Work Song

Work SongWorld Premiere
By Jeffrey Hatcher & Eric Simonson
Milwaukee Repertory Theater – Quadracci Powerhouse Theater
2000
C.P. as Eisner, Farris, Farmer and understudy Frank Lloyd Wright

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This world premiere production examines the fascinating life of Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright, the most abundantly creative genius of American architecture. (Milwaukee Rep notes)

In this thrilling and imaginative new play about the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, audiences get an in-depth look at the master builder at three distinct phases of his life and career: in Act One, as a young man in a hurry to change the way people live and finding inspiration in Mamah Cheney, a unconventional (married) woman who becomes the great love of his life and leads to his greatest tragedy; in Act Two, as a doubting genius at the crossroads, fending off creditors and reeling in clients before he salvages himself by coming up with one of his greatest creations, the house called “Fallingwater”; and in Act Three, as an old showman at twilight, visiting a house from his past and taking stock of his sacrifices and successes in his quest to build the perfect dwelling. Each part of the play has its own style: a multi-scene “epic” style covering three decades for part one; a compressed “country weekend” comedy à la Chekhov for part two; and a single setting for part three’s final encounter between Wright and a young couple living in one of his earliest houses built half a century before, played out in real time. The play also allows for a development in the play’s design that mirrors the architectural ideas of Wright himself. Work Song is about Wright’s ideas, his passions, his love affairs and his tragedies. It’s a play about a man who wanted to create the perfect home for the American family but could never build one for himself. (Dramatists Play Service)

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Lee E. Ernst
Frank Lloyd Wright
Ron Frazier
Overton, Edwin Cheney
James Pickering
Louis Sullivan, Otto Freundlich
Torrey Hanson
George Brodelle, Grant, William Brooks
Chris Mangels
Riley, Reporter, Sheriff, Stout
Christopher Prentice
Eisner, Farris, Farmer, Reporter
Rose Pickering
Grace, Anna Wright
Kirsten Potter
Catherine Wright, Britta, Carolyn Brooks
Laura Gordon
Mamah Cheney, Ayn Rand
Leon Addison Brown
Julian Carlton, Leelai
Richard Halverson
Daniel Burnham, Alexander Woollcott
Andrew Morris
John Wright, Wes Peters
Angela Iannone
Farmer’s Wife, Olgivanna Wright
Ian Alderman
Heather René Corallo
Jeff Ehren
Lisa C. Jones
Sarah Patterson Malkin
Trina Nance
Robert P. Reeves III
Molly Rhode
Leon Satchell-Paige
Charles R. Schoenherr
Andy Gladbach
Andrew Grobel
Ensemble
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Jeffrey Hatcher
Playwright
Eric Simonson
Playwright/Director
Kent Dorsey
Scenic Designer
Kärin Kopischke
Costume Designer
Chris Parry
Lighting Designer
Barry G. Funderburg
Sound Designer
Judy Berdan
Production Stage Manager
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Perhaps the most complex new play I’ve seen this season is ‘Work Song,’ a triptych of interlocking one acts by Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher about the life of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright…Its three parts, each with a different narrative strategy and tone, take the form of a conventional stage bio. One part presents an acid view of Wright in manipulative, pathetically regal celebrityhood at Taliesin, his monument to himself in rural Wisconsin, and the finale is an exquisite vignette about a visit by the ninety-year-old Wright to one of his first houses in Oak Park, Ill.…I hope it will be remounted soon and often.New York Times

Exhilirating … elegant and vigorous … The rest of the large Rep cast, skillfully doubling in contrasting roles, portrays Wright’s wives, lovers, students, clients and children. … It’s a fast-moving, breathtaking show. —Richard Christiansen, Chicago Tribune

Three Sides of Frank Lloyd Wright Seen in World Preem,Work Song, in WI, Sept. 6 (Playbill)

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