Danai Gurira's FAMILIAR Extends at Playwrights Horizons
Due to critical acclaim and popular demand, Playwrights Horizons has announced an extension of their New York premiere production of FAMILIAR, a new play by Obie Award-winner Danai Gurira (Eclipsed now on Broadway, In the Continuum, The Convert, Michonne on AMC's "The Walking Dead"). Directed by Rebecca Taichman (Stage Kiss, Milk Like Sugar at PH; The Oldest Boy; Marie Antoinette; Luck of the Irish; Orlando), the play is the fourth production of the theater company's 2015/2016 Season.
Originally announced to play a limited engagement through Sunday, March 27, FAMILIAR has extended two additional weeks through Sunday, April 10 at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street). The production began previews on February 12 and had its official opening on March 3.
In what has been an especially celebrated season thus far at Playwrights Horizons, FAMILIAR follows The Christians by Lucas Hnath, Hir by Taylor Mac and Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison. All four have been met by rave reviews - including each being named New York Times Critics' Picks - and received multiple-week extensions. As Jesse Green of New York Magazine writes in this week's issue, "A brilliant incubator of new plays and voices, Playwrights Horizons has been having an exceptionally good season."
The celebrated cast of FAMILIAR features Ito Aghayere (Three Days to See, The Liquid Plain, The Tempest), Joby Earle (War Horse, Owners, Compulsion), Melanie Nicholls-King (Audelco nominations for NoonDay Sun, Relativity, "The Wire," "Rookie Blue"), Obie Award winner Roslyn Ruff (Broadway's All the Way, Romeo and Juliet, Fences, "The Big C"), Harold Surratt (Impressionism, Serious Money, The Convert), Myra Lucretia Taylor (A Cool Dip..., Crazy Mary, Fabulation at PH; Wicked; Nine; "Girls"), Joe Tippett (Familiar at Yale Rep, Airline Highway, Waitress) and Tony Award winner Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner on "Law & Order: SVU"; Jessica Griffin on "As the World Turns"; on Broadway in Julius Caesar, Dreamgirls, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; Tony Award as producer of Spring Awakening).
It's winter in Minnesota and a Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter (Ms. Ruff), a first-generation American. But when the bride insists on observing a traditional African custom, it opens a deep rift in the household. Rowdy and affectionate, FAMILIAR pitches tradition against assimilation, drawing a loving portrait of a family: the customs they keep, and the secrets they bury.
The production features scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Obie Award winner Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Tony Award winner Darron L West and hair and wig design by Cookie Jordan. Production Stage Manager is Cole P. Bonenberger.
FAMILIAR had its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre, also under the direction of Ms. Taichman, in February 2014.
The performance schedule for FAMILIAR is Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7PM, Thursdays and Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 2:30 PM & 8PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM. Single tickets, $75-95, may be purchased online via www.TicketCentral.com and www.Facebook.com, by phone at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily) and in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues).
ABOUT THE TEAM:
Danai Gurira (Playwright) is a playwright and actress. As a playwright, her works include Broadway's Eclipsed (NAACP Award; Helen Hayes, Best New Play; Connecticut Critics Circle, Outstanding Production of a Play Award), In the Continuum (Obie, Outer Critics, Helen Hayes awards), and The Convert (six Ovation, LA Outer Critics Awards). Recipient of the Whiting Award, she has been commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Royal Court. Select acting credits include The Visitor, Mother of George, and Isabella in NYSF's Measure for Measure. She stars on AMC's "The Walking Dead" (NAACP Image Award nomination), is in production on the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, and is developing a pilot for HBO. She holds an MFA from Tisch, NYU. U.S. born and raised in Zimbabwe, she co-founded Almasi Arts, which gives opportunity to African artists. almasiartsalliance.org
Rebecca Taichman (Director). Playwrights Horizons: Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge, Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl. New York: Indecent by Paula Vogel (upcoming/Vineyard), The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl (LCT); Luck of the Irish (LCT3); Orlando (CSC); Orpheus (NYCO); Dark Sisters (MTG/Gotham); Rappaccini's Daughter (Gotham); Marie Antoinette (Soho Rep.), The Scene (Second Stage), Menopausal Gentleman (The Ohio). Select regional: Indecent, Familiar, Evildoers, Marie Antoinette (Yale Rep); Indecent, Sleeping Beauty Wakes (La Jolla); Twelfth Night, Time and the Conways (The Old Globe); Marie Antoinette (A.R.T.); She Loves Me (OSF); The Winter's Tale (McCarter Theatre Center, STC); Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew (STC); Dead Man's Cell Phone, The Clean House (Woolly Mammoth). Rebecca is a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute. www.rebeccataichman.com.
Ito Aghayere (Nyasha). Playwrights Horizons debut. Off-Broadway: Three Days to See, The Liquid Plain, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew. Regional: Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike; Exit the King; Sweeney Todd. Film: Right Song, Wrong Chord; Wet Behind the Ears; Night Home; Damsels in Distress. TV: "Forever," "Orange Is the New Black," "The Knick," "Unforgettable."
Joby Earle (Chris). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: War Horse. Regional: These Paper Bullets, The Tempest, Owners, The Puppetmaster of Lodz, Compulsion, Richard II, The Pitmen Painters, The Cherry Orchard, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet. Film: The Fog, Eve, In Defense of Lemmings. Music video: "The Bed Song." MFA, Yale School of Drama.
Melanie Nicholls-King (Margaret). Playwrights Horizons debut. Off-Broadway: Bike America. Other NYC: NoonDay Sun (Audelco nomination), Relativity (Audelco nomination). Regional: From the Mississippi Delta, Home, Love and Anger. Film: St. Vincent, How She Moves. TV: Cheryl on "The Wire," Jules Jackson on "The Famous Jett Jackson," Noelle Williams on "Rookie Blue," "Show Me a Hero," "Falling Water," "Happyish," "Veep," "Orphan Black."
Roslyn Ruff (Tendi). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: All the Way, Romeo and Juliet, Fences. Off-Broadway: Scenes from a Marriage; The Piano Lesson (Lortel Award, Drama League nom.); Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Macbeth; Seven Guitars (Obie Award); The Cherry Orchard; Pudd'nhead Wilson. Film: The Help, Salt, Rachel Getting Married. TV: "Madame Secretary," "The Family," "Doubt," "Elementary," "American Odyssey," "Masters of Sex," "The Big C."
Harold Surratt (Donald). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: Impressionism, Serious Money. Regional: Seven Guitars, Father Comes Home from the Wars, The Piano Lesson, The Convert, The Sunset Limited, Trouble in Mind, Follow Me to Nellie's. Film: Sudden Death, The Pelican Brief, Blood In Blood Out. TV: "Babylon Fields" (pilot), "Orange Is the New Black," "The Temptations" (mini-series), "Fringe," "The Practice," "ER."
Myra Lucretia Taylor (Anne). Playwrights Horizons: A Cool Dip..., Crazy Mary, Fabulation. Broadway: Nine, Macbeth, Electra, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Mule Bone, A Streetcar Named Desire. National tour: Wicked. Off-Broadway: Informed Consent; Bethany; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Force Continuum. International: The Winter's Tale, Pericles (RSC). Film: Bushwick, Catfight, Custody. TV: "Atlanta," "Girls," "The Big C."
Joe Tippett (Brad). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: Airline Highway. New York City: Ashville, Fish Eye, Seven Minutes in Heaven, Happy Birthday, A Thick Description of Harry Smith. Regional: Familiar (world premiere), Waitress, Bull Durham: the Musical, The May Queen, Picnic, Three Sisters, The Corn is Green, Peter and the Starcatcher, Equus. Film: License Plates, Damascus Road, All Saint's Day. TV: "The Blacklist," "Boardwalk Empire."
Tamara Tunie (Marvelous). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: Julius Caesar; Dreamgirls; Oh, Kay!; Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; producer of Spring Awakening (Tony Award). Off-Broadway: The Library, Troilus and Cressida, Sheba, Loose Knit. Film: Flight, Snake Eyes, The Devil's Advocate, Wall Street. TV: Marie Van Der Veen on "The Red Road," Dr. Melinda Warner on "Law & Order: SVU," "As the World Turns," "24," "The Good Wife," "Sex and the City."
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. 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; Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss and Dead Man's Cell Phone; 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.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus