Hilton Als is, and has been, an invaluable contributor to American cultural life for decades. Join this Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, artist, writer and curator as he lifts up and takes a different look at what he considers marginalized classics of the 20th Century. Until now.
PART 1: Portrait of Jason
Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason was a groundbreaking work of cinema verité when it was released in 1967. Captured over a single evening, the portrayal of gay African-American hustler and aspiring cabaret performer Jason Holliday interrogated race, class and sexuality in ways that were and still are ahead of its time. Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, artist, writer and curator Hilton Als has adapted the film into an audio drama that captures the intimacy, vulnerability and rawness of the original piece while probing power and the price of storytelling itself. Join NYTW for an intimate evening with Jason along with Hilton’s unique commentary and analysis.
PART 2: Selections from Tennessee Williams
In the second part of this series, Hilton Als will explore excerpts from three lesser-known Tennessee Williams plays. While Williams is known, of course, for formidable women in his plays, these excerpts will bring Williams’ powerful men to the fore as well—characters who have a lot to say about masculinity in general and masculinity and the artist in particular.
(she, her) I am just beyond honoured to voice the work led by Mr. Als, whose writing and artist life has profoundly affected me, especially reading him in the Pandemic. I’ve talked on tape for 35 years, every species of text from soft core porn to YA Star Wars. At an early crossroads in my career, I was asked to choose between Hollywood and devising original work about the underbelly of America, and I chose the latter, selecting to play sticky historical figures especially for a white girl from the Dirty Jers, people like Richard Nixon, Margaret Mitchell, and a pro-Trump Appalachian coal miner. The Lenape land barrier island on which I now live floods every full moon, where I am writing an existentialist game-show glam-rock musical about Simone de Beauvoir called P_T _ND V_NN_, (pat and vanna), with director Sanaz Ghajar, and composer Chad Raines. I am an affiliated artist of New Georges where I am engaged in a collective imagining of an anti-racist future and I am humbly entering into a deep undoing alongside Sandra Kim’s course Healing From Internalized Whiteness. If this speaks to you, and you feel called to ask me about it, I would love it.
Mikéah Ernest Jennings is an art theater and performance creator from the rural Mojave Desert living in New York. Interested mainly in the inutility of the 4th wall Mikéah has sought out collaborations with artists who reframe the conventions of the audience/performer
relationship as a way to highlight the performance of the audience as an equally vital component of the theatrical ritual. Mikéah has shared his acting work across the country collaborating with various artists such as Anne Washburn, Dave Malloy, Young Jean Lee, Rachel Chavkin, Lila Neugebauer (The Signature Plays), Charlotte Brathwaite, Taibi Magar (The Foundry Theater), and Dan Rothenberg/Pig Iron Theatre Company (I Promised Myself to Live Faster). He has also performed at REDCAT, Paramount Studios, Cal Performances in Berkeley, Humana Festival, OnTheBoards in Seattle, The Wexner Center, and Woolly Mammoth Theater in DC. Mikéahs performance experience in NY has included Lincoln Center Theater, Soho Rep, Dance Theater Workshop, the Performing Garage, New York Theatre Workshop, PS122, The Signature Theater, 3LD, Dixon Place, The Chocolate Factory, and The Kitchen. Mikéah has toured internationally with numerous companies including Caden Mansons/Big Art Group, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company and with the works of Jay Scheib & Co. Mikéah has created and taught classes for the theater departments of MIT, The New School, and SUNY Purchase.
Hilton Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for Talk of the Town. He became a staff writer in 1994, a theater critic in 2002, and chief theater critic in 2013. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing, a George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work at The New Yorker in 2017. He is the author of the critically acclaimed White Girls, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Lambda Literary Award in 2014 and a Professor at Columbia University’s Writing Program He lives in New York City.
Alex Barron is an audio producer, director and designer based in New York. He works on WNYC’s The New Yorker Radio Hour (for which he has won two New York Press Club Awards), and produces The New Yorker’s Politics and More podcast. He won a Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award for directing and designing Lucas Hnath’s NightNight for Playwrights Horizons’ Soundstage podcast. Alex was previously a member of the artistic staff at Manhattan Theatre Club, Naked Angels, MCC Theater and the Sundance Institute.