MAKING ART | EPISODE 9: PHILIP KNOERZER, ACTOR, MUSICIAN
Please join The New Phoenix Theatre on the Park as we walk down memory lane. As we continue to plan for next steps with the uncertainty of COVID-19, we are sharing testimonials from the amazing artists who emblazoned their imprint on our stage. We hope with all our hearts to be back with you soon.
For now, here is a message from Philip Knoerzer:
“I have so many happy recollections of working at The New Phoenix Theatre. They are with several different companies---it’s hard to pin down a single one that stands alone. A theater, after all, is merely a building imbued with the spirits of the people and characters it contains.
Richard and I rehearsed the first production of “Kiss of The Spider Woman” at The New Phoenix while it was still being renovated in whatever year that was. I do recall us working in clothing that would befit prisoners in a South American jail, that is to say, nearly rags. We were mostly freezing. The play was produced at the Trico Building at Hallwalls.
Another seasonal memory involves Road Less Traveled’s first-ever production, “PROject”, which premiered at The New Phoenix Theatre. We were rehearsing there, upstairs, during the winter months, and one Saturday morning we arrived to find hoses coming from the basement. Apparently, a water main break had occurred and flooded the furnace. They were pumping water out. We carried on our rehearsal with a fire set in the fireplace upstairs, thank you, Richard, but in subsequent rehearsals, we realized that there was a pronounced stage-left emphasis to the blocking. We had all been moving instinctively towards the warmth.
The New Phoenix saw me direct “Times of Service,”, Mark Humphrey’s one-man show about Nat Turner, starring the late Timothy White. Bob Waterhouse directed “The Weekend” there with a very nice set including a dock. It was a pleasure acting in that play. I got to direct “Blue Orange” there for Richard, starring Donald Capers, Ray Boucher and Richard himself. Richard got to keep the round, clear lucite table I made for the set. There was “Hedda Gabler,” RLTP’s “The Peddler’s Bones,” which starred Lisa Vitrano and the late Neil Garvey, and one of my favorites, Mamet’s “American Buffalo” with Joe Giambra and Michael Guida.
We had a blast doing that, even when editing lines on the fly. I especially recall “The Country Girl” which starred Lisa Vitrano and allowed me to get a good look at myself as her husband, an aging, addicted actor. I learned how to tie a proper bowtie during that show.
The most important thing about The New Phoenix is Richard’s benevolence, grace and generosity throughout. He has given his space and help to many people and continues to be a cornerstone in the theatrical community." -- Philip Knoerzer
Coming soon, Episode 10: Gail Golden