FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2018                     

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IN LOVE WITH THEE: MYSTICAL POETRY IN PERFORMANCE FROM THE JEWISH, CHRISTIAN, AND SUFI TRADITIONS AT THE SHEEN CENTER FOR THOUGHT & CULTURE MONDAY, APRIL 16 AT 7:30 PMn

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The Magis Theatre Company’s “Logos Project†and The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture bring to the stage, In Love with Thee: Mystical Poetry in Performance from the Jewish, Christian and Sufi Traditions, an unprecedented encounter of diverse faith traditions through the performance of sacred poetry on Monday, April 16 at 7:30 PM.  This innovative, dialogical performance of three timeless works of mystical poetry comes together under the direction of Fr. George Drance, artistic director for the Magis Theatre Company, who draws on the rich cultural heritage of each poem, infusing the allegory of the lover and the beloved with the unique intonations of each text’s original language, bringing to the stage a blend of traditional music and sacred dance that captures the inexpressible longing of the mystical experience.br>  n
The evening begins with the recitation of the Song of Songs, Judaism’s great sacred love poem, in the original Hebrew by author and poet Nessa Rapoport, transporting audiences across millennia and into one of the most celebrated utterances of divine love in Hebrew scripture.  The performance gently touches ground with a reading of these verses in their English translation; and ascends, once again, with a musical response by Rebecca Keren that makes present the nonverbal dimension of divine longing conveyed in the text.  The performance transitions to the 16th century, keeping the same dialogical format, with a reading in the original Spanish of The Spiritual Canticle, a unparalleled piece of mystical literature by Carmelite friar and mystic, St. John of the Cross.  The Spiritual Canticle mirrors the incarnational spirit of the Song of Songs, plotting the spiritual coordinates of the soul’s ascent to Christ.  The artistic response to The Spiritual Canticle reaches deeply into Andalusia’s religious roots, where the Catholic longing for the divine finds expression in Spain’s Flamenco Mass.  n
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The final piece explored is The Song of the Reed, a 13th century poem by one of history’s most recognized and beloved poets, Sufi mystic Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi.  Read in its original Persian by Brown University’s Iraj Anvar, PhD, the evening’s performance of Rumi’s transcendent verses includes traditional chant by the Dervishes of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order.  Dr. Yaraman and the Dervishes of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order will also be presenting a 16th century text in Turkish by the Sufi poet Seyyid Nizam Efendi.
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This multi-sensory journey through the most intimate spiritual corridors of the Abrahamic religions brings to life, on the Loreto Theater’s stage, the wisdom of longing that is woven into these mystical poems, highlighting the call for divine union that is shared by each of these traditions.  In Love with Thee: Mystical Poetry in Performance from the Jewish, Christian and Sufi Traditions is the second installment of The Sheen Center’s series, The True, The Good, and The Beautiful.
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Members of the press interested in covering this event are asked to kindly contact Mercedes Anderson at  mercedes.anderson@archny.org.br>
Tickets are available at The Sheen Center box office or  https://sheencenter.org/shows/mystical/
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Magis Theatre Company is a community of artists committed to perfecting their craft through repeated communal practice and to the telling of old stories to new audiences. George Drance worked with Ellen Stewart for many years at La MaMa and is committed to carrying her torch; to giving back to the artistic community what was given to him, an artistic home where he could develop all his creative faculties.br>
Magis have developed a specific theatrical vocabulary focusing on the connections between differing acting techniques, exploring in depth the essential attributes they share.  Our performances center on literary works that examine the human condition across cultures and generations.  n

Productions include Calderon’s Two Dreams (2017) Mark (2014) Occupy Olympus (2013) Shakuntala and the ring of recognition. (2010) Her name is Vincent (2009)n
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Performers for “In Love with Thee†include:n
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Magis Theatre Company
Dervishes of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order
Dr. Iraj Anvar– Translator of Persian texts, Brown Universityn
Afshin Goodarzi – Musiciann
Nessa Rapoport – Poet, Authorn
Rebecca Keren – Actress, Singern
Ralph Martin – Actor, Performern
Kristin Kusanovich – Dancern
Priscilla Smith – Actressn
Dr. Sevin Yaraman, Professor of Music, Fordham Universityn
And othersn
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Curator and Artistic Director of The Magis Theatre Company and Fordham University’s Artist-in-Residence is Fr. George Drance.br>  n
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The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (www.sheencenter.org) is a New York City arts center located in NoHo that presents a vibrant mix of theater, film, music, art and talk events. An initiative of the Archdiocese of New York, The Sheen Center serves all New Yorkers by presenting performances and artists that reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful.  Named for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best remembered as an inspirational author, radio host and two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality, The Sheen Center reflects his modern-day approach to contemporary topics. The Sheen Center is a state-of-the-art theater complex that includes the 270-seat off-Broadway Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition TV and live-stream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat off-off-Broadway Black Box Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery.br>  n
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For a list of April/May events
at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture refer below:n
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Art Exhibition:n
BACKDOOR TO EASTER: THE ART OF ALFONSE BORYSEWICZ
Showing through May 4th at The Sheen Center Galleryn
This collection of old and new paintings makes its first appearance in over 30 years “bathed in faith.†Admission is free and open the public.br>  n
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Talk Event:n
JESUITS AND JEDI: SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY IN THE AGE OF STAR WARS
Tuesday, April 10 at 7 PM in The Loreto Theatern
Blast off with Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory, as he takes us through the cosmos and some of his favorite (and least favorite) science fiction stories and movies. Joining him is Dr. Charles Camosy of Fordham University. Tickets: $15, $10 Students.br>  n
Film:n
MY ITALIAN SECRET
Monday, April 23, 2018 at 7 PM in The Loreto Theatern
This film tells the story of courageous Italians and Tour de France cycling champion Gino Bartali who rescued Jews from Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II. There will be a Panel discussion after the film. Tickets: $12.br>  n
Poetry Series:n
IN LOVE WITH THEE: MYSTICAL POETRY IN PERFORMANCE FROM THE JEWISH, CHRISTIAN, AND SUFI TRADITIONS
Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:30 PM in The Loreto Theatern
This innovative, dialogical performance of three timeless works of mystical poetry comes together under the direction of Fr. George Drance, artistic director for the Magis Theatre Company, who draws on the rich cultural heritage of each poem, infusing the allegory of the lover and the beloved with the unique intonations of each text’s original language, bringing to the stage a blend of traditional music and sacred dance that captures the inexpressible longing of the mystical experience. Tickets: $20.br>  n
Talk Event:n
HOLY ENTREPRENEURS: GAME CHANGERS WHO ARE REVITALIZING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7PM in Studios A & Bn
Join author Chris Lowney as he talks with people who use creativity and commitment to the Church to invigorate parish life through innovative leadership. Tickets: $10.br>  n
Theater:n
THE RAINMAKER by N. Richard Nashn
Produced by Blackfriars Repertory Theatren
April 27 – May 20 in the Black Box Theatern
A stage classic by N. Richard Nash from the golden age of American theater, The Rainmaker is the story of a charismatic stranger who arrives in town on a hot summer day, bringing hope to a drought-stricken town as well as a lonely spinster in this deeply romantic fable of love, longing, hope and fulfillment set in the American West of the 1920’s. Tickets: $25.br>  n
Talk Event:n
TV BARES SOUL: AN INTIMATE EVENING OF CONVERSATION WITH MEGYN KELLY
Hosted by Fr. Edward L. Beck, C.P.br> Saturday, April 28 at 7PM in The Loreto Theatern
Fr. Edward L. Beck, C.P. hosts an intimate conversation with NBC Today Show host Megyn Kelly about her career, faith, life choices, struggles and high points. She will also address topics from her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Settle For More: Experiences with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, her experience with Donald Trump, the state of the media today, and how her faith has helped her weather the storms. Tickets: $45.br>  n
Talk Event:n
THE ERASMUS OPTION: A FAITH FOR ALL SEASONS by Gregory Wolfe, founder of Image Journaln
Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 7PM in Studios A & Bn
In an era of fierce culture wars, many Christians believe that the best way to preserve their faith and way of life is through withdrawing from the public sphere, using the analogy of the monastic life. Gregory Wolfe argues that a better model for these times is that of Christian Humanism, exemplified in the person of the great Renaissance scholar, Erasmus. Tickets: $10.br>  n
Talk Event:n
CIVILITY IN AMERICA: PART 2 – THE MEDIA: CHRIS MATTHEWS & LARRY KUDLOW, moderated by Fr. Matt Malone, S.J.br> Wednesday, May 2 at 7PM in The Loreto Theatern
Part 2 of this new series will feature Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, former host of CNBC’s The Larry Kudlow Show, and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. In a dialogue moderated by Fr. Matt Malone, S.J., editor-in-chief of America Media, the conversation focuses on the polarization of American society, the importance of a free press, and the power of the media to build both walls and bridges between communities. Tickets: $20, $15 Students.br>  n
Fashion Talk:n
INSIDE “HEAVENLY BODIES: FASHION AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION
Monday, May 21 in The Loreto Theatern
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, the largest exhibition The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has ever done, opening May 10, 2018 in both The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition will feature a dialogue between fashion and religious artworks from The Met collection to examine the relationship between creativity and the religious imagination. Fr. James Martin, S.J. discusses this groundbreaking exhibition with Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute.  Tickets: $20n
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Theater:n
TOLKIEN AND LEWIS: OF WARDROBES AND RINGS
New York premiere of a new play by David Paynen
May 23 – June 14 in the Black Box Theatern
J .R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were giants of 20th century British fantasy, innovators of a literary genre that reached millions of readers, young and old alike, with mystifying adventures that entertain and profound truths about the human condition. C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) were also distinguished faculty members at Oxford University and members of a literary group known as The Inklings. Their robust philosophical discourse served an uncommon friendship that was not without its differences. Life’s circumstances and sometimes unresolved disagreements forced an uncomfortable season of estrangement. In Wardrobes and Rings we join “Jack†and “Tollers,†as they knew each other, at Oxford’s historic Eagle and Child pub for one last visit, tempered by thawing humor, confession, and reconciliation. Remarkable lives. Memorable theatre. David Payne and Gordon Tett  star as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tickets: $39.95n