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Wednesday, 23 September 2009 17:38

"Oleanna" announces "Take A Side: The 'Oleanna' Talk-Back Series"

– The Los Angeles Times, 2009


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

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.  Initial confirmed panelists are set to include 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 Tony nominator Laurence Maslon, with many more to be announced.

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, to be held after the first preview on Tuesday evening, September 29, will feature moderator Judith Kaye and panelist Lis Wiehl, legal analyst for FOX News Channel. 

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).  Currently in rehearsals, the Broadway production will begin previews Tuesday, September 29 with an official Opening Night 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 engagement in Los Angeles, where it was an instant hit with critics and audiences alike, this new production of OLEANNA premiered to rave reviews at the Mark Taper Forum on June 5, 2009.  The L.A. engagement, presented by Center Theatre Group by special arrangement with Jeffrey Finn, concluded its limited run on July 12, 2009. 

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 now 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.


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

Mary Schmidt Campbell (Panelist) was appointed Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts in 1991. Under her stewardship as Dean, the Tisch School has tripled the number of applications it receives, cut its acceptance rate in half, and increased the percentage of minority students studying there from 10% to 40%. She has initiated major renovations of the School's film facilities; inaugurated new programs in Art and Public Policy, Film Preservation and Archiving, and Recorded Music; and is currently leading the School in a $70 million capital campaign. In June 2007, Campbell was nominated by the Governor of New York State to head the New York State Council on the Arts, and was later confirmed as chair by the New York State Senate.   Previously, she was New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs from 1987-1991 in the Koch and Dinkins administrations. She has given numerous lectures, authored many papers and articles, and is co-editor of Artistic Citizenship:  A Public Voice for the Arts (2006) and co-author of Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America (1987) and Memory and Metaphor: The Art of Romare Bearden, 1940-1987 (1991).

David Dinkins (Panelist) on January 1, 1990, was sworn in as the first African American mayor in New York City history. He graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a degree in mathematics and later received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He briefly practiced law in New York City and began his steady ascent in politics. He served as a district leader, was elected a Harlem state Assemblyman in 1966, served as President of the Board of Elections from 1972-73, and City Clerk from 1975-85, before winning election as Manhattan Borough President in 1985. In 1989, he ran for mayor, defeating Mayor Edward I. Koch to win the Democratic nomination. Dinkins went on to defeat Rudolph W. Giuliani.  Among his accomplishments were creating the office of Special Commissioner of Investigations for schools, creating a system of after hour youth centers called Beacon Schools, and working to create an all civilian police complaint review board, as well as being a national voice in favor of anti-apartheid sanctions. Dinkins still remains active in New York City politics, hosts a weekly radio show, and teaches public affairs at Columbia University.

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.  He serves on the nominating committee for the Tony Awards.  

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 Friday, 25 September 2009 21:37