Eve Ensler's THE FRUIT TRILOGY and More Slated for Abingdon's 25th Anniversary Season

By: Oct. 19, 2017

Abingdon Theatre Company announces the initial lineup for its 25th Anniversary Season.

With a list of celebrated and promising new artists, Abingdon Theatre Company's 2017 - 2018 season features premiere productions on the main stage, a one-night-only gala event honoring and featuring legendary artists, and ongoing initiatives fostering the work of emerging theater-makers.

$99 subscriptions are now on sale for Abingdon's 25th Anniversary season. Visit abingdontheatre.org or call 212-868-2055 for more information on how to purchase subscriptions.

"We could not be more excited about our collaboration with this extraordinary roster of artists in our 25th Anniversary Season," says Tony Speciale, Abingdon's Artistic Director. "Tony Award winners, groundbreaking theater artists, and emerging talents come together to launch Abingdon's next quarter-century of creating brave, new work. The selections this season reflect a wide array of perspectives, but are united by a common theme: the power of vulnerability in an age of fear. With this year's main stage productions, Abingdon is thrilled to take the stage at two of New York's premiere off-Broadway venues; The Lucille Lortel Theatre and The GYM at Judson."

The 25th Anniversary Season will feature two main stage productions:

A world premiere production of a new play by Dave Solomon
Directed by Tony Award nominee Sheryl Kaller
February - March 2018 at The GYM at Judson

When author Margaret Gibson is asked to write a piece about the passing of her friend Craig Russell, the famous female impersonator, she's forced to relive their tempestuous past; reawakening the music, memories and secrets of their fractured relationship. Directed by Tony Nominee Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall, Mothers and Sons), Margaret and Craig features Mario Cantone (Laugh Whore, Assassins, "Sex and the City") in a tour de force performance as the dazzling Craig Russell, who brings to life Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and others. Additional casting and creative team to be announced.

A New York premiere production by Eve Ensler
Directed by Mark Rosenblatt
June 2018 at The Lucille Lortel Theatre

From global activist and Tony Award winner Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body), comes the New York Premiere of a triptych of short plays each giving a voice to defiant, ordinary women: Pomegranate - two women for sale, another morning on the shelf; Avocado - a young woman on her chaotic, shocking journey towards freedom; and Coconut - from the bliss of her bathroom, a woman connects with the one thing she has never fully owned ...her body. Woven together with dark humor, extraordinary vulnerability and heightened theatricality, these short plays explore the humanity behind the headlines. Casting and creative team to be announced.

Before launching their main stage productions, Abingdon Theatre Company will celebrate the start of their 2017-2018 season this fall at their 25th Anniversary Gala:

25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA - And The World Goes 'Round
Honoring Two-Time Tony and Emmy Award winner Bebe Neuwirth
With an all-star concert performance of the Kander & Ebb revue
Monday, October 23 at The Edison Ballroom

The evening honors two-time Tony and Emmy Award winner Bebe Neuwirth (Chicago, Sweet Charity, "Cheers," "Frasier"). The event will begin at 6PM with a cocktail reception, dinner, honoree tribute and live auction, followed by a special performance of John Kander and Fred Ebb's And The World Goes 'Round, the musical revue celebrating the work of the multi-Tony Award winning team that wrote Chicago and Cabaret, and more.

The all-star cast of And The World Goes 'Round will feature Nick Adams (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, A Chorus Line, La Cage aux Follies), Jeannette Bayardelle (The Color Purple, Hair, Company), Tony Award nominee Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe's Cafe, Jelly's Last Jam, Chicago), Cunio (Hairspray, Jersey Boys), Tyler Hanes (Cats, A Chorus Line, On the Town), Jenn Harris (Modern Orthodox, Silence the Musical), Olivier Award-winner Ruthie Henshall (Crazy For You, Miss Saigon, Chicago), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (A Little Night Music, Cabaret, Once Upon a Mattress), Jeff Hiller (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman (The Producers, The Nance, Steel Pier), Morgan James (The Addams Family, Godspell, Motown), Telly Leung (Aladdin, Allegiance, Godspell), Bianca Marroquín (Chicago, In the Heights, The Pajama Game), Drama Desk Award nominee Julia Murney (The Wild Party, Wicked, Lennon), Christine Pedi (Little Me, Talk Radio, Chicago), two-time Tony Award-nominee Mary Beth Peil (Anastasia, Nine, The King and I), Jelani Remy (The Lion King, High School Musical), Angie L. Schworer (Something Rotten, The Producers, Sunset Boulevard), Carrie St. Louis (Wicked, Rock of Ages), Ali Stroker ("Glee," Spring Awakening), Katie Thompson, (Giant, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Big Fish), and Sally Ann Triplett (Finding Neverland, The Last Ship, Carrie), with Gabriel Bernal (The World According to Snoopy), Matthew Davies (Beauty and the Beast), Lily Kaufmann (Newsies, Hairspray), Pierre Marais (Saturday Night Fever, A Chorus Line), Ilda Mason (Cinderella, West Side Story), Jaysin McCollum (The Lion King), Yasmin Schancer (The Golden Smile), and Raquel Tillo.

And The World Goes 'Round will feature choreography by Deidre Goodwin, musical direction by Kevin David Thomas, and direction by Chad Austin.

Individual Gala tickets, starting at $500, include access to the cocktail reception, dinner, honoree tribute and live auction at 6PM, followed by orchestra seating for And The World Goes 'Round at 8PM. $250 performance-only tickets offer access to reserved seating with open bar for the 8PM performance. $125 performance-only tickets offer access to general admission on the mezzanine with open bar for the 8PM performance. Doors open at 7:30pm for performance-only tickets. Both Individual Gala tickets and performance-only tickets are available at abingdontheatre.org or by calling 212-868-2055, ext. 2.

In the 2017 - 2018 season, Abingdon Theatre Company continues its dedication to developing new work and fostering emerging playwrights:

Musical Theatre Lab:
Abingdon's Musical Theatre Lab allows the creative team of a musical in development to see and hear their work performed by seasoned actors in a staged-reading or workshop. With Musical Theatre Lab, Abingdon's mission expands to support composers, lyricists and book writers developing provocative new work, offering a launch pad for experimental musicals that might not otherwise receive liftoff.

In February 2018, Abingdon Theater Company will offer its 2nd annual Musical Theatre Lab presentation:

Written by Kate Hamill, with music by Carmel Dean
February 2018

In the Mines is set in Appalachian coal-mining territory, where a devastating cave-in forever changes and intertwines the lives of three imperfect women who soon find themselves swept up by forces beyond their control. This epic, imaginative "mutation" of Greek myths interweaves traditional folk music with magical realism to create a new mythology examining the forces (both seen and unseen) that shape our lives.

With an eye toward production-ready scripts, the Ghostlight Reading Series provides an opportunity for writers, directors and collaborators to share their work with an audience before transitioning into production. By focusing on scripts that reflect our social, historical and cultural diversity, Abingdon aims to become a destination for artists grappling with big questions. Readings are free to the general public but reservations are required.

Visit abingdontheatre.org or email tickets@abingdontheatre.org for further information about the plays featured in Ghostlight this fall:

By Tony Meneses
Directed by Tony Speciale
Monday, November 6 at 7PM at The Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th Street

It's 1968, and as a wave of student protest washes over Mexico City, a girl journeys into the ever-shifting capital to find a path to call her own. Between Here and the City of Mexico is a beguiling, sweeping ode to a city flush with the promise of revolution, and to the times in life when everything seems possible. Casting to be announced.

Written and performed by Dominique Fishback
Monday, December 4 at 7PM at The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street

Subverted is the story of the destruction of black identity as seen through the eyes of Eden, an 18-year-old girl living in an urban city in the USA. Through the colliding viewpoints of friends, family members, and historical figures, Eden discovers that the promise of "equal opportunity" still, to this day, does not exist. She questions why the people she loves the most continue to live blindly subverted by an unrelenting history that they did not live through, yet inherit and must accept.

By Philip Dawkins
Directed by Tony Speciale
Monday, December 11 at 7p at The DR2 Theatre, 101 E. 15th Street

Although now regarded as two of history's finest American Playwrights, back in 1944, William Inge and Tennessee Williams hadn't yet experienced anything close to success. Before the Chicago premiere of The Glass Menagerie, Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, invites Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview. This sexy, fraught rendezvous sparks a relationship, which radically alters the course of their lives and the American Theatre.

In an ongoing mission to nurture new work by emerging artists, Abingdon Theatre Company proudly announces Eliza Bent and Joey Merlo as recipients of its second residency program. Over the course of the season, each playwright will receive free rehearsal and office space, supplies, access to printing, mentorship, dramaturgical support, and a modest stipend to develop a new play from scratch. The residency will culminate in a public work-in-progress showing at the end of the season for the general public. Abingdon Theatre Company looks forward to announcing additional programming and special events in the coming weeks.


Dave Solomon (Playwright, Margaret and Craig) is a New York-based writer and director who has had works produced or performed at Ars Nova and Developing Artists, been a resident of SPACE on Ryder Farm, and wrote a short play that was performed in New York City and internationally as part of the After Orlando- an International Theatre Action in response to the Pulse Night Club Shooting. Dave also wrote and directed the award-winning short film photo op, starring Randy Harrison, Aaron Lazar and Lucas Steele, which has played over twenty film festivals including Palm Springs International ShortFest and Outfest Los Angeles. His play, Margaret and Craig, was previously seen in workshop at Vassar College, as part of New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theatre summer season.

Sheryl Kaller (Director, Margaret and Craig) Recent projects include: Sacred Valley by Josh Radnor, Frozen for Disney Creative/Disney Cruise Lines, Do This by Karen Siff Exhorn, The White Chip by Sean Daniels, and Choice by Winnie Holzman. She also recently directed the world premieres of Billy Porter's play While I Yet Live at Primary Stages, Nick Blaemire's new musical A Little More Alive (Barrington Stage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Roundabout Theatre Company's Underground production of Too Much Too Much Too Many by Meghan Kennedy, and the LCT3 production of Mr. Joy by Daniel Beaty. Sheryl directed Terence McNally's Tony nominated play on Broadway, Mothers And Sons with Tyne Daly. Ms. Kaller received a Tony Nomination for Best Director for the Broadway production of Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts. She has directed at many theaters including The New Group, Pasadena Playhouse, Primary Stages, Williamstown Theatre Festival, A.C.T., New York Stage and Film, The Geffen, Philadelphia Theater Company, The Huntington, Bucks County Playhouse, the York, EST, National Theater of the Deaf and Naked Angels. She is currently in development with Billy Porter, Ryan Spahn, Dan Fogler, Harrison David Rivers, Alex Lubischer, AnnMarie Milazzo, Jonatha Brooke, and Geoffrey Nauffts, among others. Upcoming: A Walk On The Moon by Paul Scott Goodman and Pamela Grey at A.C.T.

Eve Ensler (Playwright,The Fruit Trilogy) is the Tony Award winning playwright, activist, performer and author of the theatrical phenomenon and Obie Award winning, The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Ms. Ensler's plays include Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man, Extraordinary Measures, Necessary Targets, OPC, The Good Body, and Emotional Creature. Her books include Insecure at Last: A Political Memoir, New York Times best-seller I Am An Emotional Creature and her critically acclaimed memoir In the Body of the World. Eve adapted In the Body of the World into a play that she performed and debuted at the American Repertory Theater, directed by Diane Paulus. In January 2018, she will be premiering it in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Her play, Fruit Trilogy was performed at the Women of the World Festival in London and The West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her film credits include an HBO film version of her performance of The Vagina Monologues (2002). She also produced the film What I Want My Words to Do to You, a documentary about the writing group she led at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, which premiered and won the Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival and premiered nationally on PBS's "P.O.V." in December 2003. Ms. Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the almost 20-year-old global activist movement to end violence against women and girls which has raised over 100 million dollars for grassroots groups. V-Day led Ms. Ensler to also found One Billion Rising, the biggest global mass action campaign to end violence against women in human history in over 200 countries. She writes for The Guardian, Time Magazine, the International Herald Tribune and many other outlets. She was named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Changed the World" and The Guardian's "100 Most Influential Women.

Mark RosenBLATT (Director, The Fruit Trilogy) is a British theater director and filmmaker. He is Associate Artist at West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds, UK. Before this he was its Associate Director from 2013-16, and Studio Associate at the National Theatre from 2011-13. His directing work includes the world premiere of Animal Wisdom by Heather Christian at The Bushwick Starr; the world premiere of Eve Ensler's The Fruit Trilogy at West Yorkshire Playhouse & WOW Festival London; Villette, Uncle Vanya and Richard III at West Yorkshire Playhosue; Jack Thorne's Stuart: A Life Backwards for HighTide Festival and Sheffield Theatres; Shakespeare's Henry VIII and the world premiere of Jack Shepherd's Holding Fire!, both at Shakespeare's Globe, London; The Dybbuk at BAC, for which he was won the 1999 JMK Young Director Award. Mark most recently wrote the screenplay of Robert Holman's play Making Noise Quietly for Open Palm Films, currently in post-production.

Kate Hamill (Playwright, In the Mines) plays include Sense & Sensibility (in which she originated the role of Marianne Dashwood), which was developed at Hudson Valley Shakespeare and received its world premiere in NYC by Bedlam. That production transferred to the Gym at Judson where it ran for almost 300 performances. It had its regional debut at Dallas Theater Center and has been seen around the country. Her adaptation of Vanity Fair debuted at The Pearl Theater. Her newest play, Pride And Prejudice, ran this summer at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. That production will open at Primary Stages this fall. The play will also be seen at Seattle Rep and WaterTower Theatre. She is currently at work on adaptations of Little Women for The Jungle Theater and The Odyssey for ART/En Garde Arts. She is published by Dramatists Play Service.

Carmel Dean (Composer/Music Director, In the Mines) is a New York-based, Australian-born composer, musical director and arranger. She is the composer of Renascence (book by Dick Scanlan, currently in development with Transport Group). As a Broadway Musical Director and/or Arranger her credits include: If/Then; Hands on a Hardbody; American Idiot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other: Vocal arrangements for Phish; 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Carmel is a graduate of NYU's Musical Theatre Writing Program and a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Writing Workshop.

Tony Meneses (Playwright, Between Here and the City of Mexico) was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up in Albuquerque and Dallas. His plays include Guadalupe in the Guest Room and The Women of Padilla, which both had world premieres at Two River Theatre. He's a past Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab member, Ars Nova Resident Playwright, Playwright Fellow at The Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross, Playwrights Realm Writing fellow, and has been previously developed at the LARK Playwrights' Week and the Berkeley Rep Ground Floor. He's also a previous recipient of the Kennedy Center ACTF Latino Playwriting Award. He is published by Dramatists Play Service and is under commission from the Denver Center and Two River Theatre. Alumni: Youngblood at EST. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop. BA: The University of Texas at Austin. He is currently in the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School.

Dominique Fishback (Playwright/Actor, Subverted) is a Brooklyn native, and accomplished spoken word poet, playwright and stage actress. She currently stars as "Darlene" in HBO's critically acclaimed drama series The Deuce. TV credits: HBO's Show Me a Hero as "Billie Rowan," The Affair (Showtime), Blue Bloods (CBS) and Royal Pains (USA). Dominique is currently in production on FOX's feature film The Hate U Give, which is based on the best-selling young adult novel of the same name. She also recently wrapped production on the leading role of Angel in Jordana Spiro's Night Comes On, which is due for release in 2018. Fishback is an artist in residence at Abingdon Theatre, where she continues to develop exciting new works. Additionally, she has toured internationally, with performances at the White House, the United Nations in Switzerland and as part of a TedX Talk. Her groundbreaking original one-woman show, Subverted, was nominated for an Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.

Philip Dawkins (Playwright, The Gentleman Caller) plays include Charm (Northlight Theatre-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, MCC Theatre), Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), The Homosexuals (About Face Theater), Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), and The Happiest Place on Earth (Greenhouse Theater/Side Show-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Solo Performance), as well as the book and lyrics for Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud at Children's Theater Company, Minneapolis. His plays, The Burn and The Gentleman Caller (commissioned by Raven Theatre Company) will premier this winter in Chicago at Steppenwolf and Raven Theater Company respectively. Dawkins teaches playwriting at Northwest University, Loyola University Chicago, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program.

Eliza Bent (2017 - 2018 Artist in Residence) is a playwright and performer based in Brooklyn. Bent is a New Georges Audrey Residency artist and has been a SPACE on Ryder Farm "Working Farm" resident writer, a MacDowell Colony fellow, a Target Margin Institute Fellow, the recipient of an LMCC Process Space grant, a Bay Area Playwrights Finalist, and an alum of Project Y Playwright's Group and TerraNova's Groundbreakers group. Bent is a former senior editor at American Theatre magazine, where she still writes, a performer with the Obie-award winning company Half Straddle, and an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College where she received an MFA in playwriting. Her plays include: On a Clear Day I Can See to Elba (New Ohio's 2016 ICE Factory), The Beyonce (Breaking String Theatre, 2014 Payne Award for Outstanding Theatrical Event), Blue Wizard / Black Wizard (Incubator Arts Project / Other Forces 2014 festival) and The Hotel Colors (Bushwick Starr, L magazine's 25 best stage shows of 2013). Hybrid Events: Real Talk / Kip Talk (Abrons 16/17), Toilet Fire (runs at Abrons Arts Center, the Brick and JACK, Time Out New York Critics' Pick 2015), Karma Kharms (or Yarns by Kharms) (Target Margin 2012 Lab at Bushwick Starr), and Pen Pals Meet (Iranian Theatre Festival at the Brick 2011). As an actor Eliza has appeared in Celine Song's Tom & Eliza, directed by Knud Adams, and has voiced a few characters in Pokemon. With Half Straddle: Ancient Lives, Seagull (thinking of you), Football, Nurses in New England, and The Knockout Blow. Also, various appearances as Mark Twain (Twain on a Plane, in development) and O'Lynne in Toilet Fire, Fire the Hire, and Asleep at the Wheel.