Red

“…The kind of play that gets you thinking and talking about your own life” -Chicago Tribune

A visually stunning drama that squares off abstract painter Mark Rothko against his young assistant in a battle over art and its role in our lives. Juxtaposing the series of commissioned paintings Rothko is creating with discussions of politics, idealism, and tragedy, this Tony Award-winning play exposes the artist’s process in all its power and intimacy.

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Playwright

John Logan

is a Tony Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated American playwright and screenwriter. He has worked extensively in Chicago as a playwright, producing works such asNever the Sinner (1985), Hauptmann(1986), and Music from a Locked Room (1989). He later began working as a screenwriter, and has produced such acclaimed screenplays asGladiator (2000), The Last Samurai(2003), The Aviator (2004), Rango(2011), Coriolanus (2011), Hugo(2011), Skyfall (2012), and Noah(2014). While the range of his work makes it difficult to identify a John Logan “style,” the writer’s dramas on stage and screen frequently involve explorations of historical figures characterized by a visceral emotional life and vigorously intellectual outlook. His more recent work for the stage includes Peter and Alice (2013), which starred Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw, and I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers (2013), which starred Bette Midler.

 

Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rotkovitch in the town of Dvinsk, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. He immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of ten, settling in Portland, Oregon. A gifted student, Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921-23. Rothko painted in a figurative style for nearly twenty years, his portraits and depictions of urban life baring the soul of those living through The Great Depression in New York. In the 1930s, Rothko exhibited with The Ten, a close-knit group of nine (!) American painters, which included fellow Avery acolyte, Adolph Gottlieb. Rothko experimented with mythic and symbolic painting for five years before moving to pure abstraction in the mid 1940s and ultimately to his signature style of two or three rectangles floating in fields of saturated color in 1949. By the late 1950s, Rothko was a celebrated (if not wealthy) artist, winning him three mural commissions that would dominate the latter part of his career.  RED presents a fictionalized account of Rothko’s frustrated first attempt to create such a space in New York’s Four Season’s restaurant. While creating a deeply expressive body of work and garnering critical acclaim, Rothko battled depression and his brilliant career ended in suicide in 1970.

Cast & Artists