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Thomas Crow

A COLOR PHOTOGRAPH by Hans Namuth from around 1964 shows Mark Rothko alone in his Amagansett summer studio seated in an Adirondack chair, facing away from the camera. His regard is fixed on a painting in smoldering russet hues that leans against another smaller canvas turned toward the wall; to his right, suspended by two cords from a roof beam, hangs a canvas of similar size but painted in dark pigments approaching black. No other work is visible.

That image will be newly familiar to some thousands of theatergoers who attended performances of Red, the two-character play by John Logan that began its life at London’s Donmar Warehouse at the end of 2009 and arrived on Broadway with the same cast and production in April. As ticket holders filed in for the show, a seated Alfred Molina as Rothko already occupied the stage, his back to the audience, as if in brooding contemplation of a canvas

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