The summer season is almost upon us and the historical Hamptons arts institution Guild Hall is gearing up for its landmark 90th season. The tremendous milestone for the local multidisciplinary center will feature an impressive line-up including author Salman Rushdie, American Ballet Theatre, Emmy-winners Susan Lucci and Joy Behar, 5-time Tony-winner Susan Stroman, Oscar and Tony-winner Mercedes Ruehl, Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony-winners Michael Cerveris, Joanna Gleason, Bill Irwin and Cherry Jones, Drama Desk-winner Michael Urie, and Harris Yulin (Ozark), poet Cornelius Eady, artists Julian Schnabel and Laurie Anderson, plus exhibitions with new works from acclaimed American artists Alexis Rockman and Robert Longo. This fall on November 8, Guild Hall will present a special 90th anniversary-inspired revue at the Academy of the Arts Dinner at Cipriani Midtown.
“Guild Hall is more than an institution to this village: it is a touchstone for art and people coming together,” reflected Andrea Grover, Executive Director of Guild Hall. “When the organization’s existence was imperiled in 2020, members and donors rallied to keep us going and we never ceased creating theater programs, educational offerings, and exhibitions. Our 90th anniversary in 2021 is even more significant because we know how much we mean to this community. Our capital campaign will enable us to serve our fourth generation inside an exceptional facility for experiencing today’s interdisciplinary arts.”
Before the summer season begins, Guild Hall is pleased to present two solo art exhibitions April 24 through May 31 with Argentinian-born multimedia artist Karin Waisman featuring drawings, sculptures, and ceramic wall installations. Her exhibition entitled The Horizon is not a Straight Line will debut a bronze floor sculpture and site-specific cast resin among other unique pieces. Puerto Rican-born multimedia artist Enoc Perez is known for his paintings and oil stick drawings will also be on display in his exhibition entitled Paradise. The work will explore the theme of natural and man-made calamities in large-scale paintings.
The season will begin with a virtual poetry performance called Reawakenings, premiering online May 23 at 8 p.m. Rushdie, Lucci, Abraham, Cerveris, Gleason, Irwin, Jones, Eady, plus Tony-nominees Karen Akers, Tony Roberts and Michael Stuhlbarg, as well as Austin Pendleton, Chris Sarandon, Barbara Felton and Lynnette R. Freeman will all be present for this monumental evening. The cast will each perform a favorite poem paired with a piece of art from Guild Hall’s permanent collection all directed by Paul Hecht.
The following month will begin Guild Hall’s outdoor Play in the Garden theater series with live performances at 8 p.m. for a limited audience/Lawn Circle seats. This event will also be streamed online! The series features works of Edward Albee, Kurt Vonnegut, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tom Wolfe. The series begins June 4 and June 5 with a Weekend of Wasserstein (a mini-fest of Wendy’s plays, two distinctive evenings).
June 11 will be a staged reading of Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Vonnegut, which was his first play. It premiered in 1970 and was adapted into a film in 1971. This performance captures his distinctive perspective, dark humorous examination of the excesses of capitalism, patriotism, and American culture in the post-Vietnam War era.
July 8 through July 11 will begin a series with Urie and his partner Ryan Spahn starring in Albee’s The Zoo Story. July 23 will be a special performance of A Night With The Wolfe, celebrating Wolfe, also affectionately known as the Man in the White Suit. The evening will be filled with wit and cultural insights as well as excerpts from his novels, short works, articles and interviews, all told by performers each costumed in Wolfe’s iconic white suit.
5-Time Tony-winner and Academy of the Arts member Susan Stroman will direct three unique live theater events, Crisis in Queens presented August 27 through August 29. Labor Day weekend (September 3 and September 4) will feature the premiere of a new play by Academy member Joy Behar.
Witness the magic of Temptation and Other Tales: An Evening One-Acts, written and directed by Lyle Kessler. The production, which stars Richard Kind, Raye and Sawyer Spielberg and Margaret Ladd, will be held September 16 through September 18.
As if this line-up isn’t packed enough, Guild Hall has even more to offer!
Other events this summer in July include an outdoor film screening series featuring films inspired by or directly connected to the artists and exhibitions on view, including Life of Pi (Alexis Rockman provided the inspirational drawings for director Ang Lee), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Johnny Mnemonic (directed by Robert Longo whose exhibition begins the week before). The popular Stirring the Pot culinary series with Florence Fabricant returns, as will the 75th annual Clothesline Art Sale. The community benefit showcasing original works by East End artists will take place on on July 24. A star-studded Summer Gala will be held on August 6, while a 90th Birthday Celebration will take place on August 19.
The summer will also feature fun events for kids and families – including Saturday Family Workshops (June 12 through July 10 and August 14 through September 4), a variety of KidFEST events (July 7, July 21, August 4, August 11, August 18, August 25 and September 1), Burn the Stage: Teen Open Mic Night with Guild Hall Teen Arts Council (May 29 and June 18), and the impactful GATHER series featuring conversations led by Black and Indigenous change-makers (July 16 through July 19).
With over 40 new paintings and works on paper, Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks will look at the world’s waterways as a network by which all of world history has traveled. Andrea Grover, Executive Director of Guild Hall has curated this fantastic exhibition, which will be on view June 12 through July 26. It will explore the transportation of language, culture, art, architecture, cuisine, religion, and biology, which can be traced along the routes of seafaring vessels.
In addition, a special two-part exhibition will also be on display August 7 through October 14 called Robert Longo: A House Divided. It features images that represent both how America was once perceived as a country at the peak of its power and influence, as well as images that echo its current state of chaos.
The third 90th season exhibition will be in honor of Guild Hall’s anniversary Selection from the Permanent Collection, opening on October 30th and curated by Museum Director/Chief Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield. The impressive collection features 2,400 pieces in all mediums with works by over 500 (mostly local) artists.
Join the local community in an effort to renovate Guild Hall’s historic facility and campus. The capital campaign is led by the team of Peter Pennoyer Architects, Bran Ferrn/Applied Minds, Hollander Design Landscape Architects, and Ben Krupinski Builder. Pledges of over $4 million have been received toward an overall goal of $7 million. The renovations will feature state-of-the-art design and will begin summer 2021. It is expected they will last through 2022.
Guild Hall, established in 1931, is one of the first multidisciplinary centers in the country to combine a museum, theater, and education space under one roof. Please join the Hamptons community in celebrating 90 years of incredible work either through your participation in the many Spring and Summer events or through donating here.
Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Learn more at GuildHall.org.