Jill Rafson Takes Helm of Roundabout Underground as Robyn Goodman Steps Down
Roundabout Theatre Company announces today that Robyn Goodman steps down as Founding Artistic Producer of Roundabout Underground. Goodman and colleague Josh Fiedler will continue to consult Roundabout's artistic team.
Longtime literary and artistic department team member Jill Rafson will serve as Artistic Producer of the Underground and continue to serve as the Director of New Play Development. In this position, Rafson will continue to spearhead, alongside Todd Haimes, the Roundabout Underground programming in its expanded two-play season and all the new play development at the company.
Rafson - supported by Nicole Tingir, Manager of Play Development - will continue to run the annual Roundabout Underground Reading Series, the multi-faceted Space Jam program built to support playwrights' need for work space, 20 playwriting commissions and 25 workshops and readings annually.
"Robyn's passion and dedication to young writers as well as her extraordinary taste has made the Underground more successful than I ever dreamed possible," said Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO. "Roundabout is forever in Robyn's debt and I am happy she and Josh Fiedler will continue on as consultants to Roundabout. I have no doubt that Jill will continue to find the best new voices in American theatre. Over the past 10 years, Jill and her team have tirelessly and successfully worked with me on developing new works with an increasing emphasis on young playwrights and diversity."
"13 years ago Todd Haimes gave me the gift of working with him on new plays produced at the Steinberg Center," said Robyn Goodman. "Josh Fiedler and I deeply thank him and the Roundabout for underwriting this very worthy project that has launched many young writers' careers."
Roundabout Underground showcases new plays that will either give a debut production to an emerging writer or director, or allow an experienced director to go back to their creative roots.
Jill Rafson is the Director of New Play Development for Roundabout Theatre Company, where she has served in various roles since 2005. In addition to developing dozens of new works for Roundabout, Jill has been a dramaturg for the O'Neill's National Playwrights Conference, CollaborationTown, The Playwrights' Center, Fault Line Theatre, and the Flea Theatre's acclaimed 48-playwright epic reimagining of the Bible, The Mysteries. Jill has worked with The Broadway League, New York City Center, Local Theater Company, and ART/NY. She was a member of NYFA's Emerging Arts Leaders program and has taught/lectured for the Commercial Theatre Institute, ESPA, Kenyon College, and others. Jill received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
Now in its 11th season, Roundabout Underground has proven an enormous success since the program debuted in 2007 with Stephen Karam's hit comedy Speech and Debate.
Karam's first play commissioned by Roundabout-Sons of the Prophet-was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and his second commission, The Humans, won the Tony Award for Best Play after transferring from the Laura Pels Theatre to Broadway.
Joshua Harmon also made his professional debut with Roundabout Underground with the hit Bad Jews. His play, Significant Other, premiered Off-Broadway at Roundabout and transferred to Broadway last season; his new play, Skintight, will premiere at the Laura Pels Theatre in Spring 2018 starring Idina Menzel.
Fellow Underground alumnus Steven Levenson (The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, The Language of Trees) won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for his Broadway debut with Dear Evan Hansen, while simultaneously debuting his new play, If I Forget, Off-Broadway at Roundabout.
This fall, Jireh Breon Holder's Too Heavy for Your Pocket launched the 11th season of Roundabout Underground, with the goal of introducing and cultivating young artists in Roundabout's 62-seat Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. In spring 2018 the Underground will premiere Alex Lubischer's Bobbie Clearly. Alex Lubischer is Roundabout's 2017-18 Tow Foundation Playwright in Residence.
Underground productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson's The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read's The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011), Andrew Hinderaker's Suicide, Incorporated (2011), Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews (2012), Meghan Kennedy's Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (2013), Jeff Augustin's Little Children Dream of God (2015), Lindsey Ferrentino's Ugly Lies the Bone (2015), Jenny Rachel Weiner's Kingdom Come (2016), and Marti?n Zimmerman's On the Exhale (2017), Jireh Breon Holder's Too Heavy for Your Pocket (2017) and upcoming Alex Lubischer's Bobbie Clearly (2018).
Major support for Roundabout Underground is provided by Jodi Glucksman. Roundabout's work with new and emerging playwrights and directors, as well as development of new work, is made possible by Katheryn Patterson and Tom Kempner.
We gratefully acknowledge the Roundabout Leaders for New Works: Alec Baldwin, James Costa and John Archibald, Linda L. D'Onofrio, Peggy and Mark Ellis, Jodi Glucksman, Sylvia Golden, Hess Foundation, Inc., Judith and Douglas Krupp, K. Myers, Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, Laura S. Rodgers, Seedlings Foundation, Mary Solomon, Lauren and Danny Stein, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Dr. Leonard Tow.
The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre opened in March 2004 with an acclaimed premiere of Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel starring Viola Davis, directed by Dan Sullivan. In the ten years since that landmark production, the center has expanded beyond the Laura Pels Theatre to include the Black Box Theatre and now a new education center. The Steinberg Center continues to reflect Roundabout's commitment to produce new works by established and emerging writers as well as revivals of classic plays. This state-of-the-art off-Broadway theatre and education complex is made possible by a major gift from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg to promote and advance American Theatre as a vital part of our culture by supporting playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new work, and providing financial assistance to not-for-profit theatre companies across the country. Since its inception, the Trust has awarded over $70 million to more than 125 theatre organizations.
Roundabout Theatre Company is committed to producing the highest quality theatre with the finest artists, sharing stories that endure, and providing accessibility to all audiences. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the production of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate and engage all audiences.
Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals, and new works on its five stages, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the needs of Roundabout's mission. Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design, is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout's Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre offers a state of the art LEED certified Broadway theatre in which to stage major large-scale musical revivals. Together these distinctive homes serve to enhance Roundabout's work on each of its stages.
Roundabout's newly expanded artistic team includes: Associate Artistic Director Scott Ellis, Resident Directors Anne Kauffman and Rebecca Taichman, Director of Artistic Development Jim Carnahan, Company in Residence Fiasco Theater, Directing Fellow Miranda Haymon, Artistic Development Associate Whitney White, Associate Artists Mark Brokaw, Sam Gold, Josh Harmon, Doug Hughes, Bill Irwin, Pam MacKinnon, Joe Mantello, Kathleen Marshall, Theresa Rebeck and Jenny Rachel Weiner, and Tow Foundation Playwright in Residence Alex Lubischer.
Roundabout's new off-Broadway season dedicated to new work at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre in 2017-2018 includes The Last Match, by Anna Ziegler, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch; Amy and the Orphans, by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis; Skintight, by Joshua Harmon, directed by Daniel Aukin.
Roundabout Underground's 2017-2018 season includes Bobbie Clearly, by Alex Lubischer.