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Tuesday, 29 September 2009 19:14

Take a Side: The Oleanna Talk-Back Series Announces Additional Panelists

– The Los Angeles Times, 2009

Emmy Award winner MONTEL WILLIAMS,
New York Post columnist MICHAEL RIEDEL,
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” star KATHRYN ERBE,
former NY Knicks Sr. Vice President ANUCHA BROWNE SANDERS,
3-time Tony Award nominee MARC KUDISCH,
NYC Commissioner KATE D. LEVIN & Attorney NED H. BASSEN

(New York) – Producer Jeffrey Finn announced today additional panelists for the TAKE A SIDE: THE OLEANNA TALK-BACK SERIES, the special post-show series for audiences during previews of the first-ever Broadway production of  OLEANNA, the provocative drama by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles.  Beginning with tonight’s first preview, the ongoing event will take place on-stage after every preview performance (September 29 – October 10) at The Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street).

New panelists confirmed include Emmy-winning TV talk show host Montel Williams, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” star and Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe; former NY Knicks Senior Vice President Anucha Browne Sanders, who won a headline-grabbing  2006 sexual harassment suit against Madison Square Garden; 3-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch, NYC Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin and attorney Ned H. Bassen.  They join a roster that includes the previously-announced former New York City mayor David Dinkins; NYC Deputy Mayor of Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott; FOX News Channel legal analyst Lis Wiehl; Partner of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C. Anne C. Vladeck; Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts Mary Schmidt Campbell; Lies My Mother Never Told Me author Kaylie Jones; Founding and Managing Partner of Outten & Golden LLP Wayne N. Outten; Legal Partner of Proskauer Rose LLP Kathleen M. McKenna; NYU Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Mitchell Moss; and NYU/Tisch Associate Arts Professor and Laurence Maslon, with more to be announced.

Since its instantly incendiary debut in 1992, OLEANNA has consistently been a provocative and stimulating experience for audiences that incites conversation, discussion and intellectual conflict.  The TAKE A SIDE: THE OLEANNA TALK-BACK SERIES is being produced to offer a lively forum for each audience to collectively discuss, debate and comment on the controversial themes of the play with a direct correlation to today’s current issues.  Regarded as one of the most provocative dramas of our time, OLEANNA has always divided audiences into heated, post-show debates often compelling them to fiercely side with either character.  Critics weighing in on this new production during its pre-Broadway, Los Angeles engagement at The Mark Taper Forum confirm that the play hasn’t lost any of its bite, power or relevance, noting the intense post-show conversations that erupt nightly.

With THE OLEANNA TALK-BACK SERIES, for 20-30 minutes following each preview performance, distinguished celebrities from the worlds of media, entertainment, politics, law and education will discuss and debate the issues brought up by this production.  The group of panelists has been specifically chosen to contribute their specialized expertise and further stimulate spirited debate. 

Alternating moderators for the series will be Judith Kaye, JD (Juris Doctor from Harvard and President of Judith Kaye Training & Consulting) and Cynthia Tornquist (President of Tornquist Productions LLC and former CNN correspondent). 

The first talk-back in the series, will be held after the first preview tonight, Tuesday evening, September 29 at 8PM.  It will feature moderator Judith Kaye and panelists Lis Wiehl, legal analyst for FOX News Channel and attorney Kathleen M. McKenna, partner in Proskauer Rose LLP, who is an expert in litigating employment disputes, including sexual harassment.

This week’s schedule also includes:

Wednesday matinee, September 30, 2PM
Moderator Judith Kaye, JD

Wednesday evening, September 30, 8PM
Moderator Judith Kaye, JD, panelists NYU/Tisch Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell and 3-time Tony Award nominee Marc Kudisch

Thursday evening, October 1, 8PM
Moderator Cynthia Tornquist, panelist NYU Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Mitchell Moss

Friday evening, October 2, 8PM
Moderator Cynthia Tornquist, panelist New York City Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott

Saturday matinee, October 3, 2PM
Moderator, Cynthia Tornquist, panelist New York Post columnist Michael Riedel

Saturday evening, October 3, 8PM
Moderator Cynthia Tornquist, panelists Lies My Mother Never Told Me author Kaylie Jones and New York City Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin

Details on future dates will be announced in the coming days.

Directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes (Doubt), OLEANNA is a gripping account of a power struggle between a male university professor (Pullman) and one of his female students (Stiles).  Opening Night is set for Sunday, October 11 at 6:30 PM.

The Broadway production features scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by four-time Tony Award winner Catherine Zuber, lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Donald Holder and fight direction by Rick Sordelet.  Production Stage Manager is Charles Means.  The Broadway production is produced by Jeffrey Finn, Arlene Scanlan, Jed Bernstein, Ken Davenport, Carla Emil, Ergo Entertainment, Harbor Entertainment, Elie Hirschfeld, Rachel Hirschfeld, HOP Theatricals, Brian Fenty/Martha H. Jones and Center Theatre Group.

Direct from a smash hit summer engagement in Los Angeles, this new production of OLEANNA was an instant hit with critics and audiences alike, premiering to rave reviews at The Mark Taper Forum.

In The Los Angeles Times, Charles McNulty called this new production “AN 80-MINUTE PRIZE FIGHT! You can’t argue with a play that retains the power to get theatergoers arguing with each other as they head home.  OLEANNA hasn’t lost its power to rile an audience.”

In The Hollywood Reporter, Jay Reiner proclaimed it, “DYNAMITE THEATER! Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles are RIVETING together under Doug Hughes’ taut direction.  Mamet’s dialogue flies between the two characters like a shattered pane of glass, each fragment finding its mark and leaving a speck of blood.” 

In Variety, Bob Verini cheered, “BRILLIANT ACTING and Doug Hughes’ canny helming fully animate David Mamet’s GALVANIC play.  Stiles is SUPERB, achieving increasing majesty with each uppercut.  Pullman is a REVELATION.  His horrified stagger is ONE OF THE SPELLBINDING EMOTIONAL EXHIBITIONS OF THIS THEATRICAL YEAR.” 

In The Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout raved, calling it, “ENTHRALLING!  OLEANNA PACKS A KNOCKDOWN PUNCH!

And Ben Brantley of The New York Times in this season’s Fall Preview calls OLEANNA “THE ULTIMATE HE-SAID / SHE-SAID DRAMA!”

Tickets, $116.50 to $76.50, are available for purchase through visiting, calling (212) 239-6200 or visiting The Golden Theatre box office (252 West 45th Street).  The performance schedule for OLEANNA will be Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2PM and Sunday at 3PM.  During previews, Tuesdays are at 8PM.



Judith Kaye, JD (Talk-Back Moderator), President of Judith Kaye Training & Consulting, is a facilitator, lawyer and consultant with over 15 years' experience in the human relations field.  She designs and implements programs for large and small businesses, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations that want to increase their effectiveness with today's diverse workforce and consumer base.  Her presentations and workshops are regularly offered for professional development credit to judges, social workers, educators and health care providers.  A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, Ms. Kaye is based in Providence, RI, and can be reached through her web site at

Cynthia Tornquist (Talk-Back Moderator), President of Tornquist Productions LLC, has 20-plus years experience in the TV industry. She produces celebrity event coverage, electronic press kits, video news releases, and website content for broadcast, the internet and corporate sales and marketing departments. Her clients include ET Canada, Disney Theatrical Productions, Boneau/Bryan-Brown Public Relations, Broadway League, TDF and the Country Music Association. Before she formed her company in 2004, Cynthia worked at CNN from 1985 to 2001, beginning as a production assistant and advancing to correspondent in 1989. She also has reported for News 12 NJ, UPI Radio and WWOR Radio. Cynthia lives in New York City. You can contact her through her website


Ned H. Bassen (Panelist) is a management labor and employment attorney at the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Redd LLP, where he is Co-Chair of the firm’s labor and employment practice, and has specialized in labor and employment law for more than 25 years. Mr. Bassen has had numerous speaking engagements around the world, including such topics as employment and labor strategy for Japanese owned companies, employment practices liability, affirmative action and the status of disparate impact after the Civil Rights Act of 1991. He has published articles on the effect of strikes upon vacations, state laws regulating employment of the handicapped, sexual harassment and EEO compensation issues for government contractors. He is an Editorial Advisory Board member of Litigating Sexual Harassment & Sex Discrimination Cases. He is a member of the Industrial Relations Research Association, the Employment Disputes Committee of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity Law of the Labor Law Section of the NY State Bar Association and the Committee on Development of the Law Under the National Labor Relations Act of the Section of Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association.

Anucha Browne Sanders (Panelist) made headlines when she won a sexual harassment lawsuit that she filed in 2006 against New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden.  She was initially hired by the Knicks in 2000 as a marketing executive.  In 2002 she was promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations by the franchise, making her one of the most powerful female black executives in pro sports in the U.S.  Prior to her professional career, she had been a collegiate star basketball player. While playing for Northwestern University, she was selected to the all-Big Ten team three times, and Big Ten Player of the Year twice; she also holds the all-time conference records for scoring and rebounds. Prior to working for the Knicks, she worked for IBM as a program manager in the company’s Worldwide Sports Office, where she saw oversaw sports-related marketing activities, including at the Olympic Games in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Since 2006, she has been Senior Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Senior Woman Administrator at the University at Buffalo.

Kathryn Erbe (Panelist) is well-known to TV audiences as Detective Alexandra Eames on NBC’s long-running drama “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”  She began her career on the stage.  A member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company, she has appeared in many of their productions, including Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire as Stella, Curse of the Starving Class and My Thing of Love. She earned a Tony Award nomination in 1991 for her portrayal of Mary in The Speed of Darkness.  Film credits include Speaking of Sex with Lara Flynn Boyle and Bill Murray, Stir of Echoes opposite Kevin Bacon and Dream with the Fishes with David Arquette, plus Entropy, Kiss of Death, Mighty Ducks 2, Rich in Love and What About Bob?. Her additional television credits include playing the infamous death row inmate Shirley Bellenger on the HBO series “Oz,” NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” the miniseries “George Wallace,” Showtime’s original production of “Naked City: Justice with a Bullet,” NBC’s “Another World,” and the television movie “Breathing Lessons.”

Marc Kudisch (Panelist) for the past 18 years has been one of the busiest actors in New York City.  Last season he earned his third Tony and fourth Drama Desk nominations as sexist boss Franklin Hart in the musical 9 to 5. His other Broadway credits include The Apple Tree, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Assassins (Drama Desk nomination), Bells Are Ringing, The Wild Party, The Scarlet Pimpernel, High Society, Beauty and the Beast, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Off-Broadway credits include The Glorious Ones, See What I Wanna See (Drama Desk nomination), The Thing About Men and No Strings, plus The Pirates of Penzance (New York City Opera) and  A Little Night Music (NYCO and Los Angeles Opera). His many concert appearances include Portland Symphony, Ravinia Festival, the Philadelphia Philharmonic and the popular Broadway By the Year concert series at Town Hall, where Marc has been a constant performer and director for over 5 years.

Kate Levin (Panelist)is the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs for the City of New York. Prior to her appointment, she was an Assistant Professor of English and Theater at the City College of New York CUNY and Associate Director of the Simon H. Rifkind Center for Humanities and the Arts CCNY. Levin received a BA from Harvard University and a PhD in English from the University of California at Berkley.

Michael Riedel (Panelist)is the Theater columnist and reporter for The New York Post.  He has covered Broadway for 20 years, 10 of them for The Post. He is also the co-host of “Theater Talk” on PBS and CUNY-TV. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in history.

Montel Williams (Panelist) is the name behind one of the longest-running talk shows in the history of television. An Emmy Award-winning host and the Executive Producer of The Montel Williams Show, Williams reached households across America presenting them with challenging social issues for 17 years. In September of 2009, the show completed its final season, but can still be seen around the world in a Best of Montel series. Williams has since signed a multi-year deal with radio syndicator Air America for a daily 3-hour talk radio program entitled Montel Across America. This marks Williams’ debut as a radio personality tackling social, political and economic issues daily along with providing health and wellness information for his listeners. Battling Multiple Sclerosis and depression daily, Williams has built the Living Well with Montel brand, by incorporating life experience and the information he has accumulated through personal account and professional opinions. Living Well is focused on products that can help consumers live better physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. An accomplished author, Williams has published eight books to date, four of which were New York Times Bestsellers, including his latest release Living Well Emotionally.


Kaylie Jones (Panelist) is the author of the recently-released Lies My Mother Never Told Me (William Morrow), her memoir about the painful truth about growing up as the daughter of literary royalty (James Jones, From Here to Eternity) and the consequences of a mother-daughter relationship torn apart by miscommunication and alcoholism.  Lies My Mother Never Told Me is a Featured Alternate Selection of Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club and BOMC2.  Kaylie is also the author of the novels As Soon As It Rains (her debut), the semiautobiographical A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, which was adapted into a film starring Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey, and Leelee Sobieski, Celeste Ascending, Speak Now and Quite the Other Way. In between novels, she writes short stories and screenplays. Committed to nurturing the careers of aspiring writers, she has taught for years, both at the university level and in classes for “at risk” New York City teenagers. She also chairs the James Jones First Novel Fellowship.

Laurence Maslon (Panelist) is an Associate Arts Professor at the Graduate Acting Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, with an affiliation in Drama and the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.  His most recent book is Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion as well as The South Pacific Companion and The Sound of Music Companion.  With Michael Kantor, he has co-written the six-part PBS series Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, as well as the companion volume.   He and Kantor were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing of a Non-Fiction Series for this show.  He also co-wrote two episodes of the Emmy-winning Broadway: The American Musical with Kantor and the companion volume.   He wrote the acclaimed “American Masters” documentary Richard Rodgers: The Sweetest Sounds and is the editor of Kaufman & Co., the Library of America edition of George S. Kaufman’s plays, as well as his official website,   In 2005, he wrote “Better When It’s Banned,” Jane Krakowski’s debut concert for Jazz at Lincoln Center.  

Kathleen M. McKenna (Panelist) is a partner in Proskauer Rose’s Labor & Employment Law Department. With a formidable track record for success in major employment matters, she has extensive experience litigating employment disputes of all types, including defending employers against claims alleging all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, wages and hour claims and breach of contract.  Her clients include major multi-national businesses, such as television networks, pharmaceutical companies, international retailers and law firms. Named among the “Top 50 Female” lawyers in New York byNew York Super Lawyers 2006 and 2007, and recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers 2007 and  The Best Lawyers in America 2007, Kathleen is an elected member of the prestigious College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  She has served as a featured guest commentator on “ABC World News This Morning,” addressing various employment topics.  Kathleen also regularly publishes and frequently lectures on labor and employment issues.

Mitchell Moss (Panelist) is the Henry Hart Rice Professor Urban Policy and Planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He served as Director of NYU's Taub Urban Research Center from 1987 to 2003, where he directed research projects for the National Science Foundation, Charles Revson Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce, New York State Economic Development Corporation and leading private corporations. Professor Moss has been on the faculty of NYU since 1973 and served as Chairman of The Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts from 1981-83. He was voted "Best Teacher of the Year" by Wagner School students in 2002. Moss's essays have been published in The New York Times, New York Post, Daily News, Newsday, and The New York Observer. He has appeared on “ABC World News Tonight,” “The Today Show,” “Hardball” and the “NBC Nightly News.” In 2001, he served as an advisor to the mayoral campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg.

Wayne N. Outten (Panelist) is the founding and managing partner of Outten & Golden LLP. His practice focuses exclusively on representing individuals in all areas of employment law. Mr. Outten has lectured extensively on employment law, especially on negotiation, mediation, and arbitration of employment disputes, on employment and severance agreements, and on retaliation and whistleblower claims. He is a widely published author whose work is frequently found in legal and popular publications. He is a founding member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and served on its Board for more than 11 years.  For almost 20 years, he was a member of the Board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Outten’s notable cases include a recovery of $12 million in a gender discrimination/retaliation case against Morgan Stanley in federal court and (with partner Larry Moy) $18.9 million arbitration award in a breach of contract case against Deutsche Bank – one of the largest arbitration awards in an employment case. He is a member of the bars of New York, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Anne C. Vladeck (Panelist) is a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C. where she focuses her practice on employment matters, including discrimination, sexual harassment, defamation, union-side labor law, and litigation. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University Law School and Fordham Law School, Ms. Vladeck is a past President of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court, a trustee of the Federal Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the Professional Discipline Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Ms. Vladeck received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. She has previously served as an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School. She regularly speaks on employment law and related topics at the Practicing law Institute, ALI/ABA, ABA, NYSBA, and N.Y.U. Conference, among others.

Dennis Walcott (Panelist) is the Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development. In that capacity, he oversees and coordinates the operations of the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development, as well as maintains liaison with and reviews the activities of the New York City School Construction Authority, City University of New York, City University Construction Fund and the New York City Housing Authority. Walcott is also responsible for maintaining liaison with community-based organizations citywide and coordinating policies concerning youth programs and adult education. He serves as Co-Chair of the Mayors Commission for Construction Opportunity. A product of the New York City public school system, Walcott received a Masters of Social Work from Fordham University and a Masters of Education from the University of Bridgeport.

Lis Wiehl (Panelist) joined FOX News Channel (FNC) as a legal analyst in October 2001. Currently an associate professor of law at the University of Washington School of Law, Wiehl also serves as a legal commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Prior to joining FNC, Wiehl served as a legal analyst for KIRO-TV (CBS). From November 2000-February 2001, she provided legal analysis for NBC News. Before that, Wiehl held the position of principal deputy chief minority investigative counsel for the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Judiciary. Additionally, from 1990-1995, she served as an executive assistant at the United States Attorney’s office. Wiehl began her career as a litigation associate for Perkins Coie law firm. She earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. She is also the author of The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It.

Bill Pullman (John) returns to the Broadway stage for the first time since he received a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination starring opposite Mercedes Ruehl in Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?.  Other recent stage work includes a second Drama Desk nomination for his appearance in Albee’s Peter and Jerry in 2007 at Second Stage and the 2006 Kennedy Center production of The Subject Was Roses (Helen Hayes Award nomination).  With a major career in stage, film and television, Pullman is perhaps best known for his roles in the films Independence Day, Lost Highway, Sleepless in Seattle, Ruthless People, While You Were Sleeping, The Grudge, Spaceballs, Scary Movie 4, and the recent Bottle Shock, Noble Son and Surveillance.

Julia Stiles (Carol) earned great acclaim for her performance in a previous production of Oleanna in London’s West End in 2004. Having begun her career in the Theater at a young age in New York City, her additional stage credits include the 2002 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night as Viola, James Lapine’s Fran’s Bed at Playwrights Horizons and The Vagina Monologues. Oleanna will mark her Broadway debut.  She made her cinematic debut at age 15 in I Love You, I Love You Not with Claire Danes.  She followed this with many films, most notably, 10 Things I Hate About You, Save the Last Dance,  Mona Lisa Smiles,two David Mamet films State and Main and Edmond and the three Bourne movies – The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.

David Mamet (Playwright) is the acclaimed and award-winning author of numerous plays including Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), American Buffalo, Boston Marriage, November, Speed-The-Plow and The Cryptogram. His new play Race will debut on Broadway this fall and he’ll also be represented Off-Broadway with a double bill of one acts at The Atlantic Theatre Company, of which he is a Founding Member. He has written the screenplays for such films as The Verdict, The Untouchables, Wag the Dog and his own adaptation of Oleanna, and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed 10 films including Homicide, The Spanish Prisoner, State and Main, House of Games, Spartan and Redbelt and he’s also directed for the Theater. 

Doug Hughes (Director) won the 2005 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel and Callaway awards for his direction of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt.  His other Broadway credits include A Man for All Seasons, Mauritius, Inherit the Wind, A Touch of the Poet, A Naked Girl on the Appian Way and Frozen (Tony nomination). His many Off-Broadway productions include The Grey Zone (Obie Award), Flesh and Blood (Callaway Award), Farragut North, Howard Katz and The Paris Letter, and he’s also directed numerous production for most of the nation’s leading theatre companies.  He’s Resident Director of New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company and in 2005 he won an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence. This fall he’s also directing a Broadway revival of The Royal Family for MTC.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 19:16