Press Room

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SPECIAL READING: NATHAN THE WISE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2004

August 9, 2004
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S
THEATER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT ANNOUNCES A
SPECIAL STAGED CONCERT VERSION OF
NATHAN THE WISE
SEPTEMBER 11, 2004, 8:00 p.m.
featuring
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER APPEARS IN TITLE ROLE

PLAY COVERS THEMES OF PEACE,
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AND HOPE…

Pre-performance talk by DR. JOHN ESPOSITO, 7:00 p.m.
renowned author and authority on Islam


Fairfax, Virginia, August 10, 2004—Called a "clearly witty, intelligent and sophisticated dissection of vanity and bigotry" by The Washington Post at its 2001 premiere, Nathan the Wise played to capacity audiences and garnered praise from critics and pundits across the metropolitan area. The play was filmed for broadcast by WETA-TV, the Washington area’s Public Broadcasting Service local station. It has since had a reading at the Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland, and in 2003 was produced in Rome by the Centro Dionysia in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Culture as part of the Ministry’s "Arts and Cultures of Acceptance" program. Theater of the First Amendment, the professional producing company in residence at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts announces a special, staged concert reading of Nathan the Wise, Saturday, September 11, 2004 at 8:00 p.m., in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The reading features Academy Award winning actor F. Murray Abraham in the role of Nathan and many returnees from the play’s outstanding original ensemble cast, including Ralph Cosham, Carlos Gonzalez, Craig Wallace, Kimberly Schraf and Morgan Duncan. The evening includes a pre-performance discussion by recognized expert on Islam, Dr. John Esposito at 7:00 p.m. and, following the reading, the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the play during informal audience exchange and analysis in the Concert Hall lobby.

Winner of a Best Actor Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his performance as "Salieri" in 1984’s Amadeus, F. Murray Abraham is one of the industry’s most versatile actors. His most recent films include 13 Ghosts, Finding Forrester, and Star Trek: Insurrection. His many stage appearances include Cyrano, Macbeth, Waiting for Godot, and Angels in America. On television, Abraham has been seen in Color of Justice, HBO’s Excellent Cadavers, to name a few.

"Nathan the Wise presents the challenge of asking people to transcend thinking in terms of the other, in order to re-think in terms of commonality," explains playwright Paul D’Andrea. The play, he says, "sees Jews, Christians, and Muslims as People of the Book, united by cultural richness, while giving each other gifts of particularity." Nathan attempts to illustrate the differences – and the often overlooked many similarities – between the followers of the three religions residing together under Saladin’s rule in Jerusalem during the Crusades.

One of America’s leading authorities on the subject of Islam, John Esposito speaks often to a wide range of audiences, including Congress, the Bush administration, government agencies, the military, and the media. Identifying the most pressing questions people consistently ask about Islam enabled Esposito to craft his best-selling book What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. Currently a professor at Georgetown University, John Esposito is and the founding director of The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and vice-chair of the University’s Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. Esposito is the editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam, The Oxford History of Islam, and author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam.

Tom Prewitt, director of the world premiere production of Nathan the Wise returns for this reading, and the production uses David McKeever’s original sound design.

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Tickets for NATHAN THE WISE are $25. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa


GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.