Dates and Programming Announced for DirectorFest 2022

After its pivot to a virtual festival last year, The Drama League’s DirectorFest returns live and in-person. 

By: Dec. 07, 2021
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Dates and Programming Announced for DirectorFest 2022

The Drama League has announced the dates and programming for DirectorFest 2022, a festival focusing on the art of Contemporary Stage directing by an exciting new generation of talent, featuring brand new productions led by its 2021 Directing Fellows. After its pivot to a virtual festival last year, The Drama League's DirectorFest returns live and in-person.

DirectorFest 2022 will feature Adrienne Kennedy's play She Talks To Beethoven, directed by New York Directing Fellow Keenan Tyler Oliphant; and the musical Girlfriend, featuring a book by Todd Almond, music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet, and directed by Sivan Battat, the Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow, in a double bill on January 19 - 21, 2022 at 7pm and January 22, 2022 at 2pm.

The second week of the festival will feature Aditi Brennan Kapil's play The Seventeenth Chapel, directed by New York Directing Fellow Reena Dutt; and Caryl Churchill's play A Number, directed by New York Directing Fellow Ryan Dobrin, in a double bill on February 2 - 4, 2022 at 7pm and February 5, 2022, at 2pm.

In a testament to their talent and accelerating careers, all four directors in the festival are currently working on or Off-Broadway this season. Keenan Tyler Oliphant is the Associate Director of Hadestown, Sivan Battat is the Assistant Director of Trouble in Mind, Reena Dutt is the Assistant Director of Cullud Wattah, and Ryan Dobrin is the Associate Director of Diana: The Musical.

The creative team for DirectorFest 2022 includes Scenic Designer Emona Stoykova, Costume Designer Christopher Vergara, Lighting Designers Molly Tiede & Bentley Heydt, Sound Designer Kimberly O'Loughlin, and Music Director Elijah Caldwell. Daniel Brothers serves as Props Coordinator, Courteney Leggett is the Production Manager, and Ali Skye Bennet is the Artistic Line Producer.

Closing the festival will be a presentation of A Tempest (Une Tempête), written by Aimé Césaire and directed by Classical Directing Fellow Lanise Antoine Shelley, presented in collaboration with Red Bull Theater and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) on Monday, February 28. The Drama League will also present Directors in Conversation: Tony Phelan on Friday, January 28 at 8pm ET via Zoom.

She Talks to Beethoven is presented with the generous support of Sceneworks Studios (Chief Executive Officer, Ariela Pizza). Girlfriend is presented with the generous support of Stan Ponte.

DirectorFest is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Additional support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation, Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and the Leo Shull Charitable Fund for the Arts.

DirectorFest is also made possible with the generous donations of Drama League Members and individuals nationwide.

Tickets to DirectorFest are $25 for the general public and free for Drama League Members. Premium opening night tickets (January 19 & February 2) are available for $45. All tickets can be purchased at

More information about The Drama League's programs, memberships, and more can be found at


JANUARY 19 - 21, 2022 AT 7PM

JANUARY 22, 2022 AT 2PM

Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at



Written by Adrienne Kennedy

Directed by Keenan Tyler Oliphant

This rarely-produced work by the legendary Adrienne Kennedy takes place in a newly-independent Ghana in 1961, where an American writer is facing both the disappearance of her husband and her own mysterious illness. In her feverish state, dream and reality merge as Suzanne conjures Ludwig van Beethoven -- who is preparing for the 1803 premiere of his opera, Fidelio -- and her pursuit for answers weaves and blurs into radio broadcasts, love letters, and the legendary composer's own struggles. Director Keenan Tyler Oliphant explores the space between perception and reality in this surrealistic production.

She Talks To Beethoven is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.


Book by Todd Almond

Music and Lyrics by Matthew Sweet

Directed by Sivan Battat

Music Direction by Elijah Caldwell

In small-town Nebraska during the summer of 1993, two guys are moving on from high school towards...whatever comes next. Baseball star Mike is college-bound; Will is less sure of his next step. As they find themselves drawn to each other, the exhilaration and confusion of first love begins a journey that may change them both in unexpected ways. Brimming with iconic rock songs from Matthew Sweet, including "I've Been Waiting," "Sick of Myself," and "Divine Intervention," director Sivan Battat has invigorated this timeless musical story of young love by expanding ideas of queer identity that speak to today.

Girlfriend is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

FEBRUARY 2 - 4, 2022 AT 7PM


Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at



Written by Aditi Brennan Kapil

Directed by Reena Dutt

After a cataclysmic event, the Hudson is a barren desert, the skyline casts no shadows from the red sun, and the only organisms thriving in this post-apocalyptic world are a malicious new species of unknown origin. When Lon and Tin encounter each other in an abandoned apartment, they must choose how long to hide, when to run... and whether a sacrifice must be made. Director Reena Dutt investigates the power of human connection in this thrilling play by Aditi Brennan Kapil (Starz's "American Gods").


Written by Caryl Churchill

Directed by Ryan Dobrin

In a not-too-distant future, a regretful father attempts to fix the mistakes he made in raising his son by starting over. Is it possible to atone for the sins of the past? As they reconnect, shocking lies are uncovered, revealing a horrifying truth. A Number twists our understanding of free will and human existence, allowing the audience to decide for themselves: who do you trust, and who is to blame? Director Ryan Dobrin explores Caryl Churchill's complex philosophical questions on parenthood, technological ethics, and the dynamics at play between parents and children.

A Number is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

Friday, January 28 at 8pm



"Grey's Anatomy: The Song Beneath the Song"

A Directing Workshop

Via Zoom

Acclaimed director, writer and showrunner Tony Phelan ("Madam Secretary," "Doubt," "Detransition Baby") came to international attention with the famed musical episode of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" called "Song Beneath The Song," in which he directed a cast that included Tony-winner Sara Ramirez, Tony-nominee Daniel Sunjata, and the star of Broadway's upcoming revival of Take Me Out, Jesse Williams. In this intimate behind-the-scenes directing workshop, Phelan, an Emmy-nominee and member of The Drama League Directors Council, will share personal storyboards, camera techniques, and life lessons he has used throughout his career to tell powerful stories in the medium of television. (For an optimal experience, attendees should make themselves familiar with the episode prior -- Season 7, Episode 18 -- which is available on Netflix and other platforms.)


French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)

Aimé Césaire's

A TEMPEST (Une Tempête)

Based on Shakespeare's The Tempest

An adaptation for a Black Theater

Translated from the French by Philip Crispin

Directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley

Celebrated poet Aimé Césaire's striking adaptation of Shakespeare's Jacobean play through a postcolonial lens transports the characters to an island in the Caribbean. Written in 1969, A Tempest confronts complex intersections of race, power, and anti-imperialism. This reading is directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley, the Artistic Director of Chicago's House Theatre and the 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow.

This event, presented in collaboration with Red Bull Theater and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), is still being developed. Save the date and SIGN UP to receive details when they are announced.


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