From ‘Smash’ to ‘Seminar:’ Theresa Rebeck debuts play in Philadelphia

Mark Garvin/Courtesy. From left to right: Luigi Sottile, Teresa Avia Lim, Matt Harrington and Genevieve Perrier in Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of SEMINAR by Theresa Rebeck, now running through April 14 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
Mark Garvin/Courtesy. From left to right: Luigi Sottile, Teresa Avia Lim, Matt Harrington and Genevieve Perrier in Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of SEMINAR by Theresa Rebeck, now running through April 14 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Theresa Rebeck, Pulitzer Prize nominee and creator of the hit television show “Smash,” brings her play “Seminar” to the Philadelphia Theatre Company now through April 14.

This is a return trip to PTC for Rebeck. Twenty years ago, she wrote her play “Spike Heels” as one of the first young playwrights in the PTC Mentorship Program.

“Seminar” is about four aspiring writers who paid $5,000 each to take a writing seminar given by a famous author. Each of the writers has different and surprising reactions to the true but cruel criticism from their tortured teacher.

Many of them, in rotating combinations, found comfort in each other’s arms. Several are forced to deal with the truth and find their true writing destiny.

Rebeck considers “Seminar” one of her most “precious” plays because it is about the “desperate courage and hope of all writers.”

She denies the play is autobiographical, but admits to adding bits of her experiences and personality to several of the characters.

“Everyone thinks that I am Kate, the young feminist writer,” Rebeck told Metro. “I was a feminist, but not that militant. I have been a writing teacher. I just hope that I was not as cruel as Leonard. Like Matt, I was reluctant to show my work,” she said.

Rebeck, who won both a Peabody Award and Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for her work on “NYPD Blue,” believes now is the golden age of storytelling because advancements in technology have lowered the cost of telling a story.

“You can now edit on your laptop,” she said. “My friend made a movie for $15,000 that was distributed nationwide,”

Rebeck encourages all aspiring writers to “create their own opportunity” by self –producing instead of submitting grant applications and facing possible rejection.

“I am not sure that art and corporate logic fit together,” she said.

Rebeck’s distaste for the studio system may stem from her very public firing as executive producer from “Smash.” Steven Spielberg recruited her to the show when he fell in love with her play, “The Understudy.”

“The show is good. Anjelica Huston (who plays the tenacious producer) told me last week the show is not broken. It was going to hit its stride in the second season like “West Wing.”

She attributed her firing to “panicking by NBC executives” and “gender issues.”

“There were 10 guys and me,” she said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.