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Lewis Center for the Arts presents Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan at McCarter's Berlind Theatre


Marguerite d'Aprile-Smith    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ) The Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater presents The Good Person of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Tony Kushner and directed by Mark Nelson with original live music by Princeton graduate student Gilad Cohen. Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 12-13 and Thursday to Saturday, November 18, 19 and 20. All performances are at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center.

This vibrantly theatrical tale – one of the classics of twentieth-century drama -- begins when three gods come to earth in search of one truly good person. Nobody in Setzuan will offer them a room except Shen Te, a penniless prostitute. The gods reward her with enough money to allow her to abandon her profession and open a small tobacco shop, but soon the entire community is asking for her help. Worse, she is falling in love with a pilot who is robbing her blind. What’s a good person to do?

Mark Nelson '77, a Broadway actor/director and a Princeton alumnus and current faculty member, recently completed an Off Broadway run in Jonathan Tolins’ Secrets of the Trade to direct The Good Person of Setzuan. In 2008-2009, he was an actor with The Bridge Project, Sam Mendes' classical rep company, performing in New York, London, Madrid and Epidaurus, Greece. He has directed plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, Drama Dept., McCarter Theatre, George Street Playhouse, and Chautauqua Theatre Company, and is a frequent guest director at the Juilliard School. On Broadway, he acted in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love  (Lincoln Center), Arthur Miller's After the Fall and Chekhov's Three Sisters (Roundabout Theatre), as well as the original casts of A Few Good Men, Rumors, Biloxi Blues and Amadeus. For his performance as Einstein in Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile, he received the OBIE, Drama League, Carbonell and San Francisco Critics Awards.

Michael Cadden, Director of the Program in Theater, notes that "Brecht began this play in Germany during the worldwide Depression of the Thirties. As the idea evolved, the play became something of a fairy tale about the difficulties of keeping hold of one’s integrity – as an individual or a nation -- in bad times. We’re delighted to welcome Mark Nelson '77 and his extraordinary design team, including six-time Tony nominee Beverly Emmons, to explore Brecht’s newly relevant tale of the struggle between self-interest and a sense of community.” 

The cast of The Good Person of Setzuan  includes Princeton undergraduates Bethy Atkins; Gabe Crouse; Jenna Devine; Gary Fox; Sebastian Franco; Savannah Hankinson; C.C. Kellogg; Jeffrey Kuperman; Shane Mitchell; Ankur Rathee; Zach Salk; Gregor Schubert; Caroline Slutsky; Tugce Tunalilar; and Elizabeth Wagner. Graduate student Gilad Cohen will appear in the cast and also perform on guitar along with fellow Princeton Graduate composition student Cameron Britt on percussion and Princeton undergraduates Lilia Xie on flute and David Lackey on double bass. 

Tickets for The Good Person of Setzuan are $10 students and seniors, and $15 general admission and may be ordered by calling the McCarter Box Office at 609.258.2787.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President ShirleyM. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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