Author Archives: Katherine Greenwood

Tiger of the Week: Playwright Douglas McGrath ’80

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Douglas McGrath ’80 (Photo: Gasper Tringale/Courtesy Douglas McGrath)

Douglas McGrath ’80 wrote two musicals for the Triangle Club as a student at Princeton. His third — Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, about the singer-songwriter’s rise to stardom — is opening on Broadway Jan. 12 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The show has garnered attention during previews in New York and praise for its run in San Francisco.

In working on the production, McGrath interviewed King, her ex-husband Gerry Goffin, and their fellow songwriters and friends Barry Mann (played by Jarrod Spector ’03) and Cynthia Weil. “It was quite emotional for all of them at different points, because they are talking about their youth, they’re talking about triumphs, and they are also talking about a lot of things that went wrong in their lives,” says McGrath.

A filmmaker and playwright, McGrath wrote and directed the adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma for film, as well as Nicholas Nickleby, Company Man, and Infamous. With Woody Allen, he wrote the screenplay for Bullets Over Broadway, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

McGrath listened to King and Goffin’s songs in his youth and was interested in the Brill Building, where songwriters of that era worked. The Brill Building sound, he says, really refers to two buildings on Broadway. King, Goffin, Mann, and Weill worked out of 1650 Broadway. “I was always fascinated by this idea that there was an office building … that was essentially a creative beehive,” he says,  “kids in cubicles with pianos and keyboards and desks, writing music.”

Although the natural audience for the show is King’s fan base, McGrath hopes that younger people also will see the show, because “in many ways it’s a girl empowerment story,” he says. “Out of the dissolution of [King’s] marriage, out of the worst thing that had ever happened to her, she found herself as an artist.”

Do you have a nominee for Tiger of the Week? Let us know. All alumni qualify. PAW’s Tiger of the Week is selected by our staff, with help from readers like you.

Dunne ’87 and Grody ’11 put on White Christmas

Musical: Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” about two World War II veterans and the musical Haynes sisters who take their song-and-dance act to a Vermont lodge, is directed by Carol Dunne ’87 and music directed by Andrea Grody ’11.
 
Dates and location: Dec. 4-31, at Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vt.
 

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Hennessy ’87 pens second poetry collection

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John Hennessy ’87 (Photo: Anton Kisselgoff)

New book: Coney Island Pilgrims, by John Hennessy ’87 (The Ashland Poetry Press)

 
The author: Hennessy teaches courses in creative writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is the poetry editor for The Common, a magazine based at Amherst College’s Frost Library. His first poetry collection was Bridge and Tunnel. Hennessy won the Transatlantic Review Award in fiction from the Henfield Foundation and was a resident fellow in poetry at the Amy Clampitt House.
 
The collection: The poems in Hennessy’s new volume have appeared in Best American Poetry 2013, Poetry magazine, The Believer, and The Yale Review, among other journals. On the book’s jacket cover, Jonathan Ames ’87 called the poems “sumptuous yet lean, wild yet measured. The unbearable beat of life rushing by is suffused beneath his lines, but he is trying to get it all down, to record as much as he can, until the next thing happens.”
 

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Krauthamer *00 Explores Slavery in Native American Territory

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Barbara Krauthamer *00 (Photo: Courtesy Barbara Krauthamer *00)

New book: Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, by Barbara Krauthamer *00 (University of North Carolina Press)

 
The author: An associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts –Amherst, Krauthamer also is the co-author of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery. She is working on a study of runaway slave women that explores the meaning of freedom in their lives.
 
The book: Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians owned Africans and African-Americans as slaves from the late 18th century through the end of the Civil War. In this study of the lives of enslaved people in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations, Krauthamer examines the religion and community relations of the enslaved blacks, their resistance efforts, their emancipation, and their “struggles to create meaningful lives in Indian Territory.” The author also explores the ways that gender roles of Indian women changed with the arrival of slavery.
 

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Sigman ’89 *98 Develops New Performance Project

By Erin McDonough ’14

 
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Video still from PERMA(culture) by Marie Guex.
The showing: Choreographer Jill Sigman ’89 *98 will hold two work-in-progress showings of her new piece, tentatively titled PERMA(culture).
 
Dates and location: October 18 at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 W 37th St., New York, NY 10018, Studio 4A.
 
The Artist: A Brooklyn native, Sigman came to Princeton after having studied classical ballet for 11 years at the Ballet Center of Brooklyn and the Joffrey Ballet School. At Princeton, she majored in philosophy and began practicing modern dance for the first time. In 1998, she founded her own company, jill sigman/thinkdance, which presents conceptual dance that asks questions through the medium of the body, often using non-traditional environments, formats, and ways of engaging the viewer. This fall she has a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, where she is working on PERMA(culture).
 

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Miracles of Modern Science to perform at alumni arts event in New York City

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Miracles of Modern Science: from left, Geoff McDonald ’07, Josh Hirshfeld ’08, Evan Younger ’08, Tyler Pines ’09, and Kieran Ledwidge ’08. (Photo: Courtesy Miracles of Modern Science)

The show: This Brooklyn-based band that formed at Princeton — vocalist/double bassist Evan Younger ’08, mandolinist Josh Hirshfeld ’08, cellist Geoff McDonald ’07, and violinist Kieran Ledwidge ’08 — will perform at an event hosted by Princeton Alumni in the Arts and sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts.

 
Date and location: Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. at SubCultureNYC, 45 Bleecker Street, in New York City.
 

The musicians: This indie orchestral rock band is made up of former members of Princeton’s orchestras and jazz bands. Evan Younger told PAW in a 2010 profile, that they like to think that “we rock as hard as a real rock band.” Miracles of Modern Science has released the CDs Dog Year and MEEMS. (Drummer Tyler Pines ’09 recently left the band.)

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