'Appoggiatura' Director Risa Brainin named head of National Theatre Conference

Director Risa Brainin, second from right, works with her cast moments before a reading of Appoggiatura” at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit in February. Photo by John Moore.

Risa_Brainin_Appoggiatura_300Risa Brainin, who will direct Appoggiatura for the Theatre Company at the DCPA later this season, was named President of the Board of the National Theatre Conference on Sunday.
The conference, founded in 1925, is an organization of distinguished members of the American theatre community. Its purposes include: 

— To explore the means of best serving the interests of the American theatre, and to initiate, encourage, and support projects of value and significance with a view to strengthening and broadening the influence of theatre in this country.

— To bring the membership together at least once a year for an exchange of aims and ideals, and for the discussion of common problems and interests.

— To provide opportunities for the membership to hear the views of outstanding personalities in the theatre and to observe demonstrations of various techniques the general membership may profit from knowing.

Brainin heads the theatre department at the Universty of California-Santa Barbara and holds a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University. Through her development program called “Launch Pad” at UC-SB, Brainin has evolved and directed new nine plays with playwrights in residence, including Appoggiatura and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist James Still.

Still was first commissioned to write the play by the DCPA. He conceived of Appoggiatura and got it off the ground by working with Brainin through the “Launch Pad” program. The play was later workshopped at the DCPA’s Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs during the summer of 2013 and then read at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit before being added to the current mainstage season.

“Launch Pad” was featured in the March issue of American Theatre magazine for its innovation and contribution to new-play development. Other featured playwrights have included Sarah Ruhl (Melancholy Play), John Walch, Barbara Lebow, Sheri Wilner, Lila Rose Kaplan and Alison Tatlock.

Video: Risa Brainin and James Still talk with John Moore about “Appoggiatura,” and staging it in Denver.

The world premiere of Appoggiatura will be performed Jan. 16 through Feb. 22 in the Ricketson Theatre. It’s a sun-drenched romance about love, loss and a broken family re-living the past and healing their hearts in Venice. Followed by a violin-playing Vivaldi, a charming but bogus Italian tour guide accompanies a widow and a bereaved middle-aged man who both mourn for the same person while a granddaughter questions her future.

For Appoggiatura ticket information, go to http://www.denvercenter.org

Video: Playwright James Still and Director Risa Brainin arrive at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit reading of Appoggiatura” in February. Photo by John Moore.

Our previous coverage of Appoggiatura:

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