To inaugurate our series designed to introduce new leaders in Houston arts organizations, “New Visions/New Directions in the Performing and Visual Arts”, THE HOUSTON SEMINAR welcomes Mark Bly, newly installed Senior Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development at the Alley Theatre.
“The 39 Steps”, two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning play, is the longest-running production on Broadway in the last seven years. In this adaptation of John Buchan’s 1915 novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film, four actors expertly manipulate the classic thriller – transforming it into a comic joyride by using an astounding collection of theatrical “tricks of the trade.”
March 1: Genres and narrative conventions have changed to meet the experiences and expectations of modern audiences. Professor Bly will discuss the evolution of “The 39 Steps” from its roots in Commedia dell’Arte through British music hall and American vaudeville to the flash editing and comedic shorthand of today’s fractured, frenzied, and media-marinated environment. Josh Friedman, Alley Theatre production manager, will conduct a guided tour of the stage set and the Alley’s world-class Production Center.
March 4: We will attend the final technical and dress rehearsal of “The 39 Steps”, where Professor Bly will “set the stage” before the working rehearsal, and then join us afterwards for champagne and conversation about the play and the process.
In a joint conservatory appointment with the Alley, Mark Bly is a Distinguished Professor of Theater at the University of Houston, where he teaches Playwriting and Dramaturgy. He has dramaturged over 70 productions at major regional theatres and on Broadway, including the premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’s The America Play at the Yale Rep and Public Theater, the premiere of Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations at the Arena Stage and La Jolla Playhouse, and (as the first production dramaturg to be credited on a Broadway production) Execution of Justice, written and directed by Emily Mann. In early 2009, Professor Bly again served as production dramaturg for Kaufman, who directed the highly acclaimed 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, which opened on March 9 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Broadway.
Before joining the Alley, Professor Bly worked as Senior Dramaturg and Director of the New Play Development Series at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., after serving 12 years as Chair of the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama and as Associate Artistic Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre.
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