Downtown Urban Theater Festival to Return to HERE in NYC, April 2-19

By: Jan. 16, 2014
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For its much-anticipated 12th annual season, the Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) will again take residency at HERE's Mainstage in New York City, April 2nd through 19th, 2014, with three weeks of new groundbreaking theatre.

Seventeen of America's best emerging writers will share their stories that interpret our history and our times through live performances fusing theatre, dance, music, media and visual arts. A special addition to this year's festival will be the U.S. premiere of Two of Us, DUTF's international selection from Romania. Reg E. Gaines, a two-time Tony Award nominee, will return as DUTF's Artistic Director.

The full line-up is listed below:

Blank Canvas by Christina Quintana (New York)

Adam's paintings come to life and throws viewers into vivid scenes with their lost loves. The irony: Adam has never been in love. But when he does fall, what happens to the power of his paintings?

Brooklyn Quartet by Rock WILK (New York)

Brooklyn Quartet is about the resilience of the human spirit; that no matter what we do to one another, that we somehow find it in ourselves to forgive and to remain hopeful; this is the most meaningful, powerful and important part of us; this is what true love is, and that true love is the only thing that can save us.

Caylee's First Big Show by Roxie Perkins (California)

Caylee's First Big Show is the portrait of an amateur singer-songwriter from Arizona, Caylee James, as she questions her identity in the midst of heartbreak. Caylee must learn to let go of nostalgia and embrace her independence or return to Arizona and stay trapped in the shell of who she used to be.

Clippings by Royal Shiree (Virginia)

They should just leave. Or tell. Or kill. When three women tell their stories of surviving abuse the best way they know how, they begin to think no one understands. Or do they? Or that they are alone. Or are they?

The Dark Nights of Lady Day by Andrina Smith (New York)

Her voice made her world-renowned and her drug use made her infamous. However, few know the life story behind iconic singer Billie Holiday. Through stories, song, and poetry, Solo artist Andrina Smith crafts an untold journey of the musician, illuminating once more why Lady's Day has yet to end.

Deceiving by Fabio Costaprado (New York)

6 characters. 5 years staring. 4 time changes. 3 metal boxes. 2 organs. 1 truth.

Five-Sided Triangle by Gina Femia (New York)

Told through lyrical language and fluid movement, this is the tale of five women in different stages of love, connected through their love for one another: Sisters, best friends, crushes, and lovers, both unrequited and pure. A dance of dialogue about passion and the feeling of being caught up in and out of love.

Forever 27 by Adam Esquenazi Douglas (New York)

The Forever 27 Club. A group of rock gods who all have one thing in common: they all died at the age of 27 - Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, and, most recently, Amy Winehouse. In an ever-shrinking house on The Edge of existence, these rock and roll icons are still 27, but maybe not forever for much longer.

Formosa by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (New York)

Formosa is a solo show about beauty, body, culture, and Barbie via the poet-playwright's imaginary encounters with a Taiwanese factory worker who makes the dolls, a Chinese adoptee girl who loves the dolls, and a Nicki Minaj-wannabe Asian American female hip hop MC who just might be turning into a doll.

Gee, Thanks by Irene Hernandez (New York)

Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by your family. Too bad you can't choose your family.

Grandma Kim vs. America by Jiyoung Kim and Claire Tran (New Jersey/Wisconsin)

Grandma Kim has had enough of her Americanized family's wasteful, french-fry eating, individualist American habits. Her granddaughter, Mary, is ten years old now and believes that she has outgrown her grandmother's care. Grandma Kim battles the dominant culture to save her relationship with her granddaughter.

Hoops by Gustav Gauntlett (New York)

Hoops is a one-hooper show following the intensely dramatic stories of five people and how basketball plays a role in each of their lives. From a Mexican mother in East Harlem, to a soldier in Afghanistan, and even an inmate at Pelican Bay Prison; when life gets out of control, Hoops can be the key to finding humanity.

The Messiah Complex by Nia Ostrow Witherspoon (Florida)

DJ Messiah's got no time for the past. Music is her escape into the future. But her ghosts catch up, unearthing the queer secrets buried in Black city life. And ghosts have got all the time in the world.

Toy Soldierz by Javier Reyes (California)

Devon Johnson is gunned down while leaving his high school graduation party and wakes up in a coma state trapped between the afterlife and the still life. In this state, Devon must choose forgiveness in order to save the life of his perpetrator or face grave consequences as a result.

Toadstool Tea by Jamal Williams (Georgia)

Toadstool Tea is a tongue-in-cheek story that tries to deal with the fears of the elderly. It is a play that transcends age, race, and economically standing to show that seniors still pursue happiness and love despite severe obstacles.

Two of Us by Ana Pepine and Paul Cimpoieru (Romania)

Two of Us is a classic love story full of sensitivity and expressivity. The play's universal language of theatrical communication is determined by the freedom with which two actors use forms of performing arts as vehicles to convey ideas, experiences, and sensations.

The Woman at the Well by Martyna Majok (New York)

A woman alone at a pub. Her date is late. The last time her date was late, he was never anywhere ever again. A play about misunderstandings, the American way of saying goodbye, and a lady with a six pack of O'Doul's.

In 2001, DUTF was founded with the purpose to build a repertoire of new American theatre that echoes the true spirit of urban life and speaks to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. That purpose has been realized many times over, as more than 100 writers have created and refined their work for the stage and thousands of inspired audience members have applauded their performances. DUTF inaugurated the festival in 2002 at HERE in SoHo to help revitalize the NYC downtown arts scene, which, at the time, was experiencing a severe downturn due to the WTC disaster. It has been recognized as "one of the world's best festivals for new works" and described as "not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves." (Lisa Mulcahy, Theater Festivals, Allworth Press, 2005)

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