WE HAVE CONCLUDED OUR HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL LIMITED RUN! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO JOINED US!
Theatre Row’s THEATRE TWO
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
Between 9th and 10th Avenues
From October 17th through November 18th.
ARMS AND THE MAN:
Arms and the Man by Bernard Shaw is one of Shaw’s most enduringly popular comedies. The plot follows a hunted soldier who, seeking refuge in a young lady’s boudoir, starts in motion a series of highly engaging and unlikely comedic events. His unusual philosophies about life in general open up a world of thought she’d never previously entertained–certainly not with her dashing war-hero fiancée who also arrives unexpectedly. This early work of Shaw’s is a sparkling examination of romance, sex, love, negotiated relationships, political maneuverings, war, and hope.
ARMS AND THE MAN cast
SHANEL BAILEY … Raina Petkoff
DELPHI BORICH … Louka
BEN DAVIS … Major Sergius Saranoff
KESHAV MOODLIAR … Captain Bluntschli
THOMAS JAY RYAN … Major Paul Petkoff
EVAN ZES … Nicola
KAREN ZIEMBA … Catherine Petkoff
Understudies: MAZVITA CHANAKIRA
RENÉ THORNTON, JR.
Director … David Staller
Production Stage Manager … April Ann Kline
Assistant Stage Manager … Jade Doina
Set Designer … Lindsay Genevieve Fuori
Costume Designer … Tracy Christensen
Lighting Designer … Jamie Roderick
Sound Designer … Julian Evans
Property Designer … Emmarose Campbell
Production Manager … Allie Posner
Assistant to the Director … Logan Gabrielle Schulman
Technical Director … Sam Spear
Assistant Costume Designer … Ariel Kregar
Wardrobe Supervisor … Karine Ivey Hair Design … Cassie Williams
Casting … Stephanie Yankwitt and Nia Smith of tbd Casting Co.
Marketing … Kevin Sprague, Studio Two
“The world is not such an innocent place as we used to think!”
What does the title refer to? Click HERE to read Virgil’s Aeneid and note the first line.
Gingold Theatircal Group’s 2023 production of Shaw’s ARMS AND THE MAN was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
FROM DIRECTOR DAVID STALLER
WHY ARMS AND THE MAN? When George Bernard Shaw first began putting ideas together for this play in 1894, he had a potent memory of the brief and pointless Bulgarian1885 war referenced in this comedy. With his usual almost mystical understanding of human nature and politics, he was already warning those who would listen about the Eastern European hotbed of political unrest that, as predicted, erupted into what we now call World War One.
All of Shaw’s 65 plays (this was his fourth) are comedies, skillfully addressing every conceivable human issue with a light and ironic twist. After years of finding success as a journalist and arts critic, ARMS AND THE MAN was Shaw’s first taste of being taken seriously as a playwright, providing him the opportunity of showing his potential of making this imposing career leap.
As a portal into the creation of what became ARMS AND THE MAN, he first imagined it as a sort of music hall entertainment. In spite of Shaw’s revolutionary and modern approach to playwriting, his concept was considered far too avant-garde at the time by his wife and friends, so he crafted it as a highly theatrical piece using the format of the cliché operettas of the time that were inspired by classic farcical conventions, subverting the characters that theatre-goers were accustomed to into far more complex humans. Given the light touch the play aspires to, and concerned that his audience may not appreciate the human issues being skewered, he opted to balance the perception by employing a title that weightily embraces the first stanza of the epic poem The Aeneid by Virgil to illustrate the absurd futility of war:
“Arms and the man I sing, who, forced by fate
And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate,
Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore.”
His initial notion of a more conceptional approach to telling this story stayed with him. So, when the highly regarded actor, Maurice Evans, secured Shaw’s permission to try his hand at this play Shaw hurriedly wrote with these ideas of employing a ‘direct address’ approach with the actors speaking to the audience to introduce the play before then allowing the story to unfold. It never happened, though Shaw granted Evans permission to mount his highly successful production of MAN AND SUPERMAN and, later, THE DEVIL’S DISCIPLE.
Shaw had always hoped to film this play (there was a film made in 1932, now lost). He had begun notes for a screenplay that would fully employ this theatrical approach, in the manner of Max Ophül’s much later film, La Ronde. After the tremendous success of Shaw’s 1938 film version of PYGMALION (for which he won the Academy Award for his screenplay), he’d decided to film ARMS as his next, since Britain was on the brink of war and the play’s themes seemed relevant. He again imagined this play in a far more presentational approach with actors speaking directly to us through the camera and filmed as if inside a miniature Victorian toy theatre. It was Gabriel Pascal, his film producer, who talked him into filming MAJOR BARBARA instead. Thanks to Sir Michael Holroyd, notes and letters from Maurice Evans and other private collectors, and documents at the British Library, we have attempted to honor Shaw’s original bold notion of employing the actors’ direct address and to view this world through a childlike creation of a Victorian toy theatre. “What children we are!”, he wrote. “War does not determine who is right – only who is left. It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace. There is the eternal war between those who are in the world for what they can get out of it and those who are in the world to make it a better place for everybody to live in.”
Most importantly, this play begins Shaw’s lifelong theme of urging us to have the courage to face ourselves without illusion, without the mask we all inevitably create as a protection. But only after that, can we ever truly connect to another person.
To create the script for this performance, I have also referenced all four differing published versions of the play as well as the photocopies of his original handwritten manuscript. On behalf of all of us on the ARMS AND THE MAN team, thank you for joining us as we continue to explore the ever-relevant wit and wisdom of G.B.S.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SHARING THIS PLAY WITH YOU!
Justin “Squigs” Robertson’s vision of GTG’s ARMS AND THE MAN
JUST A FEW OF THE RAVES FOR “ARMS AND THE MAN”!
In the charming prologue to David Staller‘s production of George Bernard Shaw‘s classic comedy, we are warned that gunfire will be heard — but more predominant is the sound of romantic ideals merrily being shattered to bits. Arms and the Man is a prime example of Shaw’s knack for sneaking subversive ideas — in this case, a dismantling of war worship — into a romantic romp. Staller, drawing on his deep knowledge of Shaw, reshapes Arms and the Man to include instances of direct address at the top of each act, an idea the playwright seriously contemplated more than once. Arms and the Man ends happily, but only because everyone onstage has become thoroughly disillusioned. I wonder what an audience steeped in empire made of it; in any case, it remains distressingly relevant. There’s a bitter truth at the play’s heart, but in this case, it goes down like candy. If that was Shaw’s gift, it is Staller’s, too. LIGHTING AND SOUND AMERICA
David Staller’s direction was masterful. His decision to have the cast introduce the play established the performance’s collegial tone. For two hours I didn’t think about any other wars than the now-forgotten Serbo-Bulgarian conflict that informed the play. All the actors had that mischievous wink that signals “This is all in good fun.” Their performances captured the slightly over-the-top bravado that was a staple of the play’s music hall origins. Sergius bellows “Life is a farce!” There were winks and side-eyes aplenty. As the cast returned finally to say their goodbyes, I said to myself: well, that was lovely. THEATRE PIZZAZZ
In the hands of the director and its altogether delightful cast, Arms and the Man is a thoroughly joyful affair, for which we will leave the last word to Captain Bluntschli, the “chocolate cream soldier,” who reminds us all: “Never for a moment must we ever forget how lucky we all are to…to just be alive!” TALKIN’ BROADWAY
All of Gingold’s productions feature
thrilling ancillary events!
We hosted an international team of Theatre Artists, Journalists, and Shaw Scholars who will kick some hot topics around!
Shaw, Activism in the Arts, Women’s Rights, Changing Legal Issues
that the arts have inspired, or any other topic related to CANDIDA!
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Shanel Bailey is a proud NYC native, and Syracuse University Musical Theatre graduate. She is excited to be taking on Shaw’s work in this production of Arms & the Man through the Gingold Group! Broadway credit: The Book of Mormon (Nabulungi u/s, swing). She recently starred as Ernestine in the Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs From the Table of Joy throughThe Keen Company here at Theater Row. Her TV credits include The Equalizer, The Good Fight, That Damn Michael Che, and this year she made her series-regular debut starring as Hazel in the prequel series Grease: Rise Of the Pink Ladies! Shanel is represented by HCKR Agency and Entertainment 360.
Delphi Borich (Louka) Broadway: Camelot (u/s Guenevere), Into the Woods. Regional credits include: Twelfth Night (Dallas Theatre Center), Gloria (Asolo Rep), Beauty and the Beast (TUTS), Our Town (Arrow Rock Lyceum), Austen’s Pride (Carnegie Hall, The 5th), Peter and the Starcatcher (Barn Stage Company) and more! TV: WeCrashed (AppleTV), The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix). Proud graduate of Syracuse University. @delphiborich
Major Sergius Saranoff
Ben Davis Broadway: New York, New York, Dear Evan Hansen, Violet, A Little Night Music, La Boheme (Tony Honor), Les Miserables, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Lots of other theatre, including Sweeney Todd and Kiss Me Kate. Some TV, like The Game and Law & Order: SVU. Lots of concerts in places like Milan (La Scala), France, and Texas. Some opera. More: www.benjaminjaydavis.com and @thisbendavis. For Mom, Pa, & Mik.
Born in Pune, raised between Bombay and New Delhi – Keshav Moodliar is an actor based in New York City. He recently graduated with his MFA from The Juilliard School. Last seen Off-Broadway in Madhuri Shekhar’s Queen at Long Wharf and NAATCO. Other Off-Broadway credits include – Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, and Native Son. Film and TV credits include – Extrapolations (Apple TV), Chicken (Independent), SINK SANK SUNK (mini-series), In Defense of Civil Society (Independent), Untitled Paul Simms Pilot (FX).
Thomas Jay Ryan
Major Paul Petkoff
Most recently appeared in the acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Uncle Vanya. His Broadway credits include West Side Story, The Nap, The Crucible, In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play. Among many Off-Broadway credits are Deep Blue Sound, Becky Nurse of Salem, Eureka Day, Dance Nation, The Amateurs, The Lady From Dubuque, Measure For Measure, The Little Foxes, The Temperamentals. He made his film debut in the title role of Hal Hartley’s Cannes Festival prize winning Henry Fool trilogy. Other movies include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Scenes From an Empty Church, Burn Country, Cryptozoo, The Legend of Bagger Vance among others. He has won a Callaway and two Drama Desk Awards, and received Drama League and Gemini Award nominations.
Broadway: The Kite Runner. Off-Broadway: Incident at Vichy (Signature); Rent Control (Soho Playhouse); Days to Come (The Mint); London Assurance, Freedom of the City, Man and Superman, White Woman Street, Around the World in 80 Days (Irish Rep.); The Acting Company. International: The King Stag (Barbican, London). Regional: Papermill Playhouse, Hartford Stage, McCarter, Alley, Goodman, Old Globe, Pittsburgh CLO, ART, NY Stage & Film, Cleveland Playhouse, Westport, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre, Studio Theatre, Pittsburgh Public, St. Louis Rep, Baltimore Centerstage, Berkeley Rep. TV: Only Murders in the Building, Blacklist, FBI Most Wanted, The Path. Film: The Street.
KAREN ZIEMBA last appeared with the Gingold Theatrical Group in MRS.WARREN’S PROFESSION. She received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for CONTACT at Lincoln Center Theatre and for other stage performances has been honored with three Tony Award nominations, The Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Bay Area Theatre Critics, and Chicago’s JEFF Awards. Select Theatre: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, SYLVIA, BROADWAY BOUND, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, HEARTBREAK HOUSE, PRINCE OF BROADWAY, CURTAINS, STEEL PIER, CRAZY FOR YOU, CHICAGO, NEVER GONNA DANCE, KID VICTORY, GYPSY, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC,SWEENEY TODD, A CHORUS LINE, 42ND STREET, AND THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND, 110 IN THE SHADE, DO I HEAR A WALTZ, I DO! I DO! and HELLO, DOLLY! TV: The Blacklist, Elementary, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Law and Order C.I & S.V.U., The Kennedy Center Honors, and PBS’ Great Performances at Carnegie Hall.