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2018 BREAKING GROUND Festival To Run 2/9-11

2018 BREAKING GROUND Festival To Run 2/9-11 The Huntington Theatre Company's 2018 Breaking Ground festival of new plays will be held February 9 - 11, 2018 at the Huntington's home for new work, the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The festival is a vital part of the Huntington's new play development efforts and highlights the work of locally-based Huntington Playwriting Fellows and national writers in partnership with the Huntington. Over the last decade, Breaking Ground plays have gone on to appear at the Huntington as well as theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally.

Readings are free and open to the public, though not to reviewing members of the press. Advance reservation is required. RSVP at

The three-day festival will include:

  • The Last Book of Homer by José Rivera, directed by Melinda Lopez
    Friday, February 9 at 8pm; South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • We All Fall Down by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lila Rose Kaplan, directed by Melia Bensussen Saturday, February 10 at 8pm; South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • The Purists by Dan McCabe, directed by Billy Porter
    Sunday, February 11 at 7pm; South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

"In a wonderful coincidence, all three plays in our festival this year are comedies, and our playwrights - José Rivera, Lila Rose Kaplan, and Dan McCabe - create the deepest kind of laughter," says Director of New Work Charles Haugland. "The humor in each of these plays is sharp and revealing, and gives audiences a glimpse of the characters' inner lives. I hope people will come to all three."

Breaking Ground is supported by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Harry Kondoleon Playwriting Fund, and the Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays.


The Last Book of Homer

by José Rivera

Directed by Melinda Lopez

Friday, February 9 at 8pm

South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


Numb Nuts is a screenwriter who gets his ass kidnapped by a drug cartel while shooting a movie in Mexico about the Trojan War. Battling their bad knees, beer bellies, cataracts, bad hearing, and bitter divisions of the past, his four brothers - ex-military guys nicknamed God, Buddha, Weasel, and Joseph Smith - come to Mexico for the rescue.

José Rivera is a recipient of two Obie Awards for playwriting for Marisol and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, both produced by The Public Theater in New York. His plays Cloud Tectonics (Playwrights Horizons), Boleros for the Disenchanted (Yale Repertory and Huntington Theatre Company), Sueño (Manhattan Class Company), Sonnets for an Old Century (The Barrow Group), School of the Americas (The Public Theater), Massacre (Sing to Your Children) (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Brainpeople (American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco), Adoration of the Old Woman (La Jolla Playhouse), The House of Ramon Iglesia (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Another Word for Beauty (Goodman Theatre), The Maids (INTAR), and Human Emotional Process (Chaskis Theatre, London) have been produced across the country and around the world. The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona is scheduled to premiere at The Geffen Playhouse in LA. Mr. Rivera's screenplay The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005. His screenplay On the Road premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and distributed nationally in 2013. His film Trade was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. Upcoming projects include the pilot "Into the Beautiful North" for TNT and the film The Dog Whisperer about Cesar Millan. He has completed his first novel, Love Makes the City Crumble.

We All Fall Down

by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lila Rose Kaplan

Directed by Melia Bensussen

Saturday, February 10 at 8pm

South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


Until recently, renowned family therapist Linda Stein was a Marxist and opposed to religion. But when her husband Saul retires unexpectedly, she summons her daughters home for Passover. Why? In this heartfelt comedy by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lila Rose Kaplan, a surprising Seder veers between delight and disaster. Will this ancient tradition bring the Stein family together or tear them apart?

Lila Rose Kaplan is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, whose play Home of the Brave was featured in the Breaking Ground Festival in 2014. Her plays shine light on the stories we don't tell about women. She writes heartfelt comedies, bittersweet dramas, and musicals for young people. Her plays include Home of the Brave, Jesus Girls, The Magician's Daughter, 1 2 3 - a play about abandonment and ballroom dancing, Wildflower, Bureau of Missing Persons, and Biography of a Constellation. Her musicals for young people include The Light Princess, The Pirate Princess, and The Magic Fish. Her plays have been produced by the American Repertory Theater, South Coast Repertory, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Victory Theatre, Second Stage Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, Neighborhood Productions, Know Theatre, and Perishable Theatre, and developed by Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Theatreworks, PlayPenn, and The Lark. She is the recipient of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre Artistic Achievement Award, National Science Award in Playwriting, and The International Women's Playwriting Award. In addition to being a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, she is a Playwrights' Realm Writing Fellow and has received a fellowship at Old Vic/New Voices Exchange, and the Shank Fellowship. Her residencies include New Rep Next Voices, Harvard Business School, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. She currently lives in Cambridge with her marine biologist and her curious daughter.

The Purists

by Dan McCabe

Directed by Billy Porter
Sunday, February 11 at 7pm

South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


Special thanks to Peter Saraf and Big Beach Production Company

A former rapper, a DJ, and a musical theatre fanatic have become unlikely stoop buddies in Sunnyside, Queens. When their friendly riffing about race, sexuality and music in America turns personal - and with the arrival of two up-and-coming female emcees - the trio must confront the changes to their purist ideals and question what it means to be authentic.

Dan McCabe was a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellow at The Juilliard School. His plays have been produced and developed at The New Group, The LABrynith Theater Company, The Flea Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Juilliard School, Stella Adler, Laguardia College, The Twilight Theater Company, and more. His plays include The Purists, Christina Martinez, and The Magic Kingdom. He wrote eight episodes of the hit serial Me, My Girl, and My Grandpa Shmulee for #serials at The Flea Theater and seven short plays for Rule of 7x7 at The Tank. Mr. McCabe also appeared at the Huntington in the cast of Sons of the Prophet in 2011.


The Huntington Theatre Company is a national leader in the development of new plays and has produced 120 world, American, or New England premieres. The cornerstone of activity is the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program, a two-year fellowship for selected local writers. A three-year, $245,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation adds local playwright Melinda Lopez to the Huntington's full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. The annual two-week Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground Festival of new plays allows selected HPFs and national writers to develop their plays in two and three dimensions.

The Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration, and encourages dialogue between local artists. Huntington productions of plays by HPFs include Sonia Flew, Becoming Cuba and Mala by Melinda Lopez; Milk Like Sugar and Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge; The Atheist, Brendan, and The Second Girl by Ronan Noone; Stick Fly and Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond; Ryan Landry's "M" and Psyched by Ryan Landry; Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro; The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel; and Shakespeare's Actresses in America by Rebekah Maggor.

Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers' collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the annual Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground festival of new plays.

The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship. The Summer Workshop, which began in 2012, was developed from conversations at convenings with HPFs past and present to solicit ideas about how to improve and expand the program.

Since 2009, the Huntington has instituted an open application process with submissions from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston; applications are currently solicited every 18 months. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.

ABOUT THE Huntington Theatre Company

The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit


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