Friday, May 02, 2008

'Character Studies' Offers Great Theatre Artists Exploring Great Dramatic & Musical Characters


Paul Newman, Cynthia Nixon Head All-Star Cast on
Character Studies Special (two minute video preview)


CHARACTER STUDIES is a non-profit education organization devoted to creating materials about theatre. Its most significant project is the production of a documentary series for PBS called “Character Studies,” which premiered in 2005, where fictional theatre characters from the most important plays and musicals of the last century are treated like real people – a biography show about great characters. Past episodes have included Amanda [‘The Glass Menagerie”], Rose [“Gypsy”] and Ruth [“A Raisin in the Sun”], all featuring interviews with several actors who have played that role, and at least one actor who has played every other major character, plus a director, and when available, the creators [such as Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim for “Gypsy”]. Its current offering, airing at different times across the country, is a one-hour special “Living and Dying in Our Town,” which focuses on George and Emily from Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.” A new series of short segments for PBS, titled “Character Studies Comments,” using short excerpts from original interviews, was launched in March. Resident Drama Bookshop theatre critic Tony Vellela is the writer and executive producer of the Character Studies programs. Details about all Character Studies projects can be found at www.characterstudies.net.

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