Yale Rep begins its new season with world premiere of 'Indecent'

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“Indecent,” a new play about an older play which artists risked their lives and careers to perform, will open the Yale Repertory Theatre’s new season. It runs Oct. 2-24.

Written by the Yale Rep’s Playwright in Residence Paula Vogel and created with Rebecca Taichman DRA ’00, “Indecent” is inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s “God of Vengeance” — a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture and by others as an act of traitorous libel. Asch’s play is set in a brothel and features a lesbian relationship. The entire Broadway cast was arrested and successfully prosecuted on charges of obscenity.

The new play with music was commissioned by Yale Rep and American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “Indecent” is the recipient of a 2015 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

The world premiere of “Indecent,” which is directed by Taichman, is a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it will play later this fall.

Vogel’s play “How I Learned to Drive” won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; the Lortel Prize; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play; as well as her second OBIE Award. Her other plays include “Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq,” “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” “The Mineola Twins,” “The Baltimore Waltz,” “Hot ‘N’ Throbbing,” “Desdemona,” “And Baby Makes Seven,” “The Oldest Profession,” and “A Civil War Christmas.” Her more recent awards include the Theatre Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dramatists Guild, and the 2015 Thornton Wilder Award. Two awards for emerging playwrights are named after her: the Paula Vogel Award, created by the American College Theatre Festival in 2003, and the Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting, given annually by the Vineyard Theatre Festival since 2007. She has taught for 24 years at Brown University and for five years at Yale School of Drama, where she was the Eugene O’Neill Professor of Playwriting.

Taichman’s previous Yale Rep credits include the world premieres of “Familiar” by Danai Gurira and David Adjmi’s “The Evildoers” and “Marie Antoinette.” She has directed numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions, including Sarah Ruhl’s “The Oldest Boy” at Lincoln Center Theater, “The Luck of the Irish” at LCT3, “Stage Kiss” and “Milk Like Sugar” for Playwrights Horizons, and “Orpheus” for the New York City Opera. Upcoming productions include “Familiar” at Playwrights Horizons and “Indecent” at both La Jolla Playhouse and the Vineyard Theater.

Gutkin is a Grammy Award-winning violinist, vocalist, and composer for the Klezmatics. She recently worked with Sting on the Broadway production of “The Last Ship.” She is also an actress.

Halva, a native of Iowa, studied music in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Greece, and Spain. His previous work at Yale Rep includes Dario Fo’s “Accidental Death of Anarchist,” Molière’s “A Doctor in Spite of Himself,” and Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” all directed by Christopher Bayes. He also has New York, regional and film (“Wall Street,” “Money Never Sleeps”) credits, and is the leader and arranger for the Cuban music group Nu D’Lux.

The cast includes Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol, Adina Verson, and Lenny Wolpe, and musicians Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva, and Travis W. Hendrix.

Gutkin and Halva composed the music for “Indecent.” The play features music direction by Halva, choreography by David Dorfman, scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Emily Rebholz, lighting by Christopher Akerlind, sound by Matt Hubbs, projections by Tal Yarden, dialect coaching by Stephen Gabis, Yiddish consultation by Joel Berkowitz, dramaturgy by Amy Boratko, casting by Tara Rubin Casting, and stage management by Amanda Spooner.

Performances of “Indecent” are at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, with one Monday performance on Oct. 5 at 8 p.m., and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Oct. 10 (followed by a Talk Back with members of the cast and crew); Wednesday, Oct. 14 (preceded by a 1 p.m. reception for senior citizens); Saturday, Oct. 17 (an audio-described performance that will be followed by a Talk Back); and Saturday, Oct. 24 (an open-captioned performance). Opening night is Thursday, Oct. 8. Tickets range from $20 to $98 and are available online (yalerep.org), by phone at 203-432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office, 1120 Chapel St. (at York Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.

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Steven Padla: [email protected], 203-432-1574