Keen Company's Keen Teens Begins Performances 5/9

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Keen Company's Keen Teens Begins Performances 5/9

The Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Keen Company presents Keen Teens, the educational theatre partnership between Off-Broadway's Keen Company and the theatrical publishing company Samuel French. The writers for the program's eighth season are Kristoffer Diaz, Halley Feiffer, and Kenny Finkle, who have been commissioned to write thirty-minute, large cast plays, which will be produced with student actors Off-Broadway. This year's Keen Teens Festival of New Work will offer Going Left by Kristoffer Diaz, directed by Daisy Walker; Why Aren't You Dead Already? by Halley Feiffer, directed by Liz Carlson; and Syd Arthur by Kenny Finkle, directed by Jesse Geiger. Performances will be at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenues): Friday, May 9th at 8PM, Saturday, May 10th at 3PM & 8PM and Sunday, May 11th at 2PM & 5 PM.

PLEASE NOTE: Why Aren't You Dead Already? contains strong language and content and may be inappropriate for children ages 12 and under.

2013's Keen Teens writer Madeline George was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist this year for her play The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence, and this year's writer Kristoffer Diaz was also a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2010 for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Keen Teens recently won a substantial grant from the The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.

Keen Teens is a unique educational theatre program which seeks to improve the quality of plays written for high school students by commissioning scripts from highly regarded professional writers. Playwrights write plays 30 minutes in length that involve a large cast and also reflect Keen Company's mission of producing theatre that provokes identification, reflection and emotional connection. The plays are performed by high school students from across the tri-state area, as part of a free program which allows students an immersive experience in new play production. The productions are all designed and directed by theatre professionals, allowing the students a unique opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented emerging artists working in New York today. Samuel French, Inc. then publishes the plays, which have already garnered over 176 performances around the globe. In its first seven seasons, Keen Teens produced plays by Courtney Baron, Barton Bishop, Bekah Brunstetter, Jonathan Caren, Bathsheba Doran, Anton Dudley, Liz Flahive, Marcus Gardley, Madeleine George, Jason Grote, Naomi Iizuka/Ryan Pavelchik, Greg Kotis, Mike Lew, Cheri Magid, Winter Miller, Michael Mitnick, Anna Moench, Janine Nabers, Qui Nguyen, Ryan Pavelchik, Jenny Schwartz, and Kathryn Walat. Keen Teens was originally developed by Keen Company and Playscripts, Inc.

"Keen Teens is one of the country's most unique combinations of new play production and theater education. By working with major playwrights on work that speaks uniquely to teenagers, Keen Company has generated an incredible body of new work over seven previous seasons. We're proud to have Kris, Halley and Kenny on board to add their unique voices to this special program. Combining the artistry of these great professionals with the energy and enthusiasm of young people will certainly result in an unforgettable evening of theater. Through our partnership with Samuel French, these plays will go on to stages around the country and the world." said Keen Director of New Work, Mark Armstrong.

Jonathan Silverstein, Artistic Director of Keen Company, said "Keen is proud to be producing its eighth season of Keen Teens, our remarkable program that puts teens front and center in developing and premiering new work for the stage. We are delighted to welcome Kris, Halley and Kenny into to the Keen family. Each of these talented writers have written beautiful plays that speak to Keen's mission of identification and honesty while at the same time addressing issues relevant to teens."

"Samuel French is thrilled to continue its association with the Keen Teens' program by publishing a collection of three new short plays written expressly to reflect how teens see themselves in their contemporary world," said Abbie Van Nostrand, Director of Corporate Communications, Samuel French

Halley Feiffer is a New York-based playwright and actress. Her full-length plays include I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard, Sidney & Laura , A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gynecologic Oncology Unit At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and How To Make Friends And Then Kill Them, which will have its world premiere this Fall at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, directed by Kip Fagan. Her plays have been produced or developed by The Cherry Lane Theatre (Young Playwrights' Festival XXII), Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, The New Group, The Orchard Project, Naked Angels, Cape Cod Theatre Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, LAByrinth Theater Company and the Stella Adler Studio, where she is a current playwright-in-residence. Her short plays been published in two Vintage Books anthologies. She is an alumna of terraNOVA's Groundbreakers Playwrights' Group, and a winner of the Young Playwright's Competition. She is currently working on a commission Manhattan Theatre Club, and is a resident writer for Blue Man Group. As an actress, her credits include the recent production of Ethan Coen's Women or Nothing (Atlantic) and the film He's Way More Famous Than You, which she also co-wrote. BA: Wesleyan University.

Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright and educator living and working in Brooklyn. Full-length titles include The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Welcome to Arroyo's, The Upstairs Concierge, and The Unfortunates. Awards: 2011 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award; finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; winner, 2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play; winner, 2011 OBIE Award, Best New American Play; and the inaugural Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship from The Public Theater (2011). His work has been produced, commissioned, and developed nationwide and internationally. He is a playwright-in-residence at Teatro Vista; a resident playwright at New Dramatists; a co-founder of the Unit Collective (Minneapolis); the creator of the #freescenes project; and a recipient of the Jerome Fellowship, the Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant and the Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists). Kristoffer holds a BA from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, an MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing, and an MFA from Brooklyn College's Performing Arts Management program.

Kenny Finkle's plays include Indoor/Outdoor (Off-Broadway - DR2, Trinity Rep, Portland Stage, Hangar Theatre), Alive and Well (Old Globe, Virginia Stage Company), Penelope of Ithaca (Hangar Theatre), Transatlantica (originally produced at the Flea, directed by Tim Cummings), A Thousand Years (FIU Theatre Festival). Indoor/Outdoor is published both by Broadway Play Publishing and in Smith and Kraus' "Best Plays of 2006" anthology. He is a recipient of a NYFA fellowship, a NYSCA grant, was awarded University of Illinois' Inner Voices prize and has received commissions from Ford's Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Theatreworks, USA, Canton Theatricals, Matt Murphy Productions and the Hangar Theatre among others. He received his MFA from Columbia University's Playwriting program and his BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He is adjunct faculty at Marymount Manhattan College as well as a teaching artist for the DreamYard Project in the Bronx. Kenny is currently writing the book for a new musical entitled Ride with music/lyrics by the late Damon Intrabartolo (Bare) as well as a graphic novel musical experience for audiences of 1,2 or 3 entitled U R STAR.

Performances are Friday, May 9th at 8PM, Saturday, May 10th at 3PM & 8PM and Sunday, May 11th at 2PM & 5 PM at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets will be $16.25 (including a $1.25 Restoration Fee). To purchase tickets visit Telecharge.com or call 212/239-6200. Running Time: 100 minutes, with no intermission.

For more information, go to http://www.keencompany.org/teens.html

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