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Jeremy O. Harris Talks About Producing Plays With HBO's Money

He spoke to Vulture today about his overall deal with HBO.

Jeremy O. Harris Talks About Producing Plays With HBO's Money

Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris spoke to Vulture today about his overall deal with HBO, under which he's been able to produce plays for the virtual sphere (including Fake Friends' "Circle Jerk" and Will Arbery's "Heroes of the Fourth Turning").

"Heroes is such a specific project: It already had this huge outside-of-the-theater-world reach because of the Pulitzer and also because it's talking about Catholics. And, weirdly, Catholics really wanted to hear narratives about themselves, even if they weren't in the most positive light, because they wanted to discuss them," he said.

"When it came to Circle Jerk, there was this feeling that it would be this nice, gay, hypertheatrically referential piece that only people in the theater who read, like, the Greeks and French farce would get it. But I reached out mainly to my friends who I knew had high-camp sensibility and were part of spaces like TikTok and Twitter. And we got really lucky that people responded well to that invitation."

Harris spoke in detail about what his contract with HBO allows him to pursue; he gets $250,000 a year from the network in the discretionary fund.

"I said that if I ever did hear the knock of Hollywood after having a moment in the theater world, I would make sure that I could, like, replenish the soil, to give back the resources that were put into me. And that, for me, meant investing without questioning in the work of the most exciting young voices," he said.

Earlier this fall, Harris' Slave Play made Tonys history as the most Tony-nominated play ever, with twelve nominations. The distinction was previous held by the 2018 revival of Angels in America, which earned eleven nominations.

Slave Play's nominated categories include: Best Play, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (2), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (2), Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Costume Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of a Play, and Best Sound Design of a Play, Best Direction of a Play.

Harris is a writer and performer living in New York City. His full-length plays include: Slave Play, Daddy (Vineyard Theatre/The New Group); Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1; and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys (published by 53rd State Press). His work has been presented or developed by Pieter Performance Space, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Performance Space New York, and Playwrights Horizons.

Read the whole interview here.




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