Calvin Levels and Lonny Price on the Legacies of Great Painters

Jean-Michel Basquiat & Andy Warhol by Lizzie Himmel
Ira Denmark as Andy Warhol and Calvin Levels as Jean-Michel Basquiat in Staged Dreams’s production of Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat (Photo: Rick Stockwell)

In this episode of The Scene, we have a roundtable on visual art with actor and playwright Calvin Levels and director Lonny Price. Calvin Levels is a Tony-nominated actor who appeared in numerous films and TV shows throughout the 80’s and 90’s, including Adventures in Babysitting, Hellbound and The Atlanta Child Murders alongside Morgan Freeman. He is also a playwright, and his new play Collaboration: Warhol and Basquiat, directed by Price, runs December 2–22 at Here’s MainStage Theatre in New York City. Lonny Price is a Tony-nominated director, writer and actor whose directing work has included Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill on Broadway with Audra McDonald, the 2016 London and coming 2017 Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, numerous musical and non-musical events with the New York Philharmonic and many collaborations with Stephen Sondheim, including Sondheim! The Birthday Concert Live at Carnegie Hall. He has also directed the documentary Best Worst Thing That Could Have Ever Happened, currently in theaters, on the making of Sondheim and George Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along. Together, we discuss Levels’s play and the unique relationship of his subjects Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, two of the 20th century’s most iconic artists. We’ll look at what made their careers so ripe for adaptation to the stage, unpack the unique joys of painting and visual art and also note the marginalization of black artists that continues to this day.

Director Lonny Price (Photo: Rick Stockwell)


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