Steppenwolf director helms world premiere play for Summer Stage

THEATER

Patrick New COURTESY PHOTO

Patrick New COURTESY PHOTO

It was a big storm that enticed Patrick New into pursuing a life in the theater. And not just any old storm… it was a very bright and flashy, very scary one.

“My mum took me to a production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” when I was about 4 or 5,” New said, “and the storm in Act One, Scene One is one of my earliest memories. After something like that, well…”

He hasn’t looked back since. New immersed himself in the theater offerings of his elementary, middle, and high schools — excelling in all of them, became a founding member of “The Show” in college — still the longestrunning student TV show in the country — and capped his education with a masters in fine arts in directing from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

And the pedigree doesn’t end there. Acting and directing work with some of the top theaters in the country followed: Steppenwolf, The Goodman, and Looking Glass in Chicago, San Francisco’s ACT, New York’s Roundabout, Baltimore’s Centerstage — these are the gold standards of American theater.

So what’s he doing at the end of the road in Paradise?

New is in Key West this summer to direct his second play for Summer Stage in as many years. Last year he helmed a stunning revival of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which played to soldout crowds every night. This year, it’s creating something from whole cloth — the World Premiere of Summer Stage founder and Key West playwright Bob Bowersox’s brand-new play, “Under the Hunter’s Moon,” which runs through July 22 at the Red Barn Theatre as a centerpiece offering of Summer Stage 2018.

“It’s always exciting and challenging to develop a new play,” New said. “I love the creative process. I love taking words on paper and giving them life by finding their theatrical reality through movement, gesture, and voice.”

Bowersox met New a few years ago when New ran a seminar for Fringe Theater’s Shakespeare in School program, where New’s well-honed abilities as a Shakespearean actor helped the Fringe actors better master the ins and outs of speaking in iambic pentameter.

“Patrick and I hit it off right away,” Bowersox said, “and he came in to direct ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ for us. It was such a great experience — the way he finds a play’s heart and brings the actors into it with him — his whole process is very unique and quite extraordinary. It elevates a play far beyond the norm… makes it an exceptional experience for everyone, especially the audiences.”

“Under The Hunter’s Moon” centers on Robert Grey, who has been the biggest Hollywood star of his generation. But after 35 years and 50 films, the joy of the work is eluding him, and a chance meeting with a long-lost first love in a small general store in Maine causes Grey to question his life’s path and the value it may have had. The play stars Bowersox, David Black, Paula Cabot, Melody G. Moore, Mathias Maloff, Tammy Shanley and Arthur Crocker.

“I love telling great stories that inspire people, and this is a great story,” New said. “I think it will give audiences the opportunity to explore aspects of their own lives, in their past and in their present, with the understanding that change is not only possible, but sometimes essential.”

Bowersox agrees. “Hunter’s Moon” is a special play, and I’m so glad Patrick came back to direct it. I’m sure it will soar, thanks in great part to his talent.”

Tickets for “Under the Hunter’s Moon” are available at www.redbarntheatre.com/tickets or by calling the box office at 305-296-9911. All curtains are at 8 p.m. ¦

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