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Adam Bock's A LIFE, 'BELLA' Musical Slated for Playwrights Horizons' 2016-17 Season of Premieres


Playwrights Horizons, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, just announced the six productions of its 2016/2017 Season. The six new works will be presented at the theater company's home at 416 West 42nd Street.

In season order, they will be:

AUBERGINE - the New York premiere of a new play by Julia Cho (BFE at PH, The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Architecture of Loss), directed by Kate Whoriskey (Fabulation, Inked Baby at PH; Ruined; the current Her Requiem), presented at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater. AUBERGINE will be the first production of the season, beginning previews on Friday, August 19, 2016.

A LIFE - the world premiere of a new play by Obie Award winner Adam Bock (A Small Fire and The Drunken City at PH; The Receptionist; The Thugs; Swimming in the Shallows), directed by two-time Obie Award winner Anne Kauffman (Marjorie Prime, Detroit, Maple and Vine at PH; You Got Older; Belleville; This Wide Night; the current Smokefall), presented at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater, beginning September 2016.

RANCHO VIEJO - the world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new play by Dan LeFranc (The Big Meal at PH, Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, In the Labyrinth), directed by three-time Obie Award winner Daniel Aukin (Placebo, This at PH; Fool For Love; Bad Jews; 4000 Miles; [sic]), presented at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater, beginning November 2016.

THE LIGHT YEARS - the world premiere of a new play written by Drama Desk Award winner Hannah Bos (Jacuzzi, Blood Play, Buddy Cop 2) and Obie Award winner Paul Thureen (Jacuzzi, Blood Play, Buddy Cop 2), directed and developed by Obie Award winner Oliver Butler (Jacuzzi, The Open House, Blood Play), made by The Debate Society, presented at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater, beginning February 2017. As with all previous Debate Society productions, the cast will feature Ms. Bos and Mr. Thureen, as well as additional cast members to be announced. Ms. Bos, Mr. Thureen and Mr. Butler are co-founders and co-Artistic Directors of The Debate Society.

THE PROFANE - the world premiere of a new play by Zayd Dohrn (Outside People, Reborning), presented at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater, beginning March 2017. A director for THE PROFANE will be announced in the coming weeks.

BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE - the co-world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new musical with book, music and lyrics by Obie Award winner Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin at PH; Miracle Brothers), directed by two-time Obie Award winner Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy at PH, Barbecue, In the Continuum, The Brother/Sister Plays), presented at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater, beginning May 2017. BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons through the Musicals in Partnership Initiative with funds provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This production will first be staged at Dallas Theatre Center this fall.

A 6-Show Subscription package to Playwrights Horizons' 2016/2017 season is now available ($288, four Mainstage and two Peter Jay Sharp Theater productions). In addition to discounts on all season productions, subscribers receive priority booking and seating, ticket exchange privileges, parking and dining discounts, and exclusive mailings of Playwrights Horizons Bulletins. Packages are available at now.

Playwrights Horizons is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, Playwrights Horizons continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. Writers are supported through every stage of their growth with a series of development programs: script and score evaluations, commissions, readings, musical theater workshops, and Sharp and Mainstage productions. In its 45 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 400 writers and has received numerous awards and honors, including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for "ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work." Notable productions include six Pulitzer Prize winners - Annie Baker's The Flick (2013 Obie Award, 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award, Best Play); Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play); Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play); Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George - as well as Ms. Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (2010 Obie Awards, Best New American Play); Lisa D'Amour's Detroit (2013 Obie Award, Best New American Play); Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale (2013 Lortel Award, Best Play); Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy (two 2015 Obie Awards); Lucas Hnath's The Christians (2015 Kesselring Prize); Taylor Mac's Hir; Jordan Harrison's Marjorie Prime (2015 Pulitzer finalist); Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar (2012 Obie Awards); Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play; Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn; Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan and After the Revolution; Bathsheba Doran's Kin; Melissa James Gibson's This; Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards); Richard Greenberg, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Far From Heaven; Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting); Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero; David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award); Kirsten Childs' The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award); Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead (2000 Tony Award, Best Book); Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins; William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland; Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You; Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island; Jon Robin Baitz' The Substance of Fire; Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room; A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room and Later Life; Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins; and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet. Playwrights Horizons was founded in 1971 by Robert Moss, before moving to 42nd Street where it has been instrumental in the revitalization of Theatre Row. André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981 to 1991, followed by Don Scardino, who served through 1995. Playwrights' auxiliary programs include the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, which is affiliated with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and Ticket Central, a central box office that supports the Off-Broadway performing arts community.



New York premiere of a new play by Julia Cho

Directed by Kate Whoriskey

Previews begin August 19, 2016

Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

A man shares a bowl of berries, and a young woman falls in love. A world away, a mother prepares a bowl of soup to keep her son from leaving home. And a son cooks a meal for his dying father to say everything that words can't. In Julia Cho's poignant and lyrical new play, the making of a perfect meal is an expression more precise than language, and the medium through which life gradually reveals itself.

AUBERGINE is currently having its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, CA), through March 20.

Julia Cho (Playwright). At Playwrights Horizons: BFE. Her other plays include The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, The Architecture of Loss and 99 Histories. Her work has been produced in New York at Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop, and regionally at theaters such as Long Wharf Theatre, South Coast Repertory and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Honors include the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Barrie Stavis Award, the Claire Tow Award for Emerging Artists and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting. She has also been the recipient of a New York Foundation for The Arts grant, a Van Lier Fellowship from New York Theatre Workshop and residences at MacDowell and Hedgebrook. Julia studied playwriting at Amherst College, New York University and The Juilliard School and is an alumna of New Dramatists.

Kate Whoriskey (Director). At Playwrights Horizons: Fabulation, Inked Baby. She is currently represented on the New York stage with Her Requiem at LCT3. Other New York credits include The Miracle Worker on Broadway, Dear Elizabeth at The Women's Project, Tales from Red Vienna and Ruined at Manhattan Theatre Club (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel nominations), How I Learned to Drive at Second Stage Theatre, The Piano Teacher at the Vineyard Theatre, Oroonoko at TFANA and Massacre at the Labyrinth Theatre Company (of which she is a member). Recent Regional credits include Lynn Nottage's Sweat at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage.


World premiere of a new play by Adam Bock

Directed by Anne Kauffman

September 2016

Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

Nate Martin is hopelessly single. When his most recent breakup, another in a lifelong string of ill-fated matches, casts him into a funk, he turns to the only source of wisdom he trusts: the stars. Poring over astrological charts, he obsessively questions his past and his place in the cosmos. But in Adam Bock's disarming new play, the answer he receives, when it comes, is shockingly obvious - and totally unpredictable.

Adam Bock (Playwright). At Playwrights Horizons: A Small Fire, The Drunken City. His other plays include The Receptionist, The Thugs and Swimming in the Shallows. He writes both comedy and drama, blending whimsical surrealism with dark and painful exploration of character. Charles Isherwood in The New York Times described A Small Fire as "a theatrical combo plate that proves unusually satisfying ... raucous, funny and unexpectedly touching." Adam has had more than ten plays produced at prestigious theaters including Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep., Second Stage Uptown, Rattlestick and Yale Rep. He has received the Obie Award, BATCC Award, Clauder Prize, Glickman Award and Guernsey Award, and been nominated for the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. Adam has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists and an artistic associate at Shotgun Players and Encore Theater.

Anne Kauffman (Director). At Playwrights Horizons: Marjorie Prime, Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra, Detroit, Maple and Vine. Also with Mr. Bock: the musical We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Yale Rep). Recent credits include the current Smokefall (MCC, Goodman Theater, South Coast Rep), Buzzer (Public Theater), The Nether (MCC), You Got Older (P73 Productions, Obie Award), the musical 100 Days (Z Space in San Francisco) and The Muscles in Our Toes (Labyrinth). Other credits include Somewhere Fun (Vineyard Theater); Belleville (Yale Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, Steppenwolf; Lortel nomination for Best Director); This Wide Night (Naked Angels; Lortel nomination for Best Director); Stunning, Slowgirl (both LCT3); Your Better Sit Down: Tales from My Parents' Divorce (Williamstown, ArtsEmerson, The Flea); and God's Ear (New Georges, the Vineyard). She is a Sundance Program Associate, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, an alumna of the Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab, a current member of Soho Rep.'s Artistic Council, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Drama League of New York, a founding member of The Civilians, an Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb and member of New Georges Kitchen Cabinet. Her awards include two Obies, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, the Barrymore Award for Best Director and a Lilly Award.


World premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new play by Dan LeFranc

Directed by Daniel Aukin

November 2016

Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

We never meet young Richie and Lonna, whose marriage is on the rocks. But miles and miles away, in the affluent southwestern suburb where their parents live, this couple's separation is disturbing the tranquility of a community they've barely met. In Dan LeFranc's comedy of anxiety and awkward neighbors, the residents of Rancho Viejo drift from one gathering to the next, wrestling life's grandest themes while fending off existential despair - set against the lustful, yearning strains of a distant bolero.

RANCHO VIEJO was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with the support of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Dan LeFranc (Playwright). At Playwrights Horizons: The Big Meal (also American Theatre Company, HighTide Festival UK) and he was the theater company's first Playwright-in-Residence (2012-2015). His other plays include Bruise Easy (American Theater Company), Troublemaker (commissioned and produced by Berkeley Rep), Sixty Miles to Silver Lake (Soho Rep., P73), Origin Story, In the Labyrinth and Night Surf. LeFranc received the 2011 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award and the John C. Russell Fellowship. For television, he wrote for Showtime's Golden Globe Award-winning drama series "The Affair" and the Steve McQueen limited series for HBO, "Codes of Conduct." LeFranc teaches at the Yale School of Drama.

Daniel Aukin (Director). At Playwrights Horizons: Melissa James Gibson's Placebo and This. A three-time Obie Award winner, his work includes the recent acclaimed revival of Fool for Love by Sam Shepard at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman (also Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center, The Public Theater), Josh Harmon's Bad Jews (Roundabout), Melissa James Gibson's What Rhymes with America (The Atlantic), Sam Shepard's Heartless (Signature), Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles (Lincoln Center Theater), Marius von Mayenburg's The Ugly One (Soho Rep.), Itamar Moses' Back Back Back (MTC), Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge (Arena Stage) and Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine (La Jolla Playhouse). As Artistic Director of Soho Rep. (1998-2006), premieres of new work include Mark Schultz's Everything Will Be Different, Melissa James Gibson's Suitcase and [sic], Mac Wellman's Cat's-Paw, Quincy Long's The Year of the Baby and Maria Irene Fornes' Molly's Dream. He teaches in the Directing Program at The New School for Drama.


World premiere of a new play written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen

Directed and developed by Oliver Butler

Made by The Debate Society

Cast to feature Ms. Bos and Mr. Thureen with additional cast to be announced

February 2017

Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

Behold The Spectatorium: an audacious, visionary 12,000-seat theater designed for the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 by Steele MacKaye, the now forgotten theatrical impresario around whom this haunted, 40-year love story spins. From the minds of celebrated play-making company The Debate Society, THE LIGHT YEARS is an epic, intimate tale of two families struggling to meet their future, and a spectacular tribute to man's indomitable spirit of invention.

Hannah Bos (Co-Author/Performer) Playwrights Horizons debut. She is a founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society. She has co-written and starred in all of the company's plays, most recently, Jacuzzi. She starred in the premiere of Will Eno's The Open House at the Signature Theatre Company (Drama Desk Award; Lortel nomination, Featured Actress). Regional: premieres of Will Eno's Gnit and Lisa Kron's The Veri**on Play at Humana Festival, Andrei Serban's Lysistrata (ART) and Janos Szasz' Marat/Sade (ART). TV/Film: "High Maintenance," Timeless Seasons, How to Follow Strangers, Next Life. Hannah is a Sundance Theatre Institute fellow and a recipient of The Six Points Fellowship. BA, Vassar College. MFA, The Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University/Moscow Art Theater.

Paul Thureen (Co-Author/Performer). Playwrights Horizons debut. He is a founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society, co-writing and starring in all of the company's plays, including Blood Play (Obie Award, Performance) and Jacuzzi. Other New York City performances include Annie Baker's Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep.), Jenny Schwartz's 41-derful (Clubbed Thumb) and Steven Levenson's Core Values (Ars Nova). Regional: The Description of the World, Façade, Pulcinella (Theatre de la Jeune Lune) and The Odyssey Experience (McCarter). TV: "The Late Show with David Letterman" (recurring), "The Revolution" (History Channel). Paul is a Sundance Institute Fellow. B.A. Vassar College.

Oliver Butler (Director/Developer). Playwrights Horizons debut. He is a founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society, a Brooklyn-based ensemble theater company, with whom he has co-created and directed the world premieres of eight full-length plays since 2004: Jacuzzi (Ars Nova), Blood Play (The Bushwick Starr, The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival), Buddy Cop 2 (PS122), You're Welcome (The Brick), The Eaten Heart (The Ontological Incubator), The Snow Hen (Charlie Pineapple Theater) and A Thought About Raya (Red Room, The Brick, The Ontological Incubator). He most recently directed the West Coast premiere of Will Eno's Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Geffen Playhouse). Last year he directed Christopher Shinn's An Opening in Time (Hartford Stage) and Daniel Goldfarb's Legacy (Williamstown). In Australia, he directed the premiere of Timeshare by Lally Katz (The Malthouse, Melbourne). He also directed the premieres of Will Eno's The Open House (Obie Award for Direction, Signature Theatre Company), Lally Katz's Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart (The Australian-American Production Company) and Hostage Song, a new musical by Kyle Jarrow and Clay McLeod Chapman (Horse Trade Theater Group). He is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a Bill Foeller Fellow (Williamstown).

The Debate Society is an Obie Award-winning, Brooklyn-based company that creates new plays through the collaboration of Hannah Bos (writer/performer), Paul Thureen (writer/performer) and Oliver Butler (director/developer). The Debate Society's plays include Jacuzzi (Ars Nova, Time Out Top 10 of 2014; published by Samuel French), Blood Play (Bushwick Starr, Under The Radar, Williamstown Theater Festival; Samuel French), Buddy Cop 2 (Ontological-Hysteric Incubator; Samuel French), You're Welcome (The Brick; published by Playscripts), Cape Disappointment (PS122; Samuel French), The Eaten Heart, The Snow Hen and A Thought About Raya. The Debate Society trio are recipients of a 2012 Obie Grant, 2013 Obie Award (Performance - Blood Play), NEFA National Theater Project Grant and proud faculty members of The National Theater Institute.


World premiere of a new play by Zayd Dohrn

Director TBA

March 2017

Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

Safe in the liberal fortress of Manhattan, Raif Almedin is a first-generation immigrant who prides himself on his modern, enlightened views. But when his daughter falls for the son of a conservative Muslim family in White Plains, he discovers the threshold of his tolerance. In Zayd Dohrn's sharp and timely tale, two families are forced to confront each other's religious beliefs and cultural traditions, and to face their own deep-seated prejudice.

Zayd Dohrn (Playwright). Playwrights Horizons debut. His plays include Outside People (The Vineyard/Naked Angels), Want (Steppenwolf First Look), Sick (Berkshire Theatre Festival/National New Play Network) and Reborning (The Public/SPF). Zayd received Lincoln Center's Lecomte du Nouy Prize, the Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Award, the Sky Cooper American Playwriting Prize and Theatre Master's Visionary Playwrights Award, and was an Artist in Residence at New York Stage & Film, the Orchard Project, the Chautauqua Institute, Stella Adler Studios and Theatre for One. He received his MFA from NYU, was a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard, and currently teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University.


Co-world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new musical by Kirsten Childs

Directed by Robert O'Hara

May 2017

Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

All aboard for a Western musical adventure the likes of which you've never experienced. As a wanted woman of mythic proportions looks to begin life anew out west, Bella takes us on the trip of a lifetime to escape her scandalous past and bounce into the arms of her awaiting Buffalo Soldier. Rowdy, wild, and hilarious, Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl...) infuses this tall tale with soulful tunes and madcap antics aplenty. Giddy-up to our get-down!

BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons through the Musicals in Partnership Initiative with funds provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This production will first be staged at Dallas Theatre Center this fall.

Kirsten Childs (Book, Music & Lyrics). At Playwrights Horizons: The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. Her other musicals include Miracle Brothers (Vineyard Theatre), Fly (with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman) and Funked Up Fairy Tales. For her work she has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She recently collaborated with Charlayne Woodard on the musical Grace for Inner Voices: Solo Musicals. Kirsten has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum and City Center Encores! She is a professor in NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a member of both the Dramatists Guild Council and the Dramatists Guild Fund, and is proud to be a mentor in Theatre Development Fund's Open Doors program.

Robert O'Hara (Director). At Playwrights Horizons: Bootycandy (writer and director). He has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obie Awards and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira's In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo's Wild with Happy as well as his own plays, Bootycandy and Insurrection: Holding History. His new plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue, world premiered this season at Woolly Mammoth Theater and The Public Theater, respectively.

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