Monday, January 8, 2024 at 7PM
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From Carol Burnett to Michael Douglas, Jon Marans has written for the biggest stars on the biggest stages. Join GableStage producing artistic director Bari Newport in an intimate conversation with Marans, a Pulitzer Finalist and Guggenheim Fellow. As a college student at Duke, Jon relished in the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna. As he fell in love with the art, the architecture and the music of that storied city, he also became aware of an insipid underlying antisemitism that forced him to face his own complicated feelings about his Judaism. Years later, Jon would write about this experience in Old Wicked Songs, his award-winning play that will have its Miami premiere when it is produced by GableStage from January 13 – February 4.
Set in Vienna in 1986 right before Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria, the play focuses on a burned out and emotionally detached piano prodigy who is forced to learn and sing the Robert Schumann’s famous song cycle, Dichterliebe, with words by the brilliant Jewish poet Heinrich Heine.
In their conversation, Marans and Newport will play recordings of Dichterliebe and invite audiences to discuss the complexity of Schumann’s music as juxtaposed with Heine’s passionate poetry. They will discuss how this fascinating musical and lyrical blending is mirrored in Old Wicked Songs by the young student and the older professor. While both have very different perspectives, both must listen to each other if they hope to create beautiful music.
Jon Marans is a playwright, librettist, lyricist and story editor. His play Old Wicked Songs was a Pulitzer Prize and Drama League Finalist. It was first presented by the Walnut Street Theatre before moving to New York, where it ran for a full season. In England, Old Wicked Songs started at the Bristol Old Vic, before transferring to London's West End at the Gielgud Theater starring Bob Hoskins and James Callis. The play has been produced throughout the U.S. and has been translated and produced in over a dozen countries. For Michael Douglas’s Stonebridge Productions, Jon was a story editor and for the New Carol Burnett Show, he was a writer/lyricist. Mr. Marans is a graduate of Duke University in mathematics with a minor in music. His play The Temperamentals, ran for eight months off-Broadway and is in film development. Mr. Marans is a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship.