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John Logan's Red Delivers Drama at Cleveland Play House

Posted February 27, 2012 in Press Releases

Portrait of the Artist as American Icon

CLEVELAND, OH (February 27, 2012) – The passionate drama that swept Broadway is coming to Cleveland Play House. A thrilling new American play and winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, Red is written by John Logan (Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Hugo, Gladiator, The Aviator and Sweeney Todd). Director Anders Cato returns to CPH after acclaimed productions of Crime of Punishment and I Am My Own Wifeto lead a cast of two exceptional actors, Bob Ari and Randy Harrison, on an exhilarating tour de force. Red is a provocative portrait of Abstract Expressionist, Mark Rothko, as he works feverishly in his studio to complete the most lucrative commission in the history of modern art. When his assistant challenges his ambition, Rothko is faced with the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also be his undoing. Red, a co-production with George Street Playhouse, will begin in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare on Friday, March 16 and run through Sunday, April 8, 2012. Tickets are available at PlayhouseSquare ticket office by calling 216-241-6000 or online at Red is presented with support from Cleveland Clinic, Ulmer & Berne, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.

"For a city that knows and loves its visual art, Red is a truly exciting event,” says CPH Artistic Director Michael Bloom. “With Anders Cato leading two tremendous actors, this production will be a memorable show."

What happens when a young, uncertain and virtually unknown artist goes to work for a much older, brilliant, arrogant and famous artist? In John Logan’s relentless examination of the life and work of the painter Mark Rothko, the action begins when Ken, a young aspiring painter with a troubled past, enters the great artist’s studio. At first Rothko seems a kind of hero to Ken, who obviously knows him by reputation. But Ken eventually begins to recognize that Rothko is more complex, a flawed human being much like the rest of us. The two artists tangle over art, philosophy, and painting while listening to classical music, eating take-out, and stretching and priming canvasses. It’s clear that for Rothko, a great deal of soul-searching and deep thinking must occur before any actual painting can take place. When Ken questions Rothko’s motives regarding the enormous commission for Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram’s Building, the great artist Rothko is faced with a monumental artistic and moral dilemma. Ken emerges with his identity as a painter somewhat reinforced, despite never managing in two years of employment to show Rothko, “the master,” his own artwork.

In reviewing the Broadway production, Variety called it “majestic” and the Associated Press called the show an “engrossing, often enthralling new play about art, an artist and the act of creation.” Variety raved, “Logan sends American abstract impressionist painter Mark Rothko into battle with his demons in this electrifying play of ideas, and the artist's howls are pure music.” Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, “As much as any stage work I can think of, Red captures the dynamic relationship between an artist and his creations.” The show won six of its seven 2010 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play, and received more awards than any other Broadway production that season.

Playwright John Logan received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for Red. When Logan wandered into London’s Tate Modern in 2007 and into the gallery where the Seagram murals by Rothko were displayed, he described his reaction to the Toronto Star: "I couldn’t breathe. It was almost as though someone had punched me in the stomach. There was something so striking and compelling about them that I couldn’t tear myself away. The moment I saw those paintings – everything changed." As a screenwriter, Logan had three movies released in 2011: Hugo (Oscar and WGA nominations), Coriolanus, and Rango. Previous film work includes Sweeny Todd (Golden Globe award); The Aviator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations):Gladiator (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA nominations); The Last Samurai; Any Given Sunday; and RKO 281 (WGA Award, Emmy nomination). His two upcoming projects include Skyfall (the 23rd James Bond film), and the movie adaptation of Jersey Boys.

RED Cast:
Bob Ari
(Mark Rothko) has acted on Broadway in Frost/Nixon (understudy Richard Nixon),The Constant Wife, Bells Are Ringing, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Off-Broadway appearances include The Late Christopher Bean, Die Mommie Die!, Jolson & Company,Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Baby Anger, and June Moon. Ari toured the United States inFrost/Nixon and toured Europe in West Side Story and Guys & Dolls. He has appeared in regional theatres across the U.S. including Pioneer Theatre Company in Dracula and 12 Angry Men; Fulton Theatre, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Olney Theatre Center, Witness for the Prosecution; Delaware Theatre Company, Born Yesterday and The Price; Walnut Street Theatre, Hotel Suite and Art; The Wilma Theater, Big Love and Enemies, A Love Story; New Jersey and Utah Shakespeare Festivals; The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (3 seasons); and many others. Film and television credits include Two Lovers, Wanted,Kissing Jessica Stein, Music of the Heart, Cradle Will Rock, Christmas Evil, Onion News Network, Delocated, The Good Wife, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Cheers, Cagney and Lacey, Soap, L.A. Law, All My Children and more.

Randy Harrison (Ken) made his Broadway debut as Boq in Wicked. His other New York credits include The Singing Forest (Public Theatre/NYSF), Antony and Cleopatra (Theatre for a New Audience), Edward the Second (Red Bull Theater), A Letter from Ethel Kennedy(Manhattan Class Company), Notes! and Swan!!! with the Qwan Company at PS122, Abrons Arts Center and Theatre 80, and numerous appearances in Our Hit Parade at Joe's Pub. Regionally, he appeared most recently in Alan Bennet's The Habit of Art at the Studio Theatre in DC as well as Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre, DC), Pop! (Yale Rep), The Glass Menagerie (Guthrie Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (SITI Company/ASF) and numerous seasons at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. His film and television work includes five seasons on Showtime's Queer as Folk and Bang Bang You're Dead. For a complete list of cast bios, go online at

RED Creative Team:

John Logan (Playwright) is a member of the Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble. His award-winning plays include Never the Sinner, Hauptmann, Speaking in Tongues, Scorched Earth, Music from a Locked Room, Snow, and Riverview: A Melodrama with Music. His new adaptation of Ibsen’s The Master Builder appeared in the West End in 2003. Logan’s work as a screenwriter includes Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese), Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Any Given Sunday, and RKO 281.

Anders Cato
(Director) is excited to return to Cleveland Play House where he directed Crime and Punishment and I am My Own Wife. He has directed extensively in New York and at many leading regional theatres in the United States. His work has been seen at American Repertory Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, La MaMa E.T.C, 7 Stages Theatre, and A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. He directed Beckett’sText for Nothing at the Royal Court Theatre in London and When the World was Green at Moscow Art Theatre. At George Street Playhouse he directed six productions, including Doubt, The Seafarer, Circle Mirror Transformation and this production of Red. He has translated, adapted and directed plays by Strindberg and Ibsen. At Berkshire Theatre Festival he has directed 16 productions, including plays by Moliere, Williams, Mamet and Shaw. He collaborated with Joseph Chaikin for over ten years and worked closely with some of America’s finest playwrights: Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, Craig Lucas and Doug Wright. He is a proud member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Recent productions include the world premiere of Steven Drukman’s The Innocents at Asolo Repertory Theatre and Pygmalion at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

The design team for Red includes Lee Savage (Scenic Design), Dan Kotlowitz (Lighting Design), Jennifer Moeller (Costume Design), and Scott Killian (Composer/Sound Design). Also on the team: Stage Manager John Godbout. For a complete list of design team bios, go online at

Ticket Information

Single tickets are on sale now; prices range from $49 to $69. Tickets are $15 for all for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid ID. For single tickets, please contact the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office at 216-241-6000 or online Groups of 10+ save up to 50% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027 or email

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