Works by Halley Feiffer, Joshua Harmon, Michael West & Joe Tracz Set for MTC's Ernst C. Stiefel Reading Series

Works by Halley Feiffer, Joshua Harmon, Michael West & Joe Tracz Set for MTC's Ernst C. Stiefel Reading Series

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced the lineup for this spring's Ernst C. Stiefel Reading Series.

The readings kick off Monday, March 24 and will be held on consecutive Mondays through April 7. The readings will take place at New York City Center - Stage I (131 West 55th Street). All readings are free and open to the public, but space is limited and RSVPs are required. To RSVP, visit or call (212) 399-3000 x 4163.

Now in its 16th year, this rehearsed reading series, formerly known as 7@7, is dedicated to the support and development of innovative new work. The Ernst C. Stiefel Foundation has supported Manhattan Theatre Club's reading series since 2006. This year, MTC has reconceived the series, giving each play an expanded rehearsal period to allow playwrights additional development time with directors and actors.

Several plays developed in this reading series have gone on to full productions at MTC, including David Auburn's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof, Joe Hortua's Between Us, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Based on a Totally True Story, and Molly Smith Metzler's Close Up Space (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist).

Plays from this reading series that have been produced elsewhere in New York and around the world include Heidi Schreck's There Are No More Big Secrets, Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Little Flower of East Orange, Julia Cho's Durango, David Adjmi's Stunning, Naomi Iizuka's Strike-Slip, Adam Rapp's Red Light Winter, Theresa Rebeck's The Scene, Eric Simonson's Fake, Jonathan Caren's The Recommendation, The Civilians' The Great Immensity, and Rona Munro's Donny's Brain.

Below is the 2014 Ernst C. Stiefel Reading Series schedule:

March 24 at 4PM: I'M GONNA PRAY FOR YOU SO HARD by Halley Feiffer, directed by Trip Cullman
Ella is a precocious actress whose sole aim in life is making her famous playwright father proud. But after seeking his approval her whole life, she must learn that the only way to make her dreams a reality is to finally strike out on her own. A dark and bitingly funny drama about fathers and daughters and the powerful draw of making art.

Halley Feiffer is a playwright and actress whose play How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them premiered last Fall at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. She is currently writing an MTC commission, which will be developed this summer at the Kenyon College Playwrights Conference.

March 31 at 4PM: THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR by Joshua Harmon, directed by Stephen Brackett
Jordan's always been there for his trio of best girlfriends as they stumble through the pratfalls of dating in New York City. But as singles' nights turn into bachelorette parties for Kiki, Vanessa and Laura, he's no longer the only man in their lives. A coming of age story about what we do when one feels like the loneliest number.

Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews was produced by Roundabout Underground before transferring to Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre last Fall. He is currently in the playwright's program at Juilliard and under commission from Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater.

April 7 at 11AM: THE CHINESE ROOM by Michael West
Frank has dedicated his life to the development of Artificial Intelligence. When his company decides to dispense with his services - and his research, the line between his life's work and his life turns out to be blurrier than it appears. A moving and complex thriller about love and just how far we will go to keep it alive. The Chinese Room was commissioned by MTC through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Michael West has written many plays in collaboration with The Corn Exchange, the acclaimed Dublin-based theatre company. This spring the Abbey Theatre will premiere his play Conservatory.

April 7 at 4PM: HAPPY PLACE by Joe Tracz, directed by Carolyn Cantor
Caroline is determined to plan the best trip possible for her family vacation to Disney World. When she hires a handicapped woman to help them cut the lines, she sets into motion a series of events that none of them could have anticipated. A compelling drama about the questions and complexities behind the Happiest Place on Earth.

Joe Tracz's plays have been developed at Second Stage, Roundabout, Ars Nova, and the Flea. His musical adaptation of the first book in the popular Percy Jackson series The Lightning Thief will premiere at the Lortel Theatre this summer.

Photo by Jennifer Broski

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