Complete Programming Set for Clubbed Thumb's 2023 SUMMERWORKS

The festival will feature productions of three new plays.

By: Mar. 23, 2023
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Complete Programming Set for Clubbed Thumb's 2023 SUMMERWORKS

Clubbed Thumb has announced the complete line-up for the 26th SUMMERWORKS festival of new plays. SUMMERWORKS will run May 18 - July 1, 2023 at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street) and will feature productions of three new plays.

With its track record of discovering and supporting rising talent - in many cases, providing writers with their first production in New York or anywhere - SUMMERWORKS is one of the most eagerly anticipated theatrical offerings of the year.

"In the last few years, a number of laboratories and showcases for new plays have disappeared. In this landscape, we are especially pleased to offer Summerworks '23, and its very funny, sharp and inventive slate," shared producing artistic director Maria Striar. "These plays are not about Covid, but they give us a vehicle for processing the brokenness, isolation and loss that are its aftermath."

In a new development this year, Clubbed Thumb will collaborate with the design collective dots as a festival partner to design sets and props for all three productions. The collaboration will focus on recycled and reused materials in order to address rising costs and concerns over the ecological impact of the festival.

"We're excited to partner with dots, some of our favorite collaborators, to explore a more sustainable and invigorating approach to producing," added associate artistic director Michael Bulger.

The full SUMMERWORKS 2023 line-up includes:

Work Hard Have Fun Make History

Written by ruth tang

Directed by Caitlin Sullivan

May 18-30, 2023

A catalog of all the possible phone calls that exist: customer service helplines, phone sex with strangers, warnings about events that are - oops - happening right now. A play that is not about Amazon, not about Jeff Bezos, and certainly not about Elon Musk.

ruth tang writes plays & poetry and makes weird internet experiments out of Brooklyn, NY. Their play FUTURE WIFE was selected for the 2022 Theatertreffen Stückemarkt in Berlin. They are a member of the New Georges Jam and Ars Nova's Play Group, under commission from Long Wharf Theatre + NAATCO, and a recipient of The Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program Grant. In the recent past, they've been part of Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers' Group & NYTW's 2050 Fellowship. Their past work includes FUTURE WIFE: Party in A Google Sheet (New Georges; Corkscrew Festival 4.0), Bad Chinese (Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival), and Building A Character (Wild Rice Singapore). MFA: The New School of Drama.

Caitlin Sullivan is a director and theater maker based in New York City. Recent work includes The Good John Proctor (Talene Monahon/Bedlam), Ohio (The Bengsons/Actors Theatre of Louisville), Sanctuary City (Martyna Majok/NYTW), Ole White Sugah Daddy (Obehi Janice/WP Theater), Panopticon (Gracie Gardner/Clubbed Thumb) and Cherie Dre (Sacha Yanow/Danspace). She is currently developing Nova with Obehi Janice and United State vs Gupta with Deepali Gupta, both set to premiere in 2023. Caitlin was previously the Artistic Director of Seattle's critically acclaimed Satori Group. Born and raised in Boston, MA, she is a graduate of Williams College, an alum of the Drama League Directors Project and Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, and a New Georges Affiliate Artist.

Deep Blue Sound

Written by Abe Koogler

Directed by Arin Arbus

June 5-15, 2023

Ella's making secret plans. Apparently Chris and Mary split up. John just befriended a drifter. And where the hell are those whales??? On a small island, the locals confront change.

Abe Koogler's plays include Fulfillment Center (Manhattan Theatre Club), Kill Floor (LCT3), Blue Skies Process (Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival), Lisa, My Friend (Kitchen Dog Theater), Advance Man (UTNT), Aspen Ideas (Studio Theatre, postponed due to COVID), and a (soon to be announced!) new play premiering Off-Broadway in Spring 2024. He is the winner of an Obie Award for Playwriting, the Dramatists Guild's Lanford Wilson Award, and the Weissberger Award, and his plays have been directed by Daniel Aukin, Lila Neugebauer, Les Waters, and Will Davis, among others. He earned graduate degrees from UT-Austin's Michener Center for Writers and Juilliard. With playwrights Gab Reisman and Katie Bender, he co-wrote the immersive journey plays Slip River and Church of the Passionate Cat, which premiered in Austin. Abe has taught playwriting at Primary Stages and Bennington College, and he also works as a political speechwriter. He was born and raised in Washington State.

Arin Arbus is a director. She's directed twelve productions for Theater for a New Audience, highlights include Denis Johnson's Des Moines, The Merchant of Venice with John Douglas Thompson as Shylock and The Skin of Our Teeth (Obie Award). She made her Broadway debut in 2019 with Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Tony nom. for Best Revival) starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. She has also directed at Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Lyric, Woodbourne Correctional Facility in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts, and at Ristona Refugee Camp for The Campfire Project.

Grief Hotel

Written by Liza Birkenmeier

Directed by Tara Ahmadinejad

June 21-July 1, 2023

A sequence of shocks sends everyone to Aunt Bobbie's house, where she tries to help them "feel better," even though her parties are cursed. A play about loss, intimacy, and the loss of intimacy.

Liza Birkenmeier's recent work includes F*ck7thGrade with Jill Sobule (Wild Project), Islander with KATIE BROOK (HERE), Honestly Sincere (TiQ), Please Welcome Our Guest with Trish Harnetiaux (MTC Snapshot Series), and Dr. Ride's American Beach House (Ars Nova.) Liza is a New Georges Affiliated Artist and a Macdowell and Yaddo Fellow. She is an alum of Play Group, Playwrights Realm, and EWG, and was the 2019 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Ars Nova.

Tara Ahmadinejad is a director and co-founder of the live arts collective Piehole. Most recently, she directed Mourning // Morning by Gelsey Bell (Prototype Festival, HERE Arts Center, NY Times Critic's Pick) and Lunch Bunch by Sarah Einspanier (PlayCo, Clubbed Thumb, NY Times Critic's Pick). With Piehole, she has directed and co-authored boundary-pushing live art for theaters, galleries, and digital spaces, including collaborations with the LA-based Tender Claws in AR and VR: Tendar (Sundance 2018) and The Under Presents (Oculus, Sundance 2019, Emmy Finalist). Piehole's recent work includes Christmas Mountain, a media installation at WNYC's The Greene Space, and Disclaimer (Drama League Award Nominee, NYC Women's Fund), written/performed by Ahmadinejad, which premiered at The Public's Under the Radar 2021. Other recent directing includes digital collaborations with Satoko Ichihara (Japan Society), Eliza Bent (New Georges), Rinne Groff (Clubbed Thumb), and Scarlett Kim (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Resident Futurist at Pig Iron; NYTW Usual Suspect; New Georges Affiliated Artist; MFA Columbia University.

Festival passes start at $75 and are on sale now at:

Highlights from the previous 25 festivals include the NYC premieres of Gina Gionfriddo, Jordan Harrison, Lisa D'Amour, Jason Grote and Sarah Ruhl; professional debuts of Jaclyn Backhaus, Will Arbery, Clare Barron, Rinne Groff, Sylvan Oswald, Susan Stanton and Ariel Stess; and new works by Anne Washburn, Adam Bock, Gregory Moss, Jenny Schwartz, Ethan Lipton, Erin Courtney, Sheila Callaghan, Tanya Saracho, and Heidi Schreck. Many of these artists continue to make Clubbed Thumb an artistic home.

Past SUMMERWORKS directors include Pam MacKinnon, Lee Sunday Evans, Lear deBessonet, Anne Kauffman, Robert O'Hara, Davis McCallum, Leigh Silverman, and Ken Rus Schmoll.

Clubbed Thumb made its Broadway debut in 2019 with Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me, which premiered at the 2017 Summerworks festival, in partnership with True Love Productions. Clubbed Thumb's second anthology, Unusual Stories, Unusually Told, was published in 2021 by Methuen Drama / Bloomsbury.

ABOUT Clubbed Thumb

Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops and produces funny, strange and provocative new plays by living American writers. Clubbed Thumb is a groundbreaker, with a precise curatorial vision and a remarkable track record for launching artists' careers; and an incubator, nurturing plays, collaborations, and above all artists, through thoughtfully deployed resources, opportunities, mentorship and hospitality.

Clubbed Thumb's plays vary in style and content, but are always 90 minutes or under. They feature substantial and challenging roles for all genders, are questioning, formally inventive, theatrical, and exhibit a sense of humor. Since its founding in 1996, the company has presented over 100 productions.