“Vincent” Leonard Nimoy’s play about Van Gogh plays Springfield in May

Jim Briggs enlightens as Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo, now through December 30, 2012.

Jim Briggs explores the artist Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo.

Springfield, MA: Starry Night Theater Company presents Vincent, a one-man play about artist Vincent van Gogh, written by Leonard Nimoy, performed by James Briggs, under the direction of Brant Pope. After a very successful initial run in Pittsfield in December, 2012, (Click for Review) Vincent will run May 9 – 12 in the Winifred Arms Studio Theater at CityStage in downtown Springfield. Opening night is Thursday, May 6 at 7:00 PM. This production is not part of the CityStage & symphony Hall 2012-13 Season. It is a special engagement presented by Starry Night Theater Company.

The passion, the love and the tormented beauty of the life of artist Vincent van Gogh is dramatized in this one-man play, which actor/author Leonard Nimoy adapted from more than 500 letters written between the artist and his brother, Theo van Gogh. Theo is the principal character of the play and he struggles to convince a gathering of friends and colleagues that his brother was not, in fact, a lunatic or a madman.

Vincent van Gogh’s critics labeled his work “madness” in which “blood and fire appear to have usurped the place of color.” His story, however, is so much more than that of the talented madman who cut off his own ear. His life was one of great passions, and even greater turmoil, ultimately ending in suicide one summer day in 1890.

This production, which BroadwayWorld.com said is “enlightening and enjoyable” and “is not to be missed,” stars James Briggs. Briggs movingly reveals Vincent van Gogh as few knew him. The play examines the passion and torment of the extraordinary artist’s life and death as seen through his brother’s eyes. As van Gogh’s paintings are projected in the background, Briggs becomes both Theo van Gogh and Vincent in this compelling, touching portrayal.

The Director, Dr. Brant Pope, has a thirty-year career in both professional and academic theatre and has directed over one hundred productions. He is currently the chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin and is holder of the Z .T. Scott Family Chair. He has directed at such theatres as Hartford Stage Company, The John Houseman Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and Park Square Theatre. For eleven years, he served as director of the FSU Asolo Conservatory, and associate artistic director of the Asolo Theatre Company in Sarasota, Florida.

James Briggs is the founder of Starry Night Theater Company. He most recently played Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama (2012) in Lake George, New York. Other representative roles include Max in Lend Me a Tenor (Sun Valley Repertory Theatre), David Gamut in Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama (2011), Professor Fenton in Bullshot Crummond (Sun Valley Repertory Theatre), John Trott in The Man of Mode (Asolo Repertory Theatre), and Peter (understudy) in The Heidi Chronicles (Asolo Repertory Theatre). Jim also played Larry in the feature film, Hidden Fears and has played supporting roles in The Williamstown Theater Festival’s production of The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui and the Potomac Theater Project’s production of The Castle. Jim is a graduate of Florida State University’s Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota. Asolo Conservatory roles include Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Gus in The Dumbwaiter, Carl in Bus Stop, Eddie Brock in Born Yesterday and Du Croissy in Les Precieuses Ridicules. Jim also studied theater at Middlebury College in Vermont. Between roles, Jim attended Boston College Law School and spent many years as a practicing attorney in Boston, Pittsfield and Williamstown, Massachusetts. He recently retired from the law to return to his first passion, the theater.

Performances of Vincent will take place at CityStage’s Winifred Arms Studio Theater located at One Columbus Center, Springfield, MA. Performances are Thursday, May 6 at 7PM; Friday, May 7 at 8PM; Saturday, May 8 at 2PM and 8PM; and Sunday May 9 at 2PM. Tickets are $25. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CityStage Box Office at 413-788-7033 or visit citystage.symphonyhall.com .

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