BEFORE THIS NEW YEAR Gets Industry Reading November 19th
"Before This New Year," a coming-of-age identity and right-of-first-passage love story by playwright Liana Sonenclar, will play a reading for industry on Monday, November 19th at 7 PM, at the Jerry Orbach Theater at the Theater Center at 210 West 50th Street, and will feature a notable cast. The play is helmed by director Kimberly Loren Eaton, who has been working on the development of the piece with Sonenclar the past several months through her creative development and Production Company Theatrum Mundi Productions.
The cast includes Liana Sonenclar (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as Alison, Ronnie Farer* (Donnie Brasco, Putting It Together on Broadway) as her Mom, Julesy Flavelle as her love interest, Haley; Tom O'Keefe* (House of Cards, The Gifted, Bedlam's Hamlet & St. Joan, Amazon's The Tick) as Coach - Haley's father; Monique St. Cyr* (Thunderbodies, The Public Theater's Julius Caesar) as Jen; Justin Gregory Lopez* (Lempicka, NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE) as Brandon; and Cathy Ang* (KPOP) in multiple roles. Jenny Ainsworth stage manages.
Previously, "Before This New Year" has been presented in a well-received, sold-out immersive staged reading with at Out of the Box Theatrics earlier in 2018, with a different director and cast, and as a part Ivy Theatre Company's reading festival "24 Hours of Women." Continued creative development of the piece with director Kimberly Loren Eaton's company Theatrum Mundi Productions followed, during which time it was refined and expanded, and it was at a table reading during this development process that producer Jonathan Demar came to the piece and shortly after got involved with the project. The team are currently exploring options for a full production of the play.
High-school track star Alison Bennett had met every expectation and standard of excellence - until everything fell apart. Now she has just completed her first semester of college, and upon her return home for the holidays, is forced to confront the choices that ended her running career and re-charted the course of her life. As she comes to terms with what she wants for herself now, Alison gets reckless.
"Before This New Year" is a bittersweet, sometimes funny, and brutally honest portrait of young people with an LGBTQ+ Gen Z lens, which explores themes of letting go, identity, and coming-of-age in today's absurdly high-pressured world.
Sonenclar wrote "Before This New Year" because there are so few plays about young people, and she wanted to give voice to her generation. "I was frustrated when I wrote the play because I felt there was a lack of contemporary narrative storytelling which follows the journey of characters my age." She continued, "I think all teenagers experience on some level what Alison goes through in the play and are probably embarrassed to talk about: goals, sexuality, parent/child relationships, and the absurd pressures on young people today. There is a ridiculous amount of pressure to know exactly who you are by the time you turn 18, and if you don't, you are ostracized, or looked at as a failure. One of my goals for the play was to create an inter-generational dialogue about this, and I wanted to do so through a semi-comedic lens. I think so much of what gets produced is tragically dark, and today, maybe more than ever, we need to be able to laugh."
Director Kimberly Loren Eaton said, "Liana is a distinct generational voice, whose work reminds me of a Gen Z Amy Sherman- Palladino with its quick comic beats and characters with a lot of heart. Her voice is reflective of her generation in that it is revolutionary to normalize intersectionality and identities of all kinds."
Producer Jonathan Demar agreed, "Liana is early in her career, but her writing rivals the work of some of the most produced and lauded contemporary playwrights. When my colleague and our director Kimberly Loren Eaton invited me to hear the piece this past summer, I fell in love with the play and knew I had to get it out there to industry. In today's world, voices like Liana's that highlight the unusual perspective of Generation Z are needed more than ever. I know this is just the beginning for Liana and that her play is in the right hands with Kimberly Loren Eaton, who has a great vision for the future of this play."
For invitation consideration and more information about the play, email BTNYplay@gmail.com.
Liana Sonenclar is a writer and actress based in New York City. As an actress, she has performed Off-Broadway, and she also shoots comic memes for Elite Daily. Her original play "Before This New Year" was presented in June as a staged reading with Out of the Box Theatrics. Her most recent short story, "Alibi", was a finalist for the Al Blanchard Award at the New England Crime Bake, in which she was the youngest author in history to place. Liana currently works for the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a reader of new work for Parity Productions, an associate producer for Wild Banshee Productions, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild. Liana studied English at the University of Chicago, and is currently completing her BFA in drama at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. www.lianasonenclar.com
"On-the-rise director" (BroadwayWorld), Kimberly Loren Eaton specializes in the development of new theatrical work. She has been named a Directing Fellow at DirectorsLab: Chicago at Victory Gardens Theatre and the Women's Work Lab at New Perspectives Theatre Company. Her work has
been presented at the Wimberly Stage of the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, Baruch Center for the Performing Arts, Musical Theatre Factory, Guild Hall in East Hampton, the Triad Theatre, Playwrights Horizons Downtown and at numerous festivals, cabarets, and gala performances. Recent work includes Dana Leslie Goldstein's Daughters of the Sexual Revolution with Sarah Steele and Tim Busfield, Vanda's The Forgetting Curve, Martine Sainvil's The Good China, One of the Nice Ones by Erik Patterson starring Zachary Quinto and Adrienne C. Moore, Sammy's Bowery Follies with A.J. Shiveley, Jenny Lyn Bader's Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library with Kate Hamill, Waiting by Shellen Lubin, American Dream starring David Morse, Tamara Tunie and Sarita Choudhury, and an immersive play/ art installation called Totems, with Wild Banshee. Named the youngest Artistic Director and Managing Director to helm an Off-Broadway theatre, she ran the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre through the recession in the black, founded and directed Kids Company, a resident Off-Broadway youth musical theatre company, and Teen Tech Crew, a technical theatre career training program for inner city youth, was awarded an NEA grant, and during her tenure Freud's Last Session transferred from Barrington Stages, ran for 1.5 years, and received the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play. She is founder and principal of Theatrum Mundi Productions, a theatrical production and creative development company. Select producing credits: Producing teams of Fun Home (Broadway-5 Tony Awards including Best Play, and National Tour), The Velocity of Autumn (Broadway), Freud's Last Session (Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play), Tonya & Nancy (NYMF). She studied at Queens College, Hofstra University, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. SDC, Michael Moore Agency.
Jonathan Demar is a producer and actor who has been involved with various productions both on and off-Broadway. Producing credits include the upcoming Be More Chill, Off Broadway's Church & State, the West End revival of Gypsy (with Seaview Productions) starring Imelda Staunton, Broadway's Love Letters with Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy; and The Velocity of Autumn starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella. B.A. Emory University. His Production Company Dynamic Elevations helps develop and produce shows, taking theater to new heights.