Thursday, June 17, through Sunday, June 20
Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, 3750 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL
Described by the New York Times as “intense and exciting” and by The New Yorker as “smart, eloquent entertainment,” author John Logan's two-character Red returns the Mississippi Bend Players to Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center. The company's summer-season premiere and June 17 through 20 run promises to deliver an explosive celebration of humanity and art, as well as an acclaimed stage drama that received six 2010 Tony Awards including Best Play.
As Red begins, the year is 1958, and master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art: a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, the artist works feverishly with his much younger assistant Ken on the completion of Rothko's masterpiece. But when Ken gains the confidence to begin challenging the painter, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. Provocative, thrilling, funny, and deeply moving, Tony winner and Oscar nominee John Logan's Red delivers an arresting portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting, with the play lauded by The Guardian as "something rare in modern drama: a totally convincing portrait of the artist as a working visionary."
Directing Red for the Mississippi Bend Players (MBP) is Cait Bodenbender, one of the co-founders of local verse-theatre troupe the Prenzie Players who has helmed numerous classical works including Macbeth, All's Well That Ends Well, and Love's Labour's Lost. She also directed the QC Theatre Workshop's 2019 rendition of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, a presentation that featured Bodenbender's Red actors Mike Schulz and Tristan Odenkirk, who are appearing in their sixth area show together since 2017.
Reader employee Schulz – a 1990 Augustana graduate who also portrayed Rothko in the Workshop's 2012 Red – was previously featured in MBP productions of A Green River, Wait Until Dark, and, alongside Odenkirk, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Beginner's Luck, and Big River. 2020 Augustana graduate Odenkirk, beyond his work for MBP, boasts area credits including the Black Box Theatre's Waiting for Godot, the Workshop's Gruesome Playground Injuries, New Ground Theatre's Elephant's Graveyard, and Augustana's The Three Musketeers. And with Samantha Flipp serving as stage manager, the rest of the Red team boasts artistic director Jackie McCall, company manager Joe Oliger, technical director and designer Cameron L. Strandin, costumer Megan Hoppe, and fellow crew members Lauren Clarke, Trinity Filut, Synthia Gonzalez, Roger Pavey, Sammy Ramont, Riley Scranton, and Sarah Walton.
Red will be performed in Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center June 17 through 20, with performances Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is $15-20, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting MississippiBendPlayers.com.