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Veteran television, film and stage actor John Astin,

who has been called a "pop-culture icon" from his work as Gomez Addams,

television’s lovable, slightly-crazed patriarch of the original "Addams Family" and its myriad repeats,

will star in "Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight,"

 

 

In "Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight,"

John Astin becomes the mysterious Poe,

father of modern detective fiction,

pioneer of the science fiction tale,

a misunderstood genius,

a visionary and a man of many contradictions.

Appearing as a ghostly guide,

Poe reveals his demons and takes us on

"a journey of the soul"

through his life’s struggles and passions in search of a

"wilder beauty than earth supplies."

The play deals with the orphaned Poe’s unhappy childhood,

his battles with alcohol,

his life-long poverty and his premature death at 40.

But there also are great flashes of humor in the script and it offers a tender,

moving account of Poe’s love affair with his wife,

Virginia, who was just 13 when the two wed.

 

 

Staged by award-winning director Alan Bergmann and written by Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid,

"Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight" is a blend of the historical and the supernatural.

Meticulously researched by the authors,

over half of the words in the play are from Poe, himself,

from letters, essays, margin notes, poems and stories.

The scenery, have been designed by John Boesche,

the lighting design is by Todd Hensley,

original lighting design is by Duane Schuler and Todd Hensley,

the costume design is by Vicki S. Holden,

the sound design is by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen

and the original music is by Ian Freebairn-Smith.

 

John Astin,

who has been involved with the playwrights on the development of this project for almost five years,

is easily recognized from his work as the lovable, slightly crazed Gomez Addams

in the original "Addams Family" television series

and from his more recent TV series work as Buddy Ryan on "Night Court."

In the late 1950’s, an unknown actor named John Astin

took the stage as an understudy in Charles Laughton’s Broadway staging of "Major Barbara."

Actor Tony Randall saw Astin’s electrifying performance

and offered him a chance to perform a principle role in a summer production of "Good-Bye Again."

His success in that role led to his first motion picture, "West Side Story"

and his first TV series, "I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster."

Many films followed, including

"That Touch of Mink" (with Cary Grant and Doris Day),

"Viva Max" and "Freaky Friday."

More recent film work includes last summer’s thriller "The Frighteners."

Astin’s early training was in Shakespeare and other classical dramatists.

He appeared in the original New York companies of "The Threepenny Opera"

and James Joyce’s "Ulysses in Nighttown."

Other stage roles include Fagin in "Oliver!,"

Sir Joseph in "HMS Pinafore,"

Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol"

and as Saunders in the Fox Theatricals/Chicago production of "Lend Me A Tenor" in 1992.

Astin received an Academy Award-nomination for "Prelude, "

a short film which he wrote and directed.

He was nominated for an Ace Award for his work on "Tales From the Crypt"

and received and Emmy Award-nomination

for the voice of Gomez on ABC-TV’s cartoon series "The Addams Family."

 

 

Alan Bergmann

won an Obie Award as Max Pabst in Philip Barry’s "Here Come The Clowns."

He played the title roles in "Luther" ( the National tour),

"Macbeth" (at Stratford)

and "Danton’s Death" (at Lincoln Center)

and has many Broadway acting credits.

He began his directing career on television shows such as

"Barney Miller," "Family Ties," "Archie Bunker" and "Night Court."

He also directed a pilot for Warner Bros. entitled "Dad," starring Martin Short.

On stage, he directed Bernstein’s "Trouble in Tahiti,"

which won the LA Critics Award

and "How Do You Live With Love," the biggest hit in Theatre West’s history.

He recently directed "Dream Girl" at Room for Theatre,

winning "Revival of the Year" from LA Weekly.

He also directed and produced a short dramatic film based on Eudora Welty’s story,

"The Hitch-Hikers,"

which won prizes at the New York, Chicago and Dallas Film Festivals.

Returning to acting, he had a co-starring role in the feature film "Turbulence."

 

 

Paul Day Clemens

is co-author of "The Actor’s Book Of Improvisation"

and has written several screenplays with longtime friend and collaborator Ron Magid.

As an actor, he starred in the highly-acclaimed television movie "A Death in Canaan"

and guest-starred on numerous television series.

His film work includes co-starring roles in

"Promises in the Dark" with Marsha Mason,

"The Passage" with Anthony Quinn and Hames Mason

and the leading role in the cult favorite "The Beast Within."

His most recent film work includes the leading role in "Daybreak,"

an upcoming independent feature film.

Clemens, a Poe scholar,

appeared in a recent A&E "Biography" episode, "The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe,"

which also featured his own artwork.

More than 20 years of passionate research into the life and works of Poe

has culminated in the creation of

"Edgar Allan Poe - Once Upon A Midnight."

 

 

Ron Magid’s

first play, "Dracula Tyrannus - the Tragical History of Vlad the Impaler,"

won the Mrs. Anne Radcliffe Award for its original production at the Globe Play house.

He currently is working on "Poison Play,"

an examination of love, corruption and witchcraft in the court of Louis XIV.

With Paul Day Clemens, he wrote "Dominion,"

an action adventure screenplay, "The Manager,"

a psycho-comedy and supernatural thriller, "Angels of Mercy."

He also wrote "The Butcher" episode for "Friday the 13th - The Series."

He serves as Special Effects Editor for American Cinematographer and Cinescape magazines

and is currently writing "Movie Magic" episodes for The Discovery Channel.

History has often provided the richest vein for his theatrical talents.

This play is the result of a life long-love for the stories and poems of E. A. Poe.

 

 

John Boesche

is a former instructor of holography,

laser sculpture and laser imaging at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His designs of theater include scenery and projections for "Tannhauser" at Austin Lyric Opera,

live video productions for the world premiere of John Adams’ "The Death of Klinghoffer,"

projected scenery for the World Premiere of Dominic Argento’s "Valentino" at Washington Opera.

He designed projections for Emily Mann’s "On the Open Road,"

directed by Robert Falls at the Goodman Theater, "Slaughterhouse Five,"

adapted and directed by Eric Simonsen, at Steppenwolf Theatre,

"Libra," adapted and directed by John Malkovich, at Steppenwolf Theatre

and the 50th anniversary production of "Glass Menagerie" at Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre.

 

 

Todd Hensley

designed lighting for Eartha Kitt’s debut in

"Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill" in Chicago last year.

He has designed for Chicago’s Goodman, Northlight, Court and National Jewish Theatres

and is Resident Lighting Designer for Victory Gardens Theater.

He has designed for opera with The Lyric Opera Center

and the companies of Miami, Cleveland, Tulas, Milwaukee and Minnesota.

He also is a project consultant with Schuler & Shook, Inc.,

with theatre projects such as the recent renovations to The Chicago Theatre

and three new theatres for The Singapore American School.

 

 

Duane Schuler

has achieved national and international acclaim as a theatrical lighting designer

for opera, ballet, theater, television and film.

A former resident lighting designer for The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis,

he is now in his 20th season at the Lyric Opera, Chicago,

where he’s designed the lighting for such memorable productions as

"Turandot,"

"Mefistofele,"

"The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe,"

"Il Barbiere di Siviglia,"

"Samson et Dalila,"

"Aida"

and "The Ring Cycle."

Schuler has designed lighting for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre,

The New York City Opera, Radio City Music Hall, Walt Disney Productions, and many others.

Recent projects include "Othello" and "Andrea Chenier" at the Metropolitan Opera House

and "Madame Butterfly" for the Santa Fe Opera.

 

 

Vicki S. Holden

has designed costumes for numerous mainstage productions at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota,

including "Puss ‘n’ Boots," which performed at the Kennedy Center and touring theatre productions,

including the National tour of "Mass Appeal."

She made her off-Broadway debut designing costumes for "Ivy Rowe" at Provincetown Playhouse.

Other Florida theatrical costume design work includes

Florida Studio and FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

She is the current costume shop manager for the Asolo Theatre.

 

 

Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen

have been creating music and sound for 20 years.

From 1977 through 1984, they composed for and performed with their band, Fugue.

They composed the score for the Remains theatre production of "Tooth of Crime"

(Joseph Jefferson Award for "Best Origainal Music").

Music collaborations include " My Thing of Love"on Broadway a the Martin Beck Theatre,

"From The Mississippi Delta" off-Broadway at Circle in the Square-Downtown,

"All the Rage" and "Black Snow"

(Joseph Jefferson Award for "Best Original Music") at the Goodman Theatre,

"Slavs!", "Slaughterhouse Five,"

"Time To Burn" and abound design for " A Clockwork Orange"

Joseph Jefferson Award for "Best Sound Design" at Steppenwolf.

They also create music and sound for CD-ROM titles and film.

 

Ian Freebairn-Smith

has arranged and conducted for Lou Rawls,

Liza Minelli, Frankie Avalon, Connie Stevens, Stephen Bishop, The Four Freshmen and others.

He received a Grammy Award for

"Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist" on Barbara Streisand’s "Evergreen."

Film composing and orchestrating credits include

"The Muppet Movie," "A Star Is Born" and "M*A*S*H*."

TV composing credits include

"Magnum, P.I.", "Fame," "Cagney and Lacey" and "Airwold."

His cello quartet, "The River Dialogs" at the L.A. Music Center.

He also can be heard as a classical music announcer

on KKGO in Los Angeles and KKHI in San Francisco.

 

"Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight"

 

MorePOE

 


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