David Henry Hwang, Billy Porter, Jose Rivera and More Tackle The Bible in THE MYSTERIES at The Flea, Beg. Tonight

David Henry Hwang, Billy Porter, Jose Rivera and More Tackle The Bible in THE MYSTERIES at The Flea, Beg. Tonight

The Flea Theater presents the World Premiere of THE MYSTERIES - a radical retelling of The Bible.

Playwrights commissioned by Jim Simpson and Carol Ostrow including Tony Award and Academy Award winners and nominees David Henry Hwang, Craig Lucas, Billy Porter, José Rivera and Jeff Whitty; Flea alumni, Mallery Avidon, Trista Baldwin, Erin Courtney, Yussef El Guindi, Amy Freed, Sean Graney, Nick Jones, Qui Nguyen, and Jenny Schwartz; and a host of notable newcomers, Marc Acito, Johnna Adams, Liz Duffy Adams, Bill Cain, CollaborationTown, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Eisa Davis, Gabriel Jason Dean, Chris Dimond, Madeleine George, Kate Gersten, Peter Gil-Sheridan, Sevan Greene, Kirsten Greenidge, Lillian Groag, Jordan Harrison, Lucas Hnath, Ann Marie Healy, Meghan Kennedy, Kimber Lee, Kenneth Lin, Laura Marks, Ellen McLaughlin, Michael Mitnick, Don Nguyen, Dael Orlandersmith, A. Rey Pamatmat, Max Posner, Kate Moira Ryan, Najla Said, Matthew Stephen Smith, Lloyd Suh, Jason Williamson and Bess Wohl join together to tell the entire History of man's salvation in 50 episodes from the fall of Lucifer through and including Judgment Day. Previews begin April 3 with opening slated for April 20.

THE MYSTERIES is conceived and directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar whose previous Drama Desk nominated efforts at The Flea were the socially immersive marathons THESE SEVEN SICKNESSES and RESTORATION COMEDY. "I turned to the neglected canon we now know as 'mystery plays' - the literary bridge between the Greeks and Shakespeare - which to my knowledge has never been professionally produced in the U.S. It's an ideal frame to capture the zeitgeist on Faith in contemporary America through stories that depict the passion, pleasure and pain of the entire human condition: the stuff of the greatest drama. And I look forward to creating a one-of-a-kind theatrical event in full celebration of the spirit of festival and community at The Flea, my creative home of the past three years," says Iskandar.

Joining Mr. Iskandar as key collaborators are Dramaturg Jill Rafson - who together with The Flea selected the 48 commissioned writers. Additional Creative Support and Interstitial Text by CollaborationTown (Geoffrey Decas O'Donnell, Boo Killebrew, Jordan Seavey, TJ Witham and Lee Sunday Evans) will provide the glue for the 48 wildly unique perspectives applied to the 'mystery plays.' Additional collaborators include David Dabbon (Music Direction and Original Music), Chase Brock (Choreography), Michael Wieser (Fight Direction), and Amy Jo Jackson (Voice and Speech Direction) with design by Jason Sherwood (Scenic Design), Seth Reiser (Lighting), Loren Shaw (Costumes), Jeremy Bloom (Sound), and Renny Cullen (Props).

THE MYSTERIES runs today, April 3 - May 25, Monday & Thursday - Saturday at 6:30 and Sunday at 4:30 from. Tickets are $15 - $75 with the lowest priced tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis. All tickets will include dinner along with the performance. Running time is approximately 6 hours with 2 intermissions including dinner and desert in the respective breaks. $100 VIP tickets are also available.

THE MYSTERIES will feature The Bats, the resident acting company of The Flea Theater - 54 of which will take part in this extravaganza. Each year over a thousand actors audition for a place in this unique company. The Bats perform in extended runs of challenging classic and new plays. The Bats have recently appeared in premieres by A.R. Gurney, Will Eno, Adam Rapp, Beau Willimon, Mac Wellman, Elizabeth Swados, Thomas Bradshaw, Itamar Moses, Sheila Callaghan, Julian Sheppard, Ken Urban, Tommy Smith, Jonathan Reynolds, Trista Baldwin, Laurel Haines, Qui Nguyen, Sean Graney, and Amy Freed.

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar is a two-time Drama Desk nominee for his direction of Amy Freed's Restoration Comedy and Sean Graney's These Seven Sicknesses at The Flea (NY Times Critic's Picks). He is the current recipient of the Emerging Professional Award, jointly given by National Theatre Conference (NTC) and Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). As Founding Artistic Director of Exit, Pursued by a Bear (EPBB), he has served over 10,000 home-cooked meals over the course of staging 8 Labs and 40 Salons (all NY premieres), including multiple collaborations with Tony winners Billy Porter and Jeff Whitty, and Tony nominee Anthony Heald. Ed is a New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) Usual Suspect and Artist-in-Residence at Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) where he is cultivating a creative pipeline of Singapore - US collaborations. Past honors: NYTW Emerging Artist Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, two-time OSF Resident Director, alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and recipient of the Robert M. Golden Medal and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize. Ed has taught at Stanford (BA Modern Thought & Literature, and Drama) and Carnegie Mellon (MFA Directing). Ed is currently reimagining Restoration Comedy as an immersive nightlife adventure in collaboration with Jake Shears and Babydaddy of The Scissor Sisters (2014). Beyond 2014, he is developing Jason Williamson's Lesser Mercies trilogy, a chronicle following two mixed race brothers before, during and after the Civil War; Gabriel Jason Dean's Jaavaneh (In Bloom), a political thriller about American altruism in the world of Afghan dancing boys; and Sean Graney's All Our Tragic, a 2-day play based on all the surviving Greek tragedies.

Jill Rafson is the Literary Manager of Roundabout Theatre Company, where she also serves as Associate Producer for Roundabout Underground, a theatrical development program that supports the work of emerging playwrights. Plays developed with Roundabout include Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate and Sons of the Prophet (Pulitzer Finalist), Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days, Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still, David West Read's The Dream of the Burning Boy, Steven Levenson's The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, and Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews. Jill has worked with The Broadway League, New York City Center, and ART/NY and has been a Dramaturg and member of the Artistic Council for the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, in addition to reading scripts for Vineyard Theatre and Deutsch/Open City Films. Jill is a dramaturg for rising theater company CollaborationTown, served as script consultant for "The Importance of Being Earnest HD" (screened worldwide), and has been a lecturer for the Commercial Theatre Institute and guest blogger for World Theater Day. She is nominator for Off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Awards, a member of NYFA's Emerging Arts Leaders Boot Camp, and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

CollaborationTown's mission is to create ensemble-driven pieces of theater that defy expectations of how stories can be told in the theater; to maintain a consistent core ensemble which collaborates regularly with an ever-expanding community of artists; to create new plays that are relevant beyond traditional theater audiences. CollaborationTown creates with our unique ensemble devising process, asking artists to step outside individual, traditional roles in order to integrate different styles, opinions, emotions, backgrounds and philosophies into risky, humorous, and heartfelt new plays. Select past productions include: The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos (The New Ohio Theater), The Play About My Dad (59E59 Theaters), The Momentum (2012 GLAAD Media Award nominee, 2010 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner, Emerging America Festival), Children at Play (The Living Theater, nominated for two New York Innovative Theatre Awards) and 6969 (59E59 Theaters; winner of three NYIT Awards: Best Ensemble, Best Featured Actress, and Best Actor). CollaborationTown has been selected for three residencies at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center in Watermill, NY, and three residencies with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. CollaborationTown is currently in residence at The New Ohio Theatre an IRT as part of their Archive Alliance Residency.

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading off-off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include the premieres by Steven Banks, Thomas Bradshaw, Bathsheba Doran, Will Eno, Karen Finley, Amy Freed, Sean Graney, A.R. Gurney, Hamish Linklater, Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio, Itamar Moses, Anne Nelson, Qui Nguyen, Adam Rapp, Jonathan Reynolds, Roger Rosenblatt, Elizabeth Swados, and Mac Wellman. Recent successes include Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters, These Seven Sicknesses and Restoration Comedy and eight world premieres by A.R. Gurney including the WSJ Best New Play of 2013, Family Furniture.

The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.

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