Randy Gener draws open ‘Broadway Behind the Curtain’

Elizabeth Taylor portrait by Rivka Katvan

There is going to be a conversation about fine-art photography, Broadway theater, and people living with HIV/Aids on September 12, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Soho Photo Gallery at 15 White Street. Editor/writer/critic Randy Gener, a nominee for the 2012 The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award, will moderate.

“Broadway Behind the Curtain” features photographer Rivka Katvan, actor Alan Cumming, and HIV-Aids fundraiser Tom Viola in a collaborative production showcasing photography, performance art and advocacy.

Rivka Katvan unveils her collection of candid fine art portraits of Broadway luminaries. She has established a strong reputation for her portrayals of Broadway and Hollywood stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Kevin Kline, Gregory Hines, Glenn Close, Angela Lansbury and Alan Cummings, to name just a few. Many of Katvan’s photographs are familiar to Broadway theatergoers.

Katvan explained, “In 1978, during a visit to my friend Natalie Mosco at the Cort Theatre where she was appearing in ‘The Magic Show,’ I experienced the contrast between the reality in front of the stage and the reality from backstage. Those first photos opened doors to many other shows. To have been a privileged observer, celebrating and sharing life in the theater, has been an honor.”

Actor/ singer Alan Cumming is a major presence in Katvan’s exhibition. He appears in three solo portraits, depicting him backstage in Broadway’s critically acclaimed hits “Cabaret” and “Three Penny Opera.”

Cumming won an instamatic camera in a raffle when he was 8. Sadly his inability to frame family members in the center of any picture led to his camera being confiscated and instead he spent his time wandering around the forest he lived in making up stories and pretending to be other people. This eventually led to him becoming an award-winning actor.

“The best thing I have learned about being an artist is the fact that you are the most interesting thing about yourself. We are all just trying to tell a story after all, and the more honest and personal we are the stronger we connect with an audience,” says Cumming in his artist’s statement. “My photographs are all about how I see the world, the incredible experiences I am exposed to and the parts of those experiences I think are worth recording or strike me as beautiful or provocative or weird.”

Tom Viola was the founding administrative director of Equity Fights AIDS in 1988, who saw through its merger with Broadway Cares in 1992 and has been executive director of BC/EFA since 1997. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation’s leading industry-based not-for-profit Aids fundraising and grant-making organization. BC/EFA has raised more than $195 million for essential services for people with Aids and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Randy Gener is the Nathan Award-winning editor, writer and artist. He is the U.S. editor of Critical Stages, an international web journal for cutting-edge critical writing and international discourse on the performing arts. For his editorial work and critical essays in American Theatre magazine, Gener won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, the Rube Award for Best Arts Reporting from Deadline Club (New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), among numerous other awards. His media project, theaterofOneWorld.org, pursues cultural diplomacy and international reporting in the public interest.

For details on the exhibit, contact Gallery 138 or Soho Photo Gallery.

Alan Cumming

Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews

Leave a Reply