WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL & AUDIBLE THEATER ANNOUNCE REHEARSALS, RECORDING SESSIONS, & CASTING FOR FINAL THREE TITLES AND WEEKLY RELEASE DATES FOR FIRST FOUR TITLES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCE REHEARSALS, RECORDING SESSIONS, & CASTING
FOR FINAL THREE TITLES
AND WEEKLY DECEMBER RELEASE DATES
FOR FIRST FOUR TITLES
OF THE UNPRECEDENTED COLLABORATION
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL 2020 SEASON ON AUDIBLE
BY DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU
DIRECTED BY RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
CAST TO FEATURE
ANDRÉ HOLLAND, KRISTOLYN LLOYD, SIMONE MISSICK, KEITH RANDOLPH SMITH, BLAIR UNDERWOOD
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
BOOK BY DANIEL GOLDSTEIN
MUSIC & LYRICS BY DAWN LANDES
DIRECTED BY TYNE RAFAELI
INSPIRED BY “A PEARL IN THE STORM” BY TORI MURDEN McCLURE
CAST TO FEATURE
KERSTIN ANDERSON, JOHN ELLISON CONLEE, NEHAL JOSHI, TAMIKA LAWRENCE, JOHN McGINTY, GRACE McLEAN, KATHRYN O’ROURKE, LANCE ROBERTS, SEAN STACK, SALLY WILFERT
“WISH YOU WERE HERE”
WORLD PREMIERE BY SANAZ TOOSSI
DIRECTED BY GAYE TAYLOR UPCHURCH
New York, NY (October 21, 2020) – Today, Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) and Audible Theater (Kate Navin, Artistic Producer) announced casting and recording sessions have commenced for the final three productions – Paradise Blue, Row, and Wish You Were Here – that are part of the unprecedented collaboration to bring Williamstown Theatre Festival’s season to Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks.
Also announced are release dates for the season’s first four titles: A Streetcar Named Desire on Thursday, December 3; Photograph 51 on Thursday, December 10; Animals on Thursday, December 17; and Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club on Tuesday, December 29. When these titles release, they will be available on Audible. Special access to all seven titles in the WTF Season on Audible will be made available to eligible WTF donors; visit www.wtfestival.org/support for more information.
Paradise Blue, written by Tony Award® nominee Dominique Morisseau and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, will now be a part of Williamstown Theatre Festival’s upcoming season on Audible. The cast will feature SAG Award® nominee André Holland, Grammy Award® winner Kristolyn Lloyd, Simone Missick, Keith Randolph Smith, and Emmy Award® winner, Grammy Award winner, and 2020 Tony Award nominee Blair Underwood.
Paradise Blue, the second play in Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau‘s Detroit trilogy, had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2015. The previously announced Cult of Love cannot move forward as part of the season on Audible owing to scheduling conflicts.
Mandy Greenfield said, “During the current movement toward racial justice in the country, there has never been a more critical time to amplify the voices of Black playwrights on the global stage, through Audible Theater, than right now.”
Kate Navin said, “It’s a dream to welcome Dominique, Ruben, and this incredible cast to our season. Their voices have so much to teach us, and we’re humbled and proud of the opportunity to share Dominique’s beautiful play once again with Williamstown Theatre Festival-goers and with Audible listeners everywhere.”
The world premiere musical Row features a book by Daniel Goldstein, music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, and direction by Tyne Rafaeli. Row is inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure with a cast that will feature Kerstin Anderson, Tony Award nominee John Ellison Conlee, Nehal Joshi, Tamika Lawrence, John McGinty, Grace McLean, Kathryn O’Rourke, Lance Roberts, Sean Stack, and Sally Wilfert.
The world premiere of Wish You Were Here, written by Sanaz Toossi and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, will announce casting in the coming weeks.
These three productions join the previously announced world premiere of Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club by Shakina Nayfack, directed by Laura Savia; Photograph 51, the acclaimed play by Anna Ziegler with direction by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman; the world premiere comedy, Animals, written by Emmy Award nominee Stacy Osei-Kuffour, directed by Obie Award winner Whitney White; and the Tennessee Williams masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by 2020 Tony Award nominee Robert O’Hara.
Exact release dates for the final three titles on Audible will be announced soon.
As previously announced, this unprecedented collaboration between two industry leaders, forged during and in response to a fraught moment in history, preserves the Festival season in a different format, provides continued work for the artists involved in the Festival season, and produces a body of work that will be made available for global Audible listeners to enjoy and experience. It also marks the first time that an external theatrical season of work will be produced on Audible. For more information, please visit www.wtfestival.org. For more information about Audible Theater, which makes outstanding performances and powerful storytelling available to millions of people all over the world, please visit www.audible.com/theater
By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
With André Holland, Kristolyn Lloyd, Simone Missick, Keith Randolph Smith, and Blair Underwood
It’s 1949 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, and there’s no better place to hear or play jazz than Paradise Club. Blue (Emmy Award winner, Grammy Award winner, and 2020 Tony Award nominee Blair Underwood), club owner and trumpeter, can wail like no other, but as forces outside the club conspire to irreparably change life inside and outside Paradise’s walls, he must decide whether to stay or sell. Beholden to his girlfriend (Grammy Award winner Kristolyn Lloyd) and fellow bandmates (André Holland and Keith Randolph Smith), Blue faces an uncertain future as he reckons with his troubled past. When Silver (Simone Missick), a smooth and mysterious newcomer from Louisiana, steps onto the scene, everyone in Paradise must choose how to survive and if they can thrive. Tony Award nominee Dominique Morisseau’s drama, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, had its world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2015.
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
Book by Daniel Goldstein
Music & Lyrics by Dawn Landes
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure
With Kerstin Anderson, John Ellison Conlee, Nehal Joshi, Tamika Lawrence, John McGinty, Grace McLean, Kathryn O’Rourke, Lance Roberts, Sean Stack, and Sally Wilfert
Tori (Grace McLean) aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. As a child, she raised her younger brother Lamar (John McGinty), defending him against discrimination and neighborhood bullies. Now, with nothing but her body and a hand-built boat, she squares off with her own tormentor: the ocean. Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, this uplifting world premiere musical, directed by Tyne Rafaeli with a book by Daniel Goldstein and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, interrogates and reveals the resilience, fear, and ambition inside one individual undeterred by the odds.
Wish You Were Here
By Sanaz Toossi
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
Nazanin and her friends are on the brink of adulthood. As they prepare for a wedding, outside their living room the Iranian Revolution simmers and threatens to alter the course of their lives. Set over the course of 14 years, Sanaz Toossi’s timely world premiere play, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, shines a light on the daring potential of friendship amid the relentless aftershocks of political upheaval.
A Streetcar Named Desire – Available from Thursday, December 3
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Robert O’Hara
With Joel Reuben Ganz, Joe Goldammer, Carla Gugino, Carmen M. Herlihy, Sullivan Jones, Brian Lucas, Audra McDonald, Stacey Raymond, Cesar J. Rosado, and Ariel Shafir
Following his 2019 production of A Raisin in the Sun, celebrated as “an absorbing, watershed revival,” by The New York Times, Robert O’Hara returns to Williamstown Theatre Festival to direct this Tennessee Williams masterpiece. With Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois alongside Carla Gugino as Stella, O’Hara takes a fresh and visceral look at the emotionally charged relationship between these two iconic sisters. Haunted by her past, Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and Stanley (Ariel Shafir) in New Orleans, where she wrestles with the nature of her sister’s husband, her sister’s denial, and her own unraveling mind.
Photograph 51 – Available from Thursday, December 10
By Anna Ziegler
Direction by Susan Stroman
With Anna Chlumsky, David Corenswet, Stephen Kunken, Aasif Mandvi, Omar Metwally, and Ben Rosenfield
In 1951, chemist Rosalind Franklin (Anna Chlumsky) works relentlessly in her King’s College London lab, closing in on a major discovery that could unlock the mysteries of the DNA molecule. Undermined by her colleague Maurice Wilkins (Omar Metwally), she struggles to compete with rival team Watson and Crick (David Corenswet and Aasif Mandvi) as pressure intensifies to produce results. Following a critically acclaimed run in London, Anna Ziegler’s play is brought to life in a new production featuring direction by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, honoring the monumental contribution of one scientist with two X chromosomes whom history nearly left behind.
WORLD PREMIERE – Available from Thursday, December 17
By Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Directed by Whitney White
With Madeline Brewer, Jason Butler Harner, William Jackson Harper, and Aja Naomi King
Lydia (Aja Naomi King) and Henry (Jason Butler Harner)’s dinner guests (Madeline Brewer and William Jackson Harper) are about to arrive when Henry’s spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and, before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she’s going to commit to a future with Henry. Directed by Whitney White, Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere comedy marches into the muddy intersection of romantic entanglement, identity, pride, and survival.
WORLD PREMIERE – Available from Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club
By Shakina Nayfack
Directed by Laura Savia
With Ivory Aquino, Kate Bornstein, Liz Lark Brown, Annie Golden, Bianca Leigh, Telly Leung, Dana Levinson, Pooya Mohseni, Shakina Nayfack, Angelica Ross, Ita Segev, Jason Tam, and Samy Nour Younes
In Shakina Nayfack’s world premiere play, a vibrant, international group of transgender women band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery. Despite the group’s warm welcome, Kina (Nayfack) prepares for her life-altering operation all alone. But a caring nurse (Ivory Aquino), a wise couple (Kate Bornstein and Annie Golden), and a karaoke-loving bellhop (Telly Leung) may be exactly who she needs to ignite her truest sense of self. WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia directs this spirited comedy about one woman who tests the bonds of an unlikely sisterhood.
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, 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 WTF 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. WTF’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Actually, Paradise Blue, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the abbreviated 2019-20 theatrical season, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented or scheduled to be represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside, The Rose Tattoo, Grand Horizons, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Soldier, and Lempicka.
Audible Theater makes outstanding performances and powerful storytelling available to millions of people all over the world. As part of this initiative, Audible has produced Girls & Boys with Carey Mulligan, The Half-Life of Marie Curie with Kate Mulgrew, Harry Clarke starring Billy Crudup, Billy Crystal’s Have A Nice Day with Annette Bening and Kevin Kline, the revival of Aasif Mandvi’s Sakina’s Restaurant, and many others at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City. In May 2018, Audible announced that the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village will serve as its creative home for live performances in New York. Audible hosts and produces a wide variety of live performances at the Minetta Lane including dramatic plays, comedic shows, engaging panel discussions, and more, with Audible members receiving exclusive access to discounted tickets and related audio content.
Audible was co-producer for the Broadway transfer of the Tony Award-nominated Latin History for Morons written by and starring John Leguizamo and for Sea Wall /A Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge. The initiative also saw the release of John Lithgow’s Stories By Heart, Judith Light’s All The Ways To Say I Love You, Sharon Washington’s Feeding The Dragon, and more. Since June 2017, Audible has commissioned 40 theater playwrights to receive support from its $5 million Emerging Playwrights Fund dedicated to developing innovative English-language works from around the globe. The $5 million fund enables the creation of original plays driven by language and voice, keeping with Audible’s core commitment to elevating listening experiences through powerful performances and extraordinary vocal storytelling.
Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible content includes more than 550,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.
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