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Keen Co to Present Keen Teens Festival of New Work 2022

The festival will feature three world premiere one-acts by C. Quintana, Bleu Beckford-Burell, and Stephanie Swirsky.

Keen Co to Present Keen Teens Festival of New Work 2022

Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein today announced that The Keen Teens Festival of New Work will offer three new one-acts by C. Quintana, Bleu Beckford-Burell, and Stephanie Swirsky, featuring a cast of New York City high school students.

Keen Teens is a unique educational program from off-Broadway's award-winning Keen Company. This free program for teens provides invaluable mentorship opportunities: working alongside professional writers, directors, and designers to rehearse and premiere new plays. By commissioning one-acts specifically designed for the high school stage, Keen Teens creates work that speaks to teens on their level, presenting a perspective which is as complex and multilayered as the students themselves. The 12 week program culminates in the Off-Broadway premiere of each new piece during the Keen Teens Festival of New Work at Theatre Row, and the subsequent publishing and licensing by Concord Theatricals.

"All of us at Keen couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Keen Teens back to live performance for the first time since 2019! We have assembled a talented group of NYC teens to debut three new exciting works by some of the American Theatre's brightest emerging writers. This year I am especially excited to be welcoming aboard our new Director of Education, Celestine Rae, who brings a potent blend of talent, enthusiasm and heart to the program. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead to grow our beloved outreach program," said Jonathan Silverstein, Keen Artistic Director

"This is such a special year for Keen Teens! After being away from the theatre for 2 years due to the pandemic, Keen Teens will finally return to Theatre Row for 4 live performances. The teens have been working incredibly hard and they are very excited to perform on stage again. It is an honor for me to be serving as the Director of Education this year. I truly love this program. Keen Teens is such an extraordinary opportunity for high school students to work with professional artists and collaborate with teens from all over the New York area. The bonds that are created are quite special and we have alumni who love to return to work with Keen Teens long after they have graduated from high school," added Celestine Rae, Director of Education.

A Little Bit of Tea with That


By Bleu Beckford-Burrell, Directed by Mark Cirnigliaro
Starring: Quinn Canales, Oscar Giles, Michelle Lambe, Karla Lazala, Tovi Lisker, Nina Luyindula, Samatha May, Lesly Montano, Zakariah Moussad, Chinua Baraka Payne


A vicious rumor has spread at the local high school, right before spring break. A long-standing friendship is at risk, with casualties falling left and right. Allison believes she may know who the culprit is but her accusation might not only cause a rift that can never be fixed between friends, it may bring unknown truths to the surface.

Bake Sale


By Stephanie Swirsky, Directed by Sarah Krohn
Starring: Charlotte Coffey, Dereck Diller, Sofia Fraidenraich, Oscar Giles, Polly Gillmore, Aidan Inwood, Milena Manocchia, Raizel Mascardon, Chelsea Paradiso, Beatrice Rimel


Behak, 16, has decided to sell hummus and pita for her suburban school's yearly bake sale. But the other students question her culinary choice, especially when she declares Palestinians to be terrorists. Students organize and tell the school administration how they feel - that Israeli food has no place at the bake sale and Bekah, whose parents are from Israel, should be banned from selling anything at all.

Hatch


by C. Quintana, Directed by Lynne Marie Rosenberg
Starring: Quinn Canales, Zane Elinson, Shoshana Hoover, Ellis Jablonski, Tovi Lisker, Diego Martinez, Nicole Noriega, Brendan O'Connell, Elyana Rodriguez, Anthony Tessis


When a group of drama students sneak into their school theater the day before their first public performance in the space for years, they uncover a kooky world beneath the trap door that leads them on a wild, unexpected adventure uniting them for the sake of their premiere.


The creative team for Keen Teens will include Devon James (set design), Jennifer Chi (costume design), Victoria Bain (lighting design), Julian Evans (sound design), Nico Grelli (fight coordinator), Celestine Rae (Keen Director of Education) and Ashley Scott (Keen Teens Associate).

The Keen Teens Festival of New Work will run 90 minutes with no intermission. All three one-act plays will be presented at every performance. The Festival runs Friday May 20th at 8pm, Saturday May 21st at 2pm & 8pm, Sunday May 22nd at 2pm.

Tickets are just $20 and are on sale now at www.keencompany.org. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 212-714-2442, ext. 45, or in person at the Theatre Row Box Office Box Office at 42nd & 9th Ave two hours prior to curtain. Additional service fees will apply for online or phone orders.

Theatre Row is a fully accessible venue: all bathrooms are accessible; there are elevators to all floors; the bar and lounge are accessible; assisted listening devices are available. Proof of vaccination is required to enter the venue. All patrons must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to their performance date. Masks must be worn inside the building at all times. For more information, read Keen Company and Theatre Row's full COVID protocols here.

Keen Teens is made possible by the Axe-Houghton Foundation and the individual contributions of the Keen Teens Ambassadors. Learn more about becoming a Keen Teens Ambassador at https://www.keencompany.org/supportkeenteens.

Keen Company is an award-winning Off-Broadway theater creating story driven work that champions identification and connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, the company tells stories about the decisive moments that change us. Recently, Keen has brought such acclaimed productions to the stage as Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage (NY Premiere, AUDELCO and Antonyo nominations), Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson (NY Premiere), Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon (Drama League nomination), Tick, Tick...BOOM! by Jonathan Larson (Drama Desk nomination), Boy by Anna Ziegler (World Premiere, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), and Marry Me a Little by Stephen Sondheim (Drama League nomination). Through our educational arm, Keen Teens, we raise the quality of plays written for the high school stage and provide a free professional training program for teens. Through the Keen Playwrights Lab, Keen brings together three mid-career playwrights to develop new work and facilitate that work's exposure to a greater audience. Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments. We believe that a good process makes great art, and that we are responsible for our impact both on and off stage.

For more information about the Keen Teens Festival of New Work and all of Keen's programs, visit KeenCompany.org.

BIOS


Bleu Beckford-Burrell (Playwright, A Little Bit of Tea with That) is a first-generation Jamaican-American actor/playwright. Born and raised in New York City, she works for non-profit organizations where she teaches acting to teens, as well as write and direct plays. Her plays include: P.S. 365 (2019 O'Neill Finalist) showcased at EST (Youngblood Workshop Series) and The National Black Theatre (Keep the Soul Alive reading series). Lyons Pride (2020 Burman New Play Award Finalist, 2019 The Kilroy's Honorable Mention, and Yale Drama Series Award Runner-up, 2018 BAPF, Princess Grace Award Finalist) showcased at Playwrights Realm (Ink'd Festival of New Plays) and EST (Bloodwork Reading Series). La Race (2020 Normal Ave Finalist and Theatre503 International Playwright Award, O'Neill, BAPF Semi-finalist) and Page73 (2021 Virtual Residency and Fall 2022 Production). She is Page73 Fellow (2021), The Playwrights Realm Fellow (2018), PWC New Voices Fellowship (2018, Finalist), NYTW/2050 Fellowship (2019, Finalist) as well as an I73 playwright (2020), Colt Coeur resident (2021), PWC Core Writer (2020, Finalist), WP Lab (2020, Finalist), Working Farm (2019, Semi-Finalist), et cet. She received the 2020 Playwrights Horizons, Jody Falco & Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights and 2021 South Coast Repertory, Elizabeth George Emerging Writer Commission. M.F.A. Rutgers University BleuBeckford.com

C. Quintana (Playwright, Hatch) [she/he/they] is a queer writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots based on Canarsie-Lenape land in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. CQ's work is stirred by the mantra, "you are not alone." Plays include Azul (West Coast Premiere November 2021 at Diversionary Theatre), Citizen Scientist (Barrington Stage Company Burman New Play Award), Scissoring (World Premiere at INTAR / published via Dramatists Play Service), and more. This summer, the inaugural Out in Hollywood Out Loud List featured CQ's dramedy pilot Career Gay. The recipient of fellowships and residencies from WP Theater, MacDowell, Playwrights Realm, Lark/Van Lier New Voices and beyond, CQ is currently developing an animated feature project with Baobab Studios, a stage adaptation of Elizabeth Acevedo's Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths with composer Janelle Lawrence for the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, and a commission for Audible's Emerging Playwrights Fund. For more, visit cquintana.com

Stephanie Swirsky (Playwright, Bake Sale) writes about illness, death, grieving, and cultural identity with humor, levity, and a sense of romantic adventure. Her plays have been developed at The Brick, The Flea, Pasadena Playhouse, The Tank, and Theatricum Botanicum, among others. She was a CubaOne Literary Fellow, recipient of the Israel Baran Award, and received a commission from the Iron Tongues Project with the University of Southern California and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Poland. Stephanie is the co-founder of Let Us Work, an advocacy group that aims to combat and end sexual harassment in theater. Originally from the suburbs of New Jersey, Stephanie currently lives in NYC, and received her BA from NYU and MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC.

Lynne Marie Rosenberg (Director, Hatch) is a performer turned advocate turned content maker turned visual artist. Lynne is the host and creator of Emmy-nominated "Famous Cast Words" on the PBS affiliate network ALL ARTS, plays Dinah on HBO's "High Maintenance", and is the artist behind the Etsy store, Hungry Bodhisattva. www.LynneMarieRosenberg.com

Mark Cirnigliaro (Director, A Little Bit of Tea with That) - Comfort Women by Dimo Kim (Peter J Sharp Theater - Assoc. Director), The Net Will Appear by Erin Mallon (59E59th Street), Judgment of Fools by Bernardo Cubria (INTAR). Mark is the Director of New Play Development for Jersey City Theater Center. MFA - Rutgers MGSA-TD. Love to Julie & Roman.

Sarah Krohn (Director, Bake Sale) writes, develops, and directs new work and adaptations. Past: Horse Girls by Jenny Weiner (the cell); Veil'd by Monet Hurst-Mendoza (WP Theatre); The Pits by Joshua Harmon (Williamstown). Alumna of WP Theatre Lab and Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab; past co-leader of the New Georges Jam. MFA: Carnegie Mellon.



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