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‘Limitless Seating’ for Star-Studded Show at Guild Hall

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 21:23

If there is a small silver lining during the widespread shift to online cultural programming necessitated by Covid-19, it is, as Andrea Grover, Guild Hall’s executive director, says, “Seating is limitless in the virtual realm.” Which is a good thing, because Sunday’s staged reading of “Same Time, Next Year” with Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin would surely be a sellout if it were a live production.

Bernard Slade’s comedy, which premiered in 1975 and ran for four years on Broadway, is one of the world’s most widely produced plays. The story is what in the movie business is called “high concept”: A New Jersey accountant and an Oakland housewife meet at a California inn in 1951, have an affair, and agree to meet once a year thereafter, despite the fact that both are married to other people and have six children between them.

The original production, which starred Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin, earned best actress Tony and Drama Desk awards for Ms. Burstyn and was named outstanding new American play by the Drama Desk. It was adapted in 1978 into a film with Alan Alda and Ms. Burstyn. The New York Times called the play “the funniest comedy about love and adultery to come Broadway’s way in years.”

In addition to starring Ms. Moore and Mr. Baldwin, the Guild Hall reading is directed by Bob Balaban, a director, actor, and producer who spearheaded the fund-raising event. Mr. Balaban’s many credits include creating, producing, and co-starring in Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park,” which received seven Academy Award nominations, including best picture.

Regarding the virtual production, “Everything is in Zoomland,” said Josh Gladstone, the artistic director of Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater. “While we have artfully created a world that seems coherent and cohesive, in fact Julianne and Alec recorded this from the comfort of their own homes, and Bob stayed socially distant at his home.”

“We recorded it and it’s being edited now. I was there at the taping, and I can tell you it’s funny and romantic and touching, and these two stars earn every bit of their praise and renown.”

Tickets for the reading, which is a benefit for Guild Hall, are $100 per household and are available on its website. 

The World of Al Hirschfeld

The drawings of Al Hirschfeld, a self-described “characterist,” are familiar to anybody who read the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section during most of the 20th century. His caricatures of celebrities and Broadway stars not only adorned the Gray Lady’s pages for 75 years, they also appeared in magazines such as Life, Look, Seventeen, and TV Guide, as well as books, posters, record covers, even postage stamps.

On Wednesday at 8 p.m., Guild Hall will present “Behind the Lines,” a Zoom presentation by David Leopold, a writer and curator who organized the archive of Hirschfeld’s work and is now creative director for the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. His most recent book, “The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of the Artist and His Age,” was published in 2015 to coincide with a retrospective organized by Mr. Leopold for the New-York Historical Society. Mr. Hirschfeld died in 2003 at the age of 99.

Tickets, available on Guild Hall’s website, are $10, $8 for members of Guild Hall or the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. A link to the live broadcast will be emailed to ticket holders.

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