Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Shaw”

Zoe (Corell) Kaplan

Zoe Kaplan, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenProfessor, actor, writer
New York, New York USA

The plays and productions that chiefly inspired my theatrical passion were GB Shaw’s Heartbreak House, where I played Hesione Hushabye when I was 19,and The Barretts of Wimpole Street where Ii played Elizabeth at 20. (Both were college productions, with such professionals as a young Barnard Hughes, doing the men.)

I played featured roles in Joe Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park in earlier days, and acted in several Off Broadway theatres – and Fringe Theaters in London – as well as the “Play of the Week” on TV, and a few other TV shows.

I still participate in readings, the latest being at Jonathan Bank’s Mint Theater in a short DH Lawrence drama.

I was fortunate in growing up in Manhattan in a very intellectual and artistic household, as well as in having an uncle who was the Music and Drama critic of a NY newspaper From the age of 4, I was taken to theater, opera, ballet and concerts – in press seats – till I was a late teenager. As I always say, I’m the only person I know who went from the best seats to the gods, instead of vice-versa, as in the normal course of events!

I still hope to have some success in playwriting. I translated Alfred de Musset’s Lorenzaccio from the French, and Harold Clurman, at the end of his life, liked it so much that he opted to direct it but died before this could happen. The Guthrie also was interested in producing it, but it never materialized. As a lyricist, I wrote the lyrics for a projected musical version of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard – which I retitled The Trees of Silence. (Some famous composers were interested – George Kleinsinger, John Duffy – but considered it too operatic, being on the cusp of Sondheim’s capitalizing and popularizing of that form.)

The theater still beckons and remains a passion.

My biography of “Eleanor of Aquitaine”- a most dramatic lady-was published in the late 1980s.

Zoe (Corell) Kaplan, native New Yorker, attended Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London; has acted here in and in London. PhD in Dramatic Literature, History and Criticism from CUNY; taught for many years at CUNY, NYU and Marymount Manhattan College. Published poetry, short stories, lyrics, and working on plays.

Martha Richards

Martha Richards, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenExecutive Director, WomenArts – Non-profit Arts Manager
San Francisco, California USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by our history. I love reading about women’s accomplishments in theatre and in the world at large because those stories fill me with a sense of possibility for my own life and for the lives of all the women I work with.

What play or production changed your life?
I saw Mary Martin in a touring production of Peter Pan in San Francisco.  I was only in second grade, but from that day on I knew that I wanted to work in theatre when I grew up. My parents got me a record of the show and I listened to it over and over – learning all the songs by heart and trying to fly in our living room.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Plays by dead white men – Since I have spent the past 17 years constantly advocating for women artists, it feels terribly wicked, but I still love to see great productions of works by the male playwrights I grew up on – Ibsen, Shaw, Chekhov, Wilde, Coward, Kaufman & Hart, and of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I dream of taking a series of leisurely trips by bicycle and train where I could meet with women theatre artists in different parts of the world and observe their work.

What is your best escape?
I love being with my friends – especially if we can go for a long walk or have a nice meal. I always find that being in nature calms me down and helps me focus, and I often get my best ideas during casual conversations with my friends.

I feel most like myself when I ….
am sitting at my computer solving some complicated budget or software problem. I love those math problems.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
My introduction to arts management involved folding paper towels from the school bathroom into Origami paper swans to sell to my classmates. Instead of applauding my incipient managerial skills, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office for taking too many paper towels.

Martha Richards, Founder/Executive Director of WomenArts (a non-profit serving women artists) has held top management positions at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and StageWest. Holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

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