New Plays by LaBute, Gurney, Brunstetter and More Set for TBTB's MORE OF OUR PARTS, Now thru 7/1
Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), the renowned Off-Broadway company known for its productions that integrate able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities, presents MORE OF OUR PARTS – its second annual festival of short plays about disabilities and the people affected by them, featuring world premieres by Neil LaBute, A.R. Gurney, Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham, Samuel D. Hunter, and Jeffrey Sweet – with performances to run tonight, June 21 through July 1 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street). TBTB artistic director and founder Ike Schambelan, Tony-nominee Pamela Birch, Christopher Burris, TBTB company member Christina Roussos, and Russell Treyz, and direct.
The world-premiere plays, each commissioned by TBTB, include Bekah Brunstetter's AFTER BREAKFAST, MAYBE; Bruce Graham's THE AHHHH FACTOR; A. R. Gurney's THE INTERVIEW; Samuel D. Hunter's GEESE; Neil LaBute's THE WAGER; and Jeffrey Sweet's A LITTLE FAMILY TIME.
The ensemble of MORE OF OUR PARTS includes Melanie Boland, Tiffan Borelli, Donna Bullock, Shannon DeVido, Stephen Drabicki, Joshua Eber, Shawn Elliott, Warren Kelley, Shawn Randall, Jonathan Todd Ross, Nicholas Viselli, and Blair Wing. The production features set design by Bert Scott; costume design by Kristine Koury and dramaturgy by Julius Novick. Brooke Elsinghorst is Production Stage Manager.
ABOUT THE PLAYS:
In Bekah Brunstetter's AFTER BREAKFAST, MAYBE, a young woman plots to take over the world, while her mother serves her blueberry smiley-faced pancakes. Christina Roussos directs.
Samuel D. Hunter's GEESE looks at a wheelchair-using young woman who wants to save the geese in a city park. Christopher Burris directs.
In Neil LaBute's THE WAGER, on their way home from a club in NYC, a guy and his girlfriend are stopped by a homeless man and a game of chance quickly begins to escalate into something more dangerous. Ike Schambelan directs.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS:
Bekah Brunstetter is the author of the Off-Broadway hit BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW, A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE, CUTIE AND BEAR, to be produced by Roundabout Theatre this fall, MTV's "Underemployed," and the short GORGEOUS, which premiered as part of TBTB's first short-play festival, SOME OF OUR PARTS, in 2011. Bruce Graham is the author of ANY GIVEN MONDAY, THE OUTGOING TIDE, MINOR DEMONS and EARLY ONE EVENING AT THE RAINBOW BAR AND GRILL. A.R. Gurney's best-known plays include the Pulitzer Prize-nominated LOVE LETTERS, THE COCKTAIL HOUR, SYLVIA, FAR EAST, and THE DINING ROOM. Last year, Mr. Gurney received a special Drama Desk Award for his prolific four-decade-long career. Samuel D. Hunter is the author of A BRIGHT NEW BOISE, a 2011 OBIE Award winner, and THE WHALE, which will be presented at Playwrights Horizons as part of its upcoming season, and WELCOME TO WALMART which premiered as part of SOME OF OUR PARTS. Neil LaBute's plays include the Tony-nominated REASONS TO BE PRETTY, THE SHAPE OF THINGS, SOME GIRLS, IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, MERCY SEAT, FAT PIG, and the short CRIPPLES, which premiered as part of SOME OF OUR PARTS. Jeffrey Sweet is the author of THE ACTION AGAINST SOL SCHUMANN, BLUFF, BERLIN '45, FLYOVERS, and the book for I SENT A LETTER TO MY LOVE.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS:
Ike Schambelan has been a theatrical director, teacher and critic for over 45 years. He has a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and a Doctor of Fine Arts from Yale Drama School. He has directed at the Long Wharf Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons,
The New Dramatists, Equity Library Theatre, the Pittsburgh Public Theater and the George Street Playhouse; and has directed many productions for TBTB. As founder and Artistic Director of TBTB, he has built it for 33 years into an Off-Broadway company recognized for doing first-class work. Previous productions include revivals of works by Shakespeare, Shaw and Gurney and new plays, including NY premieres of THE RULES OF CHARITY and A NERVOUS SMILE by disabled playwright John Belluso, Kate Moira Ryan's BASS FOR PICASSO, and most recently THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Patricia Birch is a director and Tony-nominated choreographer whose credits include film ("A Little Night Music," "Grease," "Big"), television ("Boardwalk Empire," "Saturday Night Live"), and theatre (LOVEMUSIK, PARADE, PACIFIC OVERTURES); directing credits include the musicals Maurice Sendak and Carole King's REALLY ROSIE, HAPPY END, and I SENT A LETTER TO MY LOVE. Christopher Burris's credits include the 2010 FringeNYC hit RAISIN IN THE SALAD: BLACK PLAYS FOR WHITE PEOPLE and the celebrated short plays THE MUD IS THICKER IN MISSISSIPPI and A SHADOW WITH NO FORM. Christina Roussos's credits include new plays at the American Globe Theater, HB Playwrights Foundation, HB Studio, TBTB Reading Series, a recent collaboration with Tony-winning director Jack Hofsiss, and last year's festival short GORGEOUS by Bekah Brunstetter. Russell Treyz directed THE 39 STEPS, currently running as part of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; other credits include FINAL CURTAIN, NEW YORK! NEW YORK!, YEAR OF THE DRAGON, and COTTON PATCH GOSPEL.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers, formerly Theater by the Blind, is a critically acclaimed company integrating able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities. Founded in 1979, by Artistic Director Ike Schambelan, the company's mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be.
MORE OF OUR PARTS runs tonight, June 21-July 1 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street): Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm and 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $19.25. For reservations, call 212-239-6200 or visit