Rent Party Opens July 12th at The Tank

WRITTEN BY AMINA HENRY
DIRECTED BY GRETCHEN VAN LENTE 
 
WORLD PREMIERE
JULY 12-21 @ THE TANK
 
The Tank (Meghan Finn and Rosalind Grush, Artistic Directors) in association with Drama of Works will present the World Premiere of Rent Party by Amina Henry, directed by Gretchen Van Lente at The Tank (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues), July 12-21. Performances will be on Friday, July 12 at 7pm, Saturday, July 13 at 3pm, Saturday, July 13 at 7pm, Sunday, July 14 at 12pm, Sunday, July 14 at 3pm, Friday, July 19 at 7pm, Saturday, July 20 at 3pm, Saturday, July 20 at 7pm, Sunday, July 21 at 12pm, and Sunday, July 21 at 3pm. Tickets ($18 adults; $12 kids 18 and under) are available for advance purchase at www.thetanknyc.orgThe performance will run approximately 60 minutes, with no intermission.
 
In the early 1900s African-Americans began to migrate north in large numbers. Harlem was where their community was, so many moved there, despite the high rents. Rent parties became a popular way for families to raise the rent money they needed. They would hire a musician or band, get cheap refreshments and charge a small entry fee. 
 
An innovative toy theater fills the stage, a replica of a Harlem block from the 1920s. Lights flicker on as people awake. We see toy theater puppets, shadows come to life in windows, and at a certain point the whole set transforms. All the while actors frolic in 20s costumes, original saxophone music plays through the speakers and a cat does back alley beat poetry. We’re transported in time to an era poignant and pivotal to the African-American experience in this country and people of all ages should know these stories, hear these words and listen to this music. Come follow Rose, Jenny and Ricky as they help their mammas throw a RENT PARTY to save their home. All they need to do is get the ice, hand out some cards, oh – and get a real live musician to play. Shouldn’t be too hard…
 
The cast will include AnJu Hyppolite, Marlee Miller, Maya Posey, and Christian Roberson with Puppet and Set Design by Gretchen Van Lente, Costume Design by Taylor Harrison, Music Direction by Jessica Lurie, and Lighting Design by Jeannette Yew. 
 
RENT PARTY has been awarded the prestigious Henson Foundation family grant. The show is recommended for ages 10 and up. 
 
Amina Henry (Playwright) is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Productions include: Ducklings at JACK (Brooklyn, NY), The Animals at JACK, Happily Ever at Brooklyn College, Bully at Interrobang Theater (Baltimore, MD), An American Family Takes a Lover, produced by The Cell: a 21stCentury Salon and presented by Theatre for the New City (New York, NY), Water produced by Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY), The Minstrel Show, produced as part of the 2013 Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival. Her work has been developed by/presented at: The New Group, Clubbed Thumb, The Flea, National Black Theater, Little Theater at Dixon Place, The Brooklyn Generator, The Brick, Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 2013 Black Swan Lab Series (Ashland, OR), Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX), The Brick, HERE Arts Center, The Cell: a 21st Century Salon, HERO Theatre, the Hive Theater, the Bowery Poetry Club and Brooklyn College. She was a 2012-2013 Core Apprentice playwright at The Playwrights Center and a 2013 Finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW Playwriting Prize for her play Bully. She was a featured playwright at the 2013 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at Texas State University. Publications include Hello, My Name Is Joe in the compilation 24 Gun Control Plays, published by No Passport Press. Amina Henry is a graduate of Yale University; NYU’s Performance Studies MA program and Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting program lead by head weasels Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She has been a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group, Page73’s writers group, and is a 2017-2018 member of the Ars Nova writers group. She is a 2017-2018 recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Space Residency and is a 2018 recipient of a space residency at Dixon Place.
 
Gretchen Van Lente (Director) is the Artistic Director of Drama of Works, a freelance theater director and a full-time theater teacher. She has been working in the field of puppetry and visual theater since 1995. Since this time, outside of the over a dozen award-winning shows she has created with DOW, she has directed for Polaris North Theater, Bond Street Theater, Theater for the New City, {your name here} a Queer Theater Company, New Georges, JACK Brooklyn; and at Brooklyn College, where she directed Gruesome Playground InjuriesThe Ferris Wheel and The Fairy Garden, as well as puppetry direction for She Kills Monsters. As a designer she has worked with TheatreWorks USA, Mannes Opera, The Brick Theater, and many others. She received her BFA in illustration from Parsons School of Design, her BA in theatre from Eugene Lang College, an MFA in directing from Brooklyn College, and an MS in Education from Pace University. She is currently a full-time elementary theater teacher for district 75 in New York City.
 
Drama of Works (DOW) “New York’s tightly organized satirists” (In Pittsburgh), are known for their innovative works “high on fantastic production value” (Village Voice) that cross the line between actors and puppeteers. “Whatever it is supposed to be, it isn’t boring.” (Puppetmaster). Led by Artistic Director Gretchen Van Lente (former president of UNIMA-USA), they have performed around New York City, plus all over the East Coast and abroad since 1999 with their unique brand of theatre: gaining members, fans and supporters along the way. Drama of Works has performed abroad at ten international festivals to date, garnering awards and accolades: The International Festival of Children’s Theater in Subotica, Serbia; The FOOT Festival of Original Theatre in Toronto, Canada; The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival, also in Toronto; The Barents Region International Puppet Festival in Oulu, Finland (twice); The Istanbul International Puppet Festival; The World Festival of Puppet Art, Prague (twice); The Prague Fringe Festival; and the World Festival of Puppet Art, Jakarta, Indonesia. They are the recipients of eight Henson Foundation grants, two grants from the Rhode Island Foundation, a grant from the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, an ART/NY Creative Space and Nancy Quinn Fund grant, a Chashama/NEA Performance Development Award and an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Project Commission. They have participated in various festivals and developmental labs, including HERE’s Dream Music Puppetry Program, the O’Neil Puppetry Conference, the Arts at St. Ann’s Puppet Lab, and many others. Drama of Works prides themselves on including members from a variety of backgrounds, including puppetry, experimental theatre, clowning, classical theatre, folk dance and comedy. They are proud members of Puppeteers of America, UNIMA-USA, Network of Ensemble Theaters and ART/NY. They create work for all ages, including pieces geared toward small children, family audiences and more text-heavy adult-centered pieces exploring deeper themes. They specialize in adapting already-told stories in new and invigorated ways. www.dramaofworks.com 
 
The Tank is a non-profit arts presenter and producer. Our mission is to remove economic barriers from the creation of new work for artists launching their careers and experimenting within their art form, and to do so in an environment that is inclusive and accessible. We serve over 2,000 artists every year in over 800 performances, and work across all disciplines, including theater, comedy, dance, film, music, puppetry, and storytelling. The heart of our services is providing free performance space in our two-stage theater complex Manhattan, and we also offer a suite of other services such as free rehearsal space, promotional support, artist fees, and much more. We support work at all phases of development, from readings and residencies to fully-produced world premieres. We keep ticket prices affordable and view our work as democratic, opening up both the creation and attendance of the arts to all.

Recent Tank-produced work includes Drama Desk-nominated productions Ada/Ava (2016), youarenowhere (2016), The Paper Hat Game (2017), the ephemera trilogy (2017), and The Hunger Artist (2018), as well as New York Times Critics’ Picks The Offending Gesture by Mac Wellman, directed by Meghan Finn (2016) and Red Emma & The Mad Monk by Alexis Roblan, directed by Katie Lindsay (2018). www.thetanknyc.org 

At Black Lake Opens 7/13 at The Tank

WRITTEN BY DEA LOHER 
TRANSLATED BY DANIEL BRUNET
DIRECTED BY BARBARA RUBIN 
 
UNITED STATES PREMIERE
OPENING JULY 14
JULY 7-25 @ THE TANK
 
*Necessary Digression will present the United States Premiere of Dea Loher’s At Black Lake translated by Daniel Brunet and directed by Barbara Rubin at The Tank (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues), July 7-25. Performances will be on Sunday, July 7 at 3pm, Saturday, July 13 at 3pm, Sunday, July 14 at 3pm, Saturday, July 20 at 3pm, Sunday, July 21 at 3pm, Tuesday, July  23 at 7pm, Wednesday, July 24 at 7pm, and Thursday, July 25 at 7pm. Tickets ($15) are available for advance purchase at www.thetanknyc.orgThe performance will run approximately 100 minutes, with no intermission.
 
It’s been four years since that night. Else and Johnny reunite with Cleo and Eddie at Black Lake. But when innocent assumptions become scalding questions, and every recollection a wounding taunt, that promises a hidden clue, they wrestle with just how little they know about their children. Acclaimed German playwright Dea Loher weaves an eerie tale of uncertainty and distortion through small gestures of everyday life, the cost of relationships and the variability of memory.
 
The cast will feature Heather Benton* (NYIT Best Production Award Winner Serenade and Philosopher Fox with East River Commedia), Christopher J. Cancel-Pomales (Daniel Irizarry’s The Maids and Madman and the Nunwith One-Eighth), Darrell Stokes* (Life is a Dream with Blessed Unrest), and April Sweeney* (This Place is a Desert in Under the Radar; Women Dreamt Horses at PS 122), with Lighting & Environment Design by Krista Smith (Good Person of Setzuan with Atlantic Theater Company; This American Wife at New York Theater Workshop Next Door) and Sound Design & Music by Cory Larson (Electric Ottoman; Silhouette of Noise). *Appearing courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association.
 
Dea Loher (Playwright) is one of the most celebrated and performed playwrights in the German language. Her nearly 20 plays have been translated into 28 different languages and received more than 300 productions. She has received several awards for her writing including the Schiller Memorial Prize, Bertolt Brecht Literature Prize, Else Lasker Schüler Drama Prize and the Royal Court Theater Playwrights Theater Award. As of yet  Dea’s work has not received a U.S. professional production but a few plays have been produced by students in university theater programs (Swarthmore, Yale) and received several readings in New York (Goethe Institute and Origin Theater Company). In her plays, Loher deals repeatedly with questions of politics, history, feminism and social ills as well as with issues of personal happiness and private life. Without regressing to a naturalist aesthetics, Loher does not − unlike many postmodernist writers − abandon concepts such as plot, directed action or successful communication in her plays. Her work has consequently been claimed as part of the neo-dramatic theatre movement in the German-speaking countries, which distances itself from the positions of ‘post-dramatic theatre’ (Peter Weiss, Elfriede Jelinek, René Pollesch) and strives to reestablish a more coherent and semantically contained aesthetics of the theatre. Her eminently political, yet non-moralising dramatic work has been interpreted as a productive appropriation of the legacy of Bertolt Brecht (Birgit Haas).
 
Barbara Rubin (Director) For two decades Barbara has cultivated a career as an inventive director of contemporary and classical theatre in New York and abroad. She began her directing career at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1997. She made her Off-Broadway directorial debut at The Women’s Project in 2004, after relocating in 2000. She has worked on Broadway and Off, regionally and internationally, in Europe, and in her native South Africa. As a dialect coach for stage, film and TV, Barbara has worked with Daniel Radcliffe, Samira Wiley, Hilary Swank, Rosemary Harris, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. Known for her longtime collaboration with Athol Fugard, she coached all six productions in his Signature Theatre Residency, including, currently, Boesman and Lena. At the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Barbara is  the co-director of the third year Company where she directs and mentors actors on the brink of launching their professional careers. 
 
Daniel Brunet (Translator) is a theater maker and translator, and is the producing artistic director of English Theatre Berlin. After studying theater and film at Boston College, he moved to Berlin with the support of a Fulbright Scholarship in 2001. He became the 2003 director in residence at English Theatre Berlin and founded THE LAB, a new work series. His directorial work has been seen throughout Germany and the United States, including the Forum Freies Theater Düsseldorf; the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and Performance Space 122 in New York. He has translated 18 German plays in the last nine years, including those of Roland Schimmelpfennig, Heiner Müller, Ferdinand Bruckner, and Moritz Rinke. These translations have been performed around the world. Brunet is also the translator of the 2006 remake of Michael Haneke’s film Funny Games. He received a 2010 Pen/Heim Translation Fund grant for his translation of Dea Loher’s The Last Fire. His translations and essays have been published in PEN AmericaThe MercurianAsymptoteTheater, and TheatreForum.
 
*Necessary Digression is an itinerant, international performance collective, a constellation of artists who cultivate and curate intentional & accidental performative experiences that invite audiences to wrestle with difficult and inspiring material. We mine the contradictions of human experience, chase and illuminate the elusive through physical expression and find new ways of reaching spectators through live theatre and performance in unexpected environments. The collective is committed to inclusivity, community and supportive strategies to encourage and develop artists and their work. www.necessarydigression.org 
 

The Kilroys Launch 5th Annual “The List”

THE KILROYS TAKE ACTION IN THE FACE OF GENDER DISPARITY IN THE AMERICAN THEATRE AND LAUNCH 5TH ANNUAL “THE LIST 2019”
 
LA and NYC-based playwright advocacy collective releases vetted list of
un- and under-produced new plays by women, trans, and non-binary writers.
June 18, 2019 – The Kilroys, an independent, Los Angeles- and New York City-based playwright/director/producer collective, announced their 5th annual THE LIST 2019 of industry-recommended new plays. THE LIST serves as a resource for producers and theaters committed to gender parity. The Kilroys have partnered with the New Play Exchange to provide interested parties fast and easy access to THE LIST plays.
The Kilroys seek to focus attention on underrepresented voices as a powerful means of overcoming the systemic and implicit biases that create exclusion — historically, women and trans writers face more discrimination than other groups. Through these efforts, attention on underrepresented voices has increased visibility and opportunity. THE LIST 2019 represents this mission and continues the fight to achieve gender parity in the American Theater.
This year, in an effort to widen their scope and attention toward the underrepresented, and explore the intersectional facets that make up the dynamics of bias, The Kilroys asked nominators to recommend plays by women, trans, and non-binary writers who have never before been on The Kilroys List. THE LIST 2019 features 33 of the most recommended un- and under-produced new plays written by women, trans, and non-binary writers culled from an industry-wide survey of professional artistic directors, literary managers, professors, producers, directors, and dramaturgs from all 50 states, and abroad. To be a nominator, theater professionals must have read or seen at least 40 plays in the previous year, and are then invited to nominate themselves as respondents for the following year’s LIST. Play recommendations for THE LIST are submitted anonymously. Members of The Kilroys act as facilitators throughout the process but do not recommend plays for THE LIST.
In 2014, The Kilroys created THE LIST survey in response to systemic gender bias in theater programming. The vetted collection of industry-recommended works was designed to bring worthy plays by women, trans, and non-binary playwrights to the forefront of the American theater conversation. And, it has. In the first four years of its existence, THE LIST has featured 165 plays: In 2014, 46 plays, in 2015, 53 plays, in 2016, 32 plays and in 2017, 34 plays. Over 1,000 plays have been nominated by more than 300 industry professionals. Since its inception, more than 100 productions of plays on THE LIST have been announced and/or produced.
Momentum for women theater makers is on the rise, despite continued under-representation of women, trans, and non-binary playwrights on American stages. According to The Count, (an ongoing theater study about who American theater is producing, initially released in 2015, and funded by The Lilly Awards in partnership with The Dramatists Guild of America), just 22% of productions in regional theaters from 2012-2015 were written by women.  The Count 2.0, just released in 2018, showed that productions by women-identified playwrights had increased by 8.5%, and plays by women of color had increased by 6.1%.  The Kilroys are encouraged by the evidence that amplifying underrepresented writers and waving the banner of inclusion works — and are now determined to make sure this uptick in productions by women writers is not just a reactionary fad, but sustained progress.
The List survey used the following criteria this year:
●  Each industry respondent may recommend up to 5 plays, representing the most outstanding work they have encountered in the past 12 months.
●  A nominated play must have had no more than one professional production.
●  Only playwrights whose plays have never before appeared on The Kilroys List are eligible; playwrights whose work has previously made the Honorable Mention section of The List are eligible.
THE LIST is available at www.thekilroys.org.
THE KILROYS are a gang of playwrights, directors and producers in LA and NYC who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. They mobilize others in their field and leverage their own power to support one another. They are Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Emma Goidel, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Obehi Janice, Hansol Jung, Chelsea Marcantel, Caroline V. McGraw, Bianca Sams, and Gina Young.
BIOS FOR THE KILROYS
JACLYN BACKHAUS is a playwright, mother, and co-founder of Fresh Ground Pepper. Her plays include Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons), India Pale Ale (Manhattan Theatre Club, winner of the Horton Foote Prize), You On The Moors Now (TRE, Hypocrites) and Folk Wandering (Pipeline Theatre Company).
HILARY BETTIS is a playwright and TV writer. She won the 2019 Writers Guild of America Award for her work on the critically-acclaimed series “The Americans.” Her play, 72 miles to go…  was a 2019 Finalist for the prestigious Blackburn Prize, and will be produced Off-Broadway by Roundabout in 2020. Her work has been developed and produced all over the country including, New Georges, The Sol Project, Miami New Drama, Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, amongst others. Bettis is currently developing projects at FX and AMC. She is an alum of the Sundance Institute Episodic TV Lab. Graduate of The Juilliard School. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat and husband, and is an avid equestrian. www.HilaryBettisWriter.com
JENNIFER CHAMBERS is a Los Angeles-based director who has worked at The Geffen, South Coast Rep, The Old Globe, The McCarter Theater, IAMA Theater, Barrington Stage Company, CalArts, Antaeus, Boston Court and The Echo. She developed and directed the world premieres of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter, Bed by Sheila Callaghan and Better by Jessica Goldberg. She directed the short film, See You Soon and is one of the founders of Girlcrush Films. jennifergchambers.com
CLAUDIA DE VASCO has been a performer, producer, and leader in Los Angeles & Minneapolis. She is the Artistic Producing Director for Chalk Repertory Theatre, and the Managing Director of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles. She has performed with companies like Mixed Blood, San Diego Repertory, and Independent Shakespeare Company. On screen you’ve seen her on shows like “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” and “SWAT”, among others. She is a former Jerome Foundation Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center. instagram.com/claudiadevasco
EMMA GOIDEL is a playwright in New York City and a co-founder of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s award-winning producing playwrights collective. Her plays include The Gap (Barrymore Award), Two Minutes To Midnight (Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group), Local Girls (Finalist, Princess Grace Award), A Knee That Can Bend (Finalist, Barrymore Award; Nominee, ATCA/Steinberg Award & Lanford Wilson Award), and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (Òran Mór/Glasgow, EST, Tiny Dynamite/InterAct). She is currently a member of the Orchard Project 2019/2020 Greenhouse Lab. emmagoidel.com
CHRISTINA HAM was named one of “The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 Season” by American Theatre magazine. A graduate of the University of Southern California and an MFA in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, she writes on Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. christinaham.com
JESSICA HANNA is a Los-Angeles based director/producer and co-founder of Bootleg Theater. Recent directing credits: Lisa Dring’s Death Play, Brandon Baruch’s NO HOMO, John Ross Bowie’s Four Chords and a Gun, Georgette Kelly’s I Carry Your Heart and Kerry-Ann McCalla’sThe Willows. All premieres, developed with the playwrights. JessQueen.com
MONET HURST-MENDOZA is an NYC-based playwright from Los Angeles, CA. Her plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theater Collective, Astoria Performing Arts Center, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, #serials@The Flea, and Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, among others. She is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, R&D Group at The Civilians, WP Theater Playwrights Lab, Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, and has held residencies with SPACE on Ryder Farm and The MITTEN Lab. Her play Torera was featured on the 2019 50 Playwrights Project List of Best Unproduced Latinx Plays. She is currently a staff writer for Law and Order: SVU.
OBEHI JANICE is an award-winning writer, actress and comedian whose multi-genre work spans from stage to screen. She is a member of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and a writer for HULU’s Castle Rock. obehijanice.com
HANSOL JUNG is a playwright from South Korea. Productions include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville),Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre),Wolf Play (Actors Rep) and Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Theater and The Public Theater). Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab and NYTW’s Usual Suspects.
CHELSEA MARCANTEL is an LA-based writer, director, and collaborator. Reared by Cajuns in southwest Louisiana, she has previously lived and made theatre in the Midwest, Appalachia, and New York City. In 2016, Chelsea completed a Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Her plays include Airness, Everything is Wonderful, Tiny Houses, and Ladyish. She is a member of the inaugural Writers’ Room playwrights’ unit at the Geffen Playhouse, and had three world premiere productions in 2019. ChelseaMarcantel.com
CAROLINE V. MCGRAW’S plays include I Get Restless, Ultimate Beauty Bible, The Bachelors, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, and The Vaults. Her work has been seen at theaters across the country including Page 73, Lesser America, Lark Playwrights’ Week, Second Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, IAMA, Washington Ensemble Theatre, and Ars Nova. McGraw was the 2013 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and a 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence. She is working on commissions from Yale Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club/The Sloan Foundation, and South Coast Rep. She is a graduate of the playwriting program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel.carolinevmcgraw.com
BIANCA SAMS is an actor/writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays include: Rust On Bone, Simply Bess, Battle Cry, and At the Rivers End. Awards and honors include Ingram New Works Fellow (Nashville Rep), Warner Brothers TV Writing Workshop, The Playwright Center Core Apprentice (2014), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference fellow, TRI Research Fellowship (OSU), T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship, Tracking Board 2016 Young & Hungry List, and WriteHerList 2017. BFA: NYU (Tisch’s first-ever Triple Major: Acting, Dramatic Writing, Africana Studies). MFA: Ohio University. She is currently a writer on “Titans” (WB/DC.com). Bianca is represented by Echo Lake Management and Verve.biancasams.com
GINA YOUNG is a playwright/director/performer and creator of SORORITY, a hub for queer and feminist performance in Los Angeles, and Feminist Acting Class, an experiment in deconstructing actor training. Her work has been presented by The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LAPP/LAX Festival, USC’s Visions & Voices Series, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. She is a winner of the Humanitas/PLAY LA Prize and the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting. ginayoung.com

New Drama by Bekah Brunstetter: PUBLIC SERVANT

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (Samuel D. Hunter’s The Healing) kicks off its 40thAnniversary with the World Premiere of PUBLIC SERVANT by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s Emmy-winning drama This Is Us and the just announced Oklahoma TV series). Directed by Geordie Broadwater, the production stars Chris Henry Coffey (Broadway’s Bronx Bombers, David Schwimmer’s Trust opposite Clive Owen and Viola Davis), Christine Bruno (Jose Rivera’s adaption of The Maids, Bekah Brunstetter’s Forgotten Corners… with TBTB) and newcomer Anna Lentz in her Off-Broadway debut. The play is the second part of a trilogy of plays by Brunstetter that kicked off with The Cake in February at Manhattan Theatre Club. Currently in previews at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre, opening night is set for Thursday, June 6.

In PUBLIC SERVANT, Ed has been newly elected as County Commissioner. Ed is one of the good ones. With his daughter Hannah by his side, he is going to change the world — or at least his little corner of it. Meanwhile, all world-weary Miriam needs is to sell her late Mother’s house. Disillusioned with the system but desperate, she turns to Ed for help with what should be a simple request. But in the world of politics, is anything ever simple?

The production team for PUBLIC SERVANT includes Edward T. Morris (set), Courtney Butt (costumes), Alejandro Fajardo (lighting), Sam Crawford (sound), Jeremy Ping (production manager), Michal Mendelson (stage manager), Emily Ballou (assistant stage manager) and Melanie Portsche (house manager).

Bekah Brunstetter‘s plays include The Cake (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Going to a Place where you already are (South Coast Repertory), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage Fall 2016, O’Neill Playwrights Conference; Flying V), Cutie and Bear (Roundabout commission), A Long and Happy Life (Naked Angels commission), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Collaboraction, The Old Globe), Oohrah! (The Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage, Finborough Theater / London), Nothing is the end of the World (except for the end of the world) (Waterwell), House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival) and Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Ice Factory Festival). She is an alumnus of the CTG Writers Group, Primary Stages Writes, Ars Nova Play Group, The Playwright’s Realm, and Women’s Project Lab. She is currently a member of the Echo Theater’s Playwright’s group. She has previously written for MTV (Underemployed; I Just Want My Pants Back), ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, and Starz’s American Gods. She is currently a co-producer and writer on NBC’s This Is Us and will co-write a new TV series based on the musical Oklahoma.

Geordie Broadwater is a New York City-based director and writer. Geordie’s previous experience directing Bekah’s work include The Oregon Trail at Fault Line Theater in 2017 and You May Go Now at 45th Street Theater in 2009. He has also directed world premieres of The Insomnia Play by Jess Brickman, Pilgrims by Jamie Carmichael, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Hale, and Big John and Little Ben by Sam Marks. Geordie was the founder and Artistic Director of the Babel Theater Project, a New York City company devoted to the development and production of new plays. With Babel Theatre Project, he directed A Great Place to Be From by Norman Lasca, Brack’s Last Bachelor Party by Sam Marks, and Christmas is Miles Away by Chloe Moss. Geordie holds a BA in English from Harvard University and an MFA in Directing from the Brown/Trinity Consortium.

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), under the Artistic Direction of Nicholas Viselli, is a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway company integrating able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities. Founded in 1979 by Ike Schambelan as Theater by the Blind, the company’s mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be. The company has premiered works by Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Neil LaBute, Kate Moira Ryan and Diana Son, among others. For additional information, visit www.tbtb.org.

PUBLIC SERVANT runs through June 29 at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Performances are Tuesday – Wednesday at 7pm, Thursday – Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $58, available at 212-239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. For additional information, visit www.tbtb.org.

Hip to Hip Theatre Company Announces Summer Productions for 2019 Season Tour of Free Shakespeare in the Parks @hiptohiptheatre

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Hip to Hip Theatre Company Announces Summer Productions for 2019 Season Tour of Free Shakespeare in the Parks

A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III

Running in Repertory July 24th – August 25th in Parks in all Five Boroughs as well as New Jersey and Long Island

Hip to Hip Theatre Company is pleased to announce that they will showcase two of Shakespeare’s classic plays during their 2019 Free Shakespeare in the Parks summer tour. Audiences will have a chance to enjoy the romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (directed by S.C. Lucier), and the historic tragedy Richard III (directed by David Mold), under the stars. Their season will culminate with an indoor winter production of Troilus and Cressida (directed by Jason Marr).

The two productions will perform in rotating repertory from July 24 to August 25, at fourteen parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Performances will also take place in Jersey City and Southampton. Hip to Hip’s popular children’s workshop “Kids & the Classics,” will be offered thirty minutes before each performance. 

Audience members are encouraged to bring a blanket or low chair, picnic fare and enjoy a Shakespeare play in the open air. No tickets are necessary. Tour schedule will be announced in mid-June. 

Artistic Director Jason Marr, discussed this season’s play selection, “If you’re going to produce something as dark and bloody as Richard III, you need something as light and fluffy as A Midsummer Night’s Dream to balance the season.”

Marr went on to share, “Both as a producer and as an actor, Richard III has hovered near the top of my “yet-to-do list” for years. It’s never made the cut, because on some level the play doesn’t quite sing for me. After thirteen years with Hip to Hip, and with my “yet-to-do list” getting shorter and shorter, it seemed time to take another look at Richard III.” He went on to say, “I came across the fascinating documentary, “The King in the Car Park,” which tracks the exhumation and reburial of the remains of Richard III, which culminated in 2012.  With the discovery of Richard III’s remains, we now know that Shakespeare’s portrait of Richard’s deformity is grossly exaggerated. The exhumed skeleton reveals Richard had severe scoliosis, but it bears no suggestion that he was a hunchback with a withered arm and unequally sized legs. Hip to Hip’s new radical adaptation of Richard III attempts to bridge the divide between the real man and the caricature the Tudors, aided and abetted by Shakespeare, perpetuated.”

The repertory cast includes Leah Alfieri, Kendall Devin Bell, Katie Fanning*, Rebecca Wei Hsieh, Kurt Kingsley*, Tristan Land, Jason Marr*, Joy Marr*, Josh Miccio, Austin Nguyen, Anuj Parikh, Sophia Parola and Colin Wulff*.
*appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Four young lovers escape the tyranny of the court to find love in a magical forest. On the same night and in the same forest, the king and queen of the fairies declare war on each other and a company of amateur actors meet to rehearse a play. See what happens when a mischievous sprite called Puck weaves their three stories into one.

Richard III
After a long civil war, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward. But Edward’s younger brother Richard, who helped him to the throne, grows restless in the shadows. Shakespeare’s searing drama chronicles the bloody rise and fall of the last English king to die on the battlefield.

Troilus and Cressida
Seven years into the Trojan War, would-be lovers Troilus and Cressida pine for each other, encouraged by the hilarious Pandarus. Meanwhile, Paris, Hector and Achilles fight over the fate of Helen of Troy. A rare opportunity to see Shakespeare’s funny, insightful and cynical take on the heroes of the Iliad.

Kids & the Classics
“Kids & the Classics” is the companion piece to Hip to Hip’s program of “Free Shakespeare in the Parks.” This free interactive workshop is offered 30 minutes before every performance, and is designed for children ages 4 to 12. It gives children a chance to interact with the text by previewing the characters and situations and creating links between the text and their own lives.

About Hip to Hip Theatre Company

Hip to Hip, now in its 13th year, is dedicated to stimulating and developing interest in the theatre arts in underserved communities by providing free, family-friendly, professional productions of popular classics, and free theatre workshops for children, in public spaces. 

www.hiptohip.org

www.facebook.com/HiptoHipTheatre

www.twitter.com/HiptoHipTheatr

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Peculiar Works Presents Site-specific Performance Tour at the Historic 222 Bowery @pwpny

Afterparty: The Rothko Studio

One Week Only, Thursday, June 27 – Sunday, June 30

The OBIE and New York Innovative Theatre Award-winning Peculiar Works Project, under the co-artistic direction of Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter, and Barry Rowell, is pleased to announce Afterparty: The Rothko Studio, a site-specific immersive performance in and around the former studio of legendary painter Mark Rothko.

Afterparty: The Rothko Studio runs Thursday through Sunday, June 27-30, with performances on Thursday – Saturday at 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm, and Sunday at 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm. Performances take place at 222 Bowery (between Prince & Spring Streets), NYC. Due to limited seating, advanced tickets are required. 

Tickets are $50 (table seating includes lite fare), $25 (balcony standing includes a beverage), $40/$20 (seniors & students), and $100 (VIP seating includes a themed gift), and go on sale June 3rd at www.peculiarworks.org. Running time: 75 minutes.

Built in 1884 for the YMCA as the Young Men’s Institute, 222 Bowery is renowned for the many now-famous artists who lived, worked, and played in this landmarked gem. The building’s former gymnasium is significant for having been Rothko’s studio, where he painted the infamous “Seagram Murals” commissioned by The Four Seasons Restaurant in 1957. Afterparty will explore this pivotal moment for downtown artists, peeling back their stories to reveal multiple layers of NYC history before the former studio is converted into commercial space later this summer.

Peculiar Works Project’s creative team is designing an intimate, promenade journey through the historic architecture and artistic legacy of the building. Along the way, multi-disciplinary performances will reinterpret the legendary art parties attended by artworld luminaries—Jasper Johns, John Giorno, William S. Burroughs, Eve Hesse, Jonas Mekas, Roy Lichtenstein, LeRoi Jones, Diane DiPrima, Sol LeWitt, Andy Warhol, and more—against the backdrop of Rothko’s struggle between achieving success and selling out. Audiences and performers will sit around a table together in the paint-splattered space and experience a theatrical conjuring of artistic ghosts whose impact echoes till this day.

The company creates, develops, and presents original, multi-disciplinary, site-based performances that encourage collaboration, experimentation, and a rebel spirit in artists by providing them with the tools and opportunities necessary for artistic growth. The company performs in unconventional spaces because of the belief that unique sites impact the work, the work in turn impacts the site, and audiences then experience both in surprising new ways. Since 1993, Peculiar Works has taken performance directly into local communities—city streets, landmarked buildings, gutted storefronts, and other peculiar sites throughout NYC and beyond.

Investigating influential artistic movements has been an important part of Peculiar Works’ 26-year history. Projects include Off Stage: The West Village and East Village Fragments (about the birth of Off-Off Broadway), Judson House Project (celebrating Judson Church’s renowned Gallery, Poets Theater, and Dance Theater), Floydada (Dadaist performance), as well as Imagining America at the Varna International Theatre Festival in Bulgaria and Planet X at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (both exploring the American avant-garde). Afterparty: The Rothko Studio continues this artistic exploration with the rare opportunity to witness the spirit of a movement and the artists who lived it.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/peculiarworks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/pwpny
Instagram: www.instagram.com/pwpny

PRAISE FOR PECULIAR WORKS…

“Whether you’re a political junkie, love a cutting satire set to music, or have never been to Fraunces Tavern, Androboros is a clever romp through history told with fresh eyes, influenced by current events, in a legendary space.” – Androboros, Theater Is Easy

“Clever staging and theatre with aural, spatial, and performance ingenuity aren’t the exclusive province of the big budget” – Can You Hear Their Voices?, New York Theatre Wire

“A warmhearted and well-researched tribute…a treat for anyone with an interest in the origins of downtown theater.” – Off Stage: The West Village and East Village Fragments
, The New York Times 

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Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter, and Barry Rowell. Co-founders/Artistic Directors of Peculiar Works.

LPTW Announces Inaugural Rachel Crothers Leadership Award: Donna Walker-Kuhne @lptwomen

2019 RECIPIENT, DONNA WALKER-KUHNE
AWARD LUNCHEON THURSDAY, JUNE 27 @ SARDI’S


The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison and Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents), an organization which has been leading the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, is pleased to bestow their inaugural Rachel Crothers Leadership Award to Donna Walker-Kuhne, founder and CEO of Walker Communications. The award will be presented at the LPTW Leadership Luncheon on Thursday, June 27 from 12-3pm at Sardi’s Restaurant (234 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036). Tickets: Members $95; Non-Members $125.00; VIP tickets $175 (includes journal ad); VIP table $1,700 (with a journal ad). In keeping with LPTW’s mission of providing opportunities and visibility for women-identified theatre professionals, one seat at each VIP table will be reserved for an emerging leader who is lending her gifts and talents to assist in a cause or issue to benefit society and/or the world. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.theatrewomen.org.

The American Theatre Wing is best known as the creator of the coveted “Tony Award” given annually for distinguished achievement in the Broadway theatre, but it began as a service organization providing war relief. In 1917, seven visionary theatre women led by playwright/director Rachel Crothers, came together to organize members of the theatrical community at a time when women could not even vote. Their service to fellow Americans fighting on the front lines in World War I and World War II upheld America’s highest ideal—sacrifice for a common cause. Remarkably, while leading the theatre community in supporting the war effort, Crothers, a founder of The American Theater Wing and Its Stage Door Canteen, for 30 years had one play per season produced on Broadway – many of which she produced and directed. The New York Times said, “In the last 200 years, a respectable number of women have left their mark on American theater, but few of them have had as impressive a career as Rachel Crothers.” In the spirit of selfless service to her fellow Americans while simultaneously making significant contributions to the American theatre, the Rachel Crothers Leadership Award is given to a theatre woman who has distinguished herself in exemplary service and sacrifice for a common cause—a cause which leaves our society and the world a little better than the way we found it.

Acknowledged as the nation’s foremost expert in Audience Development by the Arts & Business Council, Donna Walker-Kuhne, an award-winning arts marketing consultant has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. She is the founder of Walker International Communications Group, a boutique marketing, press and audience development consulting agency. Her team specializes in multicultural marketing, group sales, multicultural press, and promotional events. Walker-Kuhne has gained unique insights into the challenges of initiating conversations and building meaningful partnerships with diverse constituents. 
Ms. Walker-Kuhne says, “We’ve cultivated new generations of cultural ambassadors who now see the arts as a necessary element for their lives. Most important, our work has proven that the arts are a bridge for cultivating understanding, fostering dialogue, bridging divides and opening the door for people to share a transformative experience.” She goes on to issue a call-to-action, “I ask that you please dialogue about the arts with someone outside of your circle of colleagues and friends, as a reminder of its potential to unite and empower us to resist division, tyranny or despair.”  

2019 Rachel Crothers Leadership Award honoree, Donna Walker-Kuhne, has a vision that is bigger than ticket sales and putting “butts in the seats.” In our current political climate, her call-to-action asks us to remember our humanity and gives hope to our citizenry. The League of Professional Theatre Women fights year-round for parity and visibility for women in the American Theatre. LPTW Co-Vice President of Programming, Yvette Heyliger, says, “We are very excited by the opportunity the League has now to award a theatre woman who brings her gifts and talents to bear in addressing a national or local cause or issue affecting our fellow citizens and everyday Americans.”

The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads events, public programming, advocacy initiatives, media, and publications that celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women’s voices, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit www.theatrewomen.org