ONE NIGHT ONLY Premiere, Kate Benson's [PORTO] Set for WP Theater's 40th Anniversary Season

ONE NIGHT ONLY Premiere, Kate Benson's [PORTO] Set for WP Theater's 40th Anniversary Season

WP Theater (formerly known as Women's Project Theater), under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty and Managing Director Michael Sag, has announced their 2017-2018 40th Anniversary Season at WP Theater (2162 Broadway, at 76th Street).

The season will feature the World Premiere of One Night Only (running as long as we can) by Monica Bill Barnes & Company; the Parity Plays reading series, in partnership with Colt Coeur; the Off-Broadway debut of [PORTO], by Obie Award Winner Kate Benson and directed by Obie Award winner Lee Sunday Evans; and the highly anticipated, second biennial WP Pipeline Festival, which will include five brand new plays written, directed, and produced by the fifteen artists that comprise the 2016-2018 WP Lab. Additional, special 40th Anniversary Season events will be announced at a later date.

Following last spring's The Museum Workout, which led audience members through a choreographed workout routine in the hallowed halls of The Met and became the hottest ticket in town - Monica Bill Barnes & Company now joins forces with WP Theater and New Neighborhood for One Night Only (running as long as we can), set to begin performances at WP Theater in September 2017. Known for bringing dance where it doesn't belong, this company makes its Off-Broadway debut with this hilarious and heartbreaking new show celebrating the ephemeral nature of everything, including our own abilities. Created by Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass, and Robert Saenz de Viteri; One Night Only (running as long as we can) is choreographed by Monica Bill Barnes and designed by Kelly Hanson and Jane Cox.

Tonight the clock is running...and so are they! Long time performing partners Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass will leave it all on the field in this world premiere production. The acclaimed duo will make an audacious effort to accomplish one goal: to do everything they've ever learned how to do in just one night. Everyday movement will be taken to monumental new heights as Barnes and Bass turn manic finger snapping, competitive clapping, non-stop treadmill running, and spinning until they throw up into a night of unexpected joy.

In the fall of 2017, WP will partner with Colt Coeur (Dry Land) on their extraordinary annual four play reading series, Parity Plays, celebrating the work of female and trans writers and directors. Created by WP Lab alum Adrienne Campbell-Holt and Colt Coeur, and now co-curated with WP, the Parity Plays series will appear on the WP Theater stage for the very first time.

WP Theater teams up with The Bushwick Starr and New Georges to present the Off-Broadway debut of the sold-out hit [PORTO] by Kate Benson and directed by Lee Sunday Evans, whose last collaboration, the Obie Award-winning A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, was a smash success in 2015. Previews will begin in January 2018, with casting and additional creative team to be announced soon. The New York Times called [PORTO], "A stealthily ferocious, comfortingly hopeful, very funny new play! An exhortation to get out of your head and live, in thoughtful pursuit of joy."

A woman walks into a bar. Her name is Porto. She's a regular. She likes this bar: serious food, serious wine, serious bartender--a staple in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood (perhaps Bushwick?). Her friends, her wine, and her artisanal snacks are there; her doubts about being a Modern Woman are put on snooze. A handsome stranger walks in and orders something special. Disruption ensues: an upside-down romantic comedy unfolds inside and outside her head. Desires of all kinds are awakened with a ferocious thump. A nice smile is a nice smile, but can we enjoy the sausage once we know how it's made?

[PORTO] was initially produced by WP Lab alum Rachel Karpf, John Del Gaudio and The Bushwick Starr (Noel Allain- Artistic Director, Sue Kessler- Executive Director), where it received its world premiere in their 2016-17 Season.

In March of 2018, the WP Pipeline Festival will once again showcase the work of the celebrated two-year WP Lab residency for playwrights, directors and producers. The artistic heart of WP Theater, the Lab provides rising stars in the industry with a vital professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and most significantly, tangible opportunities for the development and production of bold new work for the stage. As the culmination of the Lab, the Festival provides a unique opportunity for audiences and industry to access five new plays at various stages of development, ranging from staged readings to full-length workshop productions. True to its name, WP Pipeline Festival will serve as a pipeline to funnel talented female-identified and trans artists and their work to the forefront of American theater.

2016-18 WP THEATER LAB Features:

Writers: Donnetta Lavinia Grays, MJ Kaufman, Sylvia Khoury, Zoe Sarnak, Leah Nanako Winkler

Directors: Melissa Crespo, Morgan Gould, Ellie Heyman, Tyne Rafaeli, Mo Zhou

Producers: Roxanna Barrios, SallyCade Holmes, Nidia Medina, Laura Ramadei, Yuvika Tolani

Bios and more information for the WP Lab can be found at bit.ly/2q6LZTM.

Season Passes begin at $99. For additional information, visit www.WPTheater.org.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

ONE NIGHT ONLY (running as long as we can)

Monica Bill Barnes & Company is a contemporary American Dance Company that brings dance where it does not belong. We create and produce each work entirely from its own rulebook - dancing to radio interviews on the biggest stages in the world, hosting a weekly show in a crowded office party, or leading a choreographed exercise routine in an art museum. Within each of these new contexts and borrowed environments, we constantly find humor in our awkward, everyday triumphs and failures.

The company consists of a team of collaborators: Artistic Director/Choreographer, Monica Bill Barnes; Associate Artistic Director/Performer, Anna Bass; Creative Producing Director, Robert Saenz de Viteri; designers Kelly Hanson (Set/Costume) and Jane Cox (Lighting). Together, this team creates the most unlikely experiences for every kind of audience.

Monica Bill Barnes is a choreographer, performer, and the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor, and the innate theatricality of everyday life. Her work has been performed in venues ranging from Upright Citizen's Brigade to The BAM Opera House, and has been presented in more than 75 cities throughout the US. Current projects include a collaborative show with radio host Ira Glass that combines radio stories and dance, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, a collaboration with author/visual artist Maira Kalman creating The Museum Workout, and Happy Hour, the world's only office party turned dance show, and the company's first long-running show with recurring performances in NYC.

Anna Bass has worked with MBB&CO for 15 years, performing all over the world on stages ranging from public fountains and city parks to Comedy Clubs and Carnegie Hall. She collaborated on all of the company's current productions, and also served as Assistant Choreographer for productions at The Atlantic Theater, The Public Theater, and Yale Repertory Theater.

Robert Saenz de Viteri has created performances and toured productions throughout the world with the Obie Award winning Nature Theater of Oklahoma. He has created, produced, and performed in Happy Hour and The Museum Workout with Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Some of his other favorite projects include producing This American Life Episode 528, "The Radio Drama Episode" live on stage at BAM, directing Rachel Bonds's Michael & Edie, and working in Norway to create The Spiritual Life of Modern America, based on Knut Hamsun's mostly unread book of the same title and the experiences of foreigners traveling in America today.

Jane Cox has designed with MBB&CO for more than a decade, and her collaboration with the company is central to her creative life. Recent theater includes Color Purple, Amelie, and Jitney (TONY nomination) on Broadway, Othello at NYTW, and Hamlet at the Barbican in London. Other designs include The Flick, The Ambassador, All The Way, and Machinal (TONY and Drama Desk nominations). Jane has a long-standing relationship with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and is the director of the Program in Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Kelly Hanson has worked with MBB&CO on every company show since she first met Monic in 2001. She is also a Production Designer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she does approximately 220 live shows a year. She has been nominated for an Emmy and an Art Department Guild award. Kelly was born in Bryan, TX and earned her MFA in set design at University of California San Diego. She lives in Queens with her husband and two amazing kiddos, who support her more than they know.

New Neighborhood is a theater/TV/music company whose sincerity and authenticity are so combustible they cannot be housed under one roof for too long without doing severe structural damage. With new work, bruised work, all-singing, all-dancing, foul-mouthed musical work, New Neighborhood seeks to harvest the organs of its audience and sell them back to their owners within the time houselights dim and rise, or the DVR records and then deletes. New Neighborhood is a particular ordinance of Actors, Dancers, Designers, Directors, Dramaturgs (all the hot D's!), Musicians, Graphic Novelists, Producers, Writers, Widows, Widowers (all the lousy W's) and bad, browned-on-both-sides Balladeers. New Neighborhood is the cocktail party that spills barefooted onto the lawn! New Neighborhood is the stolen painting that washes up on shore! New Neighborhood is the lovechild of Electric Light Orchestra and Tonya Harding! New Neighborhood finds a show, produces the shit outta it, and disappears into a cloud of train smoke.

Parity Plays

Colt Coeur is a Brooklyn-based theater company founded in 2010. Artistic director Adrienne Campbell-Holt leads a 16-member ensemble of actors, playwrights and designers to nurture the next generation of theater artists through the development and production of new plays and by providing arts education to students from underserved NYC public schools. Over 7 years, Colt Coeur has produced 8 world premieres; developed 36 plays; and provided free arts education for over 120 students.

All 8 world premieres received rave reviews and have enabled us to build an audience base. Steven Levenson's Seven Minutes In Heaven was selected by Ars Nova for Antfest and subsequently transferred to the Emerging America Festival in Boston before running for 3 weeks at HERE. Lucas Kavner's Fish Eye ran for 3 weeks at HERE and was included in NY Magazine's "Best of 2011? list. Eliza Clark's Recall had a 4-week run at the Wild Project and also received rave reviews. Nikole Beckwith's satire Everything Is Ours ran for 4 weeks in 2013 at HERE and extended due to demand. Ruby Spiegel's Dry Land made NYPost's Top 10 of 2014 list and was recently published in American Theater magazine (along with photographs from our production). MJ Kaufman's How To Live On Earth enjoyed a 4-week run in the fall of 2015 and was featured on MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donell". 2016 was Colt Coeur's fullest season to date - the company produced two world premieres. With Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Cal In Camo was celebrated by Ben Brantley in the New York Times as a "mystical cocktail of a play" and extended due to demand. Ana Nogueira's play Empathitrax premiered at HERE in September and was celebrated for its universality, bravery and heart. Nearly all of these plays have also been published and will receive future productions around the US and abroad.

[PORTO]

Kate Benson is a writer and actor living in Brooklyn. Plays include: [PORTO] (The Bushwick Starr), A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes (Obie winner), (New Georges with the Women's Project Theater), Super Magic Wild Forest (Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission), and Desert (for Now). She has an MFA from the Brooklyn College Playwriting program. Performances include: I'll Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr), Tiger, Tiger (on the Nature of Violence) (Dixon Place), Fondly, Collette Richland (Elevator Repair Service at NYTW), Nomads (the Incubator), Good Person of Szechwan (the Public & LaMama), and home/sick (the Assembly).

Lee Sunday Evans Recent Credits include: Bull in a China Shop by Bryna Turner (LCT3), [PORTO] by Kate Benson (Bushwick Starr), Caught by Christopher Chen (Play Co.), Macbeth (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), Wellesley Girl by Brendan Pelsue (Humana Festival), D Deb Debbie Deborah by Jerry Lieblich (Clubbed Thumb), A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes by Kate Benson (OBIE Award - New Georges/Women's Project). Her work has been presented/developed at: Baryshnikov Arts Center, Sundance Theater Lab, BAX, CATCH, LMCC, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Juilliard. Lee received the 2016 Susan Stroman Directing Award from The Vineyard Theater. Upcoming: Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew (Dallas Theater Center), Dance Nation by Clare Barron (Playwrights Horizons).

The Bushwick Starr is an Obie Award-winning nonprofit theater that presents an annual Season of new performance work. We are an organization defined by both our artists and our community, and since 2007, we have grown into a thriving theatrical venue, a vital neighborhood arts center, and a destination for exciting and engaging performance. We provide a springboard for emerging professional artists to make career-defining leaps, and we are a sanctuary where established performance companies come to experiment and innovate. Our past Seasons have included new work from groundbreaking artists such as The Mad Ones, Clare Barron, Dave Malloy, The Debate Society, the TEAM, and Half Straddle.

New Georges, founded in 1992, is a strategically small theater company with a national reputation as a productive home and launchpad for exuberantly theatrical women artists - individually, as collaborators, and as a community. We cultivate our boundary-pushing aesthetic in a nimble, artist-driven production environment: committing to projects early on, equipping them with processes rooted in strong collaborations, and providing steady artistic support. We serve and sustain the largest ongoing working community of women theater artists in New York City -- more than 200 playwrights, directors, actors and designers - with premiere productions; play and artist development programs (such as the New Georges Jam and the Audrey Residencies); and The Room, our permanent workspace and the year-round hub of our activities. Our 22-year commitment to providing our artists with free or low-cost workspace in The Room is unique among small theaters and has incubated thousands of new plays.

Honors for New Georges, our plays and our people include 3 Obie Awards, the Lilly Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn and Kesselring Prizes. And the influx of New Georges artists into the field over the last 25 years has had marked impact on the representation of women nationwide in theater, film, television and arts education.

WP Lab & WP Pipeline Festival

The artistic heart of WP Theater, the two-year Lab residency provides rising stars in the industry with a vital professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and most significantly, tangible opportunities for the development and production of bold new work for the stage. As the culmination of the Lab, the Festival provides a unique opportunity for audiences and industry to access five new plays at various stages of development, ranging from staged readings to full-length workshop productions. True to its name, WP Pipeline Festival will serve as a pipeline to funnel talented female-identified and trans artists and their work to the forefront of American theater. The WP Lab is led by WP's Lisa McNulty, Director Shelley Butler, and Producer Stephanie Ybarra.

Four of the five plays in the inaugural 2016 WP Pipeline Festival were included in the 2016 Kilroy's List, an annual industry survey of excellent new plays by female and trans playwrights: Cygnus by Susan Soon He Stanton; Kings by Sarah Burgess; The Rug Dealer by Riti Sachdeva; and Queens by Martyna Majok.

WP Theater (formerly known as Women's Project Theater) is the nation's oldest and largest theater company dedicated to developing, producing and promoting the work of female-identified and trans theater artists at every stage in their careers. For nearly four decades we have served as leaders at the forefront of a global movement towards gender parity, and the example we set and the artists we have fostered have grown into to a robust and thriving community of artists in theater and beyond.

WP empowers female-identified artists to reach their full potential and, in doing so, challenges preconceptions about the kinds of plays women write and the stories they tell. As the premiere launching pad for some of the most influential female theater artists today, our work has had a significant impact on the field at large. Nearly every prolific female theater artist has been through our doors, including Eve Ensler, María Irene Fornés, Katori Hall, Pam MacKinnon, Lynn Nottage, Leigh Silverman and Anna Deveare Smith. These powerful women found an early artistic home at WP, and are a testament to our role as a driving cultural force.

WP was founded in 1978 by visionary producer, Julia Miles, to address the significant under-representation of women in theater. Today, WP accomplishes its mission through several fundamental programs, including: the WP Lab, a two-year mentorship and new play development program for women playwrights, directors, and producers; the Domestic Partner residency program; the Developmental series; and the Main Stage series, which features a full season of Off-Broadway productions written and directed by extraordinary theater artists.

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