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Red featured in NY Times, Washington Post, Chi Tribune, New Yorker, Today Show and more




The critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of RED, a new American play by John Logan, is currently in previews on Broadway.  The production, starring Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne, opens Thursday, April 1 at the Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street).  Michael Grandage directs.

Two-man Cast Shares Stage With a Vivid Character

By Carol Vogel


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“I wonder,” Mark Rothko muses, staring at one of his canvases. “Do you think they’ll ever forgive me?”

“They’re only paintings,” Ken, his assistant, answers dispassionately.

But the artworks are so much more than that in “Red,” John Logan’s two-man Broadway show that includes that exchange.

“They are the other character,” said Alfred Molina, who portrays the Abstract Expressionist painter. “They’re referred to constantly. The subject matter of the play is their very existence.”

“Those paintings are so inscrutable and have such a powerful emotional content,” he added.

The drama, which opens at the Golden Theater on Thursday, revolves around an episode in Rothko’s life in the late 1950s, when the architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson commissioned him to paint murals for the Four Seasons, the fashionable new restaurant in the Seagram Building.

A large abstract canvas is center stage from the start. The rectangular shape outlined in deep red that dominates the painting, a copy of “Red on Maroon,” will probably seem unfamiliar to those who have seen Rothkos in American museums. The painting was one of a group that the artist originally conceived for the Four Seasons but refused to deliver, finding himself appalled by the restaurant’s clientele. He ended up giving nine of them to the Tate Gallery in London in 1969, a year before he committed suicide.

“Very often plays about artists are cursed,” Mr. Molina said one afternoon last week, sipping coffee at the Upper West Side hotel he is calling home during the run. “But what makes ‘Red’ so unique is that here you actually experience the making of the art. You see the paint being mixed, the frame being built, the canvas being stretched, everything being prepped. It creates more of an intensity.”

To read the complete article, click on the following link:


Masterpiece Meets Theatre

By Peter Marks


March 28, 2010
The man who plays Mark Rothko is standing in a room in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, surrounded by Rothkos. He seems awestruck, delighted, bowled over by the display of his character’s unvarnished imaginative power.

“To see them in the flesh is just extraordinary,” Alfred Molina says as he takes in the abstract paintings, which at first glance look darkly monochromatic and only slowly yield up subtler textures and kinetic brush strokes and feathery bands of color. “Amazing,” the actor adds. “It’s sort of like you’re walking into your own life.”

Nearby, his Broadway co-star, Eddie Redmayne, gazes at one of the works from a strange perspective: His face is virtually pressed against the wall. He’s examining the precision of the stapling on the edge of the canvas, it turns out. Which makes a lot more sense when you know he plays the role of Rothko’s assistant, responsible for preparing the canvases on which the artist will meticulously add layers and layers of paint.

Molina and Redmayne have just begun the Broadway stay of the British-born production of “Red,” a new play by American dramatist John Logan (“Never the Sinner”) about the brilliant, abrasive abstract expressionist and his contentious relationship with a keen-eyed and stiff-necked helper. With an official opening set for this Thursday, the two-character drama arrived at the John Golden Theatre with a pile of sterling London reviews and attendant high expectations; last weekend, Redmayne, 28, earned a coveted Olivier Award for his supporting work in the piece’s London incarnation.

And now, the two actors are on a whirlwind side trip to Washington, to gaze upon the city’s singular trove of Rothko paintings and sketches on paper. It was Molina’s idea on this rainy Monday, the day that “Red,” now in previews, is dark, to hop on an 8 a.m. Acela. His plan was to take in exhibitions at both the National Gallery and Phillips Collection, the National being the world’s largest repository of Rothkos and the Phillips home to the remarkable Rothko Room, a chapel-like chamber of four large paintings, one on each wall. At first glance, many of the late-career works look like two-toned panels of intense color: greens and tangerines, ochres and reds, blacks and grays, oranges and maroons. Of course, once you peer more deeply, or simply stand close and quiet for a few minutes, they begin to change. Or you do.

To read the complete article, click on the following link:


In Dogged Pursuit of Sacred Monsters

By Chris Jones


Sunday, March 28, 2010

John Logan has a name for the men whose self-destructive obsessions pockmark his growing collection of works for stage and screen: “Sacred monsters.”

The genteel killers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in “Never the Sinner.” The iconoclastic industrialist Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.” The murderous barber Sweeney Todd in the Tim Burton movie of the same name. And now the abstract impressionist Mark Rothko in the new Broadway play “Red.”

“I suppose those kinds of people are my one great theme,” Logan says. “They fascinate me.”

Rothko, a misanthropic artist famed for (among other things) his desperate desire to offer the viewer of his flat canvases comparably tragic intensity to a night spent in the throbbing company of, say, Sophocles or Aeschylus, didn’t kill anybody. Except, in 1970, himself.  But as imagined by Logan as a terrifying genius, he certainly fits into the sacred-monster milieu.

In the two-character, one-room “Red,” a hit last fall in London’s West End with Alfred Molina and the Olivier Award-winning Eddie Redmayne and opening in New York on Thursday with the same cast, Logan simply sticks an aging Rothko in a room with an idealistic young assistant and lets the stringent seriousness of the young and striving collide with the cantankerous, festering pragmatism of the old and paranoid.

To read the complete article, click on the following link:




THE NEW YORKER – Talk of the Town

By Michael Schulman

April 5, 2010 (on newsstands now)

In 1958, Mark Rothko was commissioned, for thirty-five thousand dollars, to paint a series of murals for the Four Seasons restaurant, in the Seagram Building, which had just been completed.  “I hope to paint something that will ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch who ever eats in that room,” he said.  Rothko creates some thirty canvases, in apocalyptic reds and blacks.  Then, one night, he took his wife to the restaurant for dinner and had a change of heart.  “Anybody who will eat that kind of food for those kinds of prices will never look at a painting of mine!” he told his assistant, and immediately reneged on the deal,  Many of the “Seagram Murals” now hand in the Tate Modern.

The incident is the subject of a new play, “Red,” starring Alfred Molina, which opens at the Golden this week.  Night after night, Molina as Rothko, delivers an excoriating monologue about the Four Seasons and its patrons. (“All they do is chatter and bark and eat!”), but he had never been there himself until two Fridays ago, for lunch.  “I can’t stop thinking about all the things that Rothko says about this place,” he said, sitting in the amber light of the Pool Room.  “He had this notion of creating a kind of place of reflection, of contemplation.  And then, when he came here, he realized that not only would these people not bother with the art but most of them would be dining with their backs to it!”

The complete article is available in the April 5, 2010 issue of The New Yorker

Alfred Molina Paints Broadway “Red”

Interview with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb

The Today Show

March 29, 2010

Alfred Molina sits down with Today Show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb to discuss playing Mark Rothko in RED on Broadway.

Click here to view the segment:


Stage to Screens: “Sweeney Todd” screenwriter John Logan Paints Broadway Red

By Harry Haun


March 27, 2010

John Logan, playwright of Never the Sinner and screenwriter of “Gladiator,” “The Aviator” and “Sweeney Todd,” makes his Broadway debut.


“I was in a sanguinary mode,” John Logan allows with a laugh, recalling the writing of his first play in ten years — Red, now at the Golden — a portrait of painter Mark Rothko. The color connects the master of 20th century abstract impressionism with the demon barber of 19th century Fleet Street because it came to him while adapting Sweeney Todd for the screen, helping Tim Burton slosh the blood about.

Fact is, red colors much of Logan’s career. “I’ve had my share of splatter over the years — ‘Any Given Sunday,’ ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Last Samurai’ — but I think dramatists are naturally drawn to conflict. One of the great manifestations of conflict is physical action and violence. It’s been an arrow in the quiver of the playwright since Aeschylus.”

The screen’s first “Coriolanus” is his next blood-Red Letter Day. “Nobody has wanted to film it. Everyone hates Coriolanus. It is certainly not a Shakespeare play to make Hollywood sit up and take notice. It has never been a favorite play in the canon, nor is it the play that a lot of people really get excited about, but those who love it, love it passionately — and, thankfully, that’s both Ralph Fiennes and myself.”

Fiennes will direct it this spring in Serbia and play the title role opposite Gerard Butler’s Tullus Aufidius, Brian Cox’s Menenius and Vanessa Redgrave’s Volumnia.

Logan even made killings with his two earlier New York plays — 1985’s Never the Sinner, about the thrill-killing of 14-year-old Bobby Franks by Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, and 1992’s Hauptmann, about Bruno Hauptmann, who was executed for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Between those Off-Broadway offerings and after, Logan has moved big-and-surefootedly through the Hollywood jungle and become a high-priced scripter who, to date, has earned two Oscar nominations (for “The Aviator” and “Gladiator”) and the Writers Guild of America Award (for “RKO 281,” about the making of “Citizen Kane”). On March 21, he contended for an Olivier Award for Red, which premiered in London with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. (Redmayne, playing the assistant to Molina’s Rothko, took home an Olivier; Red — again with Molina and Redmayne — officially opens on Broadway April 1.)

To read the complete article, click on the following link:


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