Tag Archive for: Kurt Zischke


What does it mean to be a white American? What does it mean for any American to live in a country that is not the one you were promised? WHITE PEOPLE is a controversial and darkly funny play about the lives of three ordinary Americans placed under the spotlight: Martin a Brooklyn-born high powered attorney from a white-shoe law firm in St. Louis, MO; Mara Lynn, a  housewife and former homecoming queen in Fayetteville, NC; and Alan, a professor struggling to find his way in New York City. Through heart-wrenching confessions, they wrestle with guilt, prejudice, and the price they and their children must pay for their actions. WHITE PEOPLE, a new play by J.T. Rogers is a candid, brutally honest meditation on race and language in our culture.

J.T. Rogers (THE OVERWHELMING CATF 2008) returns to Shepherdstown with a sobering, unsettling but deeply rewarding look at a combustible issue many of us prefer to sidestep…WHITE PEOPLE will not be easy to sit through. It will raise questions as it challenges our assumptions about race. So…be a part of the conversation and join us in the intimate Performance Space in the Center For Contemporary Art at the 2010 CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL. I am looking forward to having a lively conversation with you about this controversial new work.


Lee Sellarsplays Alan, a Manhattan professor who admires the determination of New York’s Dutch colonizers even as he acknowledges their persecution of Jews and Quakers. At the same time he is exhilarated, almost smitten, by Felicia, a black student.

Lee Sellars: Alan in WHITE PEOPLE

Margot White creates the role of Mara Lynn, a mother in Fayetteville, NC., who wrestles with memories of her cheerleader past; the faded athletic glories of her husband, Earl, now a delivery-truck driver; and the struggles of her young, epileptic son. Frustrated, she vents her wrath on an Indian physician. 

Margot White: Mara Lynn in WHITE PEOPLE

Kurt Zischke plays Martin, a driven St. Louis lawyer who bemoans what he sees as the decline of the English language and popular music. His disdain for his black secretary…and black culture in general…is pronounced.

Kurt Zischke: Martin in WHITE PEOPLE

Ticket Alert!    Several performances of WHITE PEOPLE are sold-out. Make your plans now to see this remarkable new work.

Ed Herendeen


Meet the cast of The World Premiere of THE EELWAX JESUS 3-D POP MUSIC SHOW Book and Lyrics by Max Baker. Music by Lee Sellars:

Lee Sellars, composer will play Ignatz;

Lee Sellars: Ignatz

Kurt Zischke will play Mr. Shine and Mr. Rumple

Kurt Zischke: Mr. Shine and Mr. Rumple

Clare Schmidt will play Meredith

Clare Schmidt: Meredith

Margot White will play Esme

Margot White: Esme

Helen-Jean Arthur will play Mrs. Worthington:

Helen-Jean Arthur: Mrs. Worthington

Jonathan Raviv will play James

Jonathan Raviv: James


Ed Herendeen

Research and Development

I just returned from a week of R&D in New York City. On Tuesday I attended a Reading of a new play at MTC and attended Victor Lodato’s AFTER SEVEN Readings at NEW DRAMATISTS. Victor has completed his 7 year residency with NEW DRAMATISTS. He presented readings from his plays: DEAR SARA JANE, MOTHERHOUSE, WILD LIFE, and he read an excerpt from his new novel MATHILDA SAVITCH. Victor’s novel was recently published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. He has received excellent reviews for his first novel. I especially enjoyed hearing him read from the first chapter.

On Wednesday I attended meetings with Literary Agents and playwrights. I received four proposals/pitches RE: a 2011 CATF new play commission. On Tuesday evening I attended Lucy Thurber’s stunning production of KILLERS AND OTHER FAMILY at the Rattlestick Theater.

On Thursday I attended more playwright/agent meetings and then I took the Metro North train to Beacon NY to rehearse a Workshop/Reading of WRECKS by Neil LaBute at True North Theater. Kurt Zischke recreated his CATF performance as Edward Carr and we presented two Readings on Friday and Saturday. I enjoyed working with Kurt again. He gave a powerful reading.

It was a very productive week. I received several new scripts to read and consider for our 2010 Repertory. One of the highlights of the week was having breakfast with my friend Lee Sellars. Lee is appearing in WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway. It was great to see Lee and hear about his successful Broadway run. Lee pitched me a proposal for a new musical that he and Max Baker are writing with their band EELWAX JESUS. It is a fascinating project about greed and paranoia in America…more on this later…

I am back in Shepherdstown and I am reading new work and beginning the pre-season preparations for our 20th Anniversary Season.

Ed Herendeen