Red by John LoganRed

By John Logan

Directed by Kenneth Kelleher

February 6-March 3, 2013


Approximate running time 1 hour 30 minutes

with no intermission

Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm,
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and
Sundays at 2:00 pm


buy tickets



Full-blooded and visceral, and winner of six 2010 Tony Awards including Best Play, Red by John Logan takes you into the mind of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. After landing the biggest commission in the history of modern art, Mark Rothko begins work on a series of large murals with the help of a new young assistant. Set amid the swiftly changing cultural tide of the early 1960s, celebrated bad boy of the art world for whom paintings are "pulsating" life forces and art is intended to stop the heart. The Stage's venue will serve as the ultimate environment for the up close and personal portrait of an artist's ambition and vulnerability. Red is a startling snapshot of a brilliant artist at the height of his fame, a play hailed as "intense and exciting" by The New York Times.


The Actors

Mark Rothko Paintings

It is 2013 and we are half way through our landmark 30th Season here at The Stage! On February 6, our third production of the season, Red by John Logan, will be opening!

Red is a play detailing the artistic process of the late, famous abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. It follows the artist and his assistant as they work on a series of commissions for the Seagram Building in New York City. In order to make everyone more familiar with Rothko we will be posting images of his work and various facts of his life until the show opens!

Mark RothkoWhite over Red (1957)

During the late 1920s, Rothko supported himself by doing odd jobs, which included toiling in New York's garment district and working as a bookkeeper for a relative, an accountant and tax attorney. In 1929, he took a part-time job teaching children at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center, a position he retained until 1952. Rothko often maintained that teaching children enabled him to understand their ability to communicate their perceptions of reality in terms of simple visual images. He believed in this gift so deeply that he looked to children as a basis for his own search for truth. Teaching at the center, along with stints at Brooklyn College from 1951 through 1954 and other institutions, became his primary means of support until he achieved independence as an artist in the late 1950s.

Mark RothkoOchre and Red on Red (1954)

Rothko's love of the theater informed his works throughout his life; he painted theatrical scenes, admired many playwrights, and referred to his paintings as "drama", and his forms as "performers". His experience painting stage sets in Portland may well have influenced the murals he designed years later for the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building in 1958 and for Harvard University in 1961, and those commissioned by Dominique and John de Menil for a chapel in Houston in 1964.

Mark RothkoFour Darks in Red (1958)

As the United States entered World War II, Rothko tried to enlist but was not allowed to serve in the military due to short-sightedness (a fact that he was always embarrassed about). At this time American art was very popular and he desperately wanted to be a part of that new culture. He was also struggling to develop an art style he enjoyed. Rothko wanted to make a visual drama with color. By 1947, he abandons all figurative subjects in his artworks and stopped titling art (now using a numbering system). "It was with the utmost reluctance that I found the figure could not serve my purposes. But a time came when none of us could use the figure without mutilating it."

Mark RothkoNo. 8 (1952)

While attending Yale, Rothko started the The Yale Saturday Evening Press to make fun of the school's stuffy, bourgeois culture. Although he eventually dropped out, he got an honorary doctorate 46 years later.

Mark RothkoYellow Band (1956)

As a boy in Dvinsk, Russia, Rothko saw the bodies of other Jews who had been kidnapped and massacred by Cossacks. These atrocities weighed heavily on his mind and heavily influenced his work as an adult.