Crystal Finn, Heather Raffo, and Kurt Rhoads to Star in MUNICH MEDEA: HAPPY FAMILY World Premiere

Directed by Lee Sunday Evans, the production runs January 30 – February 25 at WP Theater.

By: Jan. 04, 2024
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Crystal Finn, Heather Raffo, and Kurt Rhoads to Star in MUNICH MEDEA: HAPPY FAMILY World Premiere PlayCo and WP Theater have revealed the cast of their world premiere co-production of Corinne Jaber’s Munich Medea: Happy Family, directed by Lee Sunday Evans, January 30 – February 25 (opening Monday, February 12) at WP Theater (4th Floor, 2162 Broadway, New York). A trio of interwoven monologues, Jaber’s bracing new work sees three characters giving voice to devastating secrets. With chilling directness, the playwright burrows into the abilities of theater and storytelling to manipulate and obscure, as well as illuminate and process, harrowing truths. 

Munich Medea: Happy Family surrounds two childhood friends, Caroline and Alice, who re-establish contact after more than 20 years. As they begin to unravel shared memories, they discover the part that Caroline’s father, a renowned theater actor, played in both their lives and how it affects them to this very day. Corinne Jaber's new play captures the wild vulnerability of youth and the heavy armature of adulthood in unsparing, theatrical detail.

Munich Medea: Happy Family features Crystal Finn (Broadway: Birthday Candles; Off-Broadway: Plano; TV: Succession) and Heather Raffo  (Off-Broadway: Noura, 9 Parts of Desire)—two celebrated performers and playwrights whose multifaceted engagement of the powers of storytelling throughout their careers lends itself to the play’s exploration of this very theme—as Caroline and Alice, respectively; and acclaimed actor Kurt Rhoads (Broadway: Julius Caesar; Off Broadway: Off Peak) as the Father.

Munich Medea brings Jaber back to PlayCo, which in 2017 produced the acclaimed play Oh My Sweet Land, written by Amir Nizar Zuabi with the collaboration of Jaber (which she also performed in the original world premiere production at The Young Vic). Lee Sunday Evans (Oratorio for Living Things, Dance Nation) reteams both with PlayCo and WP Theater, having staged Christopher Chen’s Caughtand Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya for PlayCo and, with WP Theater, [PORTO] and A Beautiful Day in November…The production’s creative team includes Kristen Robinson (Scenic Design), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew(Lighting Design), Dina El-Aziz (Costume Design), UptownWorks/Daniela Hart, Noel Nichols, Bailey Trierweiler (Sound Design), and Skylar Fox (Magic Design). The Production Stage Manager is Jaimie Van Dyke and Properties Supervisor is Samantha Tutasi.

As Munich Medea untangles memories of sexual abuse, friendship and its erosion, adolescent alienation and otherness, we see the three characters’ different purposes for storytelling. Jaber says, “This piece is about two women coming to terms with their past, about friendship and youth and coming of age, and about how you move forward and live with big things that are almost unnameable. What happens when you do name them? How do you live with them? It is also about the burden of carrying stories that are not one’s own; can theater be a way to work through that?”

Lee Sunday Evans says, “Corinne's play goes to very uncomfortable places and is unusually candid and complicated; it doesn’t equivocate about right versus wrong, but it’s a complex and deep exploration of the power dynamics that are part of sex and gender relationships and belonging and how that relates to identity. What impressed me most is it’s a story about hard-won resilience that manages to never sentimentalize it.”

PlayCo Founding Producer Kate Loewald and WP Theater Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty say, "This play holds and engages with complexity as a way to get to truth. The container for these characters is theater itself, tapping into a foundational narrative that probes the pain and mysteries of enduring human behaviors, while relating a very contemporary one. The relationship with the audience, too, is elemental, as necessary witnesses. While we all examine the role of theater in a time of profound change and divisiveness, this piece goes to the heart of our art. In our lifetimes there's never been a greater need for the bravery and beauty artists offer. WP's dedication to Women+ narratives and PlayCo's engagement with writers from around the world are coming together passionately around Corinne and Lee's production of this new work."

Performance Schedule and Ticketing

Performances of Munich Medea: Happy Family take place January 30 – February 25, 2024, at WP Theater (4th Floor, 2162 Broadway, New York). 

Tickets, starting at $30 (with a limited number of $10 Theatre For Everyone tickets for each performance), can be purchased here.

About Corinne Jaber (Playwright)

Corinne Jaber (Playwright) Syrian-German Corinne Jaber was born in Munich and raised in Canada and Germany. She is an award-winning actress as well as a writer/director. As actress she has been part of many international theatre productions –including Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata, A Dybbuk for 2, by and with the late Bruce Myers, Irina Brook’s Beast on the Moon (for which she won a Best Actress Molière,) and more recently Oh My Sweet Land (which premiered in its English version at the Young Vic in London) a monologue which she also conceived and co-authored together with Amir Nizar Zuabi. As writer and director she worked with Afghan actors in Kabul on Shakespeare, culminating in a production of Comedy of Errors at the “Globe to Globe Festival” at The Globe Theatre in London (“Guardian” recommendation as one of the 12 best Shakespeare productions to stream during lockdown). She is currently in the process of post-production of The Bus That Didn’t Stop, her first feature documentary. Munich Medea: Happy Family is her first play.

About Lee Sunday Evans (Director)

Lee Sunday Evans (Director) Lee Sunday Evans is a two-time Obie Award-winning Director + Choreographer and the Artistic Director of Waterwell. She most recently directed the acclaimed production of Heather Christian’s Oratorio for Living Things and was just announced as the director of a Broadway-bound musical adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. She is developing a TV project for A24. Notable credits include Dance Nation by Clare Barron, Detroit Red by Will Power, Sunday by Jack Thorne, In the Green by Grace McLean, Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew, Home by Geoff Sobelle, and Sobelle’s Food, which she co-directed. She also directed The Courtroom by Arian Moayed (NY Times Best Theater of 2019) which she just directed as a feature-length film that premiered in the 2022 Tribeca Festival.

About the Cast

Crystal Finn (Caroline) is thrilled to be working for the first time with WP, and to be back working with PlayCo after performing in their production of one of her all-time favorite plays Villa, by Guillermo Calderon. NY theater includes many world premieres at Playwright’s Horizons, Roundabout, MTC, 59E59, Fulcrum, and Clubbed Thumb where she is an affiliated artist. In 2022 she made her Broadway debut in Birthday Candles, by Noah Haidle, for which she won a Theater World Award. She is also a writer and is working on a solo show about Wittgenstein and a book of essays about acting.  

Heather Raffo (Alice) is a singular voice in the American theater whose work has been championed by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world”. Having helped forge a genre of Arab American theater, she’s spent her career embodying stories of Iraq: from the lives of Iraqi women in 9 Parts of Desire (2003, PBS film 2023), to a veteran’s suicidal ideation in the opera Fallujah (PBS film 2012), to the longings of a refugee architect in Noura (2018).  A recent Creative Capital grantee, Raffo is currently building the first multi-locational theater platform following migration and the global economy.

Kurt Rhodes (Father). Broadway:  Julius Caesar. Off Broadway:  Off Peak by Brenda Withers, 59E59 St Theatre;  Fashions for Men, Mint Theatre; Othello, The Good Natur’d Man, Pearl Theatre; The Case of Kaspar Mayer, Ubu Rep, Americana Absurdum, Present Company.  Regional:  Arena Stage, How I Learned to Drive, Agamemnon and his Daughters; Everyman Theatre:  Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Sweat; Old Globe: Fiction, Dinner with Friends; Denver Center:  Book of Will.  25 seasons of acting and directing at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Video Games:  Red Dead Revolver, Redemption, GTA San Andreas, III, Bully. 73 plays with his wife, Nance Williamson. Education:  University of Chicago, DePaul University.

About the Creative Team

Kristen Robinson (Scenic Design) is an award-winning designer, artist, and educator. Her work ranges from experimental opera to regional theatre and everything in between. Select design credits include: Drinking in America (Audible Theater), Don Giovanni (Wolftrap Opera), Heather Christian’s Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), In the Green (LCT3), Heart of Darkness (Baryshnikov Arts Center), Minor Character (Under the Radar Festival), Everybody Black, The Thin Place (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville),graveyard shift (Goodman Theatre), Familiar (Steppenwolf Theatre), Ethel (Alliance Theatre). She is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Purchase College. A Princess Grace Fellow, she holds her MFA from Yale University and is a proud member of USA 829.

Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Lighting Design) is an award-winning designer for theatre, dance, opera, musicals, music performances and large-scale immersive installation.  NY Times described her designs as “clever” and “inventive”.  Recent: Kimberly Akimbo (Broadway), King Lear (STC), WILD: A Musical Becoming (A.R.T.), The Nosebleed (LCT3), Gloria: A Life (Daryl Roth Theatre), Walden(Theaterworks), Golden Shield (MTC), cullud wattah (The Public), Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova). Plus designing for immersive experiences like Nevermore Park: Home of Flyboy with artist Hebru Brantley.

Dina El-Aziz (Costume Design, she/her) Regional: Lost Girl (Dartmouth); Selling Kabul (Northern Stage); English (Barrington Stage); Disgraced (American Stage); A Distinct Society (TheaterWorks); Layalina (Goodman Theatre); A Distinct Society (Pioneer Theater); English (Studio Theater); Selling Kabul (Seattle Rep); Unseen (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); When Monica Met Hillary (Miami New Drama); This is Who I Am (OSF/Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co./Guthrie Theater/American Repertory Theater/PlayCo); 9 Parts of Desire(Portland Center Stage); King Lear (Northern Stage); Noura (The Guthrie); Noura (The Old Globe); Selling Kabul (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Off-Broadway: Weightless (WP Theater); The Vagrant Trilogy (The Public Theater); Spindle Shuttle Needle (Clubbed Thumb); Heartland (Geva Theater/59E59); First Down (Noor Theater/59E59); Hindsight (Fault Line Theater). Other theatre credits: One Night, P*ssyC*ck Know Nothing, Marjana and the Forty Thieves Pay No Attention To The Girl (Target Margin Theater). Design for Stage and Film MFA–New York University Tisch School of the Arts. www.dinae.me

UptownWorks/Daniela Hart, Noel Nichols, and Bailey Trierweiler (Sound Design) The UptownWorks sound team is a group of designers that creates collaboratively for theatre, film, podcasts, music production and other media. Select design highlights include Lady Day (Baltimore Center Stage); Tiny Father (Barrington Stage/Chautauqua); Avaaz (South Coast Rep); Singularity Play(HarvardTDM); Black Odyssey (Classic Stage); Chicken & Biscuits (Asolo Rep); Espejos:Clean (Hartford Stage/Syracuse Stage); Which Way To The Stage (Signature DC); the ripple, the wave...(Berkeley Rep/Goodman); Blues Clues & You! (Round Room Live); Queen (Long Wharf Theater/A.R.T.NY); Fires in the Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage/Long Wharf Theatre). This design was led by Daniela Hart (uptownworksnyc.com), Bailey Trierweiler (btsounddesign.com) and Noel Nichols (noelnicholsdesign.com). Daniela, Noel & Bailey received their MFAs in Sound Design from Yale School of Drama.

Skylar Fox (Magic Design) Broadway: Fat Ham (OBIE award); associate designer for Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, Back to the Future, and A Beautiful Noise. Off-Broadway/International: Boop! (Broadway in Chicago), The Comeuppance (Signature Theatre), You Will Get Sick (Roundabout Theatre Company), Wicked, Matilda (Atilier de Cultura, São Paulo) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (London Grand), and Damn Yankees (Shaw Festival). He is the co-artistic director of Nightdrive, where he has directed and co-written The Grown-Ups (Top 10 NYC Theatre Productions of 2021, Time Out NY), Alien NationProvidence, RI, Thank You Sorry, and Apathy Boywww.skylarfox.com & nightdrive.org.

About PlayCo

PlayCo (Kate Loewald, Founding Producer, and Robert G. Bradshaw, Executive Producer) is an Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theater. PlayCo produces adventurous new plays from the U.S. and around the world, to advance a dynamic global experience of contemporary theater and expand the voices and perspectives represented on U.S. stages.

PlayCo has produced 44 new plays from the United States, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, South and East Asia, and the Middle East. PlayCo’s distinctive international programming links American theatre with world theater, American artists with the global creative community, and American audiences with a whole world of plays. Previous productions include Abhishek Majumdar’s 9 Kinds of Silence, Sarah Einspanier's acclaimed Lunch Bunch, Ebru Nihan Celkan's Will You Come With Me?, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ wry and wrenching Recent Alien Abductions, Lee Sunday Evans’ New York Times Critics’ Pick production of Stefano Massini’s Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya, Amir Nizar Zuabi’s This Is Who I Am and the sold-out Oh My Sweet Land, Guillermo Calderón’s Villa, Christopher Chen’s Caught (Obie Award for Playwriting, 2017), Kyle Jarrow & Lauren Worsham’s The Wildness, Debbie Tucker Green’s generations, Aya Ogawa’s Ludic Proxy, Antonio Vega’s Django in Pain and The Duchamp Syndrome, and more.

PlayCo's office space on the island known as Mannahatta (Manhattan), and the rehearsal and performance spaces we use throughout New York City are located in Lenapehoking, the homeland of the Lenape people.

About WP Theater

WP Theater, now in its 46th Season, is the nation’s oldest and largest theater company dedicated to developing, producing and promoting the work of Women+ at every stage in their careers. For over four decades we have served as leaders at the forefront of a global movement towards gender parity, and the example we set and the artists we have fostered have grown into a robust and thriving community of artists in theater and beyond. WP Theater received a 2018 Lucille Lortel Award,  a 2019 Obie Award, and a 2020 Drama Desk Award,  all for Outstanding Body of Work, recognizing WP’s unique place and vital work in the theatrical landscape. WP empowers Women+ of all kinds to reach their full potential and, in doing so, challenges preconceptions about the kinds of plays women write and the stories they tell. As the premiere launching pad for some of the most influential Women+ theater artists today, our work has had a significant impact on the field at large. Nearly every prolific female theater artist has been through our doors, including 2019 Tony Winner for Best Direction of a Musical, Rachel Chavkin, 2018 Tony Winner for Best Direction of a Play, Rebecca Taichman, 2013 Tony Winner for Best Direction of a Play, Pam MacKinnon, 2013 Tony Winner for Best Direction of a Musical, Diane Paulus, 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner Martyna Majok, and two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage. These powerful women found an artistic home at WP and are a testament to our role as a driving cultural force.

WP was founded in 1978 by visionary producer, Julia Miles, to address the significant under-representation of women in theater. Today, WP accomplishes its mission through several fundamental programs, including: the WP Lab, a celebrated two-year mentorship and new play development program for Women+ playwrights, directors,and producers; the Domestic Partner  residency program; the Developmental series of workshops and readings; the Commissioning series, and the Mainstage series, which features a full season of Off-Broadway productions written and  directed by extraordinary theater artists. Current artists under commission are: Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Emily Kaczmarek, MJ Kaufman, Sylvia Khoury, Zizi Majid, Zoe Sarnak, and Leah Nanako Winkler.

For more information, please visit www.WPTheater.org.




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