Hartford Stage Kicks Off Brand:NEW Festival of New Works Today, 10/25

Hartford Stage, under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, announced the lineup for Brand:NEW Fall Festival of New Works, scheduled today, October 25 - 28. The Festival will include readings of five new plays by Octavio Solis, Bess Wohl, Dan O'Brien, Matthew Lopez and Janine Nabers, as well as a playwrights' panel on October 28 at 4:30 p.m.

Brand:NEW readings will be at Hartford Stage's Rehearsal Studio 2 at 942 Main Street (the Residence Inn building). See all five readings for $25 ($20 for Hartford Stage subscribers) or individual readings for $10 each. Tickets are available by calling the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or by visiting www.hartfordstage.org.

This year, Brand:NEW will feature a reading of a new playby Matthew Lopez, Reverberation. Lopez is the 2012-2013 Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage and his play The Whipping Man was featured here at Hartford Stage last season.

The schedule of events for Brand:NEW is as follows:

Thursday, October 25, 7:30 p.m.
Se Llama Cristina
By Octavio Solis
Directed by Loretta Greco
In this evocative and haunting play, a man and woman wake up strung out and hung over, and must piece together what's happened to them and why they find themselves in an unknown room with an empty cradle.

Based in San Francisco, playwright Octavio Solis' plays included John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven, Ghosts of the River, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, and Lydia at theatres across the country, including Yale Rep, Mark Taper Forum, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Friday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.
American Hero
By Bess Wohl
Directed by Darko Tresnjak
American Hero is a comedy about three employees of a new sandwich franchise, and the lengths they'll go to to hold on to their jobs and to keep the world safe for democracy, and open for lunch.

Works by Bess Wohl, also a highly-regarded actress, have been produced or developed nationally at venues such as the Williamstown Theatre Festival; The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles; The Pioneer Theatre in Utah; and at The Vineyard Theatre and Fringe Festival (Best Overall Production Award), both in New York City.

Saturday, October 27, 2 p.m.
Oak Dale
By Dan O'Brien
Directed by ElizaBeth Williamson
After being inexplicably cut off from his family, Dan sets out to investigate the secrets of his childhood with the help of long-lost relatives, a private eye, and a couple of psychics in this new theatrical memoir.

Dan O'Brien, writer of many acclaimed productions, including Moving Picture and Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by Darko Tresnjak, and co-writer of the chamber opera Theotokia/The War Reporter, featuring Dawn Upshaw, at the Spoleto Festival USA. O'Brien's most recent project is The Body of an American, a play about the haunting of war reporter Paul Watson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of a fallen U.S. soldier in Mogadishu.

Saturday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Maxwell Williams
In the wake of personal tragedy, Jonathan has retreated from the world, but his upstairs neighbor Claire is determined to pull him into the whirlwind of her life. They build a tenuous connection, but the past reverberates into the present, threatening to destroy the fragile happiness they've found.

In recent years, Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man has become one of the more regularly-produced new American plays (including a critically lauded run here at Hartford Stage last season). Its New York production garnered Lopez the John Gassner Playwriting Award by the Outer Critics Circle. His most recent projects include the world premiere of Somewhere at The Old Globe in San Diego and his adaptation of the film Mad Hot Ballroom.

Sunday, October 28, 2 p.m.
A Swell in the Ground
By Janine Nabers
Directed by Hana Sharif
Over the span of seventeen years, A Swell in the Ground takes Liv and Nate (with their college friends Abigail and Charles) from their first meeting on the eve of college graduation through the trials of early adulthood, as they lose parents and think about changing partners.

Author of Welcome to Jesus and Series.Black.Face, Janine Nabers is a member of some of New York City's most prominent playwriting groups, including MCC Playwrights Coalition, New American Writer's Group at Primary Stages, Ars Nova, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and The Dramatist Guild Fellows.

Sunday, October 28, 4:30 p.m.
Playwrights' Panel
Meet the playwrights and engage with the creative process, discuss their inspiration, and learn about each individual journey to developing new work. The Playwrights' Panel will be moderated by Hartford Stage Senior Dramaturg & Director of New Play Development ElizaBeth Williamson.

Hartford Stage, since its founding in 1963, has been known for innovative revivals of classics and the development of important new works, including 65 World or American premieres. Recent work includes Quiara Alegria Hudes'Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Horton Foote'sThe Orphans' Home Cyclewhich had a celebrated run at the Signature Theatre in New York during the 2009-2010 season; a landmark production of Harper Lee'sTo Kill a Mockingbird;the premieres of Michael Kramer'sDivine Rivalry;and Daniel Beaty'sResurrection (later retitledThrough the Night,which had a successful run off-Broadway during the 2010-11 season). In 1998 the theatre launched an unprecedented ten-year retrospective of Tennessee Williams, which included the premiere of three plays. Other new work includes the premieres of Eve Ensler'sNecessary Targets, Edward Albee'sAt Home at the Zoo,Matthew Barber'sEnchanted April(which transferred to Broadway), Matthew Lombardo'sTea at Five, and many others. The theatre has earned numerous distinguished honors, including a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Margo Jones Award, OBIE awards, New York Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards. In 2005 Hartford Stage was awarded The Hartford Courant's Tapestry Award recognizing its outstanding work in diversity, and in 2008 it was awarded the Bank of America Neighborhood Builder's Award recognizing its excellence in building community in Greater Hartford. Hartford Stage is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts.

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