Triad Stage

A Compelling Portrait of the Artist Mark Rothko Takes the Stage at Hanesbrands Theatre

January 28, 2014

John Logan’s RED is presented in Winston-Salem, February 11 – 23, 2014

(Winston-Salem, NC) —Triad Stage’s inaugural season in Winston-Salem continues with John Logan’s compelling portrait of artist Mark Rothko at the Hanesbrands Theatre in downtown Winston-Salem, directed by Jeffery West. 1958, New York City. Famed artist Mark Rothko has just been offered a small fortune to paint a series of murals for the legendary Four Seasons restaurant. As he begins the work, his new assistant, Ken, arrives. As they question, fight, challenge and provoke each other, their time together will change their lives and their art forever. Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best New Play, Red is an extraordinary and thrilling story of genius, friendship and creativity. Red runs February 11 through February 23, 2014. Opening Night is Saturday, February 15. The production is presented with support from Arbor Acres.


Born Marcus Rotkovitch in the town of Dvinsk, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, Mark Rothko immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of ten, settling in Portland, Oregon. A gifted student, Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921-23, but disillusioned by the social milieu and financial hardship, he dropped out and moved to New York to “bum around and starve a bit.” A chance invitation from a friend brought him to a drawing class at the Art Students League where he discovered his love of art. He took two classes there but was otherwise self-taught. Rothko painted in a figurative style for nearly twenty years, his portraits and depictions of urban life baring the soul of those living through The Great Depression in New York. The painter Milton Avery offered Rothko both artistic and nutritional nourishment during these lean years. In the 1930s, Rothko exhibited with The Ten, a close-knit group of nine American painters, which included fellow Avery acolyte, Adolph Gottlieb. Success was moderate at best but the group provided important incubation for the Abstract Expressionist school to come. The war years brought with it an influx of European surrealists, influencing most of the New York painters, among them Rothko, to take on a neo-surrealist style. Rothko experimented with mythic and symbolic painting for five years before moving to pure abstraction in the mid 1940s and ultimately to his signature style of two or three rectangles floating in fields of saturated color in 1949. Beginning in the early 1950s Rothko was heralded, along with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and others, as the standard bearers of the New American Painting — a truly American art that was not simply a derivative of European styles. By the late 1950s, Rothko was a celebrated (if not wealthy) artist, winning him three mural commissions that would dominate the latter part of his career. Only in the last of these, The Rothko Chapel in Houston was he able to realize his dream of a truly contemplative environment in which to interact deeply with his artwork. RED presents a fictionalized account of Rothko’s frustrated first attempt to create such a space in New York’s Four Season’s restaurant. Rothko sought to create art that was timeless; paintings that expressed basic human concerns and emotions that remain constant not merely across decades but across generations and epochs. He looked to communicate with his viewer at the most elemental level and through his artwork, have a conversation that was intense, personal and, above all, honest. A viewer’s tears in front of one of his paintings told him he had succeeded. While creating a deeply expressive body of work and garnering critical acclaim, Rothko battled depression and his brilliant career ended in suicide in 1970.


The creative team led by director Jeffery West includes scenic and costume designer Junghyun Georgia Lee, lighting designer Xavier Pierce and sound design by William M. Rutherford. The dramaturg is Bryan Conger, the casting director is Cindi Rush and the stage manager is Melissa A. Nathan.


The cast includes two new faces to the Triad. Ned Van Zandt is portraying Mark Rothko and Craig De Lorenzo is his assistant, Ken.


Triad Stage is the professional not-for-profit regional theater company for the Piedmont Triad with performances in downtown Greensboro at The Pyrle and in downtown Winston-Salem at the Hanesbrands Theatre. All Triad Stage productions are created in the Triad using the best of local and national talent. Triad Stage gratefully acknowledges the support of its Season Sponsors: Blue Zoom, the North Carolina Arts Council, Arts Greensboro and The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Red is presented with support from Arbor Acres.

All Triad Stage productions feature the bold acting and breathtaking design that have been nationally recognized by The Wall Street Journal and by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®, which named Triad Stage one of the top ten most promising theatres in the country as a recipient of the 2010 National Theatre Company Grant. Triad Stage has also earned accolades including “Best North Carolina Production of 2010” for The Glass Menagerie by Triangle Arts & Entertainment magazine; “One of the Best Regional Theatres in America”, New York’s Drama League; “Best Live Theater” (nine years running), Go Triad/News & Record and The Rhinoceros Times; and “Professional Theater of the Year” (2003, 2011), North Carolina Theatre Conference.