Teaneck Staged Reading Unites Parker & Kaufman Onstage

Clifton Lewis
Clifton Lewis plays George S. Kaufman

A press release came in today announcing a staged reading that will unite two frenemies onstage. Mrs. Parker and George S.K. is on the way. The info on what looks like a fun show to catch:

New Jersey audiences will get a rare glimpse into the inner workings of theater with the world premiere of Mrs. Parker and George S.K., a new play by Thom Molyneaux this February.  The Garage Theatre Group will produce two fully realized staged readings of the new comedy—inviting audiences to provide feedback, and ultimately to help decide if the show will get a full production as part of next season’s schedule.  The readings will be held on Saturday February 12 and Sunday, February 13, at the Becton Theater, 960 River Road, on the Fairleigh Dickinson campus in Teaneck.

In the imagination of New Jersey-based playwright Molyneaux, two of the 20th Century’s greatest American writers enter into an uneasy, yet hysterical, collaboration. In Mrs. Parker and George S. K., two of the sharpest wits that sat at the legendary Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker, acclaimed writer and versifier, and George S. Kaufman, renowned director and playwright, turn an unlikely collaboration into a fiercely funny, painfully honest, battle for artistic and personal survival.

Mrs. Parker and George S.K. is fiction, but it draws on the lives and the writing of two great artists. The play is suffused with the wit and humor of two great writers, even as it examines the human spirit and the responsibilities of an artist to Art.

Marilyn Cervino
Marilyn Cervino channels Dorothy Parker

The Garage Theatre Group’s production of Mrs. Parker and George S.K. is a staged reading: actors will perform script in hand, with a minimum of sets and costuming.  Such readings give the audience a sense of the flow and flavor of the play before it has been completely rehearsed and staged.

“It’s the audience’s chance to see a world premiere and be involved in the process of developing a new play,” says Michael Bias, Garage Theatre’s artistic director. “It’s a chance to meet the playwright and actors—and to see the play during its development process.  And you get fed, too!”  It’s true: dessert and coffee will be served before the Saturday night performance, and brunch before the Sunday afternoon run.

As with the Main Stage productions at Garage, Mrs. Parker and George S.K. will feature post-reading “talk-backs” between the cast and the audience.  “We’re particularly interested in these talkbacks,” says Bias.  “They may help us determine whether Mrs. Parker gets a full production next year.”

“This really is a unique opportunity,” says Molyneaux.  “The Garage talk-backs are always thought-provoking, but in this case, the audience actually has the opportunity to talk about a play still in development.”

About the cast

Marilyn Cervino (Dorothy Parker) is a 34 year veteran of Actors Equity Association as well as AFTRA & SAG and has extensive stage experience and classical training. She spent 14 years in Cozumel, Mexico where she performed in and choreographed for cruise ships and 5-star hotels. Also, while in Mexico, she was a dance, theater, speech, acting and ESL instructor at the federally-funded, cultural institute on the island of Cozumel. In the past 10 yrs, she has been spent much of her time on TV and radio commercials, both on-camera and voice-over. Disney, Dove, Lysol, Christian Dior, Vagisil, Sprint, 1-800-FLOWERS, Lanacaine, Purell and Cepacol are just a few of her many credits. She was the signature voice of Quilted Northern Bath Tissue with the Quilted Northern Quilters for 6-years as well as narrating several documentary films for The Discovery Channel.

Clifton Lewis (George S. Kaufman) most recently appeared with the Garage Theatre Group as The Rebbe in Meester Amerika and before that Albert the Horse in The Wind in the Willows. Also with Garage, he was in Closer Than Ever by Maltby and Shire. Other recent roles include Tito Merelli in Lend Me A Tenor, Mr. Cladwell in Urinetown, the Musical and Lord Evelyn in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. He has toured regionally as Curly in Oklahoma!, Ravenal in Showboat and the Captain in HMS Pinafore. Clifton grew up in Montana, was educated in Boston and now resides in Closter, NJ.

Jen Ponton
Jen Ponton

Jen Ponton (Actress) is a singer, actor and dancer. She has appeared on 30 Rock, Law and Order SVU, onstage in New York City and regional adult and children’s theater in New Jersey. This is her first appearance with the Garage Theatre Group. Jen trained at Ramapo College and the Jason Bennett Actors Workshop. She is also a barbershop singer and she is getting married this spring.

Kevin Sebastian
Kevin Sebastian

Kevin Sebastian (Actor) has appeared in New York in The Importance of Being Earnest, The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, Intermezzo with NYC Opera at Lincoln Center, Dark of the Moon and more. He has also acted and toured regionally and appeared in a number of short films and on Saturday Night Live. This is also Kevin’s first appearance at the Garage.

Tickets and Showtimes

Mrs. Parker and George S.K. will be performed Saturday, February 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, February 13 at 3 pm.  Tickets are $12.50. Tickets are available by phone at (201) 569-7710 and online here.

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