The Shadow Box

Written by Michael Cristofer
Directed by Frederick Ponzlov

Poster by Caitlin Hecsh
Click on the poster to purchase tickets.
The Shadow Box debuted on Broadway in 1977, and won that year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.  A 1980 television adaptation, directed by Paul Newman, was  nominated for three Emmy Awards - Outstanding Drama Special, Best Television Adaptation, and Best Director. In 1981, The Shadow Box won the Golden Globe for the year’s “Best Motion Picture Made for Television.”

The nine-person play uses a deceptively simple setting to tell three powerful stories. The Shadow Box takes place in three Hospice-like cottages on the grounds of a large hospital. Each cottage is occupied by a very different type of family whose only commonality is that each has one member facing the end of their life. Every member of every family, though, has to grapple with the inevitable and try to make sense of it all; some are successful, and others less so.

The term “shadow box” can be used as both a noun and a verb.  As a verb, the phrase means “to spar with an imaginary opponent.” As a noun, it describes “a display case.”  In a sense, the small cottages of The Shadow Box are the noun, and the character’s actions are the verb. The audience sees the characters “on display” in a specific setting as they “shadow box” with an irresistible opponent in a match that can have only one ending.

The Adobe’s presentation of The Shadow Box is being directed by Frederick Ponzlov, who relocated from Los Angeles to Albuquerque about a year ago. Tackling a play that won so many awards might give many potential directors pause, but Ponzlov relishes the opportunity.

“I saw the original production on Broadway in 1977,” Ponzlov says. “When the curtain fell, I could barely leave my seat. It had such an incredible impact, and thoroughly altered my viewpoint on the end of life. I believe most of the people who left the theatre that night were changed, too. That’s the power of theatre, and the kind of theatre I want to do. It provides incredibly powerful roles for actors. The performances I witnessed that night 40 years ago have lived with me as if I saw the play yesterday.”

The cast consists of Dean Squibb, Nick Pippin, Bridget Kelly, Jean Effron, Kathleen Welker, Ruben Muller, Kristin Elliot and Ben Wagner.

The Shadow Box opens on March 17th, 2017 and runs through April 9th, 2017. Friday and Saturday night performances begins at 7:30pm, and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00pm. All tickets for Opening Weekend (March 17th through 19th) are $10. Ticket prices after Opening Weekend are $17 general admission, with various $3 discounts for seniors, students, member of The Albuquerque Theater Guild, active & retired military, and first responders. Group rates are available, too. There is a Thursday PWYW performance on March 30. There will be a talkback after the Saturday, March 18th performance. Tickets can be purchased here.

Click here for the cast and crew bios.

Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado

Written by Sir William Schwenk Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
Directed by Cy and Jane Hoffman

Poster by Richard Boehler
Click on the poster to purchase tickets

The Mikado,  the world-famous opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, will be performed at The Adobe Theater April 21st - May 14th, 2017.

A year before the action begins, Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado (Emperor) of Japan, fled his father's imperial court to escape marriage with Katisha, an elderly lady. Disguised as a traveling musician, he met and fell in love with Yum-Yum, the young ward of Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor in the town of Titipu. But Yum-Yum was already betrothed to her guardian, and Nanki-Poo left in despair.  The opera opens with Nanki-Poo's return to Titipu, where he is eagerly seeking Yum-Yum after hearing that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for the capital crime of flirting. Much to his dismay, Nanki-Poo learns that Ko-Ko was reprieved at the last moment and made Lord High Executioner instead.

Ko-Ko, meanwhile, has received a letter from the Mikado, who is concerned that there have been no recent executions in Titipu and threatens severe repercussions if one does not take place within a month. That’s when Ko-Ko discovers Nanki-Poo with a rope, determined to take his own life rather than live without Yum-Yum.  Having found a willing volunteer to be executed, Ko-Ko seizes this opportunity and offers Nanki-Poo one month of luxurious living before the execution. Nanki-Poo agrees on the condition that he be married to Yum-Yum right away so that he can spend his last month in wedded bliss.  But just as the wedding celebration begins, a law is discovered that decrees a condemned man's wife (Yum-Yum in this case) must be buried alive with his corpse -- and then things really get complicated!

The Mikado is directed by long-time Adobe directors Cy and Jane Hoffman, who were introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan as children and have loved their works ever since. Growing up in New York City, they had the opportunity of seeing several G&S productions. As adults, Cy & Jane were part of two G&S productions (The Mikado and HMS Pinafore) with the Los Alamos Light Opera. “Then we got involved with Opera Unlimited’s summer day camp in Albuquerque,” Cy said. “Gilbert and Sullivan shows are wonderful vehicles for the kids -- the music is very good, but not too hard, and the everyone loves the humor and the costumes.”

The Hoffmans have adapted The Mikado to a simple set and a cast of 12 people. The cast includes Hi Tillery (The Mikado), Jack Litherland (Nanki-Poo), Tim MacAlpine (Ko-Ko), Christina Nuki Akerson (Katisha), Warren Asa Wilgus (Pooh-Bah), Brian Lambe (Pish-Tush), Madi Frost (Yum-Yum), Kiersten Johnson (Pitti-Sing), Casey Hennigan (Peep-Bo), and Michelle Boehler, Patricia Kirby, and Steven Weitz (Ensemble).

Tickets are $22 general admission, with a $3 discount for seniors, students, ATG/TLC members, active and retired military, and First Responders. For Opening Weekend only, all tickets are $15. Reservations may be made here.