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MCC Theater to Host World Premiere Reading of Neil LaBute's REASONS TO BE PRETTY HAPPY

MCC Theater will present a world premiere reading of a new Neil LaBute play-the third in his 'Reasons' trilogy-entitled Reasons to be Pretty Happy. The one-night-only reading, to be held on Monday, June 20, 2016 at 7PM at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, will benefit the nonprofit's robust education and playwright development programs. Casting will be announced at a later date. For more info, visit www.mcctheater.org.

Tickets to this benefit reading will be on sale to the general public on June 6, 2016. MCC Patrons and subscribers (including those who subscribe now for the upcoming 30th Anniversary Season) will have advanced access to purchase tickets. Prices range from $100 for show-only tickets or $250/$350 for preferred/premium seating plus access to a special post-show reception with LaBute and the cast. For ticket inquiries, please contact the Events Team at (212) 727-7722 x232 or events@mcctheater.org.

On the night of their 20th anniversary high school reunion, Greg and Steph revisit their home town after having moved to New York. Kent and Carly are suspicious of their reasons for returning and the four friends dance (sometimes literally) through a series of encounters at their school gym as they try to rekindle old friendships, struggle with their futures (together and separately) and reveal secrets to one another that might have been better left buried beneath a pile of yearbooks. Reasons to be Pretty Happy is a funny, sad, silly and sobering look at friendships and loves that have weathered and lasted for a long, long time--some even past their due dates.

MCC's Playwright-in-Residence since 2005, Neil LaBute premiered the first two plays in his 'Reasons' trilogy, Reasons to be Pretty and Reasons to be Happy, with the company in 2008 and 2013, respectively. The former transferred to Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. MCC's reading of Reasons to be Pretty Happy marks the first of two LaBute plays the company will premiere this year. It was recently announced that his newest completed work, All The Ways To Say I Love You, will kick off MCC's upcoming 30th Anniversary Season in a production starring multi-Tony and Emmy Award winner Judith Light in a solo performance directed by Tony nominee Leigh Silverman.

"As a leading voice in contemporary theater who has premiered more than 9 works under our auspices, Neil LaBute exemplifies the strong and enduring relationships that MCC fosters within its artistic community," said Co-Artistic Director Robert LuPone, speaking on behalf of the company's artistic leadership. "We are so proud to present his new work in a reading that advances our long and fruitful history of collaboration with this important artist."

"I'm pleased to have the world premiere reading of my latest play at MCC, a place that has supported my work for nearly fifteen years," said Neil LaBute. "Having led master classes for students in the Theater's Youth Company, I'm so proud this reading will support MCC's vital work nurturing the next generation of theater talent through its education and playwright development programs."

MCC Theater's playwright development program, PlayLabs, helps foster the next generation of playwrights by providing writers intensive dramaturgical support early in their careers, as well as the opportunity to work alongside professional directors and actors to engage public audiences in the development of new work. The PlayLabs reading series incorporates informal post-show gatherings for conversation between artists and audiences that enliven and stimulate the often solitary and insular writing and development process. Plays developed as part of PlayLabs have gone on to full productions at MCC, as well as at other nonprofit theaters in New York and overseas, adding vibrant new works to the contemporary theatrical cannon.

The company's education initiatives serve more than 1,200 public school students throughout New York each year through a mix of programs for students and teachers inside and outside the classroom. Employing the tools of theater alongside traditional academic and career-readiness, the programs empower young people to find and express their own voices, and become engaged citizens throughout and beyond their academic careers. Dedicated mentors provide students with support as they explore acting, writing, directing, and theater production alongside professionals in the field, and provide college- and career-readiness opportunities to complement the theater-focused initiatives.

The centerpiece of the institution's education programs is the MCC Theater Youth Company, the first free, after-school company of its kind associated with a professional theater. Since its founding in 2001 as an eight-member ensemble, the Youth Company has grown to serve more than 100 students each year and now includes a flagship Youth Company and satellite groups developed in partnership with schools in Washington Heights and Brooklyn.


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