The Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club focuses on recognizing select Concord Theatricals plays as important works of literature, uniting theatre lovers and creating a digital space dedicated to celebrating great artists, good conversation and plays on the page.
Each club session features a fantastic Concord Theatricals title and artists connected to the work in an hour-long candid discussion around the creation and history of the play. Readers have a chance to engage with the artist and learn more about their motivations, their creative process, and the work itself.
For our third session, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, we read and discussed…
Ken Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy)
U.S. Army Captain Jack Ludwig, a military doctor stationed in Oregon, begins writing to Louise Rabiner, an aspiring actress and dancer in New York City, hoping to meet her someday if the war will allow. But as the war continues, it threatens to end their relationship before it even starts. Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig (Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Lend Me a Tenor) tells the joyous, heartwarming story of his parents’ courtship during World War II and the results are anything but expected. After a staged reading at the Folger Theatre in Washington, DC on March 27, 2018, Dear Jack, Dear Louise premiered at Arena Stage in Washington, DC on November 21, 2019.
This session explored questions around Ken’s approach to this unique, autobiographical work and the challenges of staging an epistolary play. Ken Ludwig was joined in conversation by Renée Littleton, the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Arena Stage.
Watch the full session below!
Ken Ludwig (Playwright) has been called America’s preeminent comic playwright. He has had six shows on Broadway, seven in London’s West End, and many of his works have become a standard part of the American repertoire. Lend Me a Tenor won two Tony Awards and was called “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. Crazy For You was on Broadway for five years and won the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical.
In addition, Ken has won two Laurence Olivier Awards (England’s highest theatre honor), two Helen Hayes Awards, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year for The Game’s Afoot, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Contributions to the American Theater.
He has written twenty-eight plays and musicals, including Moon Over Buffalo (starring Carol Burnett), Twentieth Century (starring Alec Baldwin), Be My Baby (starring Hal Holbrook), Baskerville, A Comedy of Tenors, The Gods of Comedy, A Fox on the Fairway, Leading Ladies, a stage version of Murder on the Orient Express written at the request of the Agatha Christie Estate, and Dear Jack, Dear Louise, which won the 2020 Charles MacArthur Award for Best New Play or Musical of the Year. He has also written stage adaptations of The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Treasure Island, which are performed throughout the world.
His book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, published by Penguin Random House, won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of the Year, and his essays are published in The Yale Review. He is a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge, and he is a frequent guest speaker for groups as varied as The Oxford-Cambridge Society, The Jane Austen Society of North America, The Folger Shakespeare Library, and The Baker Street Irregulars. His work has been performed in over thirty countries in more than twenty languages, and his plays are produced throughout the United States every night of the year. www.kenludwig.com
Renée Littleton (Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Arena Stage) has enjoyed a varied career in arts management connecting audiences with meaningful and quality performances and events through comprehensive communications strategies. In her current position as the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Arena Stage, she focuses on dynamic and effective marketing strategies, audience development, sustainability and establishing long-lasting relationships in the community.
Renée has had the opportunity to work at diverse Washington metropolitan arts organizations including Washington National Opera, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and LORD Cultural Resources in marketing, public relations and development. At the Atlas Performing Arts Center known for contemporary programming and its annual INTERSECTIONS festival, Renée served as its publicist and marketing specialist for 7 seasons.
She has also served as a consultant to small to midsize arts organizations, including Tribute Productions, Washington Savoyards and African Continuum Theatre developing and implementing successful initiatives to achieve goals particularly for identity-based organizations.
Renée has served on panels for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and as a mentor with Cultural DC’s Mead Theater Lab program for emerging artists. She received her M.A. in Arts Management from American University and her undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She was also a participant in the 2006 class of Kennedy Center Fellows, a comprehensive management-training program, for aspiring arts managers, led by Michael Kaiser.
Amy Rose Marsh (Moderator, Vice President, Acquisitions and Artistic Development, North America) began her theatrical licensing career with Samuel French as a literary intern in 2007 and has spent the last 13 years with Samuel French, now under the umbrella of Concord. During her time at Samuel French, she has been responsible for bringing more than 600 new plays and musicals into print, including new works by Sarah Ruhl, Dave Malloy, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, Agatha Christie, Will Eno, Thornton Wilder, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, and Suzan-Lori Parks, among others. She is a passionate advocate for diversity in the theatre and believes strongly in the power of art to impact the world for the better. She currently sits on the board of Theater Masters and is a proud ambassador for the National New Play Network.
To register for the next session of the Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club, click here.