WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL CASTING AND MORE FOR 2019 SEASON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL CASTING FOR THE 2019 SEASON
TONY AWARD NOMINEE JAMEY SHERIDAN AND MORE JOIN LINEUP
SEASON SNEAK PEEK, FRIDAYS@3 NEW PLAY READING SERIES, AND COMMUNITY WORKS PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCED
RECIPIENT OF THE 2019 L. ARNOLD WEISSBERGER NEW PLAY AWARD AND JAY HARRIS COMMISSION ANNOUNCED
2019 NEW PLAY & MUSICAL THEATRE COMMISSIONING PROGRAM RECIPIENTS AND 2019 PLAYWRIGHT-IN-RESIDENCE ANNOUNCED
2019 BORIS SAGAL DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP, 2019 BILL FOELLER DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP, AND 2019 J. MICHAEL FRIEDMAN FELLOWSHIP ANNOUNCED
New York, NY (April 24, 2019) – Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) announced today additional casting for the 2019 season as well as details about additional programming, commissions, and fellowships.
Joining the previously announced Main Stage and Nikos Stage casts are: Helen Hayes Award® winner and Tony and Screen Actors Guild Award® nominee Jamey Sheridan (“Homeland”, A Moon for the Misbegotten at WTF) in Grand Horizons, May Calamawy (“Ramy”) in Selling Kabul, Tom Pecinka (The Member of the Wedding at WTF) in Ghosts, and Jeorge Watson (“Luke Cage”) in A Human Being, of a Sort.
The 2019 Season Sneak Peek & Reading will take place at 7pm on Thursday, June 6 at The Clark Auditorium and will feature a preview of the summer season as well as a reading of Mona Pirnot’s new play Private, directed by Maya Davis.
Fridays@3, a weekly new play reading series that offers the public the opportunity to hear new plays read by members of the Festival company, will once again take place at The Clark Auditorium. The 2019 Fridays@3 readings will include For Nina by Robert Emmet Lunney, directed by Dylan Baker (July 12); The Room Where I Was Held by David Zax, directed by Danny Sharron (July 19); Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club by Shakina Nayfack, directed by Laura Savia (July 26); Female Troubles music by Curtis Moore, lyrics by Amanda Green, book by Jennifer Crittenden & Gabrielle Allan, original concept by Amanda Green & Curtis Moore, and directed by Scott Ellis (please note that this reading will take place on the Nikos Stage at the ‘62 Center on Aug 2); Cinched/Strapped by Selina Fillinger (Aug 9); and In The Canyon by Calamity West (Aug 16). Reservations for the Season Sneak Peek & Reading and Fridays@3 are required, and availability is limited. Reservations can be made online now at wtfestival.org. Tickets to the Season Sneak Peek are free; tickets to the Fridays@3 readings are $5 each. One additional reading on July 5th as well as casting for Fridays@3 will be released at a later date.
COMMUNITY WORKS, WTF’s initiative that brings together local residents and professional theatre artists to make plays for and about the Berkshires, will culminate this summer in a free, family-friendly world premiere play, Summer’s Soldier, by Boo Killebrew, music by Heather Christian, lyrics by Lucy Thurber, and directed by Jenna Worsham, from August 11-14 on the Main Stage. The play will feature more than 60 Berkshire area residents on stage alongside Festival actors. Seating is general admission, and tickets are free and available now online at wtfestival.org.
Several artists have received commissions or fellowships or will be in residency at the Festival in 2019. Selina Fillinger is the recipient of the 2019 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award and Jay Harris Commission for her play Cinched/Strapped. Artists commissioned in 2019 under the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program include Jocelyn Bioh, Abby Rosebrock, and Cody Owen Stine. The 2019 Playwright-in-Residence is Mona Pirnot.
The recipient of the 2019 Bill Foeller Directing Fellowship is Katie Lindsay, who will direct a workshop production of Orlando, a play by Sarah Ruhl, in the Directing Studio on July 15-16. The recipient of the 2019 Boris Sagal Directing Fellowship is Jason McDowell-Green, who will direct a workshop production of Soft, a new play by Donja R. Love, in the Directing Studio on August 12-13. The recipient of the 2019 J. Michael Friedman Fellowship is Maya Davis, who will direct two workshop productions in the Directing Studio during the Festival season. Additional information about Fellowship Projects will be released at a later date. Donors receive advance access to tickets for Fellowship Projects. Remaining tickets become available one week prior to performances. Reservations are required, and there is limited availability.
ABOUT WTF’S NEW PLAY & MUSICAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE PROGRAMS
The Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, launched in 2015, commissions and develops three to five projects annually from playwrights, composers, and collaborative devisers from across the career spectrum. Each commission also includes at least one writing residency at the Festival. Commission recipients have included Aziza Barnes, Big Dance Theater, Jocelyn Bioh, Fernanda Coppel, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Meghan Kennedy, Sylvia Khoury, Michael John LaChiusa, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Max Posner, Heather Raffo, Sharyn Rothstein, Zoe Sarnak, Benjamin Scheuer, Lucy Thurber, and Bess Wohl. The Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program is made possible by generous support from James & Virginia Giddens, The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, and Andrew Martin-Weber.
Williamstown Theatre Festival administers the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award on behalf of the Anna L. Weissberger Foundation. Championed for the Festival in 1998 by late Trustee Jay Harris, the award honors noted theatrical attorney and avid theatre supporter L. Arnold Weissberger, and it is designed to recognize excellence in playwriting. The recipient of the award receives $10,000 for the winning play, a reading at Williamstown Theatre Festival, optional publication by Samuel French, and the $10,000 Jay Harris commission. The 2019 finalist judges were Saheem Ali, Maria Dizzia, Adam Rapp, Theresa Rebeck, and Samira Wiley. The finalists for the award were Testmatch by Kate Attwell, Black Dick by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, Big Nose by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, and A Human Being, of a Sort by Jonathan Payne. Williamstown Theatre Festival will soon be accepting submissions for the 2020 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award. Nominations are solicited by invitation only.
COMMUNITY WORKS is Williamstown Theatre Festival’s year-round community-engaged theatre program that brings together hundreds of Berkshire area residents from all walks of life. These diverse constituencies are connected with professional theatre artists and with each other through workshops, rehearsals, and a professional-caliber production on the Main Stage at the Festival, presented free of charge for more than 2,000 locals. COMMUNITY WORKS is sponsored by The Feigenbaum Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and the Harris Family Foundation. This program is supported in part by MountainOne, Ellen J. Bernstein, Steve & Andrea Ryan, and a grant from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. This project has been supported by a grant from the Fund for Williamstown, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
The Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellowship Projects are fast-paced, artistically charged incubators for bold new work and the next generation of theatrical directors. The Boris Sagal Fellowship gives a director the opportunity to develop a new play from an early draft to a workshop production. The Bill Foeller Fellowship supports an emerging director who is a woman and/or an artist of color in the creation of an ambitious workshop production. In honor of the late American lyricist and composer J. Michael Friedman, the J. Michael Friedman Fellowship identifies an early-career theatre artist of exceptional talent, versatility, impact, and humanity who has demonstrated an artistic commitment to Williamstown Theatre Festival and invites them to make new work for a summer. The purpose is for the Fellow to create or collaborate on work deemed important and meaningful to the Fellow’s artistic and career development and to the life and culture of the Festival. Past Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellows include May Adrales, Oliver Butler, Evan Cabnet, Carolyn Cantor, Davis McCallum, Patricia McGregor, Lila Neugebauer, and Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Past Fellowship Projects, such as Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution, Samuel D. Hunter’s Pocatello, and Jason Kim’s The Model American have gone on to major regional, Off-Broadway, and Broadway productions.
The Williamstown Theatre Festival Playwright-in-Residence is both an artist and a member of the artistic staff who works and lives at the Festival for the duration of the summer. They contribute not only by writing plays that will be seen in reading or workshop form and potentially on the Festival stages, but also by creating program dramaturgy for playbills and moderating post-show talkbacks. Playwrights-in-Residence have included Max Posner, Harrison David Rivers, Michael R. Jackson, and Diana Oh.
ABOUT THE SEASON
A Raisin in the Sun | June 25 – July 13
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Robert O’Hara
with Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran, Eboni Flowers, Joe Goldammer, Mandi Masden, Nikiya Mathis, S. Epatha Merkerson, Warner Miller
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner S. Epatha Merkerson and Francois Battiste breathe new life into this American classic. Lena Younger (Merkerson) and her son Walter Lee (Battiste) are at odds. Lena wants to use her late husband’s life insurance to move her family out of their cramped apartment on Chicago’s South Side. Walter Lee would rather use the funds to start a business and become an independent man. As their dispute intensifies, the powerful and destructive forces of 1950s America come knocking at the Youngers’ front door. Directed by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara, Hansberry’s fearless interrogation of hope in the face of racial and economic strife is as provocative and powerful today as when it premiered.
A Raisin in the Sun is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Grand Horizons | July 17 – July 28
By Bess Wohl
Directed by Leigh Silverman
with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, Thomas Sadoski, Jamey Sheridan, JoBeth Williams
Bill and Nancy French (Tony Award nominee Jamey Sheridan and Academy, Golden Globe, and Emmy Award nominee JoBeth Williams) have been happily married for fifty years. They can finish each other’s sentences and anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore, and sneeze. But there’s one thing nobody could have anticipated: Nancy wants out. As their adult sons Brian and Ben (Emmy Award nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Tony Award nominee Thomas Sadoski) descend on the Grand Horizons senior living community, the walls of the French family as-they-know-it come crumbling down. Directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, Bess Wohl’s world premiere play takes an intimate, funny, and painful look at the nature of love over time.
Grand Horizons is a Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater Co-Commission. WTF Commissions are made possible through the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
Grand Horizons is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Ghosts | July 31 – August 18
By Henrik Ibsen
Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh
Directed by Carey Perloff
with Tom Pecinka, Uma Thurman, Bernard White
With great happiness, Mrs. Alving (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman) welcomes her painter son Oswald (Tom Pecinka) home from years of living abroad. But when he starts to flirt with the family maid, she must intercede to save her son and herself from scandals present and past. Mrs. Alving struggles to find joy in a life bound by the strictures of Pastor Manders (Bernard White) and the spectral chains of mistakes from long ago. Directed by Carey Perloff, Henrik Ibsen’s vivid and passionate play asks – even now – how far one mother, caught between duty and desire, can or should go to protect her family.
Originally Commissioned by American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, California; Carey Perloff, Artistic Director – Peter Pastreich, Executive Director
A Human Being, of a Sort | June 26 – July 7
By Jonathan Payne
Directed by Whitney White
with André Braugher, Sullivan Jones, Matthew Saldivar, Keith Randolph Smith, Jeorge Watson, Antonio Michael Woodard
It’s 1906, and at the Bronx Zoological Park, an African-American convict named “Smokey” (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner André Braugher) is guarding the zoo’s most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga (Antonio Michael Woodard), a Congolese pygmy. As the public’s fascination intensifies and protestors call for Ota’s release, Smokey must grapple with the fact that his own freedom depends on another black man’s captivity. Based on a true story, Jonathan Payne’s world premiere play, directed by Whitney White, exposes the complexity of power and compliance in a world where all lives do not seem to matter equally.
Selling Kabul | July 10 – July 20
By Sylvia Khoury
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
with May Calamawy, Omar Metwally, Marjan Neshat, Babak Tafti
Produced in association with Playwrights Horizons
Taroon (Babak Tafti), a former interpreter for the US military, lives in hiding from the Taliban in his sister Afiya’s (Marjan Neshat) home in Kabul, Afghanistan. As Taroon restlessly awaits news from the hospital on the eve of his first child’s birth, his brother-in-law Jawid (Omar Metwally) works to protect him from dangers lurking outside the apartment walls. In this world premiere drama directed by Tyne Rafaeli, Sylvia Khoury examines loyalty, empty promises, and what it means to be left behind.
Selling Kabul is the recipient of the 2018 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award, administered by Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Selling Kabul is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy | July 24 – August 3
By Sharyn Rothstein
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
with Mark Blum, Mark Feuerstein, Jane Kaczmarek, Nadine Malouf
Forced into retirement and unsettled by the changing world around him, Sol Koening (Mark Blum) buys himself a gun—and his family is up in arms. His wife Diana (Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek) thought they’d spend more time together and with the grandkids, but Sol’s new hobby puts a bullet in that plan. Meanwhile, their son Nate (Mark Feuerstein) is trying to be a good stay-at-home dad while his jet-setting wife Alisa (Nadine Malouf) climbs the corporate ladder, and school is calling with concerns about their kid. Directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Sharyn Rothstein’s world premiere comedy asks how one small firearm redefines a family and how two generations confront what it means to succeed and to sacrifice in America today.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy is a Williamstown Theatre Festival Commission. WTF Commissions are made possible through the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Before The Meeting | August 7 – August 18
By Adam Bock
Directed by Trip Cullman
with Ellen Barkin, Cassie Beck, Kyle Beltran, Midori Francis, Jason Butler Harner
Every day, Gail (Tony and Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Ellen Barkin) and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way: Nicole (Midori Francis) makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron (Jason Butler Harner) complains. As they forge a path toward sobriety and well-being, they come to rely on the routine and each other. But when Gail’s estranged granddaughter reopens old wounds, Gail knows it will take more than coffee, chairs, and companionship to keep her life from falling apart. Trip Cullman directs Adam Bock’s world premiere play, which examines how to truly make amends on the road to recovery.
Before the Meeting is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE
Advance single ticket reservations are now available at www.wtfestival.org . The WTF season brochure will arrive in mailboxes in early May (call 413-458-3253 to join the mailing list). The WTF Box Office will open on June 1 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS and Late-Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theatre artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Zoe Sarnak, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at the Festival fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. In addition, the Festival’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and Actually played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Paradise Blue had an extended run at Signature Theatre in New York.
# # # #