Bass for Picasso: Anita Hollander to star

Anita Hollander ("Still Standing"), amputee and cancer survivor, is set to star in Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) world premiere of of Kate Moira Ryan's comedy, Bass for Picasso, opening at Theatre Row's Kirk Theatre on 2 May 2010, following previews from 17 Apr and runs through to 23 May 2010.

Anita Hollander, an actress who lost her leg to cancer, is best known for her one-woman show, "Still Standing", which has been performed at the White House, Off-Broadway, and throughout the United States. Hollander serves as East Coast National Chair of the AFTRA Performers with Disabilities committee. Her credits include Public Theater's revival of 'Woyzeck,', directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, the world premiere of John Belluso's 'Gretty Good Time' at Kennedy Center and TBTB's production of John Belluso's 'A Nervous Smile' directed by Ike Schambelan, performed at last year's International Festival of the Blind and Visually Impaired in Zagreb, Croatia.

Directed by Ike Schambelan, Bass for Picasso, will also feature Mary Archbold, Felice Neals, Terry Small and Nicholas Viselli.

In Bass for Picasso, amputee and food writer for the New York Times Francesca Danieli (Anita Hollander) throws a dinner party for her friends recreating recipes from the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The guest list includes Pilar, her multilingual art detective lover, who has spent time in Guantanamo for visa problems; Bricka Matson, a lesbian widow with a small child and Republican in-laws who are trying to gain custody; Joe, an OB/GYN whose lover is a geographically challenged crystal meth addict; and Kev, a playwright who has recently fallen off the wagon and written a soon-to-open Off-Broadway play about all of them.

The creative team features sets and lighting by Bert Scott, costumes by Christine Field and sound by Alden Fulcomer.

Playwright Kate Moira Ryan -- author of '25 Questions For A Jewish Mother,' 'The Beebo Brinker Chronicles,' 'Otma, Cavedweller,' and most recently 'Mommy Queerest' -- has crafted a play that looks inside the life of five driven New Yorkers, including a woman whose disability is a part of her life, but does not define it. That's the way it works for so many of the 54,000,000 Americans, nearly 20% of all U.S. citizens, who deal with a disability.

The press release says, "To gain greater acceptance of people with disabilities, Theater Breaking Through Barriers strives to show their lives realistically enacted onstage, on TV and in films, and by actors who actually have disabilities. The recent controversies concerning the use of a hearing actor to play a deaf character Off-Broadway in 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,' and of a seeing and hearing actress to play 'Helen Keller' on Broadway in 'The Miracle Worker,' show the problem is very much with us.

"Three things are necessary to confront this problem: the willingness of producers to risk using actors with disabilities; the training and development of these actors; and the existence of visible role models to inspire young people with disabilities to dare to become actors and writers and represent their own lives," says Mr. Schambelan, who will direct the play. "We are the only Off-Broadway theater showing the wares of these talents," he adds.

Theater Breaking Through Barriers, formerly Theater by the Blind, is a critically acclaimed company integrating able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities. Founded in 1979, by Artistic Director Ike Schambelan, the company's mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be.

Originally published on

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