MCC THEATER ANNOUNCES FALL 2019 PLAYLAB AND SONGLAB READINGS
Rick Miramontez / Michael Jorgensen / Pete Sanders
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
PLAYLAB AND SONGLAB READINGS
FEATURING WORKS BY
JOCELYN BIOH, GINA FEMIA, C.A. JOHNSON, ANA NOGUEIRA, & BRIAN OTAÑO
New York, NY (October 11, 2019) – MCC Theater (Bob LuPone, Bernie Telsey, Will Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) announced today the line-up for their Fall 2019 PlayLabs readings of new plays to be held at The Newman Mills Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space (511 West 52nd Street): Gina Femia’s Allond(r)a, directed by Elena Araoz; Ana Nogueira’s Mask Only, directed by Mike Donahue; C.A. Johnson’s I Know I Know I Know, directed by Taylor Reynolds; and Brian Otaño’s The Dust, directed by David Mendizábal.
Additionally, MCC is introducing their new SongLab series with a new musical: Saheem Ali/Jocelyn Bioh/Michael Thurber’s Goddess, directed by Saheem Ali. SongLabs supports the development of new musicals by giving creative teams time and space to work with musicians and a music director, culminating in a presentation with a band.
Admission to all the readings is free and open to the public, reservations can be made at www.mcctheater.org
The PlayLab and SongLab reading series invites audiences to engage directly with playwrights and composers as they develop new works for the theater. Each reading includes a post-show reception with wine and snacks, offering a chance to discuss the work and mingle with the playwrights, actors, MCC leadership, and other audience members.
Currently playing at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space is the highly anticipated World Premiere production of The Wrong Man, the new stage musical written by multi-platinum songwriter Ross Golan, with direction by Tony Award®-winning and two-time Emmy Award®-winning director Thomas Kail, in The Newman Mills Theater; and the New York premiere production of Theresa Rebeck’s Seared, with direction by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel, in the Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater.
See below for full details on the PlayLabs Readings:
Monday, October 21 at 7:00pm
By Gina Femia
Directed by Elena Araoz
Allonda and her friends wrestle their way through the summer—sometimes it’s on the playgrounds in the projects of Coney Island, sometimes it’s with their feelings and often it’s at home. A coming of age story about friendship and heartache, Allond(r)a asks – how much is too much to fight for?
Monday, November 4 at 7:00pm
By Ana Nogueira
Directed by Mike Donahue
It’s 2015 and Jeff and Judy are right where they belong: waiting outside the stage door of the Broadway musical If/Then to get Idina Menzel’s autograph. But she never fucking comes out. And the conversation they have while they wait will change the course of their lifelong friendship forever. Warning: Beware of tourists.
Monday, November 11 at 7:00pm
I Know I Know I Know
By C.A. Johnson
Directed by Taylor Reynolds
When Zoe’s wife goes missing (again), her lifelong best friends join her on the island off the coast of Virginia where they spent childhood summers. A play about women, friendship, wild ponies, and love that lasts forever. (Which is to say it is also a play about betrayal…betrayal again and again and again).
Monday, November 18 at 7:00pm
Conceived by Saheem Ali
Music and Lyrics by Michael Thurber
Book by Jocelyn Bioh
Additional Lyrics by Mkhululi Z. Mabija
Directed by Saheem Ali
A young man returns home to the African coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya to marry his fiancée and step into his family’s political dynasty. But when he visits Moto Moto – a steamy afro jazz club and the stomping ground of his youth – he finds himself drawn to a mysterious new singer. Soon, he must decide whether to fulfill the legacy of his lineage or give in to his love of music and a newfound attraction. A new musical inspired by the ancient myth of Marimba, the goddess of music.
Monday, December 9 at 7:00pm
By Brian Otaño
Directed by David Mendizábal
In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, Firefighter Freddy Hernandez was among the many who bravely searched Ground Zero in search of closure for victims’ families. Years later, when Freddy is diagnosed with cancer brought on by exposure to toxins on “the pile”, he and his family must reckon with how the attacks changed the course of their lives. Inspired by true events, The Dust explores trauma, loss and the steep price of heroism.
For more information, please visit www.mcctheater.org
Gina Femia (Playwright, Allond(r)a) has written 33 full-length plays. She is a Core Writer with the Playwrights Center, a current member of both Page 73’s Interstate 73 and the Ingram New Play Lab, and is an alum of EST Youngblood, Pipeline Theatre’s Play Lab, Project Y’s writer’s group and New Georges’ Audrey Residency. Her play, Allond(r)a is included on the 2019 Kilroys List and was a runner-up for the Yale Drama Prize. Her work’s been seen and heard at Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Theater of NOTE, Great Plains Theatre Conference, among others. She’s received commissions from EST, Spicy Witch Productions and Retro Theatre Productions and residencies with Page 73, Powerhouse, NTI at the O’Neill, Fresh Ground Pepper and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Winner: Leah Ryan Prize and Doric Wilson Award. www.femiagina.com
Elena Araoz (Director, Allond(r)a). Upcoming productions include Fur at New York Theatre Workshop Next Door with Boundless Theatre Company and the opera I Am A Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (next at Resonance Works Pittsburgh after its acclaimed world premiere last month with White Snake Projects at The Paramount, Boston). Recent productions include Original Sound (Cherry Lane), Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds (NYTW Next Door), Migration Plays (McCarter Theatre Center), Sweat (People’s Light), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), In Between (Walnut Street Theatre), and with Boundless Theatre: The Conduct of Life, Mud, and Prospect. Opera: La traviata (New York City Opera at BAM), Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera North), Falstaff and Così fan tutte (Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM), Latin Lovers (Glimmerglass). Currently, Elena has running the national tour of Sugar Skull! (Mexico Beyond Mariachi) and is in development on Richard Kagan’s commercial musical Havana Music Hall. Faculty: Princeton University. www.elenaaraoz.com
Ana Nogueira (Playwright, Mask Only) is a writer and actress based out of Brooklyn. In 2015, her play Empathitrax received its world premiere production with the critically- acclaimed theater company Colt Coeur. Her other plays include whatever she wants and Untitled Sloan Play 5th Draft. Her work has been developed at South Coast Rep, Second Stage, The New Group, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Barrington Stage, and Ensemble Studio Theater. She is a recipient of a Sloan Grant for playwriting, and the Elizabeth George Emerging Playwright commission. Ana co-wrote and starred in the short film We Win, which premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, and won Best Screenplay at the Rhode Island Film Festival. Acting credits include Engagements, Mala Hierba (both at Second Stage), Bump (Ensemble Studio Theater), Knives and Other Sharp Objects (The Public, LAByrinth), and the upcoming Starz series “Hightown,” set to premiere in 2020. She is a proud alumni of The Boston Conservatory of Music and the Obie Award-winning playwriting group Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theater.
Mike Donahue (Director, Mask Only). NYC credits include: world premieres of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC, The Geffen, Denver Center, Joe A. Callaway Award, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Ovation Award Nomination); Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage (MCC, Woolly Mammoth, Drama League Nomination), Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb); Jordan Seavey’s Homos, Or Everyone In America (Labyrinth); and Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm). Regionally: Little Shop of Horrors with MJ Rodriguez, George Salazar and Amber Riley (Pasadena Playhouse), and world premieres of Jen Silverman’s The Roommate (Humana, Williamstown, Long Wharf), Wink (Marin); Rachel Bonds’ Curve of Departure (South Coast Rep, Studio Theatre), The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre), Swimmers (Marin); Matthew Lopez’s Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (Denver Center); Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre). Mike is recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Drama League Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship (Williamstown), and a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama. Upcoming: world premiere of Kate Cortesi’s Love (Marin), Euripides The Bakkhai (Baltimore Center Stage).
C.A. Johnson (Playwright, I Know I Know I Know) hails from Metairie Louisiana, but currently lives and writes in Queens, NY. Her plays include Thirst (2017 Kilroys List, The Contemporary American Theater Festival), An American Feast (NYU Playwrights Horizons Theater School), The Climb (2018 Cherry Lane Mentor Project), All The Natalie Portmans (upcoming at MCC Theater in 2020), and Mother Tongue. She is currently the 2019-20 Tow Playwright in Residence at MCC Theater and a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center. She was previously the 2018 P73 Playwriting Fellow, The Lark’s 2016-17 Van Lier Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a member of The Civilians R&D Group, a member of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, a Sundance/Ucross Fellow and a 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow. Her work has been developed with The Lark, PlayPenn, Luna Stage, Open Bar Theatricals, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation, and The Fire This Time Festival. BA: Smith College MFA: NYU.
Taylor Reynolds (Director, I Know I Know I Know) is a New York-based director and theatremaker from Chicago and one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of OBIE-award recipient The Movement Theatre Company in Harlem. She has worked as a director, assistant, and collaborator with companies including The Public Theatre, Signature Theatre Company, Page 73, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Ars Nova, Radical Evolution, and The 24 Hour Plays. Selected directing credits: TOUGH by Margot Connolly, Plano by Will Arbery (Drama Desk nom for Best Director), Songs About Trains (co-directed with Rebecca Martinez), Allond(r)a by Gina Femia, Think Before You Holla (creator/deviser), FOOD by Rhonda Marie Khan, Accidental Burlesque by Gina Femia (developed through the Audrey Residency at New Georges). She is a member of NY Madness and the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, and a 2017-2018 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow. BFA, Carnegie Mellon University.
Saheem Ali (Director/Concept, Goddess) is a proud immigrant from Kenya. Recent productions include Fires in the Mirror (Signature Theatre), The New Englanders (MTC), The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater), Passage (Soho Rep), Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company), Dangerous House (Williamstown Theater Festival), Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC), Tartuffe (Playmakers Rep), Where Storms Are Born (WTF), Twelfth Night (Public Theater), Kill Move Paradise (National Black Theater), Nollywood Dreams (Cherry Lane), The Booty Call (Inner Voices) and Dot (Detroit Public Theater). He has workshopped new plays at Playwrights Horizons, Playwrights Realm, MCC, New York Stage & Film, Page 73 and The Lark. He is a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, Sir John Gielgud SDCF Fellow and a Shubert Fellow.
Jocelyn Bioh (Book, Goddess) is a 1st generation Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. She has her B.A. in English and Theatre from The Ohio State University and MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts. Jocelyn is a commissioned playwright with MTC, Second Stage, Williamstown and the Atlantic, and was a Tow Playwriting Fellow in 2018/19. She is currently the Burnt Umber Playwright-in-Residence at MCC Theater. Her plays include: the multi-award winning School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play which had two celebrated runs at MCC Theater. Nollywood Dreams (Powerhouse 2016, Upcoming: MCC Theater 2020, Kilroy’s List 2015) as well the new musical Goddess (Powerhouse 2019) of which she is the book writer. As a TV writer, Jocelyn has worked on the hit Netflix shows “Russian Doll” and “She’s Gotta Have It.” She is currently serving as a writer and co-producer of the upcoming mini-series “Americanah” for HBO-MAX.
Michael Thurber (Music/Lyrics, Goddess) is an NYC based composer/performer. He has written music for The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, and The Atlantic. His work has been developed at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Past productions include his one man musical The Booty Call (TBG Theater) that he wrote and performed, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at The Public Theater, which he wrote the music for and played the role of Antonio. Michael was the bass player on Season 1 of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” He co-founded CDZA, a YouTube music collective which headlined at the YouTube Music Awards alongside Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire. Thurber’s symphonic pieces have been performed by orchestras around the country including The Louisville Orchestra, The Williamsburg Symphony, and The Interlochen Orchestra. Michael sits on the Board of NPR’s “From The Top”. He studied music at Juilliard.
Brian Otaño (Playwright, The Dust) is a bi-coastal playwright and screenwriter. Full-length plays include The Dust, Dolores Slayborne, Tara, Zero Feet Away, and The Dooley Street Trilogy. He co-wrote You Across From Me, the 42nd Annual Humana Festival PTC show. Brian is an alumna of Center Theatre Group LA Writers Workshop, Geffen PlayhouseWriters Room, Ars Nova Playgroup and Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group. He is the recipient of the New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship, the New York Theater Workshop 2050 Fellowship, and most recently, Atlantic Theater Company’s Launch Commission. His plays have been developed and workshopped by Roundabout Theatre Company (Roundabout Underground), UCSB Launchpad and SPACE on Ryder Farm. His first short film Call Me Daddy (directed by Amanda DeSouza) is a two-time award winner (Best Narrative Short, The Women’s Film Festival and Best Comedy, The Official Latino Film Festival). Education: BFA, Dramatic Writing (SUNY Purchase).
David Mendizábal (Director, The Dust) is a director, designer, and one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company. Directing credits include: On the Grounds of Belonging (Long Wharf Theatre, The Public); The Bandaged Place (New York Stage and Film); And She Would Stand Like This, Look Upon Our Lowliness, Bintou (The Movement); Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama League Nomination for Outstanding Production); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (A.C.T.); Locusts Have No King (INTAR). David attended the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He served as Artistic Associate for the Atlantic Theater Company from 2017 to 2018. He is a Founding Member and Artistic Producer of The Sol Project and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, Rattlestick Literary Team, and Wingspace. Alumnus of The Drama League Directors Project, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, NALAC Leadership Institute, and artEquity.
ABOUT MCC THEATER’S PLAYWRIGHT DEVELOPMENT
MCC Theater’s development programs, PlayLabs and SongLabs, help foster the MCC artistic community by providing writers intensive dramaturgical support, as well as the opportunity to work alongside professional directors and actors to engage public audiences in the development of new work. The series incorporates informal post-show gatherings for conversation between artists and audiences that enliven and stimulate the often solitary and insular writing and development process. New works developed as part of PlayLabs and SongLabs have gone on to full productions at MCC, as well as at other nonprofit theaters in New York and overseas, adding vibrant new works to the contemporary theatrical canon.
ABOUT MCC THEATER
MCC Theater is one of New York’s leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Founded in 1986 as a collective of artists leading peer-based classes to support their own development as actors, writers, and directors, the tenets of collaboration, education, and community are at the core of MCC Theater’s programming. One of the only theaters in the country led continuously by its founders, Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler, MCC fulfills its mission through the production of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals that challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues and robust playwright development and education initiatives that foster the next generation of theater artists and students.
MCC Theater’s celebrated productions include Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play; Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike; Robert Askins’ Hand to God (Broadway transfer; five 2015 Tony Award nominations including Best Play); John Pollono’s Small Engine Repair; Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really Really; Sharr White’s The Other Place (Broadway transfer); Jeff Talbott’s The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award); Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty (Broadway transfer, three 2009 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play), Some Girl(s), Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat, and All The Ways To Say I Love You; Michael Weller’s Fifty Words; Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride; Bryony Lavery’s Frozen (Broadway transfer; four 2004 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, Tony Award for Best Featured Actor); Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone; Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Margaret Edson’s Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize); and the musicals Coraline, Carrie, Ride the Cyclone, and Alice By Heart. Many plays developed and produced by MCC have gone on to productions throughout the country and around the world.
Blake West joined the company in 2006 as Executive Director. MCC opened the doors to its new home in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, on January 9, 2019, unifying the company’s activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming.
ABOUT THE ROBERT W. WILSON CHARITABLE TRUST
A successful investor from the 1960s through the 1980s, Robert W. Wilson devoted his life to philanthropy after his retirement, focusing on supporting organizations on preservation and conservation initiatives worldwide. An avid New Yorker, Wilson was also deeply engaged with a number of New York’s cultural institutions. He was a major supporter of, and held leadership roles with, the Whitney Museum and the Metropolitan Opera, where he was a board member for many years. In addition, the Trust continues to support the New York Public Library, Central Park Conservancy, BAM, Wildlife Conservation Society, EDF, Nature Conservancy, WMF, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, organizations he championed during his lifetime. He played a leading role in transforming many of these institutions.
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