Roberta on the Arts
The Playwrights Realm Presents "City Of" at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Culture from Chicago
Our Sponsors

The Playwrights Realm Presents "City Of" at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater

- Backstage with the Playwrights

The Playwrights Realm
Katherine Kovner, Artistic Director

City Of
(City Of Website)

A New Play by Anton Dudley
Directed by Stephen Brackett

At the
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
416 West 42nd Street

Suzanne Bertish, Colby Minifie, Devin Norik
Steven Rattazzi, Jon Norman Schneider, Cheryl Stern

Scenic Design: Cameron Anderson
Costume Design: Paul Carey
Lighting Design: Brian Tovar
Sound Design: Matt Hubbs
Props Design: Anna Demenkoff
Song Composer: Michael Cooper
Managing Director: Alexander Orbovich
Production Supervisor: James Cleveland/Production Core
Casting: Paul Davis/Calleri Casting
Production Stage Manager: Megan Schwarz Dickert
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 6, 2015

Playwright, Anton Dudley, has created a new play on the inspiration of Henri Rousseau’s 1910 painting, “The Dream”, which can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art. “The Dream” was one of many jungle paintings Mr. Rousseau painted from his own inspirations at the Botanical Garden and Natural History Museum in France. He was never in any jungle, but he lived in his imagination. Mr. Dudley calls that state “The In-Between”, and his characters in City Of, an intermission-less play at The Realm, are “between the dog and the wolf”, the English translation for the French words for “at twilight” – “entre chien et loup”. Six actors perform as more than six characters, in an ensemble piece with some humor and some pathos. Yet, the story never develops coherently. The plot and scene switch in the moment, with weak transitions. This is not a play to understand literally, but rather something in “The In-Between”. As The Realm is “dedicated to serving early-career playwrights” (program), Mr. Dudley may shift his style through seasoned craft. Stephen Brackett, Director, focuses the action on spotlighted humor, romance, wistfulness, and yearning. Props become intrinsic to these illuminated moments, like a spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral, a cream puff, and chairs for a plane ride. The plot takes four of the characters from New York to Paris, where they all search for something they long for.

Eleanor (Suzanne Bertish) searches for her deceased father, knocking on a grave stone. Claude (Jon Norman Schneider) had seen Rousseau’s painting in MOMA, and he’s persuaded to travel with his new acquaintance, Dash (Devin Norik), who knows Paris and its art. Cammie (Colby Minifie) wants to sing in the Paris Opera. She practices onstage, but the sound of her guttural, non-tonality is particularly grating, an understatement. The recorded opera, heard sporadically in the background, would have sufficed with mime. But, that would be a change in plot. Cheryl Stern portrays several characters, including a pigeon in a feathery coat, who is adored by a gargoyle, Stephen Rattazzi, next to whom she perches, on Notre-Dame. The pigeon wears a beret, and the gargoyle wears horns. Their flirtation and poetry might be worth a new play, without the extra camp. There are some haunted scenes in Paris, maternal revelations, and a Verlaine poem or song (by Michael Cooper) here or there, but, mostly, this is an undeveloped play. Cameron Anderson’s simple set, Paul Carey’s attic-like costumes, and Anna Demenkoff’s trunk-like props add fanciful or structural detail. When a velvety couch appears, before a scenic take on “The Dream”, the painting enters staged reality: the multi-dimensions of twilight.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at