MCC THEATER ANNOUNCES SPRING 2019 PLAYLABS READINGS
“Ching Chong Maka Hiya”
BY DAVID ZHENG
DIRECTED BY ZHAILON LEVINGSTON
MONDAY, APRIL 29
BY ZOE LISTER-JONES
DIRECTED BY LEIGH SILVERMAN
MONDAY, MAY 20
New York, NY (April 24, 2019) – MCC Theater (Bob LuPone, Bernie Telsey, Will Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) announced today the line-up for their Spring 2019 PlayLabs readings of new plays to be held at the Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space (511 West 52nd Street): David Zheng’s Ching Chong Maka Hiya, directed by Zhailon Levingston, on Monday, April 29 at 7:00pm; and Zoe Lister-Jones’ Band Aid, directed by Leigh Silverman, on Monday, May 20 at 7:00pm. Tickets, priced at $15 with no fees, are available via www.mcctheater.org.
The PlayLabs reading series invites audiences to engage directly with playwrights 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.
Up next at MCC Theater’s 2019-20 inaugural season at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space are Aziza Barnes’ BLKS directed by Robert O’Hara, which began performances at the Newman Mills Theater on Tuesday, April 23, ahead of a Thursday, May 9 opening night; and Halley Feiffer’s Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow directed by Trip Cullman, which begins performances at the Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater on Wednesday, June 26, ahead of a Thursday, July 18 opening night.
See below for full details on the PlayLabs Readings:
Monday, April 29 at 7:00pm
Ching Chong Maka Hiya
By David Zheng
Directed by Zhailon Levingston
It’s no longer a game of cops and robbers when Jeremy, a Chinese boy from the Bronx, finds himself in jail under the supervision of the facility’s newest correctional officers—his close childhood friends. From the sandbox to behind bars, this group of young adults struggle to find a better life within a system built on racism and power. A new play by David Zheng (MCC Youth Company Alum) that explores a broken system within American society and imagines what tomorrow might look like if the roles were reversed.
Monday, May 20 at 7:00pm
By Zoe Lister-Jones
Directed by Leigh Silverman
Music by Zoe Lister-Jones and Kyle Forester
Musical Arrangements and Additional Music by Zoe Sarnak
Entangled in constant bickering, Anna and Ben find that the solution to their fractured marriage lies beyond clichéd couples therapy. The struggling Los Angeles artists decide to turn their fights into songs. Zoe Lister-Jones’ hot new dramedy reimagines the meaning of love through the sounds of an impromptu garage band as the couple tries to make sense of it all.
For more information, please visit www.mcctheater.org
David Zheng (Playwright, Ching Chong Maka Hiya) is a first-generation Chinese American playwright and visual artist from the Bronx. He is the recipient of The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship, The 2017 Playwriting Observer Fellowship at Labyrinth Theater Company, and the 2017 inaugural Greenhouse Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Plays include The Years That Went Wrong, KINGSBRIDGE (Semi-finalist for O’neill NPC), Boogie Down Bastards, Ghetto Baptism, Kidnapping Jane Doe, and What’s In The Tent? His work has been developed at The Public Theater, MCC Theater, The Labyrinth Theater Company, Cherry Lane Theater Company, The Lark, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. He is a member of the 2018-2019 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Ma-Yi Writers Lab and the Gingold Theatrical Group’s Speakers’ Corner. Zheng is also a founding member of the Middle Voice at Rattlestick.
Zhailon Levingston (Director, Ching Chong Maka Hiya) is a writer, director, performing artist, and activist. He co-founded #WORDSONWHITE, an arts and activism campaign and is an artist in resident for Columbia Law School. He recently directed Neptune at Dixon Place and the Brooklyn Museum, and The Years That Went Wrong by David Zheng at The Lark. Other credits include The Exonerated at Columbia Law School and Chariot part 2 at SoHo Rep for The Movement Theatre Company. He is the associate director Primer for a Failed Super Power with Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin and Runaways at The Public with Sam Pinkleton. He was associate director for the Genesis plays at the 14th Street Y! Most recently he directed Mother of Pearl at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and Chicken and Biscuits at Queens Theatre.
Zoe Lister-Jones (Playwright, Band Aid) grew up in Brooklyn as the only child of two artists, later attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. A quadruple threat, Lister-Jones is an actor, director, writer, and producer who is currently starring opposite Colin Hanks on CBS’ “Life In Pieces.” She recently wrapped production on her ABC pilot, “Woman Up,” which she wrote, directed, and executive produced, and she will next adapt Columbia Pictures and Blumhouse’s reboot of The Craft which she will also direct. In 2017, she released her directorial debut (she also starred, wrote, and produced), Band Aid, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, she wrote, executive produced and starred in the Fox Searchlight feature, Lola Versus and co-wrote, produced and starred in the indie comedy, Breaking Upwards. She also starred on Broadway opposite Jeff Goldblum in Seminar, and opposite Johnny Galecki in The Little Dog Laughed. Lister-Jones now resides in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ZoeListerJones.
Leigh Silverman (Director, Band Aid). Broadway: The Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54); Violet (Roundabout; Tony nomination); Chinglish; Well. Recent: Hurricane Diane (New York Theatre Workshop/Two River); Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori/David Henry Hwang (Ahmanson Theater/ Curran Theater); Harry Clarke (Vineyard Theatre/Audible, Minetta Lane; Lortel nom); Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater); Sweet Charity (New Group); On The Exhale (Roundabout); The Outer Space (Public); All The Ways To Say I Love You (MCC); The Way We Get By (2ST); Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb); American Hero (WTF; 2ST); No Place to Go (Public Theater); Kung Fu (Signature Theatre); The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Playwrights Horizons); The Madrid (MTC); Golden Child (Signature Theatre); In The Wake (CTG/Berkeley/Public Theater; Obie Award, Lortel nomination); Go Back to Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons; Obie Award); Yellow Face (CTG/Public Theater). Encores: Violet, The Wild Party, Really Rosie.
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, and Ride the Cyclone. 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, in January 2019, unifying the company’s activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming.
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