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Steven Culp in "The Lisbon Traviata"

June 4 - June 30, 1985

Theater Off Park, New York, NY




Presented by Sherwin M. Goldman and Westport Production Inc.



Playwright by Terrence McNally Paul - Steven Culp
Directed by John Tillinger Stephen - Benjamin Hendrickson
Mendy - Seth Allen
Mike - Stephen Schnetzer


New York Times Review

The Lisbon Traviata places the two faces of classic theater, comedy and tragedy, in stark relief. Stephen especially adores Maria Callas and dishing the latest gossip with his best friend, the wildly flamboyant and catty opera queen Mendy. They talk late into the night in an attempt to distract Stephen from his unraveling relationship with his partner. When Stephen returns home to confront his lover, a tragedy erupts on the scale of a grand opera. The New York Times proclaims, with "humor malevolent to the point of bitchiness… dissolving into an aria of violence… Lisbon Traviata is a defiant attempt to confront demons."

Synopsis:

The first act is set in the fussily ornate apartment of Mendy, a ferociously dedicated opera buff who begs and cajoles his friend Stephen to let him borrow his copy of the pirated Maria Callas recording of La Traviata made during a performance in Lisbon, Portugal. Stephen, a blocked playwright whose detailed knowledge of opera exceeds even Mendy's, delights in showing off his expertise while dodging his friend's entreaties, but beneath their often hilarious banter it is evident that both men are deeply unhappy--Mendy because of his loneliness, and Stephen because he is aware that his longtime roommate (whom he loves deeply) is having an affair with someone else. Both it seems, are trapped within opera, with its grand but contrived passions becoming a neurotic substitute for real life.

But in the second act, which takes place in Stephen's starkly modern apartment, reality arrives with stunning force as Stephen confronts his roommate, Mike, and tries to salvage their relationship. Sensing his failure, Stephen turns on Mike and his new lover, Paul, driving the latter away and taunting Mike so venomously that all hope of a reconciliation is soon shattered. And, in the end, it is the operatic, the grandly tragic, which assumes control again as tephen, unable to accept life and reality on their own terms, stabs his errant lover--tortured by his continuing lack of creative fulfillment and by the compelling need to preserve the illusion of love and fidelity to which he has clung so desperately. (c) playdatabase.com

(Book: Still Acting Gay: Male Homosexuality in Modern Drama By John M. Clum, page 323)

Terrence McNally, The Lisbon Traviata. The first New York production opened at the Theatre Off Park on June 4, 1985, under John Tillinger's direction, with Benjamin Hendrickson as Stephen and Steven Culp as the unclad Paul. A revised version was produced at the Promenade Theatre in October 1989, under Tillinger's direction, with Anthony Heald and John Slattery as Stephen and Paul.

(June 17, 1985, New York Magazine, page 97)

The Lisbon Traviata - Terrence McNally's play, directed by John Tillinger, dealing with the breakup of a musical relationship. Featured in the cast are Benjamin Hendrickson, Seth Allen, Stephen Schnetzer, and Steven Culp. Tues.-Sat. at 8; $16-$18; thru 6/30. Theatre Off Park Theatre, 28 East 35th Street (679-6283).

(June 10, 1985, New York Magazine, page 106)

The Lisbon Traviata - Terrence McNally's play, directed by John Tillinger, dealing with the breakup of a musical relationship. Featured in the cast are Benjamin Hendrickson, Seth Allen, Stephen Schnetzer, and Steven Culp. Tues.-Sat. at 8; $16-$18; thru 6/30. Theatre Off Park, 28 E. 35th St. (679-6283).

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