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Cedars is a bravura showcase for a virtuoso performer, an extended acting cadenza traversing a vast emotional range from rage to pathos to hilarity to eroticism to heart-break, sometimes all within the space of a single breath. Gabe, a struggling middle-aged attorney, pays weekly visits to his comatose father in the hospital. Unsure how to handle the situation, he finds himself talking randomly to fill the silence. The absence of any response proves liberating: once the floodgates open, the trickle of innocuous chat becomes a torrent of fury and confession and wild humor, revealing the searing, shocking truths about Gabe’s blighted relationships, blighted prospects, and the blighted life that is coming apart before our eyes.
From Broadway and regional theater to television and films, James Naughton has won critical acclaim in dramas, comedies and musicals. He is the winner of two Tony Awards as Best Actor in a Musical, for his portrayal of media-savvy lawyer Billy Flynn in the Broadway hit “Chicago” (1997) and for his role as a film-noir era detective in “City of Angels” (1990), which also earned him a Drama Desk Award. He won the 1999MAC Award as best male vocalist for his one-man concert show, “Street of Dreams,” presented by Mike Nichols, and recorded his CD, “It’s About Time,” for DRG records.
A graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, Naughton made his New York debut in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, with Robert Ryan and Geraldine Fitzgerald, winning immediate recognition with Theatre World, New York Drama Critics and Vernon Rice Awards. His other Broadway credits include Democracy, Whose Life Is It Anyway, and I Love My Wife.
He directed two critically acclaimed Broadway productions: Arthur Miller’s The Price which was nominated for a Tony, and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town starring Paul Newman, which he also shot for Showtime. He has directed extensively in the Berkshires and in Westport, and played off Broadway and in regional theatres for decades.
Naughton’s film credits include The Devil Wears Prada, First Wives Club, Factory Girl, The Glass Menagerie, with Joanne Woodward, The Good Mother, The Paper Chase, and Cat’s Eye. On TV, he starred in Planet of the Apes, Who’s The Boss?, Brooklyn Bridge, Making the Grade, Ally McBeal, The Cosby Mysteries, Damages, and Gossip Girl.
Erik Tarloff has been writing professionally since his college years.
Much of his early work was written for the screen, both large and small. His list of credits includes almost one hundred situation comedy scripts, including multiple episodes of M*A*S*H, All in the Family, the Bob Newhart Show, the Jeffersons, Alice, Room 222, Housecalls, My World and Welcome To It, and many others. For his television writing, he has been nominated for an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild Award, and an NAACP Image Award.
He has also been involved in the development of some fifteen or twenty long-form theatrical motion picture scripts for the major studios in Hollywood. These include an early draft of the animated feature Aladdin for Disney Studios, Cheetah for the same studio, and Car 54, Where Are You? for Orion Pictures.
He is the author of two plays, Something to Hide and Another Week-End in the Country. The latter was produced at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, the former at the Richmond Shepherd Theater in Los Angeles, where it won the Dramalog Award for Playwriting and First Honorable Mention at the Beverly Hills Theater Guild Awards.
He has had fiction published in The Paris Review, Penthouse, the online magazine Slate (a serialized novel written in collaboration with Francine Prose and Jefferson Morley), and anthologized in the volume Last Night's Stranger.
He has contributed reviews and articles to Earth, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Post Book Review, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Working Woman, Washingtonian Magazine, San Francisco Focus, Vogue, Salon, The American Prospect, the Jewish Daily Forward, and The Financial Times, among others. He has been a frequent contributor to the British magazine Prospect, where he is a contributing editor. He has also published music criticism (both popular and classical), literary criticism, a diary from the 1996 Democratic Convention, and an assortment of other features in Slate, where he was a regular book critic for several years. He is currently a blogger at Atlantic Online.
He has lent a pro bono speechwriting hand to the addresses of former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.
He is the author of the novels, the national best-seller Face-Time, and The Man Who Wrote the Book, both published by Crown. The latter was on the recommended summer reading lists of the New York Times Book Review, Long Island Newsday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon.com, and National Public Radio, and was named as one of the memorable books of the year 2000 by the New York Times.
He currently lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, economist Laura Tyson.