“Red” at the Allen Theatre

Red, Broadway’s 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play, is now playing in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Another exceptional Cleveland Play House production, Red is the story of a man, his assistant, and his art.

Red is the story of Mark Rothko, a Russian-American painter of the abstract expressionist style. In 1958, Ken, a young painter with a troubled past, comes to work for Rothko. At first, Ken is awestruck to work with the famous Rothko, a hero whom he greatly admires. But over the course of the play, Ken comes to realize that Rothko is human and has flaws like all of us.

Mark Rothko (Bob Ari, left) barks orders at his assistant Ken (Randy Harrison) in the Cleveland Play House production of John Logan’s Tony Award-winning play "Red," directed by Anders Cato, on stage in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare, March 16 - April 8, 2012. Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Bob Ari, from Broadway’s Frost/Nixon, plays Rothko. And Randy Harrison, from Showtime’s Queer as Folk, plays Ken. Both are well cast as they tell this very personal story of two artists and the unspoken friendship that develops between them. One is much older, somewhat distant, quite arrogant and completely consumed by his art. The other is younger, open to new ideas and not afraid to ask why. As the two men work together over the course of two years, the master learns as much from his assistant as the assistant learns from the master.

Although Mark Rothko may not be as well known to the average American audience, as say Andy Warhol or Jackson Pollack, he was a very important contributor to 20th Century American art. And if you come see Red, you will get to know him better. This is a play that you will not soon forget.

Cleveland Play House production of John Logan’s Tony Award-winning play "Red," directed by Anders Cato, scenic design by Lee Savage, on stage in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare, March 16 - April 8, 2012. Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Red runs through April 8. Up next at Cleveland Play House, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play (April 13 – May 6) will close CPH’s 2011-2012 season on the Second Stage. In the Next Room will also serve as the “anchor performance” for this year’s New Ground Theatre Festival (formerly FusionFest), CPH’s highly successful multi-arts festival.

And Cleveland Play House’s 2012-2013 Season has been announced. The season will open with Lombardi (September 14 – October 7), followed by The Whipping Man (November 2-25), A Carol for Cleveland (November 30 – December 23), Bell, Book and Candle (January 11 – February 3), The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith (February 15 – March 10), Good People (March 22 – April 14), and Rich Girl (April 12 – May 5).

Cleveland Play House, the nation’s first and longest-running professional theatre company, continues to offer some of the very best professional theatre in the country. Now in its 96th season, it is located in the Allen Theatre Complex at PlayhouseSquare. For more information about Cleveland Play House, Red, In the Next Room, or the new 2012-2013 Season, please visit the CPH website at www.ClevelandPlayHouse.com. For more information about PlayhouseSquare, its website is www.PlayhouseSquare.org.

- Christopher S. Musselman

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Positively Cleveland is the destination marketing organization that has been promoting business and leisure tourism to Cleveland for more than 75 years.

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