Contact:


11425 Fairoak Dr

Silver Spring, MD 20902-3136


Phone: 240-381-3196

E-mail: hbagdasian@aol.com

Special Facebook Promotion

Like us on Facebook and get 10% off your next order.

RUSSELL METHENY

I first met Russ when he came to DC with Fred Thompson to perform with the Smithsonian Puppet Theatre in 1970.  He continued doing puppetry when Allen Stevens took the helm of the Smithsonian Puppet Theatre (where I was box office manager while putting together Playwrights' Theatre).  Over time, Russ did more and more design work for New Playwrights, so I think he deserves his own page on this portion of my web site.  There's a photo gallery of his set designs amid the graphics below. But first, enjoy this variety of graphics he created fro NPT as well as other Washington, DC small theatres.

 

This is one of the first graphics Russ did for us - one of my favorites - particularly the bites taken out of the styrophone cup. (sorry for the holes in the original - maybe someday I will find an original without holes.)

 

This is another portion of the web site that is "in progress."

In the Spring of 1974 Russ was home from the puppet show tour (he and Ken Bloom toured with a Smithsonian Puppet Theatre Production developed by Alan Stevens - they were both quite accomplishged puppeteers) ... and somehow Russ got sucked into the action in our basement theatre.  He sat down at the drafting table and  rew this for us when he saw the pitiful flier I was putting together made with press type.  This, BTW, was the last production in "the pits" before we moved to the Beefeeder's Restaurant on 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC and turned its 1st floor into a 60 seat theatre.

Russell's hand-drawn cover for the program of the Playwrights' Theatre's production of Louis' Phillips' PILGRIMAGE - my only full production in the 12th Street Theatre before breaking away from ASTA to form New Playwrights' Theatre.  Both George Holets and I found the play to be hysterical - but boy oh boy did the critics disagree ... and audiences stayed away in droves.  Too bad, because Alan Stevens designed very clever set pieces and costumes for this comedy and the cast did a great job with Louis' bizarre story about an English royal who, in a sincere effort to rid England of the plague, takes all of his worldly posessions to St. Anthony in Rome.  The Saint proves to be less than Saintly and Richard's life falls apart.  Okay it was a "black comedy."  - Short story ... it was almost two weeks after the show had opened and no review of it had appeared in the Washington POST ... so Ken Bloom and I bravely paid POST critic Richard L. Coe, a visit in his office.  Dick had been, after all, one of our leading proponents for Playwrights' Theatre.  Well, when I asked him why no review had yet appeared for our show, Dick looked at me coldly and said, "I don't know what you're up to over there, but I'm not running a review of that show.  I won't do that to you."  True story.

 

 

This is the Metheny created handbill for Louis Phillips' play. 

Okay, so it's not a poster for New Playwrights' Theatre - it's for the ASTA Theatre - but it IS by Russ and I think it's a wonderful design, so I've included it here.  And though they were small theatre rivals at the time, I must admit, this was a really clever show.  I think I will always remember the sight of actress Shirley Brazda sitting "offstage" smoking a big cigar as she watched the calamity unfurl "on stage" in this very funny play.  I was very  happy that, years later, Shirley showed up at New Playwrights Theatre and was cast as the lead in Gloria Gonzalez' comedy, A FORMER GOTHAM GAL.

Again, this isn't an NPT production, but it's a nice design - Ken Bloom put together is musical review at the ASTA Theatre in the months after I left that organization to form New Playwrights' Theatre of Washington. 

 

It never ceased to amaze me how Russ could sit down at the drafting table and create something like this from scratch - it was just pen, ink & Russ.  Awesome.

Having bid a not so fond adeiu to ASTA, we eventually set up on Chruch Street and turned the old Holten Arms Girl's School gymnasium into a theatre starting on January 1, 1976.  (It's been purchased and rennovated by the highly creative Keegan Theatre Company.)

 

I wish I could find the original of this sketch Russ made of the building on Church Street ... for now this copy of a copy will have to do.

 

 

 

 

*

*graphics continue below the photo gallery*

The photo gallery below is a work in progress - I will add more visuals as soon as I can get to it. In the meantime, if you hover your curser over the title of the slide, more information will appear. If you have any suggestions or corrections (to my memory) please email me hbagdasian@aol.com

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've not been very successful in scanning this poster ... it's blurry - so, FYI - the show was conceived by Ken Bloom and Bert Schuc

 

 

 

 

 

Russ did several drawings for us to use in promoting this drama by Ken  Arnold.  Interestingly enough, while the show was in rehearsal both Ken and the Theatre were threatened with lawsuits by Ulga Rudge, Pound's mistress, and Pound's son.  Ultimately they backed off.

 

 

 

 

 

*

Surprise, Russell - bet you forgot about this one ...

 

 

 

 

 

Yep ... another non- New Playwrights' Theatre production, but one of Russell's really cool designs.  The buzz on this show was extraordinary, but I never made it over to 12th Street to see it.  My loss.

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

Russ did several designs for Jack O'Donnell's play, PRACTICE.  Above is the program, below is the poster

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

Okay ... above I said "just Russ, pen and ink."  Well, in this case it was Russ, pen & ink and a cup of coffee.  (see below) It was very late at night, Russ and I were working late - me on something or another, him on this miticulous drawing of a roller skate.  When it was done ... oops.  Coffee cup meet Russ' elbow.  What to do? The poster copy had to go to print in the morning.  So I decided the coffee stain gave the drawing an aged look which was suitable for a play that looked back to life in 1950.

*

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps someday, I will learn how to better use my scanner so I can show you a less pixelated version of this pencil drawing.

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

No, we didn't leave Ernie Joselovitz' name off this flier for this 1978 production - it was on the other side as part of a banner promoting the fact that we were doing a new play by the author of HAGAR'S CHILDREN (and touting his success at NPTW in 1976 and Off-Broadway when Joe Papp moved our production to The Public Theatre in 1977)

 

 

 

 

 

I liked how Russ' art looked different on the program cover, so I have included it in this montage of his work.

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

For this revival of Tim's Musical, Russ did a drawing of Flora ascending into the clouds to replace the "shadow man" with the bubble pipe.  It nicely captures the Act I finale when Flora goes off to pawn her iron.  (What a wonderfully funny show NIGHTMARE!! is ... then again, teamed with Ken as his director or creating comic sketches for Shiffman and Vance, Timmy did some remarkable work at New Playwrights' Theatre.  It's nice to have Russell's and other artists' posters - as well as Doc's pictures and Richard's slides - to remind us of those good times.)

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

THANKS, RUSS!

*

PS: just found another one of his designs ... the program cover for the Studio Theatre's 1980 production of Clifford Odetts' WAITING FOR LEFTY ...

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Print | Sitemap
© Harry Bagdasian