The Drama League Announces Its 2019 Directors-In-Residence

By: Dec. 06, 2018

The Drama League Announces Its 2019 Directors-In-Residence

The Drama League (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Artistic Director) has announced the theater directors chosen to develop new plays and musicals as part of the 2019 Drama League Artist Residency Program. Public work-in-progress presentations of each residency will be held periodically throughout the year at The Drama League Theater Center, 32 Avenue of the Americas, in Tribeca. Schedules for the presentations, which are open to the public, will be available throughout 2019 at or by calling (212) 244-9494.

The Drama League Artist Residency Program offers directors and their collaborators the opportunity to comfortably develop a new theatre piece at the Drama League Theater Center in Tribeca. The only developmental program in the country focusing on the creative process of directors, The Drama League has developed many award-winning productions, including The TEAM's RoosevElvis (Vineyard Theatre, London's Royal Court Theatre), Ripe Time's The World Is Round (BAM), Assembled Identities (HERE Arts Center), I Wanna F*****g Tear You Apart (Studio Theatre, DC), Georama (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), America is Hard to See (Life Jacket Theatre Company), and This Is The Color Described by the Time (New Georges/The Flea), to name a few.

The Drama League Artist Residency Program is made possible thanks to the generosity of our current supporters: Howard Gilman Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Riggio Foundation, and The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts. Special thanks to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Drama League. Drama League programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Each Resident Director will offer readings, experiments, and other insights into their creative process at public events throughout the year.

2019 Drama League Artists In Residence

Molly Beach Murphy

Written and directed by Molly Beach Murphy

The Beatrice Terry Residency funds the development of a new work by a female or female-identified writer-director, culminating in a residency and staged reading at The Drama League Theater Center.

Molly Beach Murphy is a playwright and director whose original works include Untitled CREDIT Project, Cowboy Bob, Molly Murphy & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth and Big Bend in the Red Dirt Desert. Directing credits include Big Bend in the Red Dirt Desert, What It's Like When Two Geeks Love Each Other by Jaclyn Backhaus, The Sparrow (SMU Guest Director). Molly's work has been developed at Williamstown, Yale Institute for Music Theater, Civilian's R&D Group, Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop Adelphi Residency, NYMF, New Georges Affiliated Artist, Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, P73's Playwriting Fellowship semi-finalist, a member of Page 73's Interstate 73 Writers Group, Recipient of the Garland Wright Award for Achievement in Directing.

During her residency, Ms. Murphy will develop Galveston, an investigation of FEMA, natural disasters, and the indomitable will of communities to survive, set across a hundred years of a sinking sandbar on the gulf coast of Texas. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria, what does real relief look like? What grows after destruction? What are the things we can't get back?

Previous Beatrice Terry resident directors include Elena Araoz (Plastic Drastic), Morgan Gould (I Wanna F****** Tear You Apart), Shakina Nayfack (Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club) and Colette Robert (The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents the 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel).

Lily Whitsitt and Door 10

Created by Lily Whitsitt (direction), Ben Williams (sound design), Amy Rubin (set design),
Morgan Jenness (dramaturgy), and Sophie Bortolussi (performance)

The Impact Residency, in partnership with the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City, provides a year of resources, space, support, production development, as well as a $10,000.00 grant for a director working inside of an ensemble company to create a new work.

Lily Whitsitt is founder and artistic director of Door 10, a performance laboratory creating original theatrical works that combine unexpected forms with adventurous content. Her directing work has been presented by and/or supported by New Georges, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Flea, HERE, San Francisco Film Society, The Drama League, and Time Warner Foundation/ Women's Project Lab. She is a two-time recipient of the Princess Grace Award.

The Untitled Femme Maison Project is the second in a series of sound-based theater works Ms. Whitsitt is writing and directing with her ensemble Door 10, inspired by the lives of prominent women artists. The first work in this series, This is the Color Described by the Time, was produced last season by New Georges, and examined the controversial politics of writer Gertrude Stein in World War II France. The Untitled Femme Maison Project is inspired by sculptor Louise Bourgeois, known for her work around themes of sexuality, motherhood, and her subconscious. Bourgeois' art - stemming from her fears, shame and rage - explores the struggle of being a woman in a man's world.


Next Stage Residencies are bestowed upon early-career, mid-career, and established directors for one year in the development of multiple projects intended for production in the near future. The residency supports the collaborators for the year with financial resources, rehearsal space, workshop capabilities, and developmental time to prepare the work for pre-production.

Director In Residence: Nell Bang-Jensen

Lead Project: Nosejob (Working Title)
Co-Written and performed by Scott Sheppard and Lee Minora
Choreographed and performed by Matteo Scammell

Nell Bang-Jensen is a theater director/creator who creates full-scale, original works, in addition to directing and producing for many of Philadelphia's major theater institutions including Pig Iron, the Wilma and the Painted Bride. Her interests in radical models for community engagement, social practice, devising, and new play development guide much of her artistic work. She recently served as the Associate Artistic Director of Pig Iron through a Leadership U Grant, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Theatre Communications Group, a fellowship given to eight rising artistic leaders nationally. Recent directing credits include The Caregivers (Pig Iron), The Real Whisper (César Alvarez's Polyphone Festival), and Practice Wedding (Painted Bride).

Nosejob is an original theater work that examines the relationship between desire, seduction, consent and masculinity. It weaves together narratives from a 9th century abbey, a contemporary college campus, and an imagined future where the patriarchy has crumbled. The piece was inspired by the story of Ebba, a nun who lived in Scotland circa 870 A.D.; when Viking invaders pillaged her abbey, she famously cut off her nose, an act of self-mutilation that she hoped would help her avoid being raped and ensure her ascent to heaven. It has been suggested that this is the origin of the saying, "cutting off your nose to spite your face". Nosejob explores how women who compensate for violent male behavior have continued to be glorified in the twelve centuries since.

Director In Residence: Shayok Misha Chowdhury

Lead Project: Beast Thing
Written by Aleshea Harris

Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a queer Bengali director, writer and performance-maker. He is currently a Resident Artist at Ars Nova, a member of the SohoRep Writer/Director Lab, a Resident Director at The Flea, and a recent New York Theatre Workshop Directing Fellow. His work has also been developed and seen at Signature Theatre, SPACE on Ryder Farm, HERE Arts Center, NYMF, the New Orleans Film Festival, and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Upcoming projects include rasgos asiaticos (SohoRep & CalArts Center for New Performance) and MukhAgni (Ars Nova). He is on faculty at Williams College. MFA: Columbia.

A ghost town emaciated by its own secrets. A Saint charged with eating the town's sins. The animals are dying mysteriously, the dogs are barking incessantly, and underneath it all there's a lurking frustration that we've heard this story before. Beast Thing, a new piece by Aleshea Harris (Is God Is), is a critique of our racialized national mythology: the nostalgia-inducing tropes, at once violent and pastoral, that we call Americana.

Director In Residence: Ashley Brooke Monroe

Lead Project: Biting Hands
Written by Laura Winters | Performed by Madison Ferris

Ashley Brooke Monroe is a Brooklyn-based director whose primary interest is in developing new plays and musicals. Recent credits: Julius Caesar (CSC), Tommy's Girls (Fordham/Primary Stages), Fun Home (Cape Rep), and Orlando (Fordham). She assistant-directed the Broadway production of Indecent and assisted Sam Gold on the Tony-winning musical Fun Home, the recent Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and The Mystery of Love and Sex at Lincoln Center. She often creates site-specific work, including What We'll Do by Sheila Callaghan, Red Sky at Night by Blake Bishton and Age of Extinction by Willie Johnson. She has developed work with NYTW, The Public, Musical Theater Factory, The Flea, Soho Rep, IRT, and New York Theatre Barn. Originally from Austin, Ashley holds a BFA in Dramaturgy from the University of Oklahoma.

New couple Lucy and Alfonso have a lot in common: they both love jazz, hate incompetent ER nurses, and are quadriplegics who use an identical computerized voice. Their mothers only see differences. Alfonso's mom writes off anyone who isn't a Spanish-speaking PhD candidate. Lucy's mom won't let her date, period. With Lucy's 18th birthday and legal independence looming, she hopes to defy her mother through an illegal and irreversible plan. Biting Hands is equal parts hilarious coming-of-age story and a brutal dissection of disability, class, and race in present-day America.

Director In Residence: Hannah Ryan

Lead Project: The Village
Written by Oscar Lopez | Choreographed by Charlie Sutton | Produced by Frack Theatre (Lindsay Morris, Sam Clark & Oscar Lopez) and Bear Back Brooke (Liam Mulligan)

Hannah Ryan is the Resident Director of the Broadway production of Hamilton; she previously served in this capacity for An American in Paris on Broadway. Director: Every Path (La Jolla Playhouse & Moxie Theatre), Still Life (Keller Gallery), The Guys (Davenport Theatre), Let's Misbehave: A Tribute to Cole Porter (Mr. Finn's Cabaret), Cendrillon and Gianni Schicchi (Point Loma Opera Theatre), Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Forced Marriage, Only in New York, et al (Point Loma Playhouse). New Musicals in Development: All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go, The Black and White Ball and The Sandman. Drama League Directors Project and SDC Foundation Denham Fellow. Founding member of Nettleworks.

A homeless trans woman living with HIV. A 74-year-old bartender at the Stonewall Inn. A gay Lutheran priest. A party boy. A hardened activist. These are the characters brought together by The Village, a documentary play that recounts the tragedies and triumphs of New York's LGBT community through the voices of people who witnessed them first-hand. Using the 2013 homophobic murder of Mark Carson as a point of departure, The Village is scripted from hours of interviews with real-life residents of the West Village. Interweaving oral history and archival documents with music, song and dance, The Village presents a world that is heartbreaking, fierce, fabulous and brave.

Director In Residence: Madeline Sayet

Lead Project: Hart Island Requiem
Book & Lyrics by Ty Defoe | Composed by Tidtaya Sinutoke

Madeline Sayet is a director of new plays, classics and opera who believes the stories we pass down inform our collective possible futures. For her work as a director she was named to Forbes' 2018 "30 Under 30" List in Hollywood & Entertainment, and has been honored as a TED Fellow, a MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow, a National Directing Fellow, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award. Upcoming directing: Whale Song by Cathy Rexford (Perseverance Theatre), Henry IV (CT Repertory Theatre), Midsummer Nights Dream (South Dakota Shakespeare).

In Hart Island Requiem, Larson Award recipients Ty Defoe (Book & Lyrics) and Tidtaya Sinutoke (Composer) invoke the silenced voices of the land on which we stand. Hart Island is a real place that you can take the MTA Ferry to, which most of us will never hear about. It is a potter's field located in the Bronx, where over one million people have been buried, from 1869 to the present day. This immersive, investigative theatre piece reveals the stories of the people who were tossed out and buried there, because America did not want them. Their ghosts gather at an abandoned theme park where they remember their lives and deaths. Amidst them, one young spirit wonders what it would be like to be one of the living.


First Stage Residencies are bestowed to early and mid-career directors who are beginning the development of a worthy new project, and supports the initial investigations, rehearsals, and collaborations of the work. Each project is given rehearsal space for exploration during a two-week period in August, and culminates in nightly sharings of works-in-progress called the First Stage Festival.

Jaclyn Biskup, Heedless Hungry Lovesick

Nathaniel Claridad, Untitled Filipino-American Project

Tom Costello, My Brother's Better At Love Than Me

Pete Danelski, Every Hour

Melody Erfani, Jefferson's Slave (Working Title)

Alisha Espinosa, Prisoner Tongues

Sarah Hughes, The Light at The End of the Tunnel: An MTA Musical

Rachel Karp, Packing and Cracking

Ashley Marinaccio, Antigone at the Border

Emma Went, The Same Shirt Show Part 2: 'Beckett Without Beckett'


Podcast Exclusive: THE THEATRE PODCAST With Alan Seales Welcomes Katie Rose Clarke Photo
Podcast Exclusive: THE THEATRE PODCAST With Alan Seales Welcomes Katie Rose Clarke

Join Alan Seales as he interviews Broadway star Katie Rose Clarke on The Theatre Podcast. Gain exclusive insights into Clarke's career and experiences in the theater world.

Jeb Brown, Andrew Cekala and Morgan Siobhan Green Will Lead Industry Readings of Lyons and Photo
Jeb Brown, Andrew Cekala and Morgan Siobhan Green Will Lead Industry Readings of Lyons and Pakchar's BEAU

On September 29th, The Music Theatre Factory will present a developmental reading of Lyons and Pakchar's new musical Beau. Find out more about the musical here!

Edinburgh Fringe Hit BEFORE THE DRUGS KICK IN to Have Two NYC Industry Presentations Photo
Edinburgh Fringe Hit BEFORE THE DRUGS KICK IN to Have Two NYC Industry Presentations

Get ready for an unforgettable night of stand-up comedy, theater, and time travel. Join comedian and actress Maria DeCotis in the award-nominated show 'Before The Drugs Kick In' at the UNDER St. Marks Theater.

Industry Pro Newsletter: San Francisco Theaters Explore New Leadership Models Photo
Industry Pro Newsletter: San Francisco Theaters Explore New Leadership Models

Pulitzer Prize eligibility has expanded, now including permanent residents and long-term U.S. artists, a significant shift outlined in The Guardian. In the regional theater landscape, celebrated playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney takes the helm as Artistic Director of the Geffen Playhouse.

Industry Classifieds

More Hot Stories For You



Recommended For You