Summer Shorts 2018 Festival Of New American Plays Returns To 59E59 Theaters For Its 12th Season

By: Jun. 21, 2018

59E59 Theaters (Val Day, Artistic Director; Brian Beirne, Managing Director) is thrilled to welcome Throughline Artists (J.J. Kandel, Producing Artistic Director) with SUMMER SHORTS 2018, the annual festival of six short plays tailor-made for summer viewing, now celebrating its 12th season. SUMMER SHORTS 2018 begins on July 20 and runs through September 1. The general performance schedule is Tuesday - Friday at 7:15 PM; Saturday & Sunday at 2:15 PM and 7:15 PM. Please note, there are no matinee performances on Saturday, July 21, Sunday, July 22, or Saturday, July 28. Individual calendar schedule of performance dates for Series A and Series B is available for viewing/download. Press Opening for Series A is Sunday, July 29 at 2:15 PM. Press Opening for Series B is Sunday, August 5 at 2:15 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Single tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). A Pair of Shorts (a ticket package to both Series A & B, available through August 15) is $55. To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit

The "shamelessly clever and deeply satisfying" (New York Times) summer staple returns to 59E59 for its 12th consecutive season! A celebration of summer, theater, and the short form, SUMMER SHORTS pairs established and emerging NYC playwrights with top directing and acting talents. Divided into two series, SUMMER SHORTS premieres six one-act plays, presented as two separate evenings of three each. The two series run in rotating repertory.

SUMMER SHORTS 2018 features new one-act plays from playwrights Robert O'Hara, Abby Rosebrock, Neil LaBute, Eric Lane, and Claire Zajdel; and New York Times Best-Selling novelist Chris Bohjalian makes his playwriting debut.

The design team includes Rebecca Lord-Surratt (set design); Greg MacPherson (lighting design); Amy Sutton (costume design); Nick Moore (sound design/composer); and Joshua Langman (projection design). The Stage Manager is Jenna R. Lazar. The Production Stage Manager is Dee Dee Katchen. The assistant producer is Sarah Cronk. The technical director is Dan Teachout. The casting director is Rebecca Gushin.

Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.


Press Opening: Sunday, July 29 at 2:15 PM

GROUNDED by Chris Bohjalian, directed by Alexander Dinelaris
A young flight attendant with a fear of flying is about to work her first transatlantic trip. When a veteran co-worker tries to help her through the turbulent crossing, she discovers that a fear of flying is the least of the young woman's secrets.

THE LIVING ROOM written and directed by Robert O'Hara
A satire. About Frank and Judy. Who are White People in a LivingRoom. Doing what White People in Living Rooms do. But something is different. Today Frank and Judy have questions. About the entire nature of being White People in a Living Room.

KENNY'S TAVERN by Abby Rosebrock, directed by Jess Chayes
Kenny's Tavern is a dive bar and liberal oasis for a certain crowd of public-school teachers in the foothills of West Virginia. On the eve of the 2016 election, two colleagues hole up in the back of their regular haunt to hash out their relationship to each other and the community they love.


Press Opening: Sunday, August 5 at 2:15 PM

SPARRING PARTNER written and directed by Neil LaBute
Thelong time flirtation between two co-workers comes to a head over the course of a lunchtime game of "Hollywood Names." Will their 'affair of the mind' blossom into something more or is it about to take an even darker and more dangerous turn?

IBIS by Eric Lane, directed by Terry Berliner
Ty has been haunted by the disappearance of his father ever since Victor abandoned his family twenty years ago. But when he hires a no-nonsense female detective to solve the mystery and track Victor down, the answers she uncovers add up in ways that even Ty could never have predicted.

THE PLOT by Claire Zajdel, directed by James Rees
In light of her recent divorce, Frankie and Tyler's mother has purchased a plot at the local cemetery, and today her children have been summoned to give their stamp of approval to their mother's final resting place. As they wait for her to arrive, Frankie and Tyler's growing realization of their own mortality triggers an avalanche of emotions that causes both siblings to wonder if it's possible for your life to be over before it has even begun.

Terry Berliner's (director, Ibis) Broadway credits as resident and assistant director include The Lion King, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, The Sound of Music, and The Red Shoes. She has directed Off Broadway, in regional theatres, and universities across the country. This season she wrote and directed the holiday musical One World for a major financial institution. She also directed the first reading of a new musical written by Frank Wildhorn, Rinne Groff and Robin Lerner. Other recent direction and choreography includes Motherfreakinghood at the Peter J. Sharp Theatre; Promising at The Beckett, Theatre Row; Soldier X at Brooklyn College; Return to the Forbidden Planet at SUNY at Buffalo; the A.R.T. New York Gala honoring Jessie Mueller, Andy Truschinski and Joe Solway; and The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (nominated for a Theatre Bay Area award for Outstanding World Premier Musical) at Z Below and The Eureka Theatre in San Francisco. Ms. Berliner's new musical Alone in the U.S. (written with Bobby Cronin), has been presented at CAP21, New York Film Academy, Penn State, made its U.K. debut at the University of Cumbria, and won the Outstanding Program of the Year Award at Marymount Manhattan College. For five years Ms. Berliner served as a member of Off Broadway's Lucille Lortel nominating committee. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Chris Bohjalian (playwright, Grounded) is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies. His books include Midwives (Oprah's Book Club Selection), The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind. His most recent novel, The Flight Attendant, has been optioned by Kaley Cuoco and Warner Brothers Television for a limited series. His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon. His awards include the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the New England Book Award; and Russia's Soglasie (Concord) Award. Grounded is his first play. His is currently adapting Midwives into a full-length play.

Jess Chayes (director, Kenny's Tavern) is an award-winning Brooklyn-based director and founding co-artistic director of The Assembly, with whom she has co-created and directed nine original productions, including Seagullmachine (LaMama ETC) and HOME/SICK (NY Times and Backstage Critics' Pick). Recent directing includes The Flick (Warehouse Theatre), Holidays In/Coyote (The Tank), The Providence of Neighboring Bodies and Latter Days (Dutch Kills), Half Moon Bay (Lesser America), Primal Play (New Georges), The Bachelors (Williamstown Theater Festival), The Sister (Dutch Kills), and The Netflix Plays (Ars Nova). She has developed new work with The Vineyard Theatre, The Playwrights Center and New York Theatre Workshop, among others. Jess is a NYTW Usual Suspect, a 2018 Audrey Resident with New Georges, a co-founder of The New Georges Jam artists' lab, and alum of The Civilians R&D Group and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Associate Director on Peter and the Starcatcher (Brooks Atkinson Theater and New World Stages) and Misery (Broadhurst Theater). Jess is the recipient of the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Alexander Dinelaris (director, Grounded) is an Academy Award and Golden Globe winner for the screenplay of Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Most recently, Alex adapted the novel Entering Hades into a feature film. Alex is currently adapting his play, Still Life into a feature film, which he will direct this fall. His film, The Year of the Monarchs is in development with Mandalay Entertainment. Alexander is the book writer of The Bodyguard Musical and of Gloria and Emilio Estefan's Broadway musical On Your Feet! Other recent work includes his plays: Red Dog Howls (New York Theater Workshop); Still Life (Manhattan Class Company); The Chaos Theories (Shotgun Theater); and In This, Our Time (59e59). Mr. Dinelaris is a proud member of the Writer's Guild and the Dramatists Guild.

Neil LaBute's (playwright & director, Sparring Partner) films include: In The Company Of Men; Your Friends and Neighbors; Nurse Betty; Possession; The Shape Of Things (a film adaptation of his play by the same title); The Wicker Man; Lakeview Terrace; Death At A Funeral; Some Velvet Morning; and Dirty Weekend. LaBute's television work includes: Bash: latter-day plays (Showtime); Full Circle (DTV); 10 X 10 (DTV); Billy & Billie (DTV); Van Helsing (SYFY) and the upcoming The ILand (Netflix). LaBute's plays include Filthy Talk For Troubled Times; Bash: latter-day plays; The Shape Of Things; The Mercy Seat; The Distance From Here; Autobahn; Fat Pig; Some Girl(s); This Is How It Goes; In A Dark Dark House; Wrecks; Reasons to be Pretty; The Break Of Noon; In a Forest, Dark and Deep; Lovely Head; Reasons to be Happy; Things We Said Today; The Money Shot; The Way We Get By; All The Ways To Say I Love You; How To Fight Loneliness; The Fourth Reich; and Reasons To Be Pretty Happy. LaBute has also adapted Dracula, Woyzeck, Miss Julie, Antigone, and Uncle Vanya for the stage. Seconds Of Pleasure, a collection of his short fiction, was published by Grove Atlantic.

Eric Lane (playwright) is delighted to return to SUMMER SHORTS, which premiered his play Riverbed, directed by Matthew Rauch. His award-winning plays include Filming O'Keeffe, Ride, Times of War, Heart of the City, and Dancing on Checkers' Grave. Musicals include A Thousand Faces (book) and The Accidental Caterer (book/co-lyricist). Eric wrote and produced the short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed. They screened at the British Film Institute and the D.G.A. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts and in Best American Short Plays. With Nina Shengold, he edited 14 play anthologies for Penguin and Vintage Books, earning a Lambda Literary Award nomination. Honors include a Writer's Guild Award, La MaMa Playwright Award, Berrilla Kerr Award, Adirondack Theatre Festival commission, and Yaddo fellowships. Eric is an artist member at Ensemble Studio Theatre and an honors graduate of Brown University.

Robert O'Hara (playwright & director, The Living Room) has received the 2018 Herb Alpert Award, NAACP Best Director Award, NAACP Best Play Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obies and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Dania Guiria's In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo's Wild with Happy, Kirsten Childs' Bella: An American Tall Tale, as well as his own plays Mankind, Bootycandy and Insurrection: Holding History. His recent plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively. His recent directing projects include: Kirsten Childs' Bubbly Black Girl at City Center/Encores Off Center, the Universes' Uni/Son, inspired by the poetry of August Wilson, at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare's Macbeth at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He holds a Directing MFA from Columbia University.

James Rees (director, The Plot) is thrilled to be back at Summer Shorts! Two years ago, James participated as an actor, and last year he was here as an Assistant Director. In NYC, he directed The Seafarer at 13th St. Rep, and he has also directed Othello and Two Gentlemen from Verona for Richmond Shakespeare Festival in Richmond, VA. Short films include For Hope, What's Left, and Superwomen.

Abby Rosebrock (playwright, Kenny's Tavern) is a Brooklyn-based writer and actor from South Carolina, and author of the plays Dido Of Idaho, Blue Ridge, Singles In Agriculture, and Different Animals, among others. Her work has been produced and developed in venues throughout New York City and regionally in Georgia, Idaho, and Montana.

Claire Zajdel (playwright, The Plot) is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts' Dramatic Writing program. Her plays include Mother Maggie (New York New Works Festival, Theater for the New City), Golden Vanilla (New York Theatre Festival) and Spinny Twirly Things (Dixon Place). She is originally from the Chicago area.

Throughline Artists (J.J. Kandel, Producing Artistic Director) is committed to preserving the traditions of the theater for the next generation by providing opportunities for established professionals to work with and pass on knowledge to emerging artists. For more information, please visit

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