Keen Company Announces Season: MOLLY SWEENEY & BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY
Today Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein announced his plans for the upcoming season, Keen's 20th: "In 2000 Keen was born with a belief that there was a place for theatre that was generous in spirit and provoked identification. Twenty years later I am proud to say the dream founder Carl Forsman began is still relevant and necessary. This year we will mark our 20th Season by producing two plays about the complications of chasing a dream, set in two very different times and places. In the fall we will produce a revival of Brian Friel's gorgeous play Molly Sweeney, the story about a woman blind since infancy who is urged on by her husband and doctor to get an operation that will change her life forever. I have loved this play for many years; and in a time when we are all discussing the right of choice, Molly Sweeney is incredibly timely.
"In the spring, we will produce the New York premiere of Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky, the story of five friends navigating changing and challenging times. The play asks modern questions about survival, aspiration, and women's healthcare. Blues for An Alabama Sky has been popularly produced around the country for the past 25 years. I am thrilled to bring this play to New York, where it is set, for the very first time," said Silverstein.
Performances for the limited Off-Broadway engagement of Molly Sweeney, directed by Keen Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein, will begin Tuesday, October 8th, and continue through November 16th only, with opening night set for Wednesday October 23rd. Cast and design team to be announced shortly.
Having lost her sight at infancy, Molly Sweeney knows the world through touch, sound, taste, and smell. When her hopeful husband and ambitious doctor propose an operation to restore her sight, Molly and those around her begin to understand that things may not all be as they appear. Brian Friel, Ireland's master storyteller (Dancing at Lughnasa, Faith Healer, Translations) creates a riveting contemporary drama about the unexpected consequences of a medical miracle.
From one of Ireland's best living playwrights, this striking piece of dramatic writing is a daring piece of theater. Keeping the play's three characters on stage at all times to speak directly to the audience, Brian Friel presents three points of view to the same intriguing tale. Each of their voices interweaves, threading in and out with details, spinning a lush and sensate narrative, and carrying us effortlessly to an unexpected and poignant conclusion. Deceptively simple, yet richly multilayered-combining both an insightful story about the way we perceive our existence with an allegory for our times - Molly Sweeney is an Irish storyteller's art to create an unforgettable theater piece, painting scenery and rousing emotions with nothing more than the simple purity of beautifully rendered words.
Later this season, Keen will present the limited Off-Broadway engagement of Blues for an Alabama Sky, beginning Tuesday February 4th. Performances will continue through Saturday March 14th only, with opening night set for Wednesday February 18th. Cast and design team will be announced shortly.
Keen is honored to bring this well-loved play to New York for the first time. Playwright Pearl Cleage (Flyin' West and Oprah Book Club selection What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day) tells a strikingly timely story about four friends whose lives and passions collide when an innocent newcomer from Alabama arrives in Harlem during summer of 1930, as the promises of the Harlem Renaissance are being swept away by the Great Depression. Now, after captivating audiences around the world, Keen is proud to bringBlues for An Alabama Sky to New York for the first time since its premiere 25 years ago.
"The story of Blues for An Alabama Sky arrived while I was driving with my husband, Zeke, through rural Alabama one cool, clear night when the stars were so thick I hung my head out the window like a dog so I could take it all in. For weeks after we got back to Atlanta, I couldn't stop wondering what it would be like to leave those stars behind and have to settle for the artificial lights of the big city. Now, 25 years later, Angel and Doc and Guy and Leland and Delia will finally have a chance to walk around Manhattan and see how they like it. It is an honor for me to have this play make it's New York debut as part of the Keen Company's 20th Season and to have these characters come to life here under the direction of LA Williams who loves them almost as much as I do. Almost," said Cleage
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Single tickets to Molly Sweeney and Blues for an Alabama Sky will go on sale Monday August 19th. To purchase single tickets, visit the Theatre Row Box Office (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues), order online at Telecharge.com, or order by phone at 212-239-6200.
For more information, visit KeenCompany.org.