Robert Cucuzza’s Transatlantic Summer

GATZ Trailer – Elevator Repair Service from ERS Theater on Vimeo.

Pop quiz: What does the Elevator Repair Service’s production of Gatz—currently playing in London’s West End—have in common with Cattywampuswhich just completed a weekend studio run at the Tony Award-winning South Coast Rep in Orange County? Answer: CalArts alumnus Robert Cucuzza (Theater MFA 11).

The multihyphenate theater and film artist has been busy this summer, first reprising his role as Tom Buchanan in the eight-hour, word-for-word staging of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quintessential American novel The Great Gatsby. The New York-based experimental theater company Elevator Repair Service (ERS) has been staging Gatz—which transforms a nondescript office staff into the denizens of East and West Egg—for eight years with 20 tours around the world.

Cucuzza, a member of ERS since 2007, originated the role of Tom Buchanan in 2004, and although his recent performance run in London was short-lived (June 8-13), the U.K. press has reviewed the show positively. From The Guardian:

…The careless, self-pleasuring world of Tom and Daisy Buchanan is contrasted with the nostalgic yearning for some lost ideal that is the secret of both Gatsby and the narrating Nick. Above all, this staging beautifully captures the elegiac tone of the book with its sense of the dissolving, essentially agrarian American Dream.

[Scott] Shepherd, sandy-haired and quietly composed [as Nick], is the hero of the evening in that he seems to be summoning up the characters through his imagination. But there is impressive work from Robert Cucuzza as the angrily decisive Tom, Lucy Taylor as the beautiful Daisy, who haunts Gatsby’s imagination, and Susie Sokol, who conveys the quintessential jauntiness of Jordan. A great American classic has been captured with total, transfixing fidelity by this dedicated ensemble.

A little more than a week after his London performances, Cattywampus, written and directed by Cucuzza, took to the studio stage of the Tony Award-winning South Coast Rep with a number of CalArts students and alumni taking part in the production, including actors Jacob Loeb (Theater BFA 13), Jenny Greer (Theater MFA 11); designers Dorothy Hoover (Theater MFA 12), Alice Tavener (Theater MFA 11), Adam Frank (Theater MFA 12), Ellie Rabinowitz (Theater MFA 11); composer and musician Juli Crockett (Theater MFA 01); and production support from Miranda Wright (Theater MFA 10), Marisa Blankier (Theater BFA 12) and Cybele Moon (Theater MFA 11).

Cattywampus was first presented last year in Los Angeles at Son of Semele, in REDCAT’s NOW Festival and earlier this year at the Incubator Arts Project in New York.

Gatz continues its London run through July 15.

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