"The Bilbao Effect" became a popular term after Frank Gehry built the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, transforming the poor industrial port city of Bilbao into a must-see tourist destination. Its success spurred other cities into hiring famous architects and giving them carte blanche to design even more spectacular buildings in hopes that the formula could be repeated.
In Mr. Safdie's play THE BILBAO EFFECT -- the second play of a planned trilogy focusing on contemporary architecture -- Erhardt Shlaminger is a world famous architect who faces censure by the American Institute of Architects, following accusations that his urban redevelopment project for Staten Island has led to a woman's suicide. The play tackles controversial urban design issues that New Yorkers have recently encountered in Brooklyn as a result of the hotly-debated plans to redevelop the Atlantic Yards into an architecture-star mega-development. THE BILBAO EFFECT explores whether architecture has become more of an art than a profession, and at what point the ethics of one field violate the principles of the other.
THE BILBAO EFFECT will be presented by the Center for Architecture in association with Jacqueline Bridgeman, Fritz Michel and Les Gutman. The play was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts, is supported by the Quebec Government Office - New York, and was developed through a column Mr. Safdie wrote for Metropolis Magazine.
The cast of THE BILBAO EFFECT includes John Bolton (Broadway's SPAMALOT and CURTAINS, and TV's "Gossip Girl"), Marc Carver (BILL W. AND DR. BOB, New World Stages), Anthony Giaimo (MEASURE FOR MEASURE at Pearl Theatre Co, "The Bird Cage" w/ Nathan Lane, "Bad Boys II" w/ Will Smith), Ann Hu (PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES, TV's "Law and Order"), Lorraine Serabian (Broadway's CABARET and ZORBA, Tony Nomination for Best Featured Actress), Joris Stuyck (SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE FINAL ADVENTURE at Cincinnati Playhouse, GUANTANAMO at the Culture Project, BBC-TV miniseries "Tender Is the Night"), Jay Sullivan (DURANGO at The Public, ORESTES: A TRAGIC ROMP, TV's "The Good Wife"), Joel Van Liew (FROM UP HERE at MTC) and Tommy Biggiani.
Mary Ellen Allison is the Production Stage Manager for THE BILBAO EFFECT; Tommy Biggiani is the Assistant Stage Manager. Set Design for THE BILBAO EFFECT is by Jisun Kim, lighting design is by Cat Tate Starmer, costume design is by Tristan Raines and sound design is by Ben Arons.