Birney, Williams, Pawk Lead A SMALL FIRE at Playwrights Horizons, Previews 12/16


Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) has announced complete casting for the World Premiere of A SMALL FIRE, a new play by Obie Award winner Adam Bock (The Drunken City at PH, The Receptionist, The Thugs, Swimming in the Shallows). Directed by Trip Cullman (Adam Bock's The Drunken City at PH and Swimming in the Shallows, plus Bachelorette, Some Men, The Last Sunday in June, the upcoming Edgewise), the production will begin previews Thursday, December 16 at 8PM with an Opening Night set for Thursday, January 6 at 7PM. The limited engagement will play through Sunday, January 23 at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street).

The cast will feature three-time Obie Award and Drama Desk Award winner Reed Birney (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Savannah Disputation at PH, Blasted), Tony Award nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Saved at PH, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Les Misérables), Tony Award winner Michele Pawk (Prayer for My Enemy at PH, Hollywood Arms, Cabaret, Mamma Mia!) and NAACP nominee Victor Williams (Deacon Palmer on "The King of Queens," Troilus and Cressida for New York Shakespeare Festival).

When a tough-as-nails contractor (Ms. Pawk) finds her senses slipping on the brink of her daughter's (Ms. Keenan-Bolger) wedding, the impact on her family is nothing less than seismic. A SMALL FIRE is a human parable in which unexpected loss leads to an unlikely love story.

The production will feature scenic design by Loy Arcenas, costume design by Ilona Somogyi, lighting design by David Weiner and sound design by Robert Kaplowitz. Production Stage Manager is Lori Ann Zepp.

The performance schedule for A SMALL FIRE will be Tuesdays at 7PM, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 2:30 PM & 8PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM. Single tickets, $70, may be purchased online via, by phone at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily), or in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues). There are special added Monday evening performances on December 20 and 27 and January 3, all at 7PM, as well as a special added Wednesday matinee on December 29 at 2:30 PM.
A ticketing initiative created as part of Playwrights Horizons' Arts Access program, LIVEforFIVE makes available $5 tickets for the first preview performance of each Playwrights Horizons production through a lottery via the company's website. The LIVEforFIVE lottery for A SMALL FIRE will be for tickets to the first preview on Thursday, December 16 at 8 PM. Details for the lottery are as follows: beginning Wednesday, December 8 at 10 AM, theatergoers can enter the lottery by filling out an entry form at Entries will be accepted until Monday, December 13 at 12 Noon. Winners of the lottery will be notified via email no later than 3:00 PM on Monday, December 13 with instructions on how to book their $5 tickets. Unclaimed tickets will be offered via email starting at 12 Noon on Tuesday, December 14 on a first-come, first-served basis. One or two tickets may be purchased for $5 each. At least 50 tickets will be available for Mainstage shows via the lottery.

Reflecting Playwrights Horizons' ongoing commitment to making its productions more affordable to younger audiences, the theater company will offer HOTtix, $20 rush tickets, subject to availability, day of performance only, starting one hour before showtime to patrons aged 30 and under. Proof of age required. One ticket per person, per purchase. STUDENT RUSH, $15 rush tickets, subject to availability, day of performance only, starting one hour before curtain to full-time graduate and undergraduate students. One ticket per person, per purchase. Valid student ID required.
LIVEforFIVE, HOTtix and STUDENT RUSH are some of Playwrights Horizons' popular Arts Access initiatives, which allow the institution to reach out to those who may not be able to afford the cost of a full-price theater ticket. This program is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The McGraw-Hill Companies and the Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation.
A special open captioned performance of A SMALL FIRE for theatergoers who are deaf and hard of hearing will be held on the Saturday, January 8 matinee at 2:30 PM. Funding for this program is provided, in part, by the Theodore H. Barth Foundation and the Theatre Development Fund's TAP Plus program in cooperation with the New York State Council on the Arts.

How to order tickets for the open captioned performance:

? Online: log on to

? Phone: call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily) via Relay Service (800) 421-1220

? TTY: call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (noon-8pm daily) via Relay Service (800) 662-1220

? By fax: a printable order form may be found online at
In addition, special Post-Performance Discussions with members of the creative team will take place immediately after the following three performances: Sunday matinee, December 19 at 2:30 PM, Thursday evening, December 23 at 8PM and Wednesday evening, December 29 at 8PM.
On Tuesday, December 7 at 7PM, Center Speakers in collaboration with Playwrights Horizons will present A SMALL FIRE playwright Adam Bock, director Trip Cullman and leading lady Michele Pawk in conversation with Adam Greenfield (Director of New Play Development at Playwrights Horizons) at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (208 West 13th Street). Tickets are $15. To reserve tickets, visit or call (212) 620-7310.
Playwrights Horizons' season productions are generously supported by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.


Playwrights Horizons is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New

York State Assembly and the New York State Senate. In addition, Playwrights Horizons receives major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Time Warner Inc., the Charina Endowment Fund and the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation.

For subscription and ticket information to all Playwrights Horizons productions, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8 pm daily, or purchase online at the Playwrights Horizons website at

Adam Bock's (Playwright) The Drunken City was produced at Playwrights Horizons in 2008. His play The Receptionist received its World Premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club in the fall of 2007 to a sold-out extended run. The play has had many stock and amateur productions around the country, including last fall, starring Megan Mullally at The Odyssey Theatre in LA. His other works include The Thugs (Obie Award), Swimming in the Shallows (3 BATCC Awards, Clauder Award), Five Flights (Glickman Award), The Typographer's Dream, The Shaker Chair and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award). His plays have been commissioned, developed and produced in NYC by MTC, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Soho Rep, Primary Stages, The Vineyard, Rattlestick, Clubbed Thumb, and regionally at Yale, Trinity Rep, the O'Neill, the Humana Festival, UCross/Sundance, in San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Salt Lake, Montreal, Toronto, London, and Edinburgh, among others. He is the resident playwright at Encore Theater, a Shotgun Players artistic associate, and a New Dramatists member playwright. He is currently writing a screenplay for Scott Rudin/Miramax.

Trip Cullman (Director) previously directed Adam Bock's The Drunken City and Sarah Schulman's Manic Flight Reaction at Playwrights Horizons. Other New York credits include Adam Bock's Swimming in the Shallows, Leslye Headland's Bachelorette and Terrence McNally's Some Men (Second Stage); Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap, Robert Farquhar's Bad Jazz, Roland Schimmelpfennig's Arabian Night and Brooke Berman's Smashing (The Play Company); Gina Gionfriddo's US Drag (stageFARM); Bert V. Royal's Dog Sees God (The Century Center); Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Dark Matters (Rattlestick Theater); Jonathan Tolin's The Last Sunday in June (Century Center and Rattlestick Theater); Glen Berger's The Wooden Breeks (MCC Theater); Paul Weitz's Roulette (EST); Rinne Groff's Of a White Christmas (Clubbed Thumb); Gary Sunshine's Sweetness and Brooke Berman's Sam and Lucy (both at Summer Play Festival '04) and The Wau Wau Sisters (Ars Nova). Regional credits include the World Premiere of Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap (Magic Theatre), Six Degrees of Separation (Old Globe) the World Premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Injured Party at South Coast Rep, Keith Huff's A Steady Rain and The Petersons Project (both at New York Stage and Film), Lauren Weedman's Rash (The Empty Space, Seattle), John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation (The Old Globe, San Diego). Training: Yale School of Drama. He's currently in rehearsal for the upcoming Edgewise, a co-production with The Play Company and PS 73.

Reed Birney (John) won a 2006 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. He made his New York debut at Playwrights Horizons in 1976 in Gemini. He's also appeared there in Herself As Lust (1982), An Imaginary Life (1994), The Butterfly Collection (2000), Pen (2006), The Savannah Disputation (2009) and last season's Circle Mirror Transformation (Obie, Drama Desk awards). Other New York appearances include Tigers Be Still (Roundabout), Blasted (Soho Rep); Stuff Happens (The Public, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble); Our Leading Lady (MTC); Bug (Barrow Street); Loose Knit, The Family of Mann (Second Stage); The Common Pursuit (Promenade); Volunteer Man (Rattlestick); Bedfellows (Bat Theatre); and Minor Demons, The Exact Center of the Universe (Century Center). Regional includes The Lisbon Traviata (Seattle Rep) and the world premiere of Neil Simon's Hotel Suite (Walnut Street). TV work includes episodes of "Gossip Girl," "Kings" and "My Generation."

Celia Keenan-Bolger (Jenny) last appeared at Playwrights Horizons creating the role of Mary in the musical Saved. She earned a 2005 Tony Award nomination for her performance as Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as winning Drama Desk and Theatre World awards. Also on Broadway, she played the role of Eponine in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination. Off-Broadway: Juno (Encores!); Bachelorette (directed by Mr. Cullman) and Michael John LaChiusa's Little Fish (Second Stage); Kindertransport (MTC); Summer of '42 (Variety Arts). Regional credits include Joanna in Sweeney Todd (Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration), Emily in Our Town (Intiman Theatre) and Clara in The Light in the Piazza (Goodman Theatre). She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department.

Michele Pawk (Emily) previously appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Craig Lucas' Prayer for My Enemy. She won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Hollywood Arms, directed by Harold Prince. Her other Broadway credits include Cabaret (revival, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Crazy for You (Drama Desk nomination) Mamma Mia!, Hairspray, Chicago (revival), Seussical, Triumph of Love, Losing Louie and Mail. Off-Broadway: The Paris Letter (Drama Desk nomination), Mahida's Extra Key to Heaven, Flyovers, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Reefer Madness, After the Fair, Hello Again, Merrily We Roll Along, john & jen, A Little Night Music (NYC and L.A. Operas). Film and television work includes Cradle Will Rock, Jeffrey, all three "Law & order" series, "Guiding Light,""All My Children," "The Golden Girls" and "LA Law."
Victor Williams (Billy) earned an NAACP nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his long-running role as Deacon Palmer on the CBS sitcom "The King of Queens." He's appeared on the New York stage in MarK Wing-Davey's production of Troilus and Cressida at New York Shakespeare Festival as well as the LAByrinth production of Philip Roth in Khartoum. Regional Theater work includes the title role in Othello for Shakespeare on the Sound. His additional TV and Film credits include "Fringe," "Flight of the Conchords" (Officer West), "ER" (Roger McGrath), "The Practice," "The Jamie Foxx Show," "Law & Order," Cop Land, Bewitched, The Preacher's Wife, A Brooklyn State of Mind and the animated film Animatrix.

Playwrights Horizons, celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season, 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, the theater company continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. In its 40 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 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 four Pulitzer Prize winners: 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 the current Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I, Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play), Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I, Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, Melissa James Gibson's This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist), Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards), Craig Lucas's Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Adam Rapp's Kindness, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins, Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone, Bruce Norris's The Pain and the Itch, 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's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award), Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead, 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 and Franny's Way, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island, Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room, A.R. Gurney's Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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