The Most Deserving OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • VILLAGE VOICE

  • NY POST

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

Opening Night:
March 30, 2014
Closing:
May 4, 2014

Theater: New York City Center - Stage II / 131 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Catherine Trieschmann (Crooked, How the World Began) returns to Women's Project Theater with a play about a small-town Kansas arts council that must decide how to disburse the largest grant in its history. Shelley Butler directs a cast that includes Veanne Cox and Adam LeFevre.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Most Deserving

    Hidden Agendas Laid Bare in a Debate | Haggling Over Grant Money in ‘The Most Deserving’

    Charles Isherwood

    April 9, 2014: A fight over an arts funding grant causes a kerfuffle the size of Kansas in The Most Deserving, a frisky but inconsequential new comedy by Catherine Trieschmann that opened at City Center on Tuesday night under the auspices of the Women’s Project Theater. Kansas is actually where the big set-to takes place, when a meeting of a county arts council turns testy, resulting in a series of events that leaves just about everyone’s feathers permanently ruffled. The council’s head, Jolene Atkinson, played by the distinctive comic actress Veanne Cox, is presiding over the meeting when the matter of a $20,000 arts grant arises. The recipient must be a local resident, and as Jolene reminds her fellow board members, “must demonstrate both artistic excellence and financial need, and should preferably be an underrepresented American voice.”

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Most Deserving

    The Most Deserving: Theater review by David Cote

    David Cote

    April 8, 2014: Mapping influences on a playwright can be a mug’s game, potentially insulting the writer under scrutiny and the ones hauled in as evidence. Who am I to say that the insightful Catherine Trieschmann (How the World Began) has taken a cue from her brittler peers Theresa Rebeck and Bruce Norris for her arts-funding satire, The Most Deserving? Her new piece is much broader than her earlier work, and its characters, while sympathetically drawn, are closer to the cardboard targets you find in some of those other writers’ plays. Maybe the subject brings out the glib farceur in Trieschmann. At issue is a $20,000 grant to be disbursed by a small-town Kansas council. Stressed-out chairperson Jolene (Veanne Cox) wants to give the award to the son of a local politician to shore up government support. She butts heads with urban-transplant art professor Liz (Jennifer Lim), champion of “outsider artist” Everett (Ray Anthony Thomas), who makes religious art out of garbage.

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  • VILLAGE VOICE REVIEW OF The Most Deserving

    A Hilarious Ride Through the Inner Workings of a Small Town Arts Council in The Most Deserving

    Molly Grogan

    April 9, 2014: Sotheby's and Christie's may have cornered the real-world market for bitchiness and backstabbing in the name of art, but in The Most Deserving, Catherine Trieschmann's newest play, produced by Women's Project Theater, the fictional champion lies in a small Kansas town, where the B.S. that flies among the members of the local arts council is more hilarious than anything those high-falutin' auction houses ever crossed gavels over. The title refers to the dilemma facing the council, which must award a $20,000 grant to a local artist of some merit. Shelley Butler smartly directs this snappy Dallas-meets-Topeka story, with outsider art, not oil, as the impetus for a power-grabbing melée that builds as unstoppably as a Midwestern tornado. The excellent cast is led by a terrific female trio: Veanne Cox as the prudish, relentlessly self-serving council president; Kristin Griffith, devastating as its straight-shooting suburban patron in pink chiffon; and Jennifer Lim as an ambitious college lecturer with a plan for getting the hell out of Dodge.

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  • NY POST REVIEW OF The Most Deserving

    We deserve a sharper satire from ‘The Most Deserving’

    Elisabeth Vincentelli

    April 9, 2014: Culture wars in the heartland are a big neon target, but The Most Deserving isn’t sure where to aim, or how. So playwright Catherine Trieschmann covers all the bases: slapstick, satire and barbs at yokels, uptight arty types and ambitious academics. Everybody gets it, to the detriment of focus and bite. In the show, the arts council in a small Kansas town must give a grant to “an underrepresented American voice” in financial need. Of course, that voice belonging to an oppressed minority would be a big asset. The decision divides the five council members, who lobby for their pet candidates and form fluctuating alliances.

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  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF The Most Deserving

    The Most Deserving at Women’s Project Theater

    Joshua Rose

    April 8, 2014: What makes good art? Who makes good art? Do the artist’s personal flaws take away from or add to their art? How do you decide to whom you distribute twenty-thousand dollars? While the title is The Most Deserving, this play hilariously shows us that factor rarely actually matters. As each character tries to manipulate the others to achieve their own ends, they pontificate wise and true about the nature of Art, the qualities that make an Artist, the essence of the Work, all with capital letters. While some of them actually believe what they are saying, only a few of them value their words enough to put their own interests aside. Catherine Treischmann’s script with Shelley Butler’s direction is quick and lively, with every character succinctly and wholly defined from the start. Each one brought to life by the skilled and familiar cast. You know you’ve seen them all before, (both the actors and the characters), on TV, on stage, and on the big screen. That familiarity helps to draw you into the characters who are people we have all met before. More than archetypes or caricatures the company brings nuance and tics to each of them. A few of them even grow as they struggle with the distance between their ideals and their desires.

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