July 2013 Archives  

31 July 2013

'Harbor' Tackles Gay Parenting, Post-DOMA Challenges

From 1982's "Torch Song Trilogy" to 2013's "The Nance," the theater world has rarely shied away from depicting gay themes onstage. Still, Chad Beguelin's "Harbor" breaks fresh ground as a theatrical examination of the modern challenges the gay community now faces in a post-DOMA world.

"Harbor," which opens Aug. 6 at 59E59 Theaters in New York, focuses on Ted (Paul Anthony Stewart) and Kevin (Randy Harrison), a newlywed gay couple whose seemingly idyllic life is disrupted when Kevin's estranged sister Donna (Erin Cummings) and 15-year-old niece Lottie (Alexis Molnar) arrive unannounced on the doorstep of their Sag Harbor estate. Kevin and Ted’s already uneven relationship is tested when the cash-strapped Donna reveals she is pregnant with her second baby and begins pressuring the couple into raising the child themselves.

"Harbor" is very much a natural fit for Harrison, who played the tormented gay teen Justin on Showtime’s "Queer As Folk" from 2000 to 2005 to great acclaim. Stewart, who nabbed an Emmy nod for his 11-year "Guiding Light" tenure, is also a standout in a role he originated during the show's initial 2012 run at Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse. Still, the ensemble piece is anything but a star vehicle, and each member of the four-person cast receives his or her transcendent moment as the show reaches a catastrophic, if strangely ambiguous, conclusion.

Describing Kevin as "neurotic" and "struggling to find himself," Harrison believes "Harbor" tackles universal themes to which both gay and straight audiences can relate.

"It's really about figuring out what you want out of life and making big decisions in order to pursue those goals," said the 35-year-old actor, whose stage résumé includes a stint in Broadway's "Wicked" and the Off-Broadway smash "Silence! The Musical."

Acknowledging that the show raises significant questions about both gay paternity and same-sex marriage, Beguelin insists he did not intend for "Harbor" to be an “issue play." He says he was inspired to write the show after a discussion with his longtime partner, Tom Sleeman, about raising children of their own.

Still, at least one of the show’s cast members encountered some resistance after telling friends and family she’d accepted a role in a gay-themed play.

"I had one family member who immediately responded, 'Gay's in, I'm out,'" Cummings recalled. "The irony is that this play is really about family -- you will find people within that family who will say and do things that are incredibly hurtful, and you have to make a choice to either continue loving them or walk away."

Stewart echoed those sentiments, saying the show deals with "the family that we're born into, the family that we create, the family we leave behind and the family that is thrust upon us... Every character in this play has a need for some sort of family, for a safe harbo... a person they can feel like they’re at home with."

For Harrison, the changing definition of "family," as well as the national push for marriage equality, is having a noticeable impact on the roles he's been offered of late: "This is the second time I'm playing a married [gay] character. I never thought when I was 20 that I’d be playing a married gay man, let alone one who is dealing with the pressure to become a parent."

Currently in previews, "Harbor" opens Aug. 6 at 59E59 Theaters in New York. Click here for tickets and more information.

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30 July 2013

After Mad Men and Spartacus, Erin Cummings Docks Off-Broadway in Harbor

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Like most actors with a wide array of television guest appearances to their name, Erin Cummings is instantly recognizable. She has been seen on shows ranging from Nip/Tuck to Star Trek: Enterprise, played one of Don Draper's prostitutes on Mad Men, and gained the moniker "sex symbol" for her work as Sura, Spartacus' wife on the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

A year after moving to New York to pursue theater, Cummings has landed a role in Chad Beguelin's Harbor, the 2013-2014 season opener for off-Broadway's Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters. In the new dark comedy, she plays Donna, a foul-mouthed single mom who drops in on her gay brother and his new husband and turns their lives upside down. Cummings is excited to play such a messy character in a play that, like her, is making its New York stage debut.

Having read Harbor, I think it's safe to say that your character, Donna, is pretty audacious.
So much of the humor comes out of the audacity of these people, the things that come out of their mouths. Donna has so many of those cutting, biting lines. They also come out in the other characters, as they wear on each other's nerves. It helps in the evolution of the characters in the play. I was very excited about being able to play a mess.

Do you like that?
I really do. A lot of the characters I end up playing have a certain degree of glamour or sexiness, but I like it when you can have some other element that makes it much more interesting. You get to play the sexy love interest to Don Draper [on Mad Men], but I'd rather play the prostitute who slaps him in the face. I like to find characters who allow me to embrace my girly, feminine side.

You've done so much television. What is your stage background?
My background is actually theater, although this is my first New York show, and I studied Shakespeare in London. [In] my first Shakespeare [at California's Thousand Oaks Civic Center], I played Lady Macbeth. At the end of the day, I think all of my characters have a little bit of her in them.

Even Donna?
Donna…It's so difficult with a show that nobody knows. The only way to really express what the crux is…You have to say she's this hot mess, white trash, who lives in a truck, is potentially homophobic (but not homophobic as much as she doesn't have a filter). There are a few hints, she speaks to Lottie [her daughter] about growing up in total hell. They came from an extremely abusive household. This living in a van potentially came from the abuse that she suffered, because her mother put these men in front of the safety of her daughter...In creating Donna, that is the only way I can validate the way she's living. She knows that she has issues, but in her mind, she really is doing the best that she can to give her daughter the most exciting life, and to see the things she never got to see. I really think that Donna is someone who, at the end of the day, isn't a bad person, but has been dealt a really bad hand.

How helpful has director Mark Lamos been in helping form this person?
Mark Lamos is such an incredible director. I felt that I had an understanding of the character, but under his direction, the experience has blossomed for me. Chad wrote a tour-de-force role that any actress would give her left arm to play, and now it's up to me to find the colors and moments that makes her a complicated and rich character.

Is the prospect of making your New York theater debut in a brand-new play intimidating? It's not necessarily. That's the saving grace of it, the fact that it's a brand-new play. It's terribly intimidating to be making my New York stage debut. This has been my goal, and to be invited to do this within a year of living here is a tremendous honor. I'm so naïve about this world. I called my agent and said "The New York Times is gonna see this!?" I didn't know they came to see off-Broadway. He said "Do me a favor: Don't ask anyone any questions. Don't ask about awards…" There are awards for this!?

[Laughs] At least you're originating the role and don't have to worry about following in someone's footsteps.
This is my opportunity to make my mark on the character, without worrying "What did so-and-so do?" I'm trying the best I can to not be concerned with any of that. I'm making my New York stage debut, Harbor is making its New York stage debut, and hopefully it will resonate with a lot of people.


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29 July 2013

Broadway World Photo Flash: First Look at Primary Stages' HARBOR

Primary Stages, in association with Ted Snowdon, launches their 29th season with the New York premiere of Harbor at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters. Written by Tony-nominated Chad Beguelin (Elf, The Wedding Singer) and directed by Tony-nominated director Mark Lamos (Seascape, The Rivals, The Deep Blue Sea), the production features Erin Cummings (Starz's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", ABC's "Pan Am," CBS' "Made In Jersey"), Randy Harrison (Showtime's "Queer As Folk", Broadway's Wicked), Alexis Molnar (world premiere of Harbor at Westport Playhouse), and Paul Anthony Stewart (Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof, The People in the Picture). The show is currently in previews, and opening night is August 6. Harbor runs through September 8. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!


For full set of photos click here

 

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29 July 2013

Gallery Update - Soap Opera Digest scan

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Erin is pictured with her "Harbor" castmates in the new issue of Soap Opera Digest.

Magazine Gallery:
Soap Opera Digest Aug 5 2013


 

 

25 July 2013

Sony Acquires 'Cold Comes the Night' Starring Bryan Cranston

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Erin co-stars in the film. No US release date yet. UK release date of Sept. 20,2013.

From Hollywood Reporter:

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SWPA) has picked up domestic and international media rights to Tze Chun's Cold Comes the Night. The film, which is currently in postproduction, stars Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston and Logan Marshall-Green.

Directed by Chun and co-written by Chun, Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon, the film follows a struggling motel owner (Eve) and her daughter (Ursula Parker) who are taken hostage by a career criminal (Cranston). The criminal is trying to get a cash package back from a crooked cop (Marshall-Green).

Chun's previous film, Children of Invention, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win 17 awards at festivals. The indie film, which was Chun's feature directorial debut, followed a struggling mother and her two children, who were often left alone and invented things to entertain themselves.

Mynette Louie of Syncopated Films and Trevor Sagan of Sasquatch Films produced the project. It was financed by Three Point Capital, Whitewater Films and Cherry Sky Films and executive produced by Scott Halle, Rick Rosenthal, Nick Morton, Jacob Pechenik and Ali Jazayeri. Sony vp of production Lauren Craniotes is overseeing the project for the studio.

UTA Independent Film Group and Andre Des Rochers of Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers LLP repped the filmmakers for the deal with SPWA's executive vp of business affairs, Michael Helfand.

Chun is repped by WME. Eve is represented by Untitled Entertainment, UTA and Independent Talent; Cranston by UTA; and Marshall-Green is represented by 3 Arts and CAA.

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23 July 2013

Primary Stages' HARBOR Begins Performances Tonight

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Primary Stages launches their 29th season with the New York premiere of Harbor by Tony-nominated writer Chad Beguelin (Elf, The Wedding Singer). Directed by Tony-nominated director Mark Lamos (Seascape, The Rivals, The Deep Blue Sea), the production features Erin Cummings (Starz's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", CBS' "Made In Jersey"), Randy Harrison (Showtime's "Queer As Folk", Broadway's Wicked), Alexis Molnar (world premiere of Harbor at Westport Playhouse), and Paul Anthony Stewart (Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof, The People in the Picture). Harbor runs tonight, July 23 - September 8 at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters. Opening night is August 6.

When fifteen-year-old Lottie and her ne'er-do-well mother Donna drop in unannounced on the beautiful Sag Harbor home of Donna's brother and his new husband, all hell breaks loose. The bonds between kith and kin are tested in this alternately biting and touching comedy about the constantly shifting nature of the meaning of family. Harbor is from playwright Chad Beguelin, the author/lyricist of Broadway's The Wedding Singer and the lyricist for Elf; and Mark Lamos, the director of Primary Stages hits Black Tie, Indian Blood and Buffalo Gal.

Harbor features a scenic design by Andrew Jackness, costume design by Candice Donnelly, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, and original music and sound design by John Gromada.

LISTINGS INFORMATION: Harbor plays a limited engagement today, July 23 - September 8 at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street). Opening night isTuesday, August 6 at 7pm. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. On August 21, there will be a special Wednesday 2pm matinee in lieu of an evening performance. Single tickets are priced at $70 for all performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, online at www.primarystages.org, or in person at the 59E59 Theaters Box Office. Group Tickets (10+) are $39 each for performances through August 4 and $49 each for all performances August 7 - September 8. Student group tickets are available for $39 each throughout the run. Group sales are available by calling (212) 840-9705, ext. 204. Visit the website at www.primarystages.org, or call (212) 840-9705 for additional information.

Erin Cummings (Donna) is well known for the STARZ flagship series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", as Sura, the wife of Spartacus. The series, which shot in New Zealand, premiered in January 2010 and had the highest ratings a series has had on Starz to date. On television, Erin was most recently a series regular on "Made in Jersey", the hour long drama produced by Kevin Falls, Jamie Tarses, and Julia Franz for CBS. Erin's many guest starring roles on television include such shows as: "Star Trek: Enterprise", "Cold Case," "Dollhouse," "Threshold," "Charmed," "Nip Tuck." Additionally, she was a series regular role on the show "Dante's Cove." In addition, Erin appeared on AMC's 'Mad Men' and as a series regular ABC's 'Detroit 187' as well as a recurring arch on ABC's 'Pan AM' last year. Erin just wrapped shooting 'Iceman' opposite Winona Ryder and Michael Shannon. Her upcoming films include The Anniversary and Dark House.


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18 July 2013

Happy Birthday Erin!!

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Hope you have a great one!


 

 

17 July 2013

Photo of Sasha and Billy Ray McKenna

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Sasha with Rizzoli & Isles Costume Designer Billy Ray McKenna

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16 July 2013

Erin's episode of CBS' Unforgettable airs on August 4

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"Incognito" - Carrie goes undercover with a team of bank robbers when The Major Crimes Section gets a lead on the gang's leader, a notorious thief who rarely shows his face, on UNFORGETTABLE, Sunday, August 4 (9:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

GUEST CAST:

William Jackson Harper,Sendhil Ramamurthy, Terry Serpico,Erin Cummings

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11 July 2013

Press Day for "Harbor"

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Photos at:

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2 July 2013

Tweet Pix

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