Spalding Gray, writer, actor and performer, created a series of 18 monologues, including Sex and Death to the Age 14; Booze, Cars and College Girls; A Personal History of the American Theater; India and After (America); Monster in a Box; Gray’s Anatomy; It’s a Slippery Slope; Morning, Noon and Night, and the Obie Award-winning Swimming
From 1969 through 1985, Gray worked with The Performing Garage in New York, with The Performance Group directed by Richard Schechner and with The Wooster Group directed by Elizabeth LeCompte. From 1975 to 1978 Gray and LeCompte created his autobiographical trilogy, Three Places in Rhode Island. His early signature monologues were also developed at the Garage, including Sex and Death to the Age 14; India and After (America); A Personal History of the American Theater; 47 Beds; and Swimming to Cambodia, which was made into a film by Jonathan Demme. Gray performed all of these monologues in the 1990s at Lincoln Center Theater.
As an actor, Gray performed on Broadway playing Secretary William in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and the Stage Manager in the revival of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, directed by Gregory Mosher. Other theater credits include the role of Hoss in the Performance Group’s New York premiere of Sam Shepard’s Tooth of Crime.
Gray appeared in more than 40 films, including Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields; Jonathan Demme’s Swimming to Cambodia; David Byrne’s True Stories; Robert Mulligan’s Clara’s Heart; Gary Marshall’s Beaches; Steven Soderbergh’s King of the Hill; Ron Howard’s The Paper; John Boorman’s Beyond Rangoon; and Jeremiah Chechik’s Diabolique. Television appearances include a recurring role in The Nanny, and Zelda, directed by Pat O’Connor.
Publications include a collection of monologues, Sex and Death to the Age 14 (Random House); Swimming to Cambodia (Theater Communications Group); Monster in a Box (Vintage); In Search of the Monkey Girl (Aperture Press); Gray’s Anatomy (Vintage); the novel Impossible Vacation (Knopf); the novel It’s a Slippery Slope (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux); and Morning, Noon and Night (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux).
Several of Gray’s other monologues have been released as films, including Gray’s Anatomy, directed by Steven Soderbergh (1997); Monster in a Box, directed by Nick Broomfield (1992); and Terrors of Pleasure, directed by Thomas Schlamme (1988).
Gray took his life in January of 2004 after a two-year battle with depression caused by a head injury sustained in a car accident in Ireland. His last monologue, Life Interrupted, was in development at Performance Space 122 in December of 2003 and was published in 2005 by Crown Publishing. It was also released as a CD with Sam Shepard reading the voice of Spalding in 2005. Gray is survived by his sons Forrest and Theo, his daughter Marissa and his wife, Kathleen Russo.
Following his death, Gray continues to be heard in Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, a compilation of his unfinished and previous works.
Kathleen Russo (Co-director) is the producer for IN THE MORNING and THE SONG IS YOU on WLIUfm/Southampton, NY. She co-founded Washington Square Arts in New York City in 1996 representing numerous artists from David Sedaris to Eric Bogosian. In 2006, Kathleen co-directed and conceived with Lucy Sexton Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell which toured around the US and had a 6 month run at Minetta Lane Theatre, NYC. She is the widow of Spalding Gray and mother of their three children Marissa, Forrest and Theo. She resides in Sag Harbor, NY and Manhattan.
Lucy Sexton (Co-director) has worked in theatre in different capacities for more than two decades. With Anne Iobst, she co-created the Bessie Award-winning dance-performance group DANCENOISE, which has performed extensively in New York and around the world since 1983. They have been commissioned by such notable venues and festivals as Serious Fun! At Lincoln Center, Glasgow’s Mayfest, Jerusalem’s Phenomena Festival, New York NOW in Osaka, the Salzburg Szene Festival, Vienna Fest Wochen, the Alice B. Theater Fest in Seattle, and the Whitney Biennial (1993). Performing as The Factress for the past 10 years, Sexton hosts a randomly occurring live talk show, The Lucy Show, with co-host Mike Iveson, aka Vendetta “Baby Asparagus” K. Starr. The Lucy Show has performed at Performance Space 122, the Bristol Old Vic Theater (UK), and the Jungestheatre (Germany). In 2007, Kathleen Russo and she developed and directed the Obie-Award winning off-Broadway show, Spalding Gray, Stories Left to Tell which ran off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater to great critical acclaim. Sexton also produced Charles Atlas’ documentary The Legend of Leigh Bowery for the BBC and Arte, and is currently at work on Atlas’s new film Turning featuring the band Antony and the Johnsons. As a performer she has appeared in the work of Alien Comic, Charles Atlas, David Gordon, Jo Andres, Mimi Goese, Heidi Dorow, Steve Buscemi and Mark Boone Jr, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Richard Move, Sarah Shulman, and Alain Buffard among others. She has taught performance at the Center for New Dance Development in the Netherlands, Cornell University, Movement Research and Harvey Milk High School in NYC.
Michael Cunningham was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in La Cañada, California. He received his B.A. in English literature from Stanford University and his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa. His novel A Home at the End of the World was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1990 to wide acclaim. A film version was directed by Michael Mayer, and featured Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts and Sissy Spacek.
Flesh and Blood (FSG), another novel, followed in 1995 and is currently being adapted into a miniseries for Showtime.
In 1999 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The Hours (FSG). A film adaptation of The Hours was directed by Stephen Daldry, and featured Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, and Meryl Streep.
In June 2005, his latest novel, Specimen Days, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is now available as a Picador paperback.
He has written one nonfiction book, Land’s End: A Walk Through Provincetown (Crown, 2002).
His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review. “White Angel,” a short story, was chosen for The Best American Short Stories, 1989, and another story, “Mister Brother,” appeared in the 2000 O. Henry Collection.
Michael Cunningham is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award (1995), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1993), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1988), and a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa (1982).
He lives in New York City.
Ain Gordon is a three-time Obie Award-winning writer/director/actor, a two-time NYFA Fellow and the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting. His most recent work, The Storm Show, rooted in the Galveston flood of 1900 will premiere in 2009 as a co-production with DiverseWorks and Stages Repertory Theater in Houston (TX). In February 2009, his play, In This Place…, was produced in NYC by 651ARTS, opening their 20th anniversary season. In This Place… was originally commissioned/presented by LexArts (KY) in 2008 and funded by the Multi-Arts Production Fund (MAP). In 2007 he re-mounted his Epic Family Epic (with the Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Trust) to tour to VSA North Fourth Arts Center, (NM) and the Krannert Center, (IL). Previously, his work has been commissioned/produced/presented by New York Theater Workshop, Soho Rep., The Public Theatre, Dance Theater Workshop, PS 122, and HERE (all NYC); the Mark Taper Forum (CA), the George Street Playhouse (NJ), the Baltimore Museum of Art (MD), Spirit Square (NC) Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (MA), and Dance Space (DC). He has collaborated with David Gordon on works presented at American Repertory Theatre (MA), American Conservatory Theater (CA), and American Music Theatre Festival (PA); and with Bebe Miller on works presented at The Wexner Center (OH), and Myrna Loy Center/Helena Presents (MT), etc. As a performer, Gordon created the role of “Journals” in the Off-Broadway run of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell and toured with the production to UCLA Live (CA), Guild Hall (LI), TBA Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (OR), the ICA Boston and Vineyard Playhouse (MA), etc. Gordon also wrote for NBC’s Will & Grace. Currently, Gordon is Artist-in-Residence at the Center for Creative Research, CCR, (a trans-disciplinary collaboration with research-oriented universities), a member of the Board of Directors of Performance Space 122, and Chair of the Danspace Project Artist Advisory Board. He has been Co-Director of the Pick Up Performance Co(s) since 1992.
Carmelita Tropicana is a Cuban-born writer and performance artist, Tropicana is the recipient of a 1999 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, and named by the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario “una de las mujeres destacadas del 1998.” Her critically acclaimed solo With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit? was produced Off Broadway by INTAR Theater (2004); and presented at the Mark Taper Forum’s The New Theater for Now Festival at the Kirk Douglas Theater (2005) Northwestern University as part of Black and Latino Performance Festival (2008) and Michigan University (2006). Single Wet Female (2002), a play co-written with Marga Gomez, was presented at the Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco, in New York City at Performance Space 122, and at The Off Center in Austin, Texas (2005). It was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding New York Theatre: Off Off Broadway (2003). Her the multi-media piece, Candela (a collaboration with Uzi Parnes and Ela Troyano) was presented at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City, Dance Umbrella in Boston, the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque, Teatro Lazo in Mexico City (1989-90). She has presented her solo, Milk of Amnesia (directed by Ela Troyano) from 1994 to the present, in numerous theatres and museums, including The Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea in Barcelona (as part of the art exhibit, “Cuba la Isla Posible”); the Menead Theatre in Calgary, the ATHE conference in New York City, the American Studies conference in Montreal, Performance Space 122 in New York City, The Theater Offensive in Boston, New World Theater in Amherst, Duke University, Cornell University, Yale University, and Rutgers University. Her book I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performing Between Cultures edited by chon Noriega was nominated for 2000 Lambda Award for theater writing. Her film Carmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst is Your Waffen, a collaboration with film director Ela Troyano, was funded by Independent Television Services and won for Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival and the Audience Award at the 18th International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
Josh Lefkowitz is a writer and performer. He has performed his autobiographical solo pieces to wide critical acclaim in theaters and spaces throughout the country. His first full-length monologue, titled HELP WANTED: A Personal Search for Meaningful Employment at
the Start of the 21st Century, has played at Baltimore Centerstage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Yale University, Chicago’s Single File Festival, Dixon Place, The Tank, and Access Theater in NYC, as well as the Inaugural Capital Fringe Festival. Josh’s second monologue – NOW WHAT? – was commissioned by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where it premiered in Fall 2007 following workshops at Dixon Place and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It played at Baltimore Centerstage in January 2008. He has led workshops and lectures in solo performance at Towson University, University of Maryland-Baltimore, George Mason University, American University, Baltimore School for the Arts, University of Michigan, and Yale University. Josh was an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, where he created work under the mentorship of actor/writer Eric Bogosian and he has collaborated numerous times with performanc artist Holly Hughes. His short plays have been performed at The Work Gallery in Ann Arbor, MI, Theater Alliance in Washington, DC, and The Illusion Theater in Minneapolis, MN. His stories and poems have been published in numerous journals online and in print, and he has recorded personal essays for NPR’s All Things Considered. As an actor, Josh has appeared at Playwrights Horizons, NY Stage & Film, Actors Theatre of Louisville (Humana 2007), Woolly Mammoth, Baltimore Centerstage, Signature Theatre, Arena Stage, Olney Theatre, and is currently performing in The Rise & Fall of Annie Hall at Theater J. He received a Young Artist grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry at the University of Michigan, and was selected as one of NY’s Best Emerging Jewish Performers.
Marty Moss-Coane, Host and Producer of WHYY’s Radio Times – Guest Actor
Marty Moss-Coane is host and executive producer of Radio Times, one of the most respected weekday interview programs on regional radio. She has earned praise for her versatility and engaging conversations and interviews with guests and phone callers alike during the live two-hour program which covers social issues, public policy, books, films and more.
A graduate of Temple University, Marty Moss-Coane is one of the tri-state area’s most thought-provoking and balanced radio hosts. Marty has been the producer and host of WHYY’s Radio Times since 1987. She has turned the two-hour weekday program into one of this region’s most respected, local interview and call-in programs. Her programs reflect the belief that guiding discussions fairly and accurately are of prime importance in educating and informing the audience, allowing them to make sound and informed decisions. Marty has taken Radio Times into various communities before live audiences to explore issues relevant to those communities.
She became a familiar national name when she served as principal guest host for Terry Gross on Fresh Air, WHYY’s daily national magazine of culture show. In addition, she is WHYY’s principal moderator for community town meetings and political candidate forums and debates, both on FM, TV, the Web and in the community.
Marty’s work at WHYY is one of dedication and professional growth and distinction. Her story is the classic tale of success through hard work and excellence. Marty’s association with WHYY began as a volunteer for WHYY’s radio station and has continued for 20-plus years as an associate producer, producer, executive producer and local and national host on radio and TV.
This isn’t the first time she has showcased her acting talents, she played a starring role in a production of the Vagina Monologues at the Annenberg Center.
Sheryl Lee Ralph – Guest Performer
Actress, producer, director, and writer are just a few titles Sheryl Lee Ralph has held in her show business career. Sheryl Lee began her ambitious journey as the youngest female to graduate from Rutgers College at the age of 19 and later received her Doctorate from Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Over the years she has been acknowledged by a diverse range of organizations, which reflects her versatility as an actress.
Sheryl Lee Ralph’s role in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls as Deena Jones led to both a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Normination for Best Actress. She also received several NAACP Image Award nominations, for her role as step mom Dee in the television series Moesha, as well as an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress in To Sleep with Anger with Danny Glover. Throughout the years Sheryl Lee Ralph has made guest appearances on shows such as Entertainment Tonight and The Daily Show, and has also been featured in many publications including, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Time Magazine. Shifting from center stage to backstage, Sheryl Lee established The Jamerican Film & Muisc Festival as well as a production company, called Island Girl Productions. With Island Girl Productions she explored new possibilities in writing, directing, and producing with her film Secrets.
Apart from her contribution to Broadway, television, and film, Sheryl Lee Ralph has played a major role in becoming a voice for others. After losing many friends to HIV/AIDS, she founded the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation, an organization committed to raising awareness of the disease through music and education since its creation in 1990. The DIVA Foundation generated lots of attention with its fundraising production of Divas Simply Singing. The success of her activism also inspired Sheryl Lee Ralph to write, direct, and perform Sometimes I Cry, a portrayal of the lives of women affected by HIV/AIDS. And in 2005, the UN acknowledged her efforts with the first Red Ribbon Award for her significant involvement as an HIV/AIDS activist. Sheryl Lee’s latest project is a new socially conscious clothing line called RED RIBBON WEAR.
Jennifer Childs is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s all-comedy theater company. For 1812 she has created and directed a series of productions celebrating an era or area of comedic history. They are, The Big Time and Another Big Time (vaudeville), Like Crazy Like Wow (1950s nightclub comedy), Something Wonderful Right Away (improvisation), Always A Lady (a history of women in comedy) Double Down (male comedy teams of the 20th century), and four incarnations of This Is The Week That Is (political humor).
Also for 1812, she collaborated with composer James Sugg on the full-length musical Cherry Bomb for which she wrote the book and lyrics. She also co-wrote Let’s Pretend We’re Married with actor Tony Braithwaite. She was recently given permission by Woody Allen to adapt eight of his short stories and essays for the stage. An Evening Without Woody Allen will have its premiere at 1812 in the spring of 2010.
In addition to her work at 1812 she has performed, directed and/or taught for Philadelphia Theatre Company (recently performing with Bill Irwin in his The Happiness Lecture), the Wilma Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Prince Music Theatre, Mum Puppettheatre, Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival, Freedom Theater, Act II Playhouse, Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center, Lantern Theatre Company and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival. She oversees the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program at 1812 and has worked with numerous solo artists on developing new pieces, and she collaborated with dancer Nichole Canuso as a director/dramaturg during the development and production of her dance/theater solo, Fail Better
Childs graduated from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts with a BFA in Theater in 1990. She has been nominated for 11 Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater, winning the Supporting Actress in a Play Award for her work in the Wilma’s Escape From Happiness, and the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist in 1999. She is the recipient of two Independence Foundation Fellowships in the Arts – the first in 2000 to attend the School of Physical Theatre in London and the second in 2009 to develop a solo piece entitled Why I’m Scared of Dance By Jen Childs.