SUSAN CAIN’S BEST-SELLING BOOK “BITTERSWEET: HOW SORROW AND LONGING MAKE US WHOLE” TO ADAPT IT FOR THE STAGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
BATED BREATH THEATRE COMPANY
& RRR PRODUCTIONS OPTION
SUSAN CAIN’S NEW YORK TIMES #1 BEST-SELLING BOOK
HOW SORROW AND LONGING MAKE US WHOLE”
TO ADAPT IT FOR THE STAGE
HEADSHOTS AND ARTWORK HERE
New York, NY (March 30, 2023) – Bated Breath Theatre Company (Mara Lieberman, Executive Artistic Director) and RRR Productions (Ryan Ratelle, Founder & Creative Director) announced today that they have optioned Susan Cain’s New York Times #1 bestselling book Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole and will adapt it for the stage. Acclaimed theater-maker, Mara Lieberman, will write the adaptation in collaboration with Cain.
“When Mara reached out to me, I was thrilled that Bittersweet impacted a brilliant theatre maker so much, and now I can’t wait to see the stories touch the hearts of theatre audiences — through the magic of the stage,” said Susan Cain.
Cain added, “I would love to involve my readers as we develop the play and invite them into the creative journey.” To stay connected, visit susaincain.net and sign-up for Cain’s weekly newsletter.
“Reading Bittersweet was a visceral experience, and I can’t think of a more visceral medium than the theater. It just felt right in this everchanging pandemic landscape to theatricalize some of the breathtaking stories in Bittersweet that remind us that our losses can be a doorway to our resilience.” said Mara Lieberman, playwright, director, and producer.
“Theater is the most powerful way of voicing and expressing ideas that bring people together and force us to think and to cope. Susan Cain’s exploration of how the bittersweet state of mind helps us transcend our personal and collective pain is a natural for the stage – especially at this moment in time,” added producer Ryan Ratelle.
Susan Cain’s Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole is a #1 New York Times bestselling book and Oprah’s first Book Club selection of 2023. The book weaves together poignant stories of loss and resilience, the author’s personal experience, art, literature, religion, and science — from Darwin to epigenetics — to explain why longing and loss are so deeply profound, inspirational, and transformational to the human experience. Bittersweet makes a case for embracing our grief, longing, and melancholy as a doorway to the sublime and connection with our deepest places of creativity and compassion.
Bittersweet: The Play will follow one mother’s journey to attempt the impossible after the tragic loss of her child. With the promise from the Buddha that he can resurrect her daughter if she can procure a mustard seed from a house not touched by grief, she sets out on her journey to return to the perfect world of her past by visiting the doorsteps of the future. On the other side of time, she meets musician Leonard Cohen, writer Maya Angelou, scientist Charles Darwin and others who transformed their incapacitating grief into offerings that forever changed the course of history.
How far would you go to return to the perfect and beautiful world before your heart was broken?
Bated Breath Theatre Company is best known for its award-winning, immersive, pandemic-friendly walking tour productions Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec and Chasing Andy Warhol.
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SUSAN CAIN (Author) is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, spent eight years on The New York Times best seller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. LinkedIn named her the Top 6th Influencer in the World, just behind Richard Branson and Melinda French Gates. Susan partners with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Dan Pink to curate the Next Big Idea Book Club. They donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs. Cain’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her TED talks on the power of introverts and the hidden power of sad songs and rainy days have been viewed over 40 million times. Cain has also spoken at Google, PIXAR, the U.S. Treasury, P&G, Harvard, and West Point. She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband, two sons and golden doodle, Sophie. Visit Susan at www.susancain.net.
MARA LIEBERMAN (Playwright, Director, Producer) is a director, writer, producer, actor, and the Executive Artistic Director of Bated Breath Theatre Company based in New York City. Since she took the helm in 2012, Lieberman has served as director and lead writer for all of Bated Breath’s productions and spearheaded its relocation from Hartford, CT to New York. Over the course of five years, the company created six new performance pieces under Lieberman’s direction, including a sold-out run of the participatory art auction play Beneath the Gavel at 59E59 (2017) and the immersive phenomenon Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec in partnership with Fever/Secret NYC at Madame X (2019). Beginning in 2017, Bated Breath created and launched its unique training programs, which serve as an incubator for emerging talent in devised and physical theater. Then, in immediate response to theaters closing in March 2020 due to COVID-19, Bated Breath created Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec. This vibrant piece of street theater premiered in September 2020 and ran for 10 months, becoming the longest-running pandemic-friendly show. As a result of this success, Lieberman was named one of “50 Amazing People Changing the World” as a Time Out “Future Maker”. She also was awarded “Best Director” by BroadwayWorld’s 2021 Off-Broadway Awards, among other awards and recognitions. More important than these accolades, however, was the knowledge that Bated Breath had created a work that served as a visceral, tangible sign of hope that life, art, and beauty will transcend our deepest human crises. Lieberman has infused Bated Breath’s productions with her hallmark style derived from a rich and varied career. She began her professional training in New York City studying with seminal directors including Anne Bogart, Tina Landau, and served as assistant to Lloyd Richards at the National Playwrights Conference. In these collaborations, Lieberman quickly excelled at composition and devising. She earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and went on to receive her Masters in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where she worked with Mary Zimmerman, introducing elements of literary adaptation, cultural critical theory, and performance art into her work. From there, Lieberman shifted her trajectory in a way that informs her work today: she spent a number of years as a sought-after theater educator (including at Trinity College), and then went back to school to become certified as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, maintaining a private practice for five years prior to her full-time return to theater. While circuitous, the combination of these multiple expertises is inextricable from the integrated, connective, deeply human work for which Bated Breath is now celebrated.
RYAN R. RATELLE (Producer) is a New York City based producer, publicist, and director with nearly twenty years of experience working on Broadway. He is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of RRR Creative / RRR Productions (Triple R), a boutique creative agency based in New York City. Current and past clients include a wide range of productions, personalities, and events, such as Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner Billy Porter, Tony Award-winners Lena Hall and Lindsay Mendez, Victor Garber, Jason Rodriguez, Tectonic Theater Project, Madison Wells Live, Broadway Dreams, and more. He has created brand identities, digital platforms, and strategic / publicity plans for numerous clients in the entertainment, fashion, non-profit, and hospitality industries. As a producer, Ryan is currently represented with the Whitney Houston biopic, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” now in movie theaters worldwide and on all digital streaming platforms. He has several projects in development under the RRR Productions umbrella, including Bittersweet, adapted from Susan Cain’s New York Times best-selling book; Alice in Dragland, an immersive nightlife experience; Merrilee Mannerly – A Magnificent New Musical; Austen’s Pride – A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice; and The Message, a new musical based on his husband’s upbringing in a religious cult. As a publicist, Ratelle managed award-winning publicity campaigns for more than 25 Broadway productions, including Michael Moore: The Terms of My Surrender, Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, School of Rock – The Musical, CATS, After Midnight, Kinky Boots, Clybourne Park, Patti LuPone’s Gypsy, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, Wicked, Grease, and many more. While at DKC/O&M, he handled personal publicity for iconic composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Actors Fund. For three seasons, he was the Artistic Director of Hartford Children’s Theatre in Connecticut where he staged award-winning productions and revitalized the Main Stage, garnering rave reviews, increased attendance, and three National Youth Theatre Awards.
ABOUT BATED BREATH THEATRE COMPANY
Bated Breath Theatre Company creates immersive, participatory theatre that wakes up the body, resurrects sleeping histories, and electrifies non-traditional theatre spaces. Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Mara Lieberman, Bated Breath’s approach combines rigorous research, docudrama, physical theatre, and daring theatricality with the vibrancy of New York City as our playground. With over 15 years of artistic experimentation, Bated Breath is a pioneer in innovative audience engagement. Named “The best immersive theatre in NYC” by Time Out New York and “an exquisite example of how to do site-specific performance”, Bated Breath blurs the lines between the theatre and the “real world”. Bated Breath seeks to change the notion of where great art can be found, and for whom great art is made. Our 2020 production, Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec ran for 10 months at the height of the pandemic and is best known as the longest-running, pandemic-friendly production in New York City. Other production credits include the critically acclaimed, sold-out run of the art auction play Beneath the Gavel at 59E59 (2017), the immersive phenomenon Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec in partnership with Fever/Secret NYC and Madame X (2019), and Chasing Andy Warhol which uncovered the artist behind the art on the streets of the East Village and Noho (2022). Visit www.batedbreaththeatre.org
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