CLOSED: Layon Gray’s “THE GIRLS OF SUMMER” Opened April 9th, 2014 at Actors Temple Theatre

(CLOSED June 21, 2014)

Layon Gray’s “THE GIRLS OF SUMMER ‘, winner 2006 NAACP Award for Best Play and 2011 National Black Theatre Festival Mainstage Selection, returns to New York April 2014!

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   WINNER 2006 NAACP AWARD FOR  BEST PLAY

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  2011 National Black Theatre Festival Mainstage Selection

 “In 1945 Chicago, a group of Negro women are assembled to play an exhibition game against the all white reigning champions Rockford Peaches. Two weeks into the training the coach of the All-Negro female baseball team is found dead. Racism, deceit, betrayal are brought to light as this powerful drama unveils the hidden story beneath the surface.” Written and directed by Layon Gray, writer of the Off-Broadway hit play “Black Angels Over Tuskegee”, THE GIRLS OF SUMMER is produced by The Layon Gray Experience, LLC opens at the Actors Temple Theatre.

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THE GIRLS OF SUMMER opens April 9th through May 28, 2014 , playing Wednesdays at 8PM.

In the Cast :  Steve Quimby, Yanil Molina, Chantal Maurice, Shahla Khanna, Stephanie Williams, Lamar K. Cheston, Teniece Divya Johnson, Ann Flanigan, Camille St. James, Massiel Armengot, Craig Colasanti, Danea Robinson and Yohanna Florentino.
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Officical Website: www.TheGirlsOfSummer.org

CLOSED: Girls Night: The Musical is back in NYC! Opens Feb 13th

Girls Night, The MusicalGirls Night: The Musical is BACK in NYC!

 

“Girls Night: The Musical” has been thrilling audiences and earning raves from critics throughout North America since it began touring after its sensational Off-Broadway debut.

This touching and hilarious ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ musical takes audiences on a journey into the lives of a group of female friends.

Audience members can’t help but laugh, cry and even sing and dance in the aisles to some the most popular hit songs of the 80s and 90s!

Follow five friends as they re-live their past, celebrate their present, and look to the future on a wild and hilarious night out … and you’ll recognize a bit of yourselves in each one of them!

Described as “Desperate Housewives meets Mamma Mia” (Applause Magazine) and “As funny and outrageous as Sex & the City!” (The Advocate). “Girls Night” is packed with hits “Lady Marmalade,” “It’s Raining Men,” “Man I Feel Like A Woman,” “I Will Survive,” “We are Family” and many more!


More Past Shows (10) from Actors Temple Theatre (2006 to 2011)

“The Big Voice: God or Merman”  2006-07  (Closed May 13, 2007)

Producers Murphy Cross, Paul Kreppel and Edmund Gaynes premiered the new musical The Big Voice: God or Merman — which began performances Nov. 25, 2006 at The Actors Temple Theatre — with co-stars and co-creators Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin. The Big Voice: God or Merman? played its final performance May 13, 2007 at The Actors Temple Theatre after  125 performances.
“There’s no business like show business–especially for two guys who meet in the Bermuda Triangle, fall in love, work in the theater…and live to tell about it! This high-energy, razzle-dazzle show chronicles the lives of a Baptist from Arkansas and a Catholic from Brooklyn who find eternal salvation in the temple of musical theatre.”

Neva Small: Not Quite an Ingenue” (Closed Sept. 30, 2007)

Broadway and film actress Neva Small (“Chava” in the film version of “Fiddler on the Roof”) starred in a musical show that whimsically traced the highlights of her life and career, offering some comfortable memories and more than a few surprises. 

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A devoted wife and mother, Neva shares the challenges and rewards of balancing a life in music with real life. The result is an entertainment that offers some comfortable memories and more than a few surprises, all delivered with the intimacy and joy of a seasoned performer. Musical Direction by Don Rebic Special Material by Jay Kerr Directed by Pamela Hall. It played Actors Temple Theatre from August 16, 2007 through September 30, 2007 .

The J.A.P Show ( Closed Oct. 15, 2007)

The J.A.P. Show, Jewish American Princesses of Comedy , starred Cory Kahaney, Jackie Hoffman, Cathy Ladman and Jessica Kirson  at the Actors Temple Theatre. It premiered April 4, 2007  and CLOSED on October 15, 2007.
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About the show:  These four brassy and ballsy female comics give nachus to their female predecessors, demonstrating through their own zany stories and stand-up why the Jewish female comics of yore are treasured pioneers. Written by Kahaney and directed by Dan Fields, The J.A.P. Show includes vintage film and video clips of the original queens of comedy.
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BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz” [Closed Nov. 16, 2008]

BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz”- the popular new musical starred Greg Purnhagen as Desi Arnaz, and resumed performances at The Actors Temple Theatre on Saturday, November 1st, 2008 . The musical, subtitled “The Art of Desi Arnaz,” began previews on August 23rd, 2008  and opened official on September 8, 2008. It CLOSED on November 16, 2008.
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Directed and choreographed by Gene Castle,BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz” featured Emily Anne Smith as Lucy plus a seven piece Latin band under the direction of Roy Dunlap with musical arrangements by David Cook. [CLOSED]
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Don’t Leave it All to the Children (Nov. 22, 2009)

A new musical comedy revue, “DON’T LEAVE IT ALL TO YOUR CHILDREN!”, written and directed by SAUL ILSON, Musical numbers staged by Rudy Tronto  and starring Barbara Minkus (“Picon Pie”), Marcia Rodd (“The Last of the Red Hot Lovers”), Steve Rossi (of Allen & Rossi) and  Ronnie Schell (Gomer Pyle) made its New York debut on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at the Actors Temple Theatre. and closed on November 22, 2009
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  Hebrew School Dropout, Or: How I Converted from Judaism to Catholicism and Back to Judaism AND Lost Those Stubborn Last 10 Pounds! ( Closed June 17, 2010

“Hebrew School Dropout, Or: How I Converted from Judaism to Catholicism and Back to Judaism AND Lost Those Stubborn Last 10 Pounds! “began previews at Actors Temple Theatre on April 24, 2010 and opened officially on May 19, 2010. It closed June 17, 2010
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In April of 2010, Emmy Award winner Dave Konig brought his new show Hebrew School Dropout, …. to the Actors Temple Theatre, a biographical piece that was a journey of faith in which Konig explored being a Jew who doesn’t fit in.
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On Broadway, Konig appeared in Grease. On television, he hosted the late-night HBO comedy series Hardcore TV, wrote, produced, and starred in the talk show parody The Dave Konig Show on USA Network, and won his Emmys for his Konig Underground segments on Metro (NY) TV’s Subway Q & A.

“All American Girls” ( Closed October 28, 2010)

Layon Gray’s  “All American Girls” premiered Off-Broadway at the Actors Temple Theatre on August 29, 2010 at Actors Temple Theatre and CLOSED October 28, 2010 . OB-JS102_baseba_E_20100826112724-335x223
About The Play: “It is about a fictional World War II-era baseball team of young African-American women, the Red Diamonds, assembled for a Chicago exhibition game against a team of white women, the Rockford Peaches.”
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“Zero Hour” 2010-11 (Closed Jan. 9, 2011)

Starting June 12, 2010, Kurt Peterson and Edmund Gaynes, who produced in association with The Peccadillo Theater Company, transferred Jim Brochu’s Zero Hour to the Actors Temple Theater where it continued its Off-Broadway run (Wednesdays at 3 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.) Brochu’s tribute to the late stage legend Zero Mostel premiered Off-Broadway on November 14, 2009 at Theatre at Saint Clement’s, transferred to  DR2 Theatre Feb. 23, 2010 and continued its Off-Broadway run at the Actors Temple Theatre as of June 12, 2010 ( where it played until January 9, 2011).
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“Zero Hour is set in theatre legend Zero Mostel’s painting studio on West 28th Street, a naïve reporter attempts to interview the famously volatile artist, prompting an explosion of memory, humor, outrage and juicy backstage lore. Mostel is remembered for his comedic genius and his definitive roles, but in the 1950′s he was equally known for his place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist. Directed by three time Oscar-nominated film star Piper Laurie, Jim Brochu’s striking portrayal brings all of Mostel’s swagger, ferocity, intelligence and fantastic wit back to the stage in this volcanic tour-de-force.”
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Sam’s Romance ( 2011)

sams-romance-big-150x150Sam’s Romance, a new play by award winning playwright Paul Manual Kane, opened June 5, 2011 at Actors Temple Theatre  and closed July 31, 2011. It was described as “an edgy comedy about connections. He’s Jewish, She’s Black, He’s 50, She’s 20, It’s 1953.

1248728-SamsRomance_CarolRosegg_large.jpg.300x207_q100An edgy comedy about connections. People who make the wrong connection. People who don’t connect no matter how they try. And, people who never connect but go on living with great expectations of connecting. People who make the wrong connection. People who don’t connect no matter how they try. And people who never connect but go on living with great expectations of connecting. The production featured a  set and lighting design by Josh Iacovelli; the cast that included Oni Brown, Lee Anne Hutchison, Ed Kershen, Todd Licea and Neva Small.

“Diary of a Catholic School Dropout” (2010-11) – Closed July 2011

Layon Gray’s “Diary of a Catholic School Drop Out”  Is an Abstract Choreo-play with motown music, dance, poetry, and lost love.
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 It premiered Off-Broadway at Actors Temple Theatre on November 17, 2010 and CLOSED July 2011.
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About the Play: “In two hours, at the age of 23, Alice Williams will be executed for the murder of her father. With little time on her side, she searches her soul for inner peace as her mind wanders back down the road that put her in this current predicament. This “choreoplay” by author/director Layon Gray sets out to memorialize a group of female reform school students.”

Closed March 9, 2014 : “It’s Just Sex”

It's Just Sex

It’s Just Sex depicts the lives of three typical couples, each experiencing the trials and tribulations of married life, during one fateful evening. With the kids away at camp, they gather for a routine cocktail party. But as the liquor flows, secrets, truths and resentments are revealed culminating in a surprising and wildly hilarious ‘partner swap’. After which, all involved are forced to deal with the resulting effects on their lives and marriages, and views of honesty, monogamy and relationship. This provocative and side-splitting original comedy has been the most successful play in the histories of each theater where it has played.

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“Convulsively funny. A true crowd pleaser.” – Variety

“A comic home run. Unapologetically commercial.

Its thoughtful naughtiness rocks the house.” – Los Angeles Times

“Go! Provocative and surprisingly enlightening. Sharp, funny and concise.”
– LA Weekly

CLOSED: Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody

 

Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody

Cuff Me! The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody is the unauthorized hilarious parody of the Fifty Shades of Grey book phenomenon! Grab your girlfriends and get ready to laugh at this sexy, and hysterical romp, Cuff Me! The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody, will have you dancing in the aisles as the cast of four belts out hilarious parodies of popular hit songs from Britney Spear’s “Hit Me One More Time ” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” while spoofing the Fifty Shades of Grey book!

Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody Creative Team includes authors :Brad McMurran, Jeremiah Albers, Tim Flaherty, Sonya Carter; Lyrics: Brad McMurran, Jeremiah Albers, Sean Devereux; Director: Sonya Carter; Producer: Entertainment Events, Inc. and Press Agent: David Gersten & Associates

CLOSED Oct. 2, 2013: “Siren’s Heart: The Marilyn Monroe Musical”

“Siren’s Heart: : The Marilyn Monroe Musical” by Walt Stepp opened  at Actors Temple Theatre on August 5, 2012 and closed on October 2, 2012 . It was directed by Lissa Moira and starred Louis Bradshaw.

About the play: “Siren’s Heart is not the familiar victim narrative about Marilyn Monroe. She is still a living icon in the hearts and minds of millions, but in her own time, Norma Jean was suffocated by the mask of Marilyn & the weight of living up to that impossible ideal of beauty, crushed her. Siren’s Heart, imagines another place where we see Marilyn, or Norma Jean, as she might have been; as she wanted to be: the well-rounded, unhaunted person she couldn’t be in her all-too-brief life.”

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“Louisa Bradshaw is riveting! Her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, frozen in time, excites as I’ve rarely seen happen on stage. Lissa Moira’s direction & dramaturgy are stunning. It perfectly captures the thoughts of playwright Walt Stepp, on a side of Marilyn never expressed before.” – Joe Franklin, Bloomberg Radio

“The great success of the show is that Louisa Bradshaw presents Monroe as a rather ordinary woman who just cannot figure out why she became so famous. She looks at her from the outside & sees a plain & troubled woman hurled into a worldwide stardom that she could not handle.”– Bruce Chadwick, History News Network

“In Walt Stepp’s Siren’s Heart we witness a provocative, intelligent, soul-searching woman. Louisa Bradshaw gives a tour-de-force performance… she does not attempt to impersonate Marilyn; she embodies Norma Jean & shares her life with us. Lissa Moira directs with verve & purpose!”– Bill Bradford, Hi! Drama

“Caldi applausi a tutti!”
– Mario Fratti, Oggi

CLOSED July 20, 2013: “Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes”

“Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes” starred Rain Pryor and was produced by Edmund Gaynes in Association with Daryl Sledge/Mother’s Boy LLC.  Fried Chicken & Latkes  first preview date was July 21, 2012  and opened officially on August 6, 2012  at the Actors Temple Theatre .  It CLOSED on July 20, 2013. ( for information on future bookings please contact Gaynes Theatrical Booking )

About the Play: Fried Chicken & Latkes, written and conceived by Rain Pryor, is a hero’s journey from the standpoint of a person born into a world of “Us vs. Them” – but not quite an “us” and not quite a “them”. Told through heavy characterization and a few songs, the story takes us on a journey of racial identity, family, spiritual growth and love. She gives us a glimpse into the universe that was her childhood and is her life, morphing effortlessly, into the people around her, we all end up completely identifying with her story.

Rain Pryor grew up Black and Jewish in Beverly Hills. The year was 1969, the year was of shout and protest against mans inhumane spirit. Through hate, racism, fear, loss and love – Rain dives into her search for heritage and meaning by “becoming” her grandmother Bernice – discussing everything from her shana madel’s marriage to the black comedian Richard Pryor, to the fact that Jews have been Jews for six thousand seven hundred and sixty six year. She equally inhabits her other grandmother, Mamma – discussing “niggers”, white folk, and running a whore house in Peoria, IL, : these were two cultures that helped her to triumph over racial lines and stereotypes. Rain’s father, legendary actor/comedian, Richard Pryor, gave her a sharp sense of timing and character. Her mother imbued her life with political consciousness to stand up for what you believe in! Fried Chicken & Latkes, teaches us that living an authentic life is not about “where do I stand”- it’s about “ Here, I stand.” It will take you back in time and move you forward making you laugh, think and cry. [CLOSED]

CLOSED (11-15-14) Black Angels Over Tuskegee – Jets attendance featured in the New York Times!

To purchase tickets, click poster to go to Telecharge

Black Angels Over Tuskegee

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ABOUT THE PLAY: Black Angels Over Tuskegee is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen told in narrative of six men embarking upon a journey to become pilots in the United States Army Air Forces. The play explores their collective struggle with Jim Crow, their intelligence, patriotism, dreams of an inclusive fair society, and brotherhood. The play goes beyond the headlines of the popular stories of the Tuskegee Airmen and exposes the men who exhibited the courage to excel, in spite of all the overwhelming odds against them.

Winner 2009 NAACP Award “Best Ensemble”
Winner 2009 Artistic Achievement Award “Best Play”

“Uplifting! Inspirational! This show is also tough to resist. By the end, when the pilots overcame their obstacles and finally got up into the air to the swelling of music,
tears welled up in my eyes.” – New York Times

“Dynamite performances!” – Time Out NY

“The characters are so realistic that the audience can’t help but be thoroughly moved!” – Associated Press

“Excellent ensemble acting keeps Black Angels Over Tuskegee soaring.
Some plays teach, others celebrate, and a few simply entertain.
Black Angels Over Tuskegee manages to do all three and one thing more:
It inspires.” – Back Stage

“Stunning!” – Curtain Up

After Cameo on Cable, Jets Hit Broadway

By BRUCE WEBER

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The police stopped rush-hour traffic at Eighth Avenue and West 47th Street on Wednesday so the buses could pass through and their passengers, burly men in jackets and ties, could make the curtain. These were the Jets, en route to the off-Broadway Actors Temple Theater. It was just before 9 a.m., earlier even for actors than for professional athletes.

“Last time I did a 9 a.m. show I was in the third grade,” said Layon Gray, who wrote, directed and performed in the play “Black Angels Over Tuskegee. “I was a tree.”

But the Jets had a luncheon scheduled and then they were off to Philadelphia, where they will play the Eagles Thursday night in their final preseason game. If they were going to see the show and absorb its message about comradeship and loyalty and pride, it had to be early. Everyone was there (well, not Darrelle Revis), including Coach Rex Ryan and the team owner, Woody Johnson.

It was an odd scene, a parade of huge, well-dressed guys filing quietly and obediently into the tiny theater, where several took up more than one seat apiece. A bystander prompted a sizable lineman: “Better than practice, right?”

“I’d rather be practicing,” he responded.

How did this come to pass? Serendipitously.

The play, part history and civics lesson, part inspirational narrative, concerns half a dozen men who during World War II were among the United States’ first black military aviators, known popularly as the Tuskegee Airmen, and who cohere into the proverbial band of brothers. It has been running since February to modest reviews — “an agreeable drama,” The New York Times called it — and one day last spring Ray Anderson, the N.F.L.’s executive vice president for football operations, was walking after dinner with his wife, Buffie, passed by the theater and decided to buy tickets.

Afterward, taken by its themes, its historical poignance and its relevance, racially speaking, to a league whose players are overwhelmingly black, the Andersons were thrilled, and Buffie suggested to her husband that he take his staff to see it. He did, and he subsequently issued a statement extolling the play as “a dynamic teambuilding experience.”

He added, ‘Black Angels’ is a must-see.”

(Anderson could have more use for his skills as a drama critic in a few weeks when “Lombardi,” a new play about the Green Bay Packers coach, opens on Broadway, with the N.F.L. as a producer.)

Buffie Anderson also sent her friend, Sara Hickmann, to the show. Hickmann, formerly director of the N.F.L.’s player assistance services, is now a Jets staff psychologist.

“And the entire time I was watching it, I was thinking, ‘I have to figure out way to get the team to see this,’ ” Hickmann said. “It was so relevant to what they’re trying to do, coming from all walks of life and maybe not always loving everyone on the team, needing to be away from family and friends, experiencing life tragedies. There were similarities in terms of the kind of banter the characters engage in, in terms of being educated and having role models.”

Hickmann took her idea to the Jets’ general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, who approved it, and the league also approved the outing as part of the life-skills program that each team is required to provide for its players. At first, the Jets talked about inviting the performers to their training camp, but Hickmann wanted the players in the theater.

“There’s something about the humility of the building when you walk in,” she said.

The players were a respectful, attentive audience, and a reasonably appreciative one, though there was some confusion about how long to applaud, and the actors’ curtain call concluded in silence. Still, they were murmuring approval on the way out and several asked to purchase T-shirts, though there was a limited supply in size XXXL.

“The play was as good as advertised,” Ryan said. “The message was outstanding, about teamwork, the way you have to take care of each other, the way you have to go through adversity and still go out and function on a high level.”

Jason Taylor, the linebacker signed from the Miami Dolphins, saw the play as being about “guys coming together and not letting someone else tell you what you can’t be.”

He acknowledged that some of his teammates may have initially rolled their eyes at the idea that watching a play together might be beneficial. But he thought the majority found it both relevant and moving.

“I found myself getting emotional at times,” he said. “You can sit in a room full of testosterone and big tough guys. But if you let your guard down and let your guard down and be a true man, you’ll find something in it for you.”

As for the actors, they were delighted, too.

“We saw a few tears shed by those big fellas,” said Thom Scott II, who plays Abraham, a voluble but sensitive young man who has the added burden of looking out for his brother, who is prone to fits.

“I think this play offers a lot that can help them for their Super Bowl run; I’m rooting for them now,” Scott said after admitting he has always been a Steelers fan.

To see the original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/sports/football/02jets.html?ref=sports

CLOSED- November 2, 2014 – Honestly Abe The Musical

To purchase tickets, click poster to go to Telecharge

La Muse Venale, Inc. presents Robert L. Hecker’s,” Honestly Abe”, a musical tale of dreams, possibilities and heartbreak, shining a light on a little-known early chapter in the life of President Abraham Lincoln. Directed by M. Stefan Stozier

ABOUT THE PLAY: Set in Indiana in the late 1820s, and based on historical fact, “Honestly Abe” presents the young Abe Lincoln as a lanky, prankster boy who loves to read and who can tell a yarn with the best of them. Close to both his mother and sister, while never quite seeing eye-to-eye with his father, Abe dreams of the day he can quit the family farm, leave his life of “rail-splitting” in the past and become a riverboat pilot. But family tragedies, a desire for revenge and the advice of a close friend will cause him to change his plans, setting him on the path toward the law and politics, but not before leaving someone very special behind.


For more information, go to www.lamusevenale.org

CLOSED Sept. 15, 2012: “Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte”

The Alloy Theatre Company’s off-Broadway production of “Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte” opened on  Aug 1, 2012 at Actors Temple Theatre and closed on September 15, 2012 due to the recent pregnancy of the solo show’s star, Maxine Linehan. Written by William Luce and directed by Timothy Douglas, Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte played 21 performances at the Actor’s Temple at the time of closing.


ABOUT THE PLAY: William Luce wrote Brontë first as a radio play for Julie Harris to perform on Masterpiece Radio Theatre, Elinor Stout directing. Entitled Currer Bell, Esquire (Charlotte’s nom de plume), this production won three broadcasting awards: The Peabody Award, Columbia University’s Armstrong Award and the Ohio State Award. Miss Harris next recorded the play for Caedmon Records, directed by Ward Botsford. With the new title of Brontë, the play’s third presentation became Irish Television’s movie version, directed by Delbert Mann and filmed on location in the moor country of County Wicklow. The film premiered in Lincoln Center, followed by Public Television presentations in North America and the UK. Brontë‘s final incarnation was Luce’s current stage version with Harris being directed by Kristoffer Tabori and subsequently by Charles Nelson Reilly. Brontë has had theater productions throughout the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, South America, Europe and Japan. [CLOSED]