POWER PLAYS by Hwang, LaBute, Guare, Brunstetter and Graham Opens Tomorrow at Theatre Row

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), the critically acclaimed theater company dedicated to advancing artists with disabilities and changing the image of people with disabilities from dependence to independence, presents its fourth annual short play festival, POWER PLAYS -- a collection of five world-premiere short plays by celebrated playwrights Bekah Brunstetter, Bruce Graham, John Guare, David Henry Hwang and Neil LaBute -- with performances to run June 12-29 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street). Official press opening is Sunday, June 15. Roberto Cambeiro, Christina Roussos, Artistic Director Ike Schambelan, Russell Treyz, and Associate Director Nicholas Viselli direct.

The plays, each commissioned by TBTB, include Bekah Brunsetter's Murder, Bruce Graham's The Happy F&*#@!g Blind Guy, John Guare's Between, David Henry Hwang's Underground, and Neil LaBute's I Dare You.

The ensemble, which integrates actors with disabilities and able-bodied actors, includes Mary Theresa Archbold, Melanie Boland, Samantha Debicki, Anita Hollander, Lawrence Merritt, Anne Marie Morelli, Jamie Petrone, Pamela Sabaugh, David Rosar Stearns, and Nicholas Viselli.

The production features set and lighting design by Geoffrey Bryant, costume design by Amanda Jenks, and sound design by Sam Crawford. Dramaturg is Julius Novick.


Old friends get together to toast each other's success as writers, in Bekah Brunstetter's Murder. The reunion takes a turn for the worse when jealousy flares up.

In Bruce Graham's The Happy F&*#@!g Blind Guy, a blind grocery clerk gets scrutinized for knowing too much about his customers -- and being too darn HAPPY!

Two women take refuge at a restaurant and wonder if it is possible to stay at their table forever as they atone for past aggressions, in John Guare's Between.

Inspired by a true story, David Henry Hwang's Underground is about getting stuck in the Times Square subway station in a wheelchair.

In Neil LaBute's I Dare You, one woman confronts another regarding rumors of her boyfriend's infidelity, with very unexpected results.


Combined, the POWER PLAYS playwrights have received the Tony, the Olivier, the Peabody, the OBIE, the Drama Desk, the Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar nomination, and are four-time Pulitzer Prize finalists.

John Guare, the Tony and Olivier Award winning playwright of Six Degrees of Separation and The House of Blue Leaves, and David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, Kung Fu), the three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award winner for M. Butterfly, are writing for the festival for the first time. Tony nominee Neil LaBute (Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat) and Bekah Brunstetter (Oohrah!, Be a Good Little Widow, ABC's "Switched at Birth"), recently named part of Back Stage's 1st Annual Future Broadway Power List, are contributing works for the fourth time. Bruce Graham (According to Goldman, The Outgoing Tide, Any Given Monday) is participating in TBTB's short play festival for the third time.


Roberto Cambeiro directed Barbara Lindsay's Room at the Inn as part of Emerging Artists Theatre's EAT Fest. Christina Roussos has directed for New York Madness and Ensemble Studio Theatre's Youngblood. She directed Caps Lock Theatre's Magic Trick in FringeNYC and is the director and co-producer of "The Share," a half hour sitcom pilot and short character episodes. Ike Schambelan has been a theatrical director, teacher and critic for over 45 years. For TBTB, he has directed works by Shakespeare, Shaw and Gurney, as well as new plays, including NY premieres of The Rules of Charity and A Nervous Smile by disabled playwright John Belluso and Kate Moira Ryan's Bass for Picasso. He most recently directed Bruce Graham's According to Goldman. Russell Treyz is an American regional theater director and co-writer of the musical Cotton Patch Gospel. He won a Drama Desk Award for his direction of Whitsunitide. Associate Director Nicholas Viselli has worked with TBTB since 1997 as an actor, director, sound designer and administrator. Most recently, he directed two productions commissioned by the United Nations to commemorate the International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. For TBTB, he directed short plays in Some of Our Parts (2011) and Still More of Our Parts (2013). Viselli also serves as TBTB's Associate Director.

Theater Breaking Through Barriers, formerly Theater by the Blind, is acritically acclaimed Off-Broadway company integrating able-bodied actors with artists with disabilities. Founded in 1979, by Artistic Director Ike Schambelan, the company's mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be.

The 8pm performance on Saturday, June 14 will feature ASL interpretation by Sarah Brandenburg and Craig Fogel. POWER PLAYS runs June 12-29 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street): Thursdays at 7PM; Fridays at 8PM; Saturdays at 3PM and 8PM and Sundays at 3PM, with an additional 7PM performance on Wednesday, June 25. Tickets are $19.25. For reservations, call 212-239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com. For additional information, visit www.tbtb.org.

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