Ben Brantley, The New York Times Chief Theater Critic: "On the Aisle: Critically Speaking"



Open VISIONS Forum Lecture Series
8 p.m., Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Image: Ben BrantleyThe Open VISIONS Forum series at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts turns a critical on today's theatre scene at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, when The New York Times chief theater critic Ben Brantley shares his expertise in the lecture "On the Aisle: Critically Speaking." Following his presentation, Mr. Brantley will be joined on-stage for a discussion on the subject with Mark Lamos, Artistic Director of the Westport Country Playhouse, and Dr. Martha S. LoMonaco, Professor of Theatre and Director of the Theatre Program at Fairfield University, and guest curator for "Bravo! A Century of Theatre in Fairfield County," the current exhibition at the Fairfield Museum and History Center. Community Partner for this event is the Fairfield Museum and History Center. Corporate Sponsor is Harry's Wine and Liquor Market. Moffly Media is the exclusive media partner for Fall 2011 Open VISIONS Forum programming. Single tickets are $45.

"Fulfilling our goal to serve our audience like an old fashioned New England 'town meeting,' we have unified three of our community's leading cultural resources into one presentation," notes Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., founder and director of the Open VISIONS Forum. "When 'word got out on the street' about the Fairfield Museum and History Center's major exhibition in collaboration with the Westport Country Playhouse, we proposed Open VISIONS Forum to serve as the third corner to the triangle. Integrating these partnerships and inviting Mr. Brantley to participate, brings to each part of the equation an enhanced prestige, giving our shared platform to the nation's most influential theatre critic. A three-way conversation between Mr. Brantley, Mark Lamos and Professor Marti LoMonaco promises a dynamic balance of intellectual and artistic viewpoints."

Benjamin D. Brantley became chief theater critic of The New York Times in September 1996 after having served as its drama critic since joining the newspaper in August 1993. He received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 1996-1997. Mr. Brantley is the editor of "The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century," which was published by St. Martin's Press in 2001. Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Brantley was a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. Before that, he was a writer at Vanity Fair magazine, and he reviewed films for Elle magazine. He has also worked as European editor, publisher and Paris bureau chief for Women's Wear Daily and was an editorial assistant at The Village Voice. Born in Durham, N.C., Mr. Brantley received a B.A. degree in English from Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, P.A., graduated with high honors, and is a Phi Beta Kappa.

Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos is a director of plays, musicals and opera. In the Westport Playhouse's 2011 season, he directed Terrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart and the current production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, or What You Will. He spent 17 seasons as artistic director of Connecticut's Hartford Stage, for which he accepted the Tony Award in 1989. The New York Times has called Mark Lamos "a poet of the theater," and his work receives a chapter in Samuel L. Leiter's "The Great Stage Directors: 100 Distinguished Careers of the Theater," along with legendary directors of for his work at Hartford.

Fairfield University Professor Martha S. LoMonaco, Ph.D., is an author, director, producer and theater historian. She is the Resident Director and Producer of Fairfield University's Theatre Fairfield company. She is also guest-curator for "Bravo! A Century of Theatre in Fairfield County," the current exhibition at the Fairfield Museum and History Center. On view through March 18, 2012, the show explores the wealth of theatrical history in Fairfield County, focusing on the Westport Country Playhouse, White Barn Theatre and American Shakespeare Theatre. The Fairfield Museum is located at 370 Beach Road in Fairfield, CT.

"Mr. Brantley's appearance will be a wonderful opportunity for our students and the Fairfield community to probe the role of theatrical criticism in the U.S.," said Dr. Martha LoMonaco. "Whomever is the senior theatre critic for The New York Times, and it is currently Mr. Brantley, has the power to make or break shows. I want to use this opportunity to discuss with him the responsibilities inherent in this all-powerful position. What is the critic's responsibility to the art of theatre, and the furtherance of American Theatre, particularly in these economically stressed times? How can a critic both support and provide honest feedback that will help the art of theatre to grow?"

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at fairfield.edu/quick.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 5, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 65