BWW Previews: BUILDING THE WALL at The Adrienne Arsht Center For The Performing Arts
City Theatre (@citytheatremia) and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) are proud to present the South Florida premiere of BUILDING THE WALL, a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way, Hacksaw Ridge). Local award-winning actors Gregg Weiner and Karen Stephens have been cast for the Miami production directed by City Theatre Artistic Director Margaret M. Ledford. BUILDING THE WALL will be playing September 21 - October 8 in the intimate Carnival Studio Theater (Ziff Ballet Opera House).
Written by Robert Schenkkan immediately prior to the recent presidential election and inspired by candidate Donald Trump and his anti-immigration campaign rhetoric, BUILDING THE WALL reveals a scenario of how campaign promises made law might lead to a terrifying, seemingly inconceivable, yet inevitable conclusion.
The drama is set in the very near future, after the election, as a Trump administration carries out its promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants, following a terrorist attack in Times Square. With martial law declared and increased arrests by Homeland Security and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), rapid expansions in the private detention system are quickly overwhelmed with detainees awaiting deportation to home countries refusing to accept them. Rick (Gregg Weiner), a detention center supervisor abandoned by his supervisors as the situation deteriorates into chaos and death, is interviewed by Gloria (Karen Stephens), a historian curious to understand his side of the story, while he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that escalated into the unimaginable. This riveting, harrowing and illuminating drama delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how the inconceivable becomes inevitable when personal accountability is denied.
In 2014, All The Way, Part One of Robert Schenkkan's "LBJ Plays," won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League, Kennedy Prize, and the ATCA/Steinberg Awards for Best Play and broke two Broadway box office records. Robert has since adapted All The Way as a feature film for HBO, produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Bryan Cranston. Robert's previous Broadway experience was the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic, The Kentucky Cycle, which also won the LA Drama Critics Award, and was nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, and the Outer Critics' Circle Awards. Other plays include Hanussen (2017 Denver Summit Theater Festival), Shadowplay, Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, By the Rivers of Babylon, Handler, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, Final Passages, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Dream Thief, A Single Shard, and The Great Society, Part Two of the LBJ Plays, anticipated in New York in 2018. His musical, The Twelve, had its world premiere in Denver in 2015 and won the Henry Award for Best New Play/Musical. Films: Hacksaw Ridge (2016. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards); The Quiet American. Television: Robert was nominated for two Emmys and won a WGA Award for his work on the HBO/Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg miniseries, The Pacific. Other television work includes: The Andromeda Strain, Crazy Horse, and Spartacus. www.robertschenkkan.com.
Mr. Schenkkan and the Rolling World Premiere partner theaters producing BUILDING THE WALL have received international attention in The New York Times, The Washington Post and on the BBC Newshour. for their rapid artistic response to the current administration and the political climate it foments.
"City Theatre chooses new works for its productions of short plays that are timely, exciting and resonant," said City Theatre Co-Founder and Literary Director Susan J. Westfall. "However, this opportunity as associate members of National New Play Network, and its Rolling World Premiere of BUILDING THE WALL, allows us to develop an important original script in our first main stage full-length production in many years, and work with Robert Schenkkan, one of this country's foremost playwrights, to bring this powerful and compelling immigration story to South Florida audiences."
City Theatre is an award-winning professional theater company founded in Miami, FL in 1996, that is dedicated to the development and production of new works and programming that entertains, informs and resonates with its diverse audiences. It is the only theatre in the nation producing ten minute plays and musicals year round and for all ages, including its signature SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVALS featuring work by well-known and exciting new writers culled from its City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contests, SHORTS GONE WILD featuring original LGBTQ plays by regional and national playwrights, the CITY SHORTS "Best of the Fest" winter regional tour into local community venues, the SHORT CUTS in-school tour bringing original commissioned work to 25,000 students annually and returning in 2017, WINTER SHORTS. City Theatre is unique in South Florida for its long standing commitment towards playwrights and their educational and professional development, including its reading series designed to inform and invest audiences in the process of new play development; the NextGen Project; a student mentoring initiative to identify and support the Next Generations of South Florida playwrights; and CityWrights, a year-round series of workshops, readings, panels and a Weekend Convening bringing together regional and national dramatists and theatre industry leaders for artistic collaboration and professional opportunities. City Theatre selects opportunities to produce full-length plays it feels are timely, exciting and impactful to its community and audiences. In 2016, City Theatre was honored by the Carbonell Committee with the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award, which recognizes significant contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, for the company's dedication to the short form play and fostering new play development. www.citytheatre.com.
As the other theater's presenting this play have offered during their productions, following certain performances City Theatre and the Arsht Center will host a series of post-show talks with experts, grassroots leaders, universities and other institutions to explore aspects of the play and provide opportunities for community education and engagement. A schedule of topics, speakers and moderators to be announced soon.
BUILDING THE WALL is the National New Play Network's (NNPN) 68th Rolling World Premiere. In a NNPN Rolling World Premiere, the Network provides production support to the playwright and the partnering theaters, including assistance with the creation and the contracting of the premiere agreement, collaborative interactions between the theaters, and travel and housing funds for the playwright to further develop the play in each city. BUILDING THE WALL is co-presented in Miami with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Sponsors include the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, PA, and Citizens Interested in the Arts. Visit www.citytheatre.com or call (305) 755-9401 for up-to-date information on details and schedules.
National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country's alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program, which provides playwright and production support for new works at its Member theaters. Additional programs - its annual National Conference, National Showcase of New Plays, and MFA Playwrights Workshop; the NNPN Annual and Smith Prize commissions; its residencies for playwrights, producers and directors; and the organization's member accessed Collaboration, Festival, and Travel banks and online information sessions - have helped cement the Network's position as a vital force in the new play landscape. NNPN also strives to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. Its most recent project, the New Play Exchange, is changing the way playwrights share their work and others discover it by providing immediate access to information on more than 9,500 new plays by living writers. NNPN's 30 Core and more than 75 Associate Members - along with the more than 150 affiliated artists who are its alumni, the thousands of artists and artisans employed annually by its member theaters, and the hundreds of thousands of audience members who see its supported works each year - are creating the new American theater. www.nnpn.org | www.newplayexchange.org
BUILDING THE WALL is co-presented in Miami with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Sponsors include the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, PA, WLRN, and Citizens Interested in the Arts.
Set in the heart of downtown Miami and designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the world's leading performing arts organizations and venues. Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has emerged as a leader in presenting innovative programming that mirrors South Florida's diversity as well as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area. Spotlighting legends and serving as a launch pad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage, the Center presents nearly 400 events each year across its flexible, state-of-the-art performance spaces. The Center programs several Signature Series, including the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival, and a robust program of new theatrical works as well as free programming for the community and an arts education program that serves nearly 30,000 children each year. As Miami's new Town Square, the Arsht Center also houses BRAVA by Brad Kilgore, a fine dining restaurant; the Café at Books & Books in the historic Carnival Tower and a weekly Farmers Market. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for more information,
Tickets to BUILDING THE WALL are $34, $39, $44 & $54*. Tickets are available now and may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center Box Office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org. Select performances will offer American Sign Language interpreters and devices that translate the play into Spanish and Creole.