KC Rep to Host New Works Festival at Copaken Stage, 4/23-5/22

Marissa Wolf, Kansas City Repertory Theatre's Director of New Works, today announced additional programing and dates for KC Rep's new play festival, Origin KC. Origin KC offers audiences a unique experience to engage with the process of creating theater, and gives emerging and established writers the resources to develop plays for future seasons at KC Rep and beyond.

Concluding KC Rep's historic and succesful 2015-16 season, Origin KC: New Works Festival will feature two WORLD PREMIERES, Fire in Dreamland and Lot's Wife presented in rotating repertory April 23 through May 22 at KC Rep's Copaken Stage. The festival will include Theater Industry Professionals Weekend May 13-15 with staged readings by acclaimed national playwrights Larissa FastHorse, Christina Anderson, and Michelle T. Johnson.

KC Rep Artistic Director Eric Rosen says, "Placing the playwright at the center of the theater has been a lifelong pursuit, and in my seven years at the Rep, Kansas City has become an influential center for the development of new plays - not just at the Rep, but across our theater community. Origin KC was launched to build on the Rep's success and secure our position as a truly great theater town for writers and audiences. Partnerships with major theaters across the country will deepen and expand the impact of the Rep's artists on the national field, while deepening our commitment to the people of our region."

"I'm thrilled to welcome Kansas City audiences into the creation process of resonant new plays and musicals," says Marissa Wolf. "We're committed to building long term relationships with playwrights, from the seed of an idea through to production, supporting the creation of a contemporary cannon of exciting new American plays."

Origin KC New Works Festival

Kicking off Kansas City Rep's final season slot in the downtown Copaken Stage, Origin KC: New Works Festival brings together artists and audiences in a month-long spree of world premiere productions running in rep, alongside staged readings, round table discussions, and celebratory parties.

Festival Premieres in Rotating Rep: Lot's Wife and Fire in Dreamland

Fire in Dreamland written by celebrated playwright Rinne Groff (Saved!, Compulsion) and directed by KC Rep's Director of New Works Marissa Wolf. Moments after you've settled into your seat, this coming-of-age story grabs you with such intensity that you can't look away. A world premiere from celebrated playwright Rinne Groff (Saved!, Compulsion), it's the story of a young woman named Kate who is seduced by the vision of a Dutch filmmaker obsessed with the tragic 1911 fire on Coney Island. As past and present converge in this haunted, battered landscape, Kate must find a way to rebuild her own life amidst the ruins.

The ensemble cast, drawn from across the country, includes Bree Elrod as Kate (KC Rep: Roof of the World, Shutter Island, Dark Feed), Brian Huther as Lance (Mixology), and Gabriel Marin as Jaap (Rapture, Blister, Burn, and Mother** With the Hat). Lot's Wife, written by KC Rep's Artistic Director Eric Rosen and directed by Joanie Schultz, tells the story of Adam Mace, a promising playwright with a troubling past, who has written his first new play since the tragic death of his wife and infant child. Set as a 1930s noir thriller, the script opens old wounds between ex-friends and lovers as actors are made to play themselves, and even the dead take the stage to tell their side of the story in an epic meta-theatrical murder mystery that is both heartbreaking and hilarious.

The ensemble cast includes Adam Poss as Tom/Thomas (The Least Among You, Openings: The Search for Harry), Vanessa Severo as Thalia (Trivial, KC Rep: Roof of the World, August: Osage County), and Rusty Sneary as Adam Mace/Andrew (KC Rep: Roof of the World, Carousel, A Christmas Carol).

Playwright Bios

Rinne Groff's plays and musicals, including 77%, Compulsion, Saved,The Ruby Sunrise, In the Bubble, Moliere Impromptu, Jimmy Carter Was a Democrat, Orange Lemon Egg Canary, What Then, Inky, and The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem, have been produced and commissioned by Yale Rep, Playwrights Horizons, The Public, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Rep, Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Women's Project, P.S. 122, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, and Andy's Summer Playhouse, among others. Rinne is a recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an OBIE Award grant, and a NYSCA grant. Residencies: the MacDowell Colony, the Orchard Project, the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Australian National Playwrights Conference, the Perry Mansfield New Noises Festival, and the Chautauqua Theater Company. Other affiliations: Elevator Repair Service (founding member), New Dramatists, the Dramatists Guild, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she teaches in the Department of Dramatic Writing. Yale B.A., NYU M.F.A

Eric Rosen was the founding Artistic Director of Chicago's About Face Theatre (AFT) from 1995 to 2008, and is a writer, director and producer. Original projects include Venice (KC Rep, Center Theatre Group-LA, Public Theater-NYC, "Best Musical of 2010"-TIME Magazine); Wedding Play (Steppenwolf/AFT, Jefferson nomination); Winesburg, Ohio (Step­penwolf/AFT-Jeff Award, Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company-Barrymore Award, KC Rep); Clay (AFT, Lookingglass Theatre-Chicago, Center Theatre Group, KC Rep, Lincoln Center/CT3-Drama Desk Nomi­nation, Jeff Award); and Undone, Whitman and Dream Boy (Jeff Award, several productions across the country). In addition to Venice, other KC Rep directing credits include: Clay; Winesburg, Ohio; world premiere of A Christmas Story, The Musical! (a hit musical on Broadway-three Tony nominations, including Best Musical); Cabaret; August: Osage County; The Whipping Man; Pippin; Death of a Salesman; Ro­meo and Juliet; and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Additional directing credits include productions at Lincoln Center, Center Theatre Group, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Alliance, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, Hartford Stage, 5th Avenue, Prince, Cincinnati, Melbourne (Australia) and workshops at Sundance, O'Neill, Playwrights Horizons, and the Public Theater. He has developed and produced over 40 world premieres, including Doug Wright's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning I am My Own Wife and work by Mary Zimmerman, Frank Galati, Stephen Flaherty, Moisés Kaufman, David Cale and The Civilians, among others. He holds a doctorate in performance studies from Northwestern University, has twice served as an NEA panel­ist, and serves on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization of non-profit theatres.

Performances begin Saturday April 23 and run in rotating repertory through Sunday, May 22 at Copaken Stage. Press night for both performances is scheduled for Saturday, April 30th beginning at 6:00 pm. High res rehearsal photos can be found here. Appropriate for ages 17+.

Theater Industry Professionals Weekend

May 13-15

The festival will include Theater Industry Professionals Weekend with staged readings by acclaimed national playwrights Larissa FastHorse, Christina Anderson, and Kansas City's Michelle T. in addition to engaging panel discussions with industry professionals, and celebratory parties.

Copaken Stage, H&R Block Knowledge Center

These events are FREE. RSVP by calling the KC Rep Box Office at 816.235.2700

What Would Crazy Horse Do?

Written by Larissa FastHorse

Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

In What Would Crazy Horse Do? preeminent Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse, whose work has been seen at Cornerstone Theatre Company and the Kennedy Center TYA, investigates what happens when two Native American twins are approached by the KKK to form an unsettling partnership.

Man In Love

Written by Christina Anderson

Directed by Marissa Wolf

The gripping 1930s drama Man in Love by KC native Christina Anderson follows a serial killer in a segregated city roiling with violence, love, and hope. Anderson was selected by American Theater Magazine as one of 15 artists "whose work will be transforming America's stages for decades to come."

Rights of Passage

Written by Michelle T. Johnson

Directed by Sidonie Garrett

After killing an unarmed black man, a white cop seeks representation at a small law firm, only to find himself caught in an explosive power struggle. KC playwright Michelle Johnson's work has been seen at KC Melting Pot Theater and NYC's Rhymes Over Beats Theater Company.

Subscriptions and Tickets

Tickets to the Origin KC New Works Festival range from $20 to $59. For 2015-16 season subscription and ticket information, please contact the Box Office at 816.235.2700 or visit www.KCRep.org.

Gala 2016

Save the date for Friday, May 20, 2016 at the newly renovated Spencer Theatre! Last year's Fearless Fête raised more than $655,000 which helps ensure that KC Rep can continue to create professional productions that garner regional and national acclaim and provide lifelong learning opportunities through our Education and Community Programs which benefit more than 10,000 Kansas City area students each year. For more information, please visit http://www.kcrep.org/a-fearless-fete-2016 or contact Amanda Middaugh at Middaugham@kcrep.org or 816.235.1489.

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