THE PLAY, SAILS TO SUCCESS IN NEW YORK CITY April 30, 2015
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: (L-R) Actress Becca Ballenger, Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, Miles Young, Pascale Richard, Wendy Riches, Catherine Godbille and actor Paul-Emile Cendron attend Lafayette Premiere, Chef Daniel Boulud Dinner at FIAF on April 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Lafayette Premiere)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: A general view of atmosphere at Lafayette Premiere, Chef Daniel Boulud Dinner at FIAF on April 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Lafayette Premiere)
World Premiere of Lafayette, The Play, Sails To Success in New York City
On opening night of the world premiere of Lafayette, The Play, the house was packed at Florence Gould Hall in New York City. A joint production of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America (FOHLA), Inc. and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) on April 22-23, 2015, the two performances helped raise funds to support the Hermione 2015 Voyage.
Written by Ian Curteis and directed by John Michael DiResta, the one-act play is inspired by letters exchanged between the 19-year old Marquis de Lafayette and his young wife during his momentous time in America as a volunteer French soldier, and subsequently as the youngest general in George Washington’s army.
The two-night run attracted more than 550 play-lovers, Francophiles and more than 100 students from area schools and high schools, according to Pascale Richard, FOHLA Education and Cultural Outreach Director and Director of the Cultural Center of the Lycée Français de New York.
Lafayette was played by 25 year-old Paul-Emile Cendron, a devoted Shakespearean-trained actor; Cendron was most recently seen on the big screen in the 2015 film, “The Judge.” Playing Adrienne, Lafayette’s 16-year-old pregnant wife, is Becca Ballenger, a classically trained actor.
This world premiere celebrates and supports the historic return of an authentic, handcrafted and life-size reconstruction of the Hermione, the tall ship that Lafayette sailed to the aid of General Washington in 1780 with news of full French support. The reconstructed “Frigate of Freedom” left Rochefort, France on April 18th, and will be en route, sailing 3,819 miles to land at Yorktown, June 5th as the play is performed. She will sail up the eastern seaboard to 11 additional iconic ports and will be accessible to the public.
On opening night, immediately following the play, about 80 donors enjoyed cocktails and dinner created by Chef Daniel Boulud at FIAF’s Le Skyroom. Co-hosted by FIAF and FOHLA, the dinner was supported by FOHLA’s Grand Benefactor, Moët Hennessy. Both Pascale Richard and Wendy Riches, Chair of the NYC Hermione Advisory Committee and FOHLA Executive Committee Director, were generous patrons of the entire production. In addition,
Bob Lear, FOHLA Foundations and Outreach Director,, served as the play’s Executive Producer. In his theatrical career, Mr. Lear is Senior International Producer of the Global Arts Corps/Colonnades Theater Lab, Inc.
Addressing the Lafayette Dinner patrons, Miles Young, President of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. and Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, thanked the Hermione-Lafayette supporters for their donations and offered the latest news from the Hermione, which at the time of the premiere, was in the Bay of Biscay sailing smoothly to the Canary Islands and then on to Yorktown, where she is expected on June 5.
For more information about Hermione’s U.S. itinerary, please visit our itinerary page.