Anna Baryshnikov, Ignacio Diaz-Silverio & More to Star in A BRIGHT NEW BOISE Off-Broadway Premiere

The production will run January 31–March 12.

By: Jan. 12, 2023
Anna Baryshnikov, Ignacio Diaz-Silverio & More to Star in A BRIGHT NEW BOISE Off-Broadway Premiere

Signature Theatre will present the Off-Broadway premiere of Samuel D. Hunter's 2011 Obie Award-winning dark comedy A Bright New Boise, directed by Oliver Butler, January 31-March 12 in the Pershing Square Signature Center's Irene Diamond Stage (480 W 42nd St, New York). A Bright New Boise, the second production in Hunter's Premiere Residency at Signature, is an acclaimed early play from the MacArthur Fellow. Last season, Signature's world premiere of his play A Case for the Existence of God won the NY Drama Critics Circle award for Best Play and was named among 2022's Best by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, and others. Hunter's screenplay adaptation of his 2011 play, The Whale, starring Brendan Fraser, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and released by A24 on December 9, 2022, has received global attention and critical praise.

A Bright New Boise boldly mines themes that would become integral to Hunter's work, particularly the search for divinity and intimacy and the question of how the social and physical architectures of late capitalism create a breeding ground for American zealotry.

Will (Peter Mark Kendall) has fled his northern Idaho hometown and found a new community in the artificially bright break room of his new Boise workplace, a Hobby Lobby craft-supply chain store. But there are other reasons he's chosen to make a fresh start for himself in the world of this specific big box store: one recent scandalous tragedy and another from long ago involving a new coworker. Will's presence-the past that sticks to him, the grandiosity of his troubled faith, the weight of his hunger to connect-threatens to throw the sanctuary of the Hobby Lobby ecosystem into chaos.

A Bright New Boise's cast includes Anna Baryshnikov (Anna), Ignacio Diaz-Silverio (Alex), Eva Kaminsky (Pauline), Peter Mark Kendall (Will), and Angus O'Brien (Leroy). The creative team includes Wilson Chin (Scenic Design), April M. Hickman (Costume Design), Jen Schriever (Lighting Design), Christopher Darbassie (Sound Design), Stefania Bulbarella (Projection and Video Design), and Caparelliotis Casting (Casting).

Like much of Hunter's work, A Bright New Boise is very loosely auto-fictional-with textured intricacy derived both from Hunter's experience working his first job at a Walmart and having attended an Evangelical school for four-and-a-half years as a teenager. Hunter wrote the play at a turning point in his playwriting incited by The Whale, which he'd penned just prior-and which opened him to writing "from a personal place," abandoning a "more aggressively muscled playwriting style for quieter, more introspective landscapes." Across his plays, his subjects have been "the people for whom just getting by in this country is a real struggle."

Hunter's interest in revisiting elements of his past, and exploring American Evangelism, was sparked after watching a documentary about Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps. Hunter says, "The most interesting part of the documentary was this big long shot of a backyard barbecue that he had with his family; it looks so normal, and then it goes tighter and starts interviewing these young kids, and this hate speech just starts falling out of their mouths. It was terrifying. I just got interested in writing about deeply religious people in contexts that we don't normally see them in, and to express a tension between the quotidian and religious extremism. American Christianity is such a cultural force; it's dominating American politics even more than it was 12 years ago when I wrote this. By not acknowledging that these people are out there, and not trying to understand how they're gaining traction, I think we're doing everybody a disservice."

Signature Theatre Artistic Director Paige Evans says, "I saw A Bright New Boise when it premiered in 2011, and the play feels even more resonant today. Set in a big box chain store where workers have few opportunities and one character awaits rapture, it's a fundamentally American play. Sam writes about religion with curiosity, empathy, and compassion, unlike many American Playwrights."

A Bright New Boise continues Signature Theatre's 2022-2023 season, which began with Quiara Alegría Hudes' applauded world premiere production of My Broken Language (adapted from her memoir of the same name), and also features world premieres by Sarah Ruhl and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. While the structure of Signature's programming-producing several plays by each resident writer-inherently brings audiences closer to playwrights, this season particularly offers a personal and profound view into each Resident writer's voice and vision. Often adapting their own work or using the stage to explore the imprint of places and relationships, playwrights in 2022-2023 offer works that pull from various intimate realms of experience-in complex impressions of contemporary American reality.

Ticketing & Press Dates

All performances take place at The Pershing Square Signature Center's (480 W 42nd St) Irene Diamond Stage.

Press dates are:

Feb 15, 7:30pm

Feb 16, 7:30pm

Feb 17, 7:30pm

Feb 18, 2pm

A Bright New Boise opens Tues, Feb 21 with reviews embargoed until 9pm.

For a full performance schedule click here.

About Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter (Signature Premiere Residency Playwright) was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho. Hunter's plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, Lewiston, Clarkston, and The Healing and The Harvest. A film adaptation of The Whale, written by Hunter, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Brendan Fraser, was released December 2022 by A24 Films. He was also a writer and producer on all four seasons of the television show "Baskets" (FX). He is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, the 2008 PONY/Lark Fellowship, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Idaho. His plays have been produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Clubbed Thumb and Page 73, and around the country at such theaters as Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Old Globe, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Marin Theater Company, and elsewhere. His work has been developed at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils, and PlayPenn. A published anthology of his work, including The Whale and A Bright New Boise, is available from TCG books. He is a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and was a 2013 Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in NYC. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.

About Oliver Butler

Oliver Butler (Director) is a theatre director who grew up in New England and is now based in Queens, NY. He directed the critically-acclaimed Broadway premiere of Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me (Best Play Tony Award Nomination, Obie Award Winner, Lucille Lortel Award Nomination, Drama League Award Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination; and Drama Desk Award Nomination; Finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), a film version of which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Other recent credits include: the NYC premiere of Will Eno's GNIT at Theatre for a New Audience, the world premiere of Will Eno's The Plot at Yale Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Jordan Harrison's The Amateurs at The Vineyard, the West Coast Premiere of Will Eno's Thom Pain (based on nothing) starring Rainn Wilson at The Geffen Playhouse, and the triumphant return of Thom Pain (based on nothing) to New York starring Michael C. Hall at Signature Theatre. Additional career highlights include: Itamar Moses's The Whistleblower at Denver Center, Christopher Shinn's An Opening in Time at Hartford Stage, Daniel Goldfarb's Legacy at Williamstown Theatre Festival, the world premiere of Timeshare by Lally Katz at The Malthouse in Melbourne, and the world premiere of Will Eno's The Open House (OBIE Award for Direction; Lortel Award, Best Play) at Signature Theatre. He is a co-founder and co-artistic director of The Debate Society, with whom he has directed 10 premieres in 15 years including The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons), Jacuzzi (Ars Nova), and Blood Play (Bushwick Starr). He is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a Bill Foeller Fellow (Williamstown). He's a long-distance hiker who recently covered 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail and adventured near the Arctic circle in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve known as "The Iceland of Iceland."

About the Cast

Anna Baryshnikov

(Anna). Theater includes: Time and the Conways (Roundabout/American Airlines), Horse Girls (Cell Theatre) and chekhovOS /an experimental game/ (Arlekin Players/BAC). Select TV: Lavinia Dickinson on Dickinson (Apple), Superior Donuts (CBS), Prodigal Son (FOX), Good Girls Revolt (Amazon), and Doll & Em (HBO). Film: Manchester by the Sea, The Kindergarten Teacher, Josie & Jack, and the upcoming A24 film Love Lies Bleeding where she'll appear opposite Kristen Stewart. Training: Northwestern University.

Ignacio Diaz-Silverio

(Alex) is a New York-based actor from Tallahassee, Florida. Making his off-Broadway debut, his other stage credits include the world premiere production of Kimberly Belflower's John Proctor is the Villain (Studio Theatre). He makes his film debut this year opposite Morgan Freeman and Florence Pugh in Zach Braff's A Good Person, after which he leads Departing Seniors, directed by Clare Cooney. On television, he'll soon star as the titular role in Primo (Amazon Freevee) from Shea Serrano and Mike Schur and can also be seen in episodes of The Good Fight (Paramount+) and Suspicion (Apple TV+).

Eva Kaminsky

(Pauline) Broadway: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, The Lyons. Off-Broadway: The Lucky Star (Director's Company) Rape of the Sabine Women...(Playwright's Realm), Made in Poland (Play Company), The Language Archives (Roundabout), The Groundling (Axis). Regional Theatre credits include the premiere of Sam Hunter's The Few at The Old Globe. Film and TV: The Dark Tower, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, FBI: Most Wanted, Chicago Med, Madoff, New Amsterdam, Manifest, Billions, The Sinner, and Law & Order.

Peter Mark Kendall

(Will) Can now be seen starring in the new Netflix limited series Kaleidoscope. Recent credits include Broadway's Six Degrees of Separation (Tony Nomination for "Best Revival"), The Rose Tattoo (The Acting Company: with Patti LuPone & Bobby Cannavale). Off-Broadway: Dodi & Diana (Colt Coeur), Blue Ridge (The Atlantic), The Harvest (LCT3), Mercury Fur (The New Group), Nothing Gold Can Stay (Partial Comfort), Lessons in Survival (Vineyard Theatre; co-conceiver), The Trial of Crystal Mason (Rattlestick; co-conceiver), Capsule (The Public; co-creator); Macbeth in Stride, All is But Fantasy (Joe's Pub with Whitney White). Television: Kaleidoscope, Strange Angel, Sam Esmail's Act of Crime, Outpost (series regular), Girls, The Americans, Chicago Med, The President is Missing, Eye Candy (recurring), Evil, Awkwafina...from Queens, The Good Fight, Gotham, Law and Order: SVU, The Leftovers, Blue Bloods, Public Morals. Education: M.F.A. in Acting, Brown/Trinity Rep; B.A. in Theatre and Jazz Performance, McDaniel College. Founding member of the theatre collective The Commissary, which is in residence at The Vineyard Theater (NYTimes Best Theater of 2020).

Angus O'Brien

(Leroy) is filled with gratitude to be making his Off-Broadway debut as Leroy in A Bright New Boise. Since graduating from The Stella Adler Studio of Acting at NYU Tisch, O'Brien has had recurring roles in Nightsky (Amazon), Hightown (Starz), and The Path (Hulu). He recently starred in The Pass which was chosen as an official selection at Cannes.

About the Creative Team

Wilson Chin

(Scenic Design). Previously with Sam Hunter: A Great Wilderness (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Lewiston (Long Wharf). Broadway: Cost of Living, Pass Over (Drama Desk and Lortel Award nominations), Next Fall. Off-Broadway: the bandaged place (Roundabout Underground), The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons), Space Dogs (MCC, Lortel Award nomination), Teenage Dick (Ma-Yi/Public), Sakina's Restaurant (Audible). Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Eine Florentinische Tragödie/Gianni Schicchi (Canadian Opera, Dora Award winner). Film/television: Pass Over (dir. Spike Lee), Game Theory with Bomani Jones (HBO), Blindspot (NBC). Eastern Region Board member of Local USA 829.

April M. Hickman

(Costume Design) is a costume designer and costume illustrator, originally from Denver, CO. Her most recent design credits include Omar (LA Opera/Spoleto Festival), Trouble In Mind (Dallas Theater Center), and Nine Night (Round House Theatre). April currently holds a position at Wesleyan University as an Assistant Professor in the Practice of Costume Design. She holds an MFA in Costume Design from the Yale School of Drama and a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Jennifer Schriever

(Lighting Designer). Broadway: A Strange Loop (Tony Nomination), Death of a Salesman, 1776, Birthday Candles, Lackawanna Blues, Grand Horizons, What the Constitution Means to Me, Lifespan of a Fact, Eclipsed, Ghetto Klown. Recent Off-Broadway: Which Way to the Stage, (MCC); To My Girls, Superhero (Second Stage); Shhhh, (Atlantic); Selling Kabul (Playwrights Horizons). Current Tours: Blue Man Group. Opera: Die Fledermaus, Pearl Fishers, Metropolitan Opera; Faust, A Midsummer Night's Dream, La Traviata, Mariinsky Theater, Russia. Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design. Adjunct: Purchase. Mom: Henry.

Christopher Darbassie

(Sound Design) is an interdisciplinary artist. (Select Credits): Camp Siegfried (2nd Stage), Patience (2nd Stage), A Case for the Existence of God (Signature Theater), This Beautiful Future (Cherry Lane Theater, TheaterLab), PS (Ars Nova), Fly Away (Petzel Gallery), Preparedness, Black Exhibition (The Bushwick Starr). Chris has designed for installations, devised works and theatrical productions in collaboration with The Movement Theater Company, The Public, New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, The TEAM, Theater for a New Audience, The Atlantic, and The Shed. Wingspace 2019-2020 Sound Design Fellow. Upcoming: The Many Wondrous Realities of Jasmine Starr-Kidd (Alliance Theater).

Stefania Bulbarella

(Projections and Video Design) is a Video and Projections Designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina based in Brooklyn, NY. Off Broadway credits : Space Dogs (MCC), Semblance (New York Theatre Workshop), The Watering Hole (Signature Theatre), Will You Come With Me? (The Play Company), Turtle on a Fence Post (Theatre 555). Opera: Letters You Will Not Get (American Opera Project). Regional: House of Joy (St Louis Rep), The Mountaintop (Weston Playhouse). Broadway: Kimberly Akimbo as associate video designer (The Booth) Nominations: Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Video/Projection Design for Space Dogs.

Katherine Wilkinson

(Associate Director) is a queer director and theatre artist based in Brooklyn. Currently a member of the Orchard Project Greenhouse Lab, a recent winner of the Opera America Tobin Director-Designer Prize, a WP 20-22 Lab member, and a faculty member at Columbia University School of the Arts. Katherine has developed work with The New Ohio, La Jolla Playhouse (WOW Fest), New Georges, Bedlam, BRIC, WP, MCC, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Siti Company, Zen Zen Zo, ZAZ10TS Gallery, The Tank, Fusebox Festival, Corkscrew Festival, The Watermill Center, The VORTEX, Miami New Drama, among others.

Jon Knust

(Properties Supervisor). Selected credits include Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, Big Love and Appropriate (Signature); Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Broadway); A Doll's House, The Father, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Winter's Tale, About Alice, Gnit, The Merchant of Venice, Wedding Band and Des Moines (TFANA); and Peter and the Starcatcher (tour). Jon got his start in props at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Roxana Khan

(Production Stage Manager): Signature debut. Off-Broadway: Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (Manhattan Theatre Club), Epiphany, Greater Clements (Lincoln Center Theater); Mies Julie, The Dance of Death (Classic Stage); Kings (The Public); Pride and Prejudice (Primary Stages). Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Westport Country Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse; Boston Court, Wallis Annenberg Center and others.

Luisa Sánchez Colón

(Assistant Stage Manager) Signature Theatre Debut. Manhattan Theatre Club: Where the Mountain Meets the Sea. Lincoln Center Theater: The Nosebleed, Greater Clements. The Public Theater: The Vagrant Trilogy, Cullud Wattah, Mobile Unit's Summer of Joy, Romeo y Julieta, Shipwreck, The Line, Under the Radar Festival, Mojada, White Noise, Miss You Like Hell, Oedipus El Rey. 2nd Stage: The 2022 Judith Champion New Voices Reading Series. Studio Theater: I Hate it Here. Other NY theatre: The Paper Hat Game, Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Fire This Time Festival.

About Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre is an artistic home for storytellers. By producing several plays from each Resident Writer, Signature offers a deep dive into their bodies of work.

Signature serves its mission by hosting distinctive resident playwrights and cultural communities at its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects. At the Center, which opened in January 2012, Signature continues its original Playwright-in-Residence model with Spotlight Residency (formerly Residency 1), an intensive exploration of a single writer's body of work. The Premiere Residency (formerly Residency 5), the only program of its kind, supports playwrights as they build a body of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature's 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies to premiere or restage earlier plays. In 2020, Signature launched SigSpace, to bring free artistic programming to the Center's public spaces and more fully activate Signature's lobby as a free public workspace and social hub for New York artists.

The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City's cultural landscape. The Center supports and encourages collaboration among artists, cultural organizations and local communities by providing free, public access throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, a rehearsal studio and a public café, bar and bookstore.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre is now led by Artistic Director Paige Evans and Executive Director Timothy J. McClimon. Signature's Resident Playwrights include: Edward Albee, Annie Baker, Lee Blessing, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Stephen Adly Guirgis, A.R. Gurney, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Kenneth Lonergan, Dave Malloy, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, Regina Taylor, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Lauren Yee, The Mad Ones, and members of the historic Negro Ensemble Company: Charles Fuller, Leslie Lee, and Samm-Art Williams.

Signature and its artists have been recognized with Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur "Genius" grants, and Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk, AUDELCO, and Artios Awards as well as the 50/50 Award for Gender Parity in Theatre, among many other distinctions. In 2014, Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award for its body of work and accomplishments as an institution. For more information, please visit

The groundbreaking Signature Access (formerly the Signature Ticket Initiative), which in 2019 celebrated its one millionth ticket sold, guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2032. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible, in part, by Lead Partner The Pershing Square Foundation.

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