Magazine article American Theatre

New York City: Rosebud Was a Sled

Magazine article American Theatre

New York City: Rosebud Was a Sled

Article excerpt

TWO OF THE BEST PLAYS FROM THE 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival come to New York this month, Nov. 5-9, for an Off-Broadway run at the Michael Schimmel Theater at Pace University.

Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles, by Mark Jenkins, and Sisters, Such Devoted Sister, by Russell Barr, won the Carol Tambor Award, launched this year to give New York a taste of Edinburgh's arts fest, billed as the largest in the world.

"Over the years I've seen so many great works at the Edinburgh Festival that never came to New York," says Tambor, "so I decided to facilitate bringing at least one of the works here."

Sisters, a comic one-man show about the coming-of-age of a drag queen, took second place. The first-place winner, Rosebud, tours the mind and career of one of film's greatest innovators, a man who couldn't get funding for his cinematic visions, despite the critical success of his first feature Citizen Kane. "He was viewed as a threat," says playwright Jenkins. "The government and FBI stalked him."

With the audacity of youth (an audacity Welles never outgrew), the 24-year-old wunderkind took on newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in Citizen Kane. Hearst, who once said he didn't go into movies himself "because you can crush a man with journalism, and you can't with motion pictures," tried to kill the film at the box office, launching a national smear campaign in his newspapers and on his radio stations. …

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