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QUEEN by Madhuri Shekar Opens Tonight at Long Wharf Theatre

Immediately following its run at Long Wharf Theatre, the production will be presented at the A.R.T./New York Mezzanine Theatre.

QUEEN by Madhuri Shekar Opens Tonight at Long Wharf Theatre

NAATCO's inaugural production of the NAATCO National Partnership Project, Queen, written by playwright and screenwriter Madhuri Shekar (House of Joy) and directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar, will open tonight, May 19th at Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre (222 Sargent Drive, New Haven). This NAATCO/Long Wharf Theatre partnership production will run through June 5th. Immediately following its run at Long Wharf Theatre, the production will be presented at the A.R.T./New York Mezzanine Theatre (502 West 53rd Street) from June 10th to July 2nd. House of Joy written by playwright and screenwriter Madhuri Shekar (Queen,'s inaugural production of the NAATCO National Partnership Project: NAATCO


Featured in Queen will be Stephanie Janssen (Broadway: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Mrs. Warren's Profession; Off-Bway: Clive - New Group, Ivanov - Classic Stage Company); Ben Livingston (Broadway: Mamma Mia!; One Man Two Guvnors, The Heiress; Off-Broadway: Our Town - Barrow Street Theatre, The Library - Public Theater); Keshav Moodliar (Native Son, Measure for Measure - The Acting Company, Duke on 42nd Street); and Avanthika Srinivasan (Off-Broadway debut!). Queen will have scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee, costume design by Phuong Nguyen with Assistant Costume Designer Kyle Artone, and lighting design by Yuki Nakase Link with Assistant Lighting Designer Jackie Fox. Sound design and original music by UptownWorks: Daniela Hart, Bailey Trierweiler, and Noel Nichols.


Queen launches the NAATCO National Partnership Project (NNPP), an ambitious new initiative to establish relationships with theaters around the country to develop and implement strategies for including Asian American theater artists, technicians, and administrators in their practices. On American stages today, there is a growing emphasis on inclusion and belonging. But Asian Americans continue to be largely excluded from this movement and continue to be portrayed in stereotypic and formulaic ways. Since its founding, NAATCO has been dedicated to changing this dynamic. Long Wharf Theatre, as an anchor NNPP partner, joins in the effort towards promoting more expansive representations of Asian Americans.

"Queen marks a significant moment for the NAATCO National Partnership Project. It is the NNPP's inaugural production, and it is all the more significant because it is with our anchor partner, Long Wharf Theatre," said Mia Katigbak, actor-manager and co-founder of NAATCO. "When I was thinking of the NNPP, I had many inspirational conversations with Jacob Padrón, the Artistic Director of Long Wharf, whose Sol Project was doing something comparable with Latinx playwrights partnering with theatres across the country. Not only was Jacob's wisdom and experience with the Sol Project helpful, but his total support of what NAATCO was trying to do was fundamental."

"We couldn't be happier to be partnering with NAATCO as they launch their historic initiative. We are also honored to collaborate with Aneesha to bring this impressive play to life at Long Wharf," said Jacob G. Padrón, Artistic Director, Long Wharf Theatre. "Queen is more than just a story of women in science, but a deep dive into the complex tensions that have the power to redefine relationships. With talented South Asian women at the helm as playwright, director, and protagonist, Queen is a reflection of Long Wharf's ongoing commitment to foregrounding women- and BIPOC-led productions."

Queen follows PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel who have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences? Queen is a provocative portrayal of brilliant women confronting inconvenient truths.


For tickets at Long Wharf, please visit https://longwharf.org/buy-tickets/?eventid=22SEA4 .

Tickets for A.R.T./New York performances are now on sale. Visit NAATCO's website: www.naatco.org.

BIOS

Madhuri Shekar (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. She was born in California and grew up in India, and is currently based in Jersey City. Madhuri is an alum of the Juilliard Playwriting program, a fellow at New Dramatists, and the 2020 winner of the Lanford Wilson Playwriting award. Madhuri's audio play Evil Eye debuted on the Audible best-seller list in May 2019, and won the 2020 Audie Award for Best Original Work. Her play House of Joy received its world premiere at Cal Shakes in August 2019. Madhuri's new play Dhaba on Devon Avenue was slated to premiere at Victory Gardens in April 2020, and is postponed until we emerge into a new post-pandemic life. In addition to Queen (2019 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, Outstanding Original Full Length Script; Edgerton New Play Award), Madhuri's other plays include In Love and Warcraft (Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award), A Nice Indian Boy, Antigone: Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine's, and the TYA play Bucket of Blessings (Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Original Work - TYA). Madhuri's plays have also been developed or showcased at Center Theatre Group, The Old Globe, the Kennedy Center, the Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival, South Coast Repertory, the Movement Theater Company, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ma-Yi Theatre, NY Stage & Film, and Juilliard. Madhuri has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, and a dual Master's degree in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC. She is an alumna of the Ma-Yi writers lab and the Center Theatre Group Writers Workshop, and a co-creator of the Shakespearean web series, "Titus and Dronicus." Madhuri was a staff writer for the upcoming HBO show "The Nevers." She wrote the feature film adaptation of Evil Eye, produced by Blumhouse, and now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Aneesha Kudtarkar (Director) is a New York-based theater director and graduate of the Yale School of Drama. She is a trained Indian Classical (Bharathanatyam) dancer. Her interests include new play development, theater pedagogy, and the George W. Bush painting collection. Aneesha was a Drama League Director's Project Fellow in 2015, and the recipient of the 2019 Kauffman Memorial Prize at Yale. Recent Projects include Romeo & Juliet (Two River Theater: Tiny Shakes), The Who and The What (TheaterWorks Hartford), Men on Boats (Southern Methodist University), [Veil Widow Conspiracy] (NAATCO), LOCUSTS, Trouble in Mind, The Winter's Tale (Yale School of Drama), and The Purple Flower (Yale Cabaret).

Founded in 1965, Long Wharf Theatre (Jacob G. Padrón, Artistic Director; Kit Ingui, Managing Director) is a Tony Award-winning company of international renown. It was founded on the notion that New Haven deserves an active culture that is locally created, supported by community leaders and patrons of the arts. It is recognized for a historic commitment to commissioning, developing, and producing new plays and musicals that have become a part of the modern American canon. More than 30 of its productions have transferred to Broadway or Off-Broadway runs, three of which-Wit, The Shadow Box, and The Gin Game-won Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. It was among the earliest recipients of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre (1978) and its productions have won numerous accolades, including Tony, New York Drama Critics' Circle, and Obie Awards; a Margo Jones Award; and nominations and Connecticut Critics Circle Awards in nearly every category. In 2015, the company received the 50 Years of Achievement in Theatre award from National Corporate Theatre Fund and the Major Award for Outstanding Contributions to New England Theatre, the highest honor from New England Theatre Conference. Under current leadership, in partnership with a dedicated staff and Board, Long Wharf Theatre aspires to be a company with, by, and for the Greater New Haven community. It is engineering stories that represent an inclusive culture, in all of its complexities, and amplifying the voices of living playwrights and artists of color. Long Wharf Theatre is doubling down on its commitment to new work while broadening collaborations with synergistic partners, discovering new pathways to nurture the best new American voices for theatre. It is shifting from being a space with four cement walls to bringing live theatre into multiple venues, neighborhoods, and public spaces. Community is rigorously centered within the organization, building an inclusive treasury of its neighbors' resilient and interconnected life experiences, and activating justice, democracy, and transformation through storytelling. For more information, please visit www.longwharf.org.

The National Asian American Theatre Co., Inc. (NAATCO) was founded in 1989 by Richard Eng and Mia Katigbak. NAATCO's mission is to assert the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture. They present the following repertory:

  • European and American classics as written with all Asian American casts;

  • Adaptations of these classics by Asian American Playwrights; and

  • New plays - preferably world premieres - written by non-Asian Americans, not for or about Asian Americans, but realized by an all Asian American cast.

  • Development and production of new plays by Asian American Playwrights that incorporate other performative arts and media.

NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theater artists to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and intercultural dynamics of our society. Their repertory demonstrates a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole. NAATCO's work demonstrates the abilities of Asian American theater artists to reach across ethnic boundaries to illuminate abiding characteristics of human nature, and to reflect and emphasize the kinship among disparate cultures. NAATCO and its performers have been the recipients of numerous awards, including a special Drama Desk Award in 2019, the Ross Wetzsteon Award (an Obie given to theaters that nurture innovative new plays), the St. Clair Bayfield Award (Mia Katigbak in Henry VI), the Lilly Award for Trailblazing, a performance Obie (Mia Katigbak in Awake and Sing!), and the Rosetta LeNoire award from Actors Equity Association recognizing NAATCO's contribution toward increasing diversity and non-traditional casting in American theater.

The next NNPP undertaking is in partnership with Soho Rep, scheduled for early 2023.

For more information, please visit www.naatco.org.



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