Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Met Two Pulitzer Prize Winners - and only Embarrassed Myself Once!

Michael Cristofer - nicest guy in the world!~
At the US Open Men's Finals - I met two Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights, and only embarrassed myself once.

I did fine with Lin Manuel Miranda - author of Hamilton. I wanted to meet him and Eddie introduced me.  He was charming and very pleasant. I didn't say anything too stupid of effusive. You would have all been proud.

On the other hand, I met Michael Cristofer from Mr. Robot (head of Evil Corp). We spoke for quite a while, as he was fascinating.

He indulged me as we discussed the show, his role, how the writer director shot the entire series more in a movie format than episodic (Sam Esmail shot it all at once in each location to save time and allow him to write and direct it all).  I will tell you he was fascinating - and yes, I did ask for a picture like a nerd.

During our talk he said he was writing a new play in Chicago. It is based on an old boxer that actually killed a man (accidently) in the ring. Emile Griffith was gay and went in and out of the closet many times - never found peace. Mr. Cristofer had written the libretto for an Opera based on his life a few years ago, and is writing / directing a play about the story now. ( note: I looked it up.  It is called Man In The Ring and is running in Chicago Sept 15th to Oct 16.)

Suddenly, I remembered the write up of the Opera (Champion) in the New York Times a year or so ago.  And then I realized that Mr. Cristofer was much more a renaissance man than I knew. We left and I immediately looked his work up.

Ah - yes.  He is a like a superstar. Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for writing The Shadow Box! American Theater Award for Best American Play for Amazing Grace. He won a Director's Guild Award for Gia. A Golden Globe for screen writing.

I (and Eddie) went back over and spoke to him again later - how could one not - and he was more humble, polite and charming than such an accomplished man has any right to be.  I am listing his imdb bio because I was so freaking impressed. I loved talking to him and totally fan-boy'ed out after that.  No one else impressed me so much in the box (including Kevin Spacey or Damien Lewis).

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Michael Cristofer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and an Antoinette Perry "Tony" Award for the Broadway production of his play, The Shadow Box. Other plays include Breaking Up (Primary Stages), ICE, (Manhattan Theatre Club); Black Angel, (Circle Repertory Company); The Lady and the Clarinet starring Stockard Channing, and Amazing Grace starring Marsha Mason which received the American Theater Critics Award for best American play. Mr. Cristofer's film work includes the screenplays for The Shadow Box directed by Paul Newman (Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination), Falling In Love, with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, The Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson, The Bonfire of the Vanities directed by Brian DePalma,, Breaking Up starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek, Georgia O'Keeffe (Writers Guild Award) with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons and Casanova starring Heath Ledger. His directing credits include Gia, for HBO Pictures starring Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl and Faye Dunaway which was nominated for 5 Emmies and for which he won a Director's Guild Award. He next directed Body Shots for New Line Cinema and Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas. For eight years he worked as co-artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, N.Y., where he wrote stage adaptations of the films Love Me Or Leave Me and the legendary Casablanca, directed Joanne Woodward in his own adaptation of Ibsen's Ghosts and produced the American premier of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women - a production which later moved to Off-Broadway. His most recent works for the theater are in workshop at the Actor's Studio where he is a member. After a fifteen year hiatus, Mr. Cristofer has returned to his acting career appearing in Romeo and Juliet (NY Shakespeare Festival), Trumpery by Peter Parnell, Three Sisters (Williamstown Theater), Body of Water with Christine Lahti, and the acclaimed Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. He appeared as the infamous Truxton Spangler in the AMC series Rubicon and in The Other Woman with Natalie Portman. He created the role of Gus in Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual... at the Public Theater and starred in Stephen Belber's Don't Go Gentle at MCC Theater. He was recently seen in the NBC series, Smash, American Horror Story and Showtime's Ray Donovan.

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