Coyote StageWorks, the award-winning Actors’ Equity professional theater company, will present eleven performances of “Art” by French playwright Yasmina Reza at the Annenberg Theater beginning March 25, 2016. A 1998 Tony Award winner for Best Play that has been packing in audiences worldwide ever since, “Art” raises questions about art and friendship.
In an ironic twist of casting, the comedy will bring together on stage for the first time three original founding members of Coyote StageWorks: Founding Artistic Director Chuck Yates, as well as Larry Raben and David Engel, who are company members and serve on the board of the organization. They have been friends for more than 25 years and the Desert Theatre League has bestowed numerous Desert Star Awards on each.
“Throughout the course of the play the characters wonder how they all became friends and whether their friendship is truly worth all the tension,” said Yates. “It’s exciting to me that we have three long-time friends playing three long-time friends. There is shorthand that we as actors can bring to this piece because Larry, David and I know each other so very well. I don’t think you can discount the importance of that history. We’re like family.”
The play begins with Marc (Yates) telling the audience that his old friend Serge (Raben) purchased a white painting. A disagreement regarding its artistic value ensues, with each man trying to convince their mutual friend Ivan (Engel) to their point of view. Ivan’s desire to remain neutral angers the two friends instead. The production is directed by famed actor and director Don Amendolia, who is known for his work in film (“The Secret of My Success,” “Fearless,” “Wayne’s World,” “Boogie Nights”), television (“Seinfeld,” “Frasier,” “LA Law,” “Law & Order”), and numerous theater productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally.
“Part of what has made this play such a hit for so many years is that it is just so damn funny,” explained Amendolia. “We all have those important friendships and relationships with people that we love, and also sometimes just want to smack them across the head.”
Tickets for Coyote StageWorks’ production of “Art” are $45 – $55 for matinees and $50 – $60 for evening performances, and may be purchased at the Annenberg Theater box office located at the Palm Springs Art Museum or online. A Q&A session with cast members will follow Thursday matinees.
Voted ‘Best Live Theater’ Desert Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” reader’s poll in 2013 and 2014, Coyote StageWorks also won an astonishing 20 Desert Star Awards from the Desert Theatre League in October 2014. Since the company’s first production in 2009 it has earned 62 Desert Star Awards.
Coyote StageWorks is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 company dedicated to advancing theatre as a vital art form in the desert communities of the Coachella Valley. It is their mission to provide a forum for thought-provoking, entertaining, and culturally significant works in an environment that nurtures the creativity of the individual and the enrichment of the community.
For more information about Coyote StageWorks and its 2016 season, please visit coyotestageworks.org. Group sales: 760-318-0024. To purchase individual tickets or subscriptions, call 760-325-4490 or visit annenbergtheater.org.