Every day is opening night.

Neil Labute & More Join MCC Theater’s Playlabs Reading Series


Rick Miramontez / Scott Braun / Michael Jorgensen

rick@oandmco.com / scott@oandmco.com / Michael@oandmco.com






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New York, NY – MCC THEATER (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) is pleased to announce the 2015 PlayLabs reading series, which will feature new works in development by playwrights MCC Playwright in Residence Neil LaBute, MCC Theater Youth Company alum Ren Dara Santiago, and rising playwright Stephen Brown.  Readings will be held on September 21st, September 28th, and October 5th, as shown below, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street).  All readings are at 7pm.  Full casting will be announced at a later date.  Tickets on-sale now are $15, which include the post-reading reception.  For tickets and more info, please visit www.mcctheater.org.


Co-Artistic Director Will Cantler said in a statement: “Each year PlayLabs brings another fresh set of voices to the MCC family.  We’re thrilled that this year’s series will give our audiences the first look at the next, undoubtedly provocative Neil LaBute play, as well as shine a spotlight on two emerging talents: Ren Dara Santiago, a hyper-talented young playwright and New York City native mentored through the MCC Youth Company; and Stephen Brown, who we’ve had our eye on for several years as he continues to establish himself as one of New York’s most exciting new voices.”


Please note: Last year’s PlayLabs featured a reading of John Pollono’s play Lost Girls directed by Jo Bonney which was recently announced for a full production as part of MCC’s 2015-16 Season.


MCC’s PlayLabs provides audiences with: a rare first look at brand new plays by a group of notable emerging playwrights; the opportunity to participate in post-show conversations that aid in the development of the work; and a meet-n-greet wine reception with actors and the creative team following all activities.  PlayLabs works often have later life through full-scale productions at MCC and other renowned theaters regionally across the U.S., in New York, and internationally.  Among plays first read publicly in MCC’s PlayLabs are works by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, and Stephen Belber, among many others.


2015 PlayLabs Readings____________________________________________



by Ren Dara Santiago

Directed by Daniel Talbott

September 21st at 7pm


Virtually abandoned by neglectful parents, young Marie, Leon, and Mars struggle on their own to create a new family. Love and mutual support come easy, but the threatening world outside the supposed safety of this arrangement comes crashing in, creating unexpected and frightening conflicts they seem too vulnerable to overcome.



by Neil LaBute

Directed by Jo Bonney

September 28th at 7pm


Brad and Jodie need Tate to do them a favor. Brad is married to Jodie. Jodie went to school with Tate. Tate doesn’t trust Brad. What follows is an exploration of love and death in an age where both come at a very high price.  After all: whose life is it anyway?



by Stephen Brown

Directed by TBA

October 5th at 7pm


Tommy’s older brother has disappeared without a trace.  In this touching and gentle comedy, a mother and her remaining son have to deal with their painful feelings of guilt and apprehension, buoyed up by the unexpected and richly humorous support of their quirky newly adopted family, including an amateur psychologist and an over-caffeinated and lonely young barrista.


The previously announced 2015-16 MCC Theater Main Stage Season will feature: the New York premiere of Matthew Lopez’s new play, The Legend of Georgia McBride, directed by Mike Donahue (August 20 – October 4, 2015);  the New York premiere of Lost Girls, a new play by John Pollono, the playwright of the MCC’s Small Engine Repair here reunited with director Jo Bonney (October 22 – November 29, 2015); the New York premiere of Noah Haidle’s Smokefall directed by Anne Kauffman, who recently directed MCC’s The Nether (February 3 – March 13, 2016); and the world premiere of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynelogic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York, the latest work by playwright Halley Feiffer and directed by Punk Rock Obie Award winner Trip Cullman (May 19 – June 25, 2016).


MCC Theater – founded in 1986 as Manhattan Class Company – is driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would.  Led by Artistic Directors Robert LuPoneBernard TelseyWilliam Cantler, and Executive Director Blake West, MCC fulfills its mission by producing new work that challenges artists and rewards audiences, and by nurturing the development of playwrights and students through a variety of literary and education programs that enable nearly 1,200 New York City high school students to find – and use – their own unique voice each year through the creation and performance of original theater pieces.  MCC currently produces its annual season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street) and will open its own two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue in 2017.  Notable productions include the recent hit Hand to God, which is currently having a celebrated run on Broadway; The Nether; the Obie-winning Punk Rock; Small Engine Repair; The Village Bike; The Other Place; Really Really; The Submission, winner of the inaugural Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for new American plays; The Pride; Fifty Words; Nixon’s Nixon; The Grey Zone; the Tony Award-winning Frozen; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit; the re-imagined production of the musical Carrie; and eight plays by Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute, including Fat Pig, Reasons to Be Pretty and Reasons to Be Happy.


MCC Theater Youth Company  –  a free program that gives New York City high school students a platform for creative self-expression within a challenging and supportive environment. Young people from all five boroughs participate in weekly workshops led by professional theater artists where students are empowered to experiment, make bold choices, and take risks while creating their own original work and preparing for public performances. Each program year, members see MCC productions, engage with artists, and have access to other cultural experiences throughout the city. Members are also mentored through both college and job application processes, and are encouraged to give back to their communities through the arts and service.



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Jo Bonney: Premieres of plays by Alan Ball, Eric Bogosian, Culture Clash, Eve Ensler, Jessica Goldberg, Danny Hoch, Neil LaBute, Warren Leight, Lynn Nottage,  Dael Orlandersmith, Suzan-Lori Parks, Darci Picoult, Will Power, David Rabe, Jose Rivera, Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, Christopher Shinn, Diana Son, Universes, Naomi Wallace, Michael Weller.  Productions of plays by: Caryl Churchill, Nilo Cruz, Anna Deavere Smith, Charles Fuller, Lisa Loomer, John Osborne, John Pollono, Lanford Wilson.

Bonney has directed productions at: PS 122; The Public Theater NYC; NYTW; Second Stage; Goodman Theatre; La Jolla Playhouse; MCC, NY; Geffen Playhouse; Williamstown Festival; McCarter Theater; Playwrights Horizons; Arena Stage; CTG, LA; Signature; Long Wharf; The New Group; CSC; Humana Festival; Almeida, London; Edinburgh Festival; The Market Theatre, Johannesburg; The Baxter, Cape Town SA, Cine 13, Paris.  Recipient of 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Direction, Lucille Lortel Best Musical and Lucille Lortel Best Revival. Drama Desk nomination for Direction of Vera Stark. Lilly Award. Editor of Extreme Exposure: An Anthology of Solo Performance Texts from the Twentieth Century (TCG).


Stephen Brown‘s work has been developed by MCC, Page 73, Primary Stages, Aurora Theatre Company, and ESPA/59E59. He’s been a winner of the Global Age Project at the Aurora Theatre Company and a Finalist for the Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship. He’d held residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and was a member of Page 73’s writers group Interstate 73.


Neil LaBute Theater includes: Bash: Latter-Day Plays (Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Shape  of Things (Almeida Theatre, Promenade Theatre); The Distance from Here (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Mercy Seat (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); Filthy Talk for Troubled Times (MCC Theatre); Fat Pig (MCC Theatre, Trafalgar Studios); Autobahn (MCC Theatre); Some Girl(s) (Gielgud Theatre, MCC Theatre); This is How it Goes (Donmar Warehouse, The Public Theatre); Land of the Dead/Helter Skelter (Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Bush Theatre); Wrecks (Everyman Palace Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Bush Theatre); In a Dark Dark House (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre);  The Break of Noon (MCC Theatre, Geffen Playhouse); Reasons to be Pretty (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); In a Forest, Dark and Deep (Vaudeville Theatre, Profiles Theatre); The Heart of the Matter (MCC Theatre); Woyzeck – adaptation (Schauspielhaus Zurich); Things We Said Today (Profiles Theatre, Sala Beckett); The Furies/The New Testament/Romance (59E59); The Great War (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Taming of the Shrew – additional scenes (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Short Ends  (Open Fist Theatre); Lovely Head (Spoleto Festival-Italy, Fringe Festival-Madrid, La Mama); In The Beginning (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre Row); Miss Julie – adaptation (Geffen Playhouse); Reasons to be Happy (MCC Theatre); Good Luck (In Farsi) (59E59); Over The River And Through The Woods (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity); Pick One (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Young Vic);   One Day Like This (American Academy of Dramatic Arts); Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush (59E59); I’m Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn’t Break Your Heart (Venice Biennale); The Money Shot (MCC Theatre); All The Ways To Say I Love You (Young Vic); Happy Hour (La Mama), Exhibit A (Theatre Delicatessen) and the up-coming productions of The Way We Get By (Second Stage); 10K (59E59) and Mohammed Gets A Boner (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity).  Films includes In the Company of Men; Your Friends & Neighbors; Nurse Betty; Possession; The Shape of Things; The Wicker Man; Lakeview Terrace; Death at a Funeral; Some Girl(s); Some Velvet Morning; Dirty Weekend; Tumble (short); After-School Special (short); Sexting (short); Denise (short); Double or Nothing (short); Bench Seat (short); Sweet Nothings (short); BFF (short); It’s Okay (short).  Television includes Bash: Latter-Day Plays (Showtime); Full Circle (Directv); Ten X Ten (Directv); Billy & Billie (Directv).  Fiction includes Seconds of Pleasure (Faber & Faber).


Ren Dara Santiago is a Harlem-based playwright and actor. She got her start in the MCC Youth Company’s Playwriting Lab under the guidance of her mentor, Lucy Thurber. She is the author of four full-length plays (The Siblings Play, Come To Starr Street, He’s Enlightened, and The Painter & The Girl). She is the Co-Artistic Coordinator of the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s apprentice company, The Middle Voice Theater Company. She has had her work featured by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in their 2015 F*ck!ng Good Plays Festival and 2013 Theater Jam. In 2013, her company chose her play Come To Starr Street to be their inaugural workshop production of an original play.  She would like to thank MCC for this wonderful opportunity, as well as providing the place that gave her the opportunity to find her voice as well as her passion.


Daniel Talbott is an actor, director, writer, artistic associate of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the artistic director of the Lucille Lortel and NYIT Award-winning Rising Phoenix Rep. His plays include Slipping, GrayYosemite, and Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait, and recent directing credits include Thieves (RPR/Weathervane/Rattlestick in LA), Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait, A Fable, and Scarcity (Rattlestick), and Gray (Your Name Here).  He is a graduate of Juilliard and of Solano College Theatre’s ATP, teaches at Primary Stages/ESPA, and is a proud member of Your Name Here, Iron Crow Theatre, and Lesser America, as well as the Actors Studio.