Jenn Colella-Led GROUP, Plays by David Henry Hwang, Enda Walsh and More Set for Drama League's 'DirectorFest'

Jenn Colella-Led GROUP, Plays by David Henry Hwang, Enda Walsh and More Set for Drama League's 'DirectorFest'The Drama League announced today the expansion of their annual event, DirectorFest, into a multi-week, city-wide festival focusing on the art of Contemporary Stage directing.

For its 34th year, the festival will include five fully-staged productions, a showcase evening of new musicals, staged readings, discussion panels, books signings, workshops and conversations with America's most notable directors.

Taking place over two weeks in venues across Manhattan, highlights of the festival include rarely-seen plays by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), Enda Walsh (Once: The Musical), new works by Gabrielle Reisman, Alejandro Ricaño and more, all directed by the 2017 Drama League Directors Project Fellows: Laura Brandel, Bonnie Gabel, Matt Dickson, Flordelino Lagundino, and Rebecca Martinez.

Chosen last spring from over 330 applicants nationwide, these five visionary emerging directors recently completed their year of mentorship, assistantships, training and career development as part of The Drama League Directors Project.

The festival will also include Alex Rubin's new play Group, featuring Tony Award nominee Jenn Colella (Come From Away), in a staged reading directed by Directors Project alumna Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, and UpClose, a series of conversations with America's foremost contemporary directors, including Anne Bogart (Dead Man's Cell Phone), Anne Kauffman (Mary Jane), Damon Kiely (Oklahoma!), Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy), Kimberly Senior (Disgraced), and George C. Wolfe (Shuffle Along).

"Having supported American theatre directors for over 30 years, The Drama League has far too often heard the question, 'What does a director really do?' Finally, the time has come to answer that question," noted Executive Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. "By foregrounding the director's art, it's our hope that we can amplify DirectorFest into a national conversation about the state of the art form."

Associate Producer Travis LeMont Ballenger added: "Through nearly two dozen performances and events this January, DirectorFest will ask audiences to explore the craft of directing, celebrating master directors at the top of their field alongside the brightest rising directors in the country."

DirectorFest will take place at various locations around NYC: The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture (18 Bleecker Street), The Drama League Theater Center (32 Avenue of the Americas), and The Drama Book Shop (250 West 40th Street) from January 13-22, 2018. Festival details, tickets and additional information are now available at www.directorfest.org, or by calling (212) 244-9494.

The creative team for DirectorFest includes Reid Thompson (sets), Lauren Gaston (costumes), Lois Catanzaro (lights), Justin Propper and Mike Tracey (sound), Ling Tang (choreography), Sean Bradley (Fight Director), Brandon Pape (Production Manager), with Travis LeMont Ballenger (Associate Producer), Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (Executive Artistic Director), and Sherri Eden Barber (Program Director). Casting for the festival by Harriet Bass, Michael Cassara, Stephen DeAngelis and Stephanie Klapper.

During DirectorFest, Ms. Brandel, Ms. Gabel, Mr. Dickson, Mr. Lagundino, and Ms. Martinez will join the ranks of the illustrious 325+ alumni of The Drama League Directors Project, including Tony Award winners Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Diane Paulus (Waitress), Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Pam MacKinnon (Amelie), John Rando (On The Town), Tony Award nominees Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Moritz von Steulpnagel (Present Laughter), Alex Timbers (Rocky The Musical), and Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg), to name only a few.

DirectorFest is made possible thanks to the generosity of The Achelis and Bodman Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts.


DIRECTORFEST SCHEDULE:

Tickets Available at www.dramaleague.org/directorfest.

FESTIVAL PRODUCTIONS

January 13, 2018 at 7:30pm

January 14, 2018 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

$18 General Admission

Cultural difference, history, and relationships collide in this evening of plays exploring the gripping ways we respond to change in our lives.

STORM, STILL

A World Premiere by Gabrielle Reisman

Directed by 2017 Drama League Fellow Bonnie Gabel

In Storm, Still, three modern-day sisters - who might bear a resemblance to the daughters of King Lear - encounter unexpected events as they sort through the belongings of their deceased father.

F.O.B.

By David Henry Hwang

Directed by 2017 Drama League New York Directing Fellow Flordelino Lagundino

In F.O.B., a revival of the acclaimed play by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), "the possibilities and perils of assimilation" (New York Times) are upended as two Americans encounter a new immigrant who believes himself to be the reincarnation of a legendary Chinese warrior.

January 19, 2018 at 7:30pm

January 20, 2018 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

$18 General Admission

Love, obsession, and the occasional murder -- as this evening of plays illustrates, relationships are reaaaally complicated!

PORK KIDNEYS TO SOOTHE DESPAIR

by Alejandro Ricaño, Translated by Daniel Jáquez

Directed by 2017 Drama League New York Directing Fellow Rebecca Martinez

Set in 1940's Paris, fact and fiction intertwine in Pork Kidneys To Soothe Despair, where an unsuccessful writer and his paramour stalk Samuel Beckett, ostensibly to ensure that his masterpiece, Waiting for Godot, is completed.

DISCO PIGS

By Enda Walsh

Directed by 2017 Drama League New York Directing Fellow Matt Dickson

Disco Pigs, by lauded playwright Enda Walsh (Once), is the story of Pig and Runt, two lifelong, violence-prone friends who have developed their own private language since birth. As they celebrate their 17th birthday in the nightclubs of Cork, they unexpectedly discover that their relationship is about to change forever.

A Leo Shull FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS SPOTLIGHT EVENT

January 22, 2018 at 7:30pm

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

$18 General Admission

SHE PERSISTED

Conceived and Directed by 2017 Drama League Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow Laura Brandel

She Persisted is a surprising, moving, and unexpected musical evening celebrating the fortitude and resilience of female characters in American musicals. Through scenes, songs and moments from both classic and contemporary musicals, director Laura Brandel leads us on a journey through her insights and experience of the past twelve months. Made possible by support from the Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts.

FESTIVAL WORKS IN DEVELOPMENT

DRAMA LEAGUE DIRECTORS PROJECT ALUMNI READING

January 19, 2018 at 3:00pm

The Drama League Theater Center

32 Avenue of the Americas

FREE

GROUP

A new play by Alex Rubin

Directed by 2016 Directors Project Alumna Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

Featuring Tony Award nominee Jenn Colella

Tony Award-nominee Jenn Colella (Come From Away) leads a reading of Alex Rubin's provocative new work. In a quiet New Jersey beach town Kari, Rachel, Janet, and Joy -- the 1988 graduates of Deena Boyd's Home for Disturbed Young Women -- are about to have a very unusual reunion. Thirty years later, their lives have taken vastly different directions, but one secret still unites them.

FESTIVAL CONVERSATIONS

January 14, 2018 at 4:30pm

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

FREE

A Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts Spotlight Event

UPCLOSE: Bonnie Gabel AND Flordelino Lagundino

Enjoy this freewheeling conversation with two of America's most promising theatre directors. Based in New Orleans, Ms. Gabel's work ranges from community-based projects to world premieres. Mr. Lagundino, who leads New York City's Leviathan Lab, has directed across the country giving voice to the Asian-American experience. Made possible by support from the Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts.

January 16, 2018 at 7:00pm

The Drama League Theater Center

32 Avenue of the Americas

$50 Premium Seating | $25 General Admission | $20 Members

UPCLOSE: A CONVERSATION WITH George C. Wolfe

Few theatre directors have imprinted upon the American mind like George C. Wolfe has, with iconic productions of Topdog/Underdog, Angels in America, The Wild Party, Jelly's Last Jam, and more. As he approaches his upcoming Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh starring Denzel Washington, Mr. Wolfe sits down with The Drama League to discuss his work in theater, television and film over the past four decades.

January 17, 2018 at 7:00pm

The Drama League Theater Center

32 Avenue of the Americas

$50 Premium Seating | $25 General Admission | $20 Members

UPCLOSE: A CONVERSATION WITH Anne Bogart

Internationally-renowned for productions with her ensemble Siti Company, as well as her advocacy for Viewpoints and Suzuki training methodologies, director and author Anne Bogart has transformed generations of theatre directors. In this candid conversation, Ms. Bogart will explore her career's legacy and offer possible clues as to the future of directing.

January 19, 2018 at 5:00pm

The Drama Book Shop

250 West 40th Street

FREE

HOW TO READ A PLAY

A Conversation and Book Signing featuring Director/Author Damon Kiely

with directors Anne Kauffman, Robert O'Hara and Kimberly Senior

Moderated by Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Artistic Director, The Drama League

How To Read A Play: Script Analysis for Directors, published earlier this year by Routledge, is the brainchild of Chicago-based director Damon Kiely. Threading together interviews with over forty of the most acclaimed directors working today, Kiely distills the shared knowledge of today's brightest visionaries into a working process for 21st-century directors. In this panel discussion, Kiely is joined by three of the directors interviewed: Anne Kauffman (Marvin's Room, Mary Jane), Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy, Bella: An American Tall Tale) and Kimberly Senior (Disgraced). Moderated by Gabriel Stelian-Shanks.

January 20, 2018 at 4:30pm

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

FREE

A Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts Spotlight Event

UPCLOSE: Rebecca Martinez AND Matt Dickson

So what is a "disco pig" anyway? In this open conversation with two of America's most exciting rising directors, you'll find out the answer to this and much more. Both New Yorkers, Rebecca Martinez has already made a name for herself, exploring the Latinx writers and artists who inspire her. Matt Dickson is an actor-turned-director whose work illuminates the nuances in human interaction. Made possible by support from the Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts.


The Drama League Directors Project, since its founding in 1984, has grown to become the preeminent development program for early and mid-career theater directors, providing talented young artists with career-transforming experiences in the professional theater. The program provides opportunities for young directors to present their work to the professional community. In addition, the program augments a network of professionals to whom new directors can turn for counsel, support, and employment, that helps to accelerate the process through which new directors gain acceptance within the professional community, bringing their unique skills and vision into the working life of the American theater. The Drama League Directors Project also maintains an active support network for its alumni.

The alumni of The Drama League Directors Project, which now number over 300, can be found working in all aspects of the entertainment profession. 'Drama League Directors' are directing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at regional theaters across the country, and in film and television. They are the artistic directors and associates at 58 regional theaters. Others hold prominent positions throughout the industry as producers, writers, agents and administrators, and many are educating the next generation of directors at some of our finest professional training programs. Their directing work has been honored with Tony, Emmy, Obie, Peabody, Drama Desk, GLAAD, Drama League, New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics, Evening Standard, Lucille Lortel, Bessie, Princess Grace, Garland, Drama-Logue, Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, and Joseph Jefferson Awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. They have literally shaped the future of the American theater, with the praise of critics and audiences alike.

Pictured: Flordelino Lagundino, Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, Matt Dickson, Bonnie Gabel, Laura Brandel, Rebecca Martinez (in front). Photo by Catalin Stelian-Shanks.

Related Articles






More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram
   



  SHARE