Malaparte (theater company)

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Formation 1991; 26 years ago (1991)
Type Non-profit theatre company

Malaparte was an American non-profit theater company based in New York City, New York.


While driving cross-country in 1991, actors Josh Hamilton and Ethan Hawke and playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman decided to form a theater company.[1] Actors Robert Sean Leonard, Frank Whaley, and Steve Zahn joined the fledgling enterprise, which Hawke named after an obscure novel.[2] Leonard later explained, "We would be sitting around New York a lot, and we bowled a lot, and eventually we thought, 'When we're not doing anything, why don't we see if we can put some new plays on?'"[3]

Malaparte's first production was a new translation of Luigi Pirandello's 1918 play A Joke starring Hamilton, Hawke, Sherman, Cynthia Nixon, and Austin Pendleton, which ran from October 9–31, 1992.[4] The company operated for three seasons in the 1990s as the members juggled film and television work; there were often disputes over fundraising, casting, and play selection.[2] Shows were performed in rented venues throughout Manhattan, with a flat $10 ticket price.[3] In 1992, Jason Blum joined Malaparte as producing director and personally hawked fliers in Times Square, shouting, "Don't go see some Broadway show! Come see a new play by an American playwright!"[5] The New Yorker critic Hilton Als wrote that the Malaparte collective "brought a new take on male anxiety to the American theatre, and was not embarrassed by its love of women, or its romanticism."[6]

Malaparte officially dissolved in 2000, in part because the members wanted to devote more time to their children.[7] In 2005, Hawke referred to the company's heyday as "pretty much the most thrilling period of my life".[8]


Title Author(s) Director Cast Run Venue
1 A Joke Luigi Pirandello Keith Bunin Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Cynthia Nixon, Austin Pendleton, Jonathan Marc Sherman October 9–31, 1992 Sanford Meisner Theatre
2 Wild Dogs! Daniel J. Rubin Ethan Hawke Amelia Campbell, Isabel Gillies, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Steve Zahn December 3–19, 1993 Theatre Row Theatre
3 Acoustic Night (coffeehouse) Jesse Harris, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Loeb, Frank Whaley December 21, 1993 Theatre Row Theatre
4 Good Evening Dudley Moore and Peter Cook James Waterston Robert Sean Leonard, Frank Whaley December 30–31, 1993
February 9–17, 1994
Theatre Row Theatre
Wet Bank Cafe
5 It Changes Every Year and Sons and Fathers (one-acts) Jon Robin Baitz and Jonathan Marc Sherman Nicholas Martin Brooks Ashmanskas, Calista Flockhart, Dana Ivey, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Steve Zahn January 7–22, 1994 Theatre Row Theatre
6 Veins and Thumbtacks Jonathan Marc Sherman Ethan Hawke Nicole Burdette, Lynn Cohen, Frank Whaley October 7–23, 1994 Theatre Row Theatre
7 Hesh Matthew Weiss Frank Pugliese Nadia Dajani, Ned Eisenberg, Ethan Hawke, Frank Whaley November 4–12, 1994 Theatre Row Theatre
8 The Great Unwashed Nicole Burdette Max Mayer Lynn Cohen, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Martha Plimpton, Frank Whaley November 18 – December 4, 1994 Theatre Row Theatre


  1. ^ Brown, Emma (February 8, 2013). "Life's a Baal for Jonathan Marc Sherman," Interview. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Sternbergh, Adam (January 31, 2010). "The Ethan Hawke Actors Studio," New York. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Rousuck, J. Wynn (March 16, 1997). "Model Role Actor," The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  4. ^ Willis, John, ed. Theater World: 1992-1993 Season. New York: Applause, 1995. 79.
  5. ^ Nicholson, Amy (October 19, 2015). "Can Budget-Slasher Jason Blum Prove the Way Hollywood Makes Movies Is Horrifyingly Wrong?," LA Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  6. ^ Als, Hilton (October 29, 2007). "Boys to Men," The New Yorker. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  7. ^ Landman, Beth, and Ian Spiegelman (May 15, 2000). "Babies Lower Boom on Theater Group," New York. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  8. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (January 3, 2005). "Flying High," Retrieved September 16, 2017.