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World premiere play at Curtain Call in Stamford

By Curtain Call

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André Herzegovitch and Catherine Luciani play famous artists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt in Curtain Call's world premiere production of Christopher Ward's play, The Independents, playing in The Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, April 13 through 23. (contributed photo)
The early days of the nearly 40-year friendship between master artists Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, are explored in a world premiere production of The Independents, playing in Curtain Call’s Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, April 13 through 23.

American-born Cassatt and the French master, Degas, met in 1877, and though actual details of their relationship remain a mystery, Stamford author Christopher Ward has created this compelling look into to their lives and the Impressionist movement in Paris.

According to Stephanie Strasnick of ARTNEWS, “Degas often enlisted his friends to model for his paintings, but none more frequently than Cassatt. She is the subject of at least eight of Degas’s works, and scholars believe her likeness appears in many more. The unfinished painting Mary Cassatt, however, is the only true portrait that he painted of her. She owned the piece and displayed it in her studio." (Degas also owned numerous works by Cassatt.)

Ward’s inspiration for this production came from a National Gallery exhibit of works by the two famed artists. Because Cassatt had burned her letters from Degas, and he had thrown hers away, “I relied on the things they said about each other and things family members and friends had said about them,” said Ward. “Their short tumultuous time together resulted in the creation of a series of masterpieces that stunned the art world,” added Ward.

André Herzegovitch and Catherine Luciani play famous artists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt in Curtain Call's world premiere production of Christopher Ward's play, The Independents, playing in The Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, April 13 through 23. (contributed photo)
These two strong-willed independent artists never backed down from a fight, nor failed to use their razor sharp wit to win an argument. The Independents is as humorous as it is educational. And lest you worry about not being up to snuff with the Impressionists, Curtain Call executive director and producer, Lou Ursone said “You don’t need to know anything about art to enjoy the show.” Staring as Degas and Cassatt are André Herzegovitch and Catherine Luciani. Ursone noted that it has been a joy for him to watch these two skilled actors bring these artists to life. "The rehearsals have been great and I can't wait for our audiences to see their work," he added.

The Independents is one of two world premiere productions on tap for Curtain Call, Stamford’s community-based theatre company in residence at Sterling Farms in Stamford. “I love working on original pieces and really enjoy supporting local authors,” said Ursone. “When Chris first showed me a working draft of the show a few years ago, I thought it would be a great show for our audiences so I’m glad we are able to mount the play’s first full-scale production,” Ursone added. The production design for the show is by Peter Barbieri, Jr., with costumes by Robin Mazzola and Deborah Burke and stage management by John Zimmerman, Carol Foley and Mike Shannahan.

The Independents will play in The Dressing Room Theatre, April 13 through 23, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00m and Sunday afternoon, April 23 at 2:00pm. Seating in The Dressing Room Theatre is cabaret-style with a BYOEverything format. Doors open one hour before curtain time. Regular prices are $32 for adults, $25 for senior citizens and $16 for students and children. Thursday evenings, all seats $25. Box Office: 203-461-6358 or online at www.curtaincallinc.com. The final two productions in Curtain Call’s 2016-2017 season are The Man with the Glass Heart (world premiere musical) and the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, Sweet Charity.

More information is available at www.curtaincallinc.com or by calling 203-461-6358. Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre in cooperation with The City of Stamford.

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