Alley Theatre Announces Programming for the 2019 Alley All New Festival and Reading Series

The Alley Theatre announces the line-up for the 2019 Alley All New Festival, January 18 - January 27, 2019. The fourth annual Festival will feature a world premiere production, readings and workshop performances of five new plays, as well as an Early Draft Preview of a new musical. Festival playwrights include Robert Askins, Hilary Bettis, Glen Berger, Chisa Hutchinson, Claire Kiechel, Don Nguyen, and Lawrence Wright. Special packages are available for the final weekend of the Festival and include prime seating at all presentations, exclusive artist access, and meals between performances. Packages can be booked now at alleytheatre.org/allnew or by calling the Box Office at 713-220-5700. Advance reservations for individual events are recommended and can be made on November 26 at alleytheatre.org. All readings and workshop performances are free and open to the public.

Local sensation Robert Askins (Hand to God) returns to the Alley with the World Premiere production of The Carpenter, which received a workshop performance in the 2017 Alley All New Festival. In The Carpenter Dan, a self-made man from blue collar Houston, arrives at his fiancée's father's mansion in Highland Park, Dallas for his wedding weekend. When the carpenter shows up to build the wedding gazebo, all hell breaks loose. There are mistaken identities, accidental partner swaps, an angry stripper, and lots of laughs. The production is directed by Will Davis.

The lineup includes two workshop performances by Alley All New alums Hilary Bettis (2018 Alley All New Festival's Queen of Basel) and Claire Kiechel (2018 Alley All New Festival's Early Draft Preview and the 2017 Alley All New reading of Pilgrims). Hilary Bettis, a writer on the Emmy-nominated television show "The Americans," transports us to Tucson, Arizona, Nogales, Mexico and all the distance in between with her new family drama, 72 Miles to Go... The play follows deported immigrant Anita and her American-born husband and children over a decade as they come of age against the backdrop of deportation, DACA, and changing immigration laws. The workshop performance is directed by Jose Zayas, who directed Hilary's play Queen of Basel at last year's festival.

The second workshop performance is set in 2019 and in 219 during the early days of Christianity. Sophia by Claire Kiechel (Netflix's "The OA"), an Alley Theatre commission seen at last year's Early Draft Preview, tells a new story about an ancient book. The workshop is directed by Lisa Peterson.

Another Alley Theatre commission also featured in last year's Early Draft Preview will receive a reading on the Neuhaus stage. Glen Berger's (Underneath the Lintel, Spider-Man:Turn Off the Dark) new play Whistlin' Dixie follows Tin Pan Alley songwriter Herschel Horwitz as he desperately concocts a scheme to get his yet-to-be-written hit song into the right hands. A lynching in Waco sends Herschel on a harrowing journey down a river of folk song and into the darkest chambers of America's heart. The reading is directed by Alex Harvey.

The Festival includes a reading of Amerikin by award-winning playwright Chisa Hutchinson (who will have a world premiere produced and recorded by Audible Inc. in New York this winter). In Amerikin, Jeff Browning, a new father desperate for community, casually follows his buddy's advice and tries to join a white supremacist group. But, the results of his ancestry test prove surprising. The reading is directed by Alley Interim Artistic Director James Black.

Playwright Don Nguyen concludes the line-up of Festival readings with his play The Supreme Leader. While attending boarding school in Switzerland, Kim Jong-Un learns he's next in line to be Supreme Leader and must prove himself worthy to his father. This coming-of-age comedy imagines Kim's final throes of youth before his fateful return to North Korea. The reading is directed by Alley Artistic Associate Brandon Weinbrenner.

Additionally, the Festival will present a special Early Draft Preview event that will showcase excerpts and a conversation with the authors of a new work in-process. This year's Early Draft Preview will feature a new musical about Texas politics by Lawrence Wright (Alley's Cleo, Hulu's "The Looming Tower") with music by Marcia Ball (2018 Texas State Musician of the Year) and Gordon Wright.

In additional to festival offerings, Alley All New continues to produce special events throughout the year centered on new work. Houston-based artists Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin's performance lecture A Landing on the Bayou will be presented on November 8 and 9 in the Texas Room and Brandon Weinbrenner will direct a reading of Eleanor Burgess' (The Niceties, Chill) new play Wife of a Salesman on December 3 in the Hubbard Theatre. Free reservations can be made at alleytheatre.org beginning November 2.

The Alley All New Festival provides playwrights the resources needed to grow their work. The festival offers audiences a first look at plays that may appear in full productions at the Alley, as well as at theatres around the country. Last season, the Alley produced four full productions of former Festival plays - Describe the Night by Rajiv Joseph; Cleo by Lawrence Wright; Lover, Beloved: An Evening with Carson McCullers by Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik; and The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter. Upcoming plays in the Alley's season that were developed during past Festivals include The Carpenter by Robert Askins and Quack by Eliza Clark.

Describe the Night by Rajiv Joseph premiered Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company following its fall world premiere at the Alley @UH and went on to win the Obie Award for Best New Play. Syncing Ink by NSangou Njikam, which appeared in the 2016 Festival and premiered at the Alley during the 2017 Festival, went on to New York's Flea Theater. The Cake has been produced widely around the country and will premiere off-Broadway this winter at Manhattan Theatre Club. Quack by Eliza Clark is currently running at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

All presentations are free and open to the public. Alley All New programming is recommended for mature audiences. Each performance will be followed by a post-show conversation lead by a member of the artistic staff.

All updates and schedules will be available at alleytheatre.org/allnew.

Alley Theatre Announces Programming for the 2019 Alley All New Festival and Reading Series

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