Red Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles
Paintings by Mark Rothko were pricey long before “Red,” the play about the artist, first opened at the Donmar Warehouse in London in 2009.
In 2005, one of Rothko’s paintings, “Homage to Matisse,” had already sold for $22.5 million. In May of this year, Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” shattered all records for contemporary art at auction by fetching nearly $87 million at a Christie’s, New York sale.
“I only wish he were around to see the money,” said Leonard Nimoy at the Aug. 12 Opening Night for “Red” at the Center Theatre Group‘s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
The multiple Tony Award-winning play is set in the artist’s studio, at the time Rothko painted the murals meant for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building. During the play, Alfred Molina as Rothko tells his assistant, played by Jonathan Groff, that he is being paid then-princely sum of $35,000. (How times have changed!)
So what better place could there be for an Opening Night party than the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, aka MOCA, a short stroll away, where eight Rothko masterpieces from the museum’s permanent collection are on display. (Check out the 25 Opening Night photos in the gallery below.)
Nimoy can be heard on MOCA’s website talking about Rothko’s art. Best known as Mr. Spock of the original TV series, “Star Trek,” Nimoy was not the only such character in the audience. Theater goers also included Zachary Quinto, Mr. Spock of the 2009 and 2013 “Star Trek” films.
Nimoy said the two were friends. And Quinto – who had come to support his partner, Jonathan Groff – said he invited Nimoy.
Now a series regular on “American Horror Story,” Quinto also brought along a few of his fellow cast members, including Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson. Although all are in season two’s cast, at the after-party Paulson said she couldn’t talk about the next season’s storyline.
“We’re not supposed to say anything,” Paulson said.
In an Opening Night crowd, thick with celebrities, there, too, were Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family,” Thomas Sadoski of “The Newsroom,” Michael Urie of “Ugly Betty,” Julie White of “The Transformers,” “Golden Girl” Betty White, Tim Daly of “Wings,” Alan Mandell of “A Serious Man,” Patrick Fischler of “Mad Men,” Jim Piddock of “The Prestige,” and Tony-nominated actress Millicent Martin. More VIPs were producer/director Michael Mann of “Miami Vice,” “8” playwright Dustin Lance Black, CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie, CTG founding artistic director Gordon Davidson, CTG chairman Martin Massman and Dr. Barry Kohn, the inspiration for the Broadway play, “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”
At the MOCA after-party, while not gazing at the artworks or enjoying the buffet, partygoers praised actors Molina and Groff, playwright John Logan, director Michael Grandage and the production itself.
“It’s a perfect play, said Ed Begley, Jr., best-known for his role in “St. Elsewhere,” as he talked of “Red” and its brilliant actors. Set to star in the Taper’s next production, “November” by David Mamet, Begley, Jr., said, “I have big shoes to fill.”
Groff called Molina “a dream to work with.” A veteran of musicals as well as stage plays, Groff was a Tony nominee for “Spring Awakening,” and for awhile, Rachel Berry’s boyfriend as Jesse St. James in TV’s “Glee.” Lea Michele, who plays Berry, and Groff co-starred in “Spring Awakening.”
“She tried to be here for the opening tonight, but she was shooting scenes in New York and couldn’t get away,” Groff said of Michele.
To give Los Angeles audiences the full Rothko experience, MOCA and the Center Theatre Group have teamed up to offer 50% off museum admissions to theater-goers with “Red” ticket stubs. MOCA members can also get 10% off tickets to “Red.” Click here for more details of the special offer.
Click here for the Los Angeles Times story about the play; click here for the phenomenal Los Angeles Times review. and here for another one of my stories about Opening Night in the LA Times Culture Monster section.
Third photo: Happy RED stars Jonathan Groff, left, and Alfred Molina, right, at the after-party for the RED Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles (photo: Ryan Miller/Invision/AP)
Second photo: The two Mr. Spocks, Zachary Quinto, left, of the 2009 and 2013 “Star Trek” films and Leonard Nimoy of the original TV series, at the RED Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles (photo: Ryan Miller/Invision/AP)
Third photo: Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson of “American Horror Story” at the MOCA party celebrating the RED Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles
Fourth photo: At the MOCA party, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, left, of “Modern Family” chats with Ed Begley, Jr., right, who is set to star in the Center Theatre Group’s upcoming production of “November” (photo: Ryan Miller/Invision/AP)
Fifth photo: What could be better after seeing RED Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles, than to see the real Mark Rothko paintings at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, just down the street?
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Red Opening Night at Mark Taper in Los Angeles
Published Aug. 13, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA