad in a silk dressing gown that became a Coward trademark), was a success in both England and America.
He alwo wrote a revue titled London Calling and two extremely popular plays: Fallen Angels, about two middle-age women who get drunk while waiting for the same love, and Hay Fever, his brilliant country house comedy. Throughout the decade he never stopped - comedies, romances, and costume dramas, as well as songs such as "A Room With a View."
When the economy crashed in the 1930s, Coward managed to keep flying high. Along with Private Lies and Design for Living he wrote operettas, musical revues, and the family saga Cavalcade, which was adapted for film and won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1933. During this time he also became president of the Actor's Orphanage. He would continue this charitable work for children for more than 20 years.
Coward ended a period of amazing output with another play that has more than withstood the test of time: Present Laughter. This tale of a 40-year-old self-absorbed actor and the women who love him debuted in 1942 with the playwright himself in the starring role.
During World War II Coward secretly worked for the British government, entertained troops at even the most far-flung outposts, and created another hugely successful comedy, Blithe Spirit, which featured the ghost of a man's first wife haunting his second marriage.
In the 1950s Coward wrote with the same gusto as in his youth, although these works for the most part are not remembered with the same enthusiasm. But never one to be out of the limelight for long, at this time he created a new cabaret act for himself that became a hit in London and also Las Vegas.
By the 1960s what was old became fashionable again and revivals of Coward's work began to pop up with the new pop culture. He also appeared on American television and turned up in films, including Bunny Lake is Missing and The Italian Job. In 1966 he wrote and starred in Song at Twilight, a play about an aging gay author. In 1970 he was knighted by the Queen of England. Sir Noel Coward died in 1973.
At some point, early in his career, Coward became known as The Master. When asked about the title, he said it was beacuse he was a jack of all trades and a master of none. But the comment was Coward at his most facetious. He more than earned the honor.