Photo Flash: Meet the Casts of THE SPORTING LIFE OF ICARUS JONES and THE DROWNING GIRLS at DirectorFest
The Drama League presents DirectorFest, the only festival in the United States dedicated to the art of contemporary stage directing. The festival series that began January 10, 2020 continues with an evening of short plays probing the complexity of relationships with The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones by Marcus Gardley, directed by Chika Ike, and The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, and Daniela Vlaskalic, directed by Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly. The limited engagement begins Friday, January 24, 2020 at 7:30pm for three performances through January 25, 2020 at The New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street). Tickets are priced at $45 Premium Seating | $25 General Seating | $20 Drama League/SDC/AEA/DG Members.
Meet the casts in the photos below!
The evening begins with director Chika Ike's staging of The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones by Marcus Gardley, whose work -- including The House That Will Not Stand (NYTW) and On The Levee (LCT) has made him "the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams" (New Yorker). The three-member cast of The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones features Cherrye J. Davis as Songstress/Nurse, Martin Fisher as Deadlust Jones and Eric Lockley as Icarus Jones. The Music Director is Justin Ellington. The Stage Manager is Bonnie McHeffey. Casting by Erica A. Hart.
The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, and Daniela Vlaskalic, directed by Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly, weaves fact and fantasy through London's infamous "Brides in the Bath" murder case, where the killer's victims -- his three newlywed wives -- finally get a chance to tell their side of the story. The three-member cast of The Drowning Girls features Rachel Claire as Bessie, Jessie Datino as Margaret and Lisa Helmi Johanson as Alice. The Stage Manager is Rachel Kaufman. Casting by Gama Valle, Harriet Bass Casting.
The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones and The Drowning Girls play on a double-bill for each performance.
DirectorFest continues through February 4, 2020 at various locations around NYC: The New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street), The Drama League Theater Center (32 Avenue of the Americas), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (31-10 Thomson Avenue), and Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street). For festival details and tickets, visit directorfest.org or call (212) 244-9494 x102. Industry/Theatre Professionals may request tickets by emailing DirectorFest@dramaleague.org.
For its 36th year, the festival will include 27 actors in six fully-staged productions and a concert of a new docu-play with music. Taking place over five weeks in venues across Manhattan, highlights of the festival include all-new stagings of works by Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again) and Harold Pinter (The Lover), revivals of rarely-seen works by Tina Howe (Appearances) and Marcus Gardley (The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones), and Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic (The Drowning Girls), a concert of songs from the new docu-play with music by Matthew Dean Marsh and Oscar Lopez (Riot Song), and the North American premiere of a new theatrical immersive experience created by Belgian director Christian Bakalov (Pure).
Chosen last spring from over 400 applicants, the directors leading the festival's new productions this year -- NJ Agwuna, Chika Ike, Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly, Lindsey Hope Pearlman, Ben Randle, Hannah Ryan, and Mr. Bakalov -- recently completed their development programs as part of The Drama League Directors Project.
The festival also includes conversations with 2017 Tony Award Winner Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), 2014 Tony Award Winner and 2010 Drama League Founders Award for Excellence in Directing Kenny Leon (A Soldier's Play), and Intimacy Director Claire Warden (HBO's "Mrs. Fletcher").
DirectorFest 2020 launched with the musical Hello Again with book, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChuisa, directed by 2019 Drama League Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow Ben Randle, and with music direction by Jesse Kissel. The four-member cast featured Broadway veterans Lana Gordon (Chicago, The Lion King), Angel Reda (The Cher Show), Matthew Christian and Pablo Torres, with musicians Jesse Kissel (conductor/piano), Michael Hess (cello), Mike Lunoe (percussion), and Justin Vance (reeds). The Production Stage Manager was Karen Schleifer. Casting by Stephen DeAngelis. Hello Again played four performances from January 10 - 12, 2020 at The New Ohio Theatre.
The creative team for DirectorFest is: Gabriel Stelian- Shanks (Artistic Director), Bevin Ross (Executive Director), Ali Skye Bennet (Artistic Line Producer), Nilan (Associate Artistic Director), Patrick Surillo (Artistic Coordinator), Kate Holland (Production Manager), Cate McCrea (Scenic Designer), Amanda Gladu (Costume Designer), Lois Gordon (Lighting Designer), DJ Potts (Sound Designer), Calvin Stara (Technical Director), Stephen DeAngelis (Casting Director, Hello Again, and Appearances), Gama Valle/Harriet Bass Casting (Casting Director, The Drowning Girls), Erica A. Hart (Casting Director, The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones and The Lover), Justin Ellington (Music Director, The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones), Jesse Kissel (Music Director, Hello Again), Melanie Aponte (Stage Manager, The Lover), Arielle Goldstein (Stage Manager, Appearances), Rachel Kaufman (Stage Manager, The Drowning Girls), Bonnie McHeffey (Stage Manager, The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones), Cody Renard Richard (Stage Manager, Riot Songs: The Concert), Karen Schleifer (Production Stage Manager, Hello Again), and Evangeline Whitlock (Stage Manager, Pure).
During DirectorFest, the featured directors will join the ranks of the illustrious 350+ alumni of The Drama League Directors Project, including Tony® Award winners Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), Diane Paulus (Jagged Little Pill), Michael Mayer (Little Shop of Horrors), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Pam MacKinnon (The Parisian Woman), John Rando (On The Town), Tony Award nominees Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge!), Lila Neugebauer (The Waverly Gallery), Moritz von Steulpnagel (Bernhardt/Hamlet), and Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg), to name only a few. Many of the nation's prominent theaters are led by Drama League alumni directors including Ms. MacKinnon at San Francisco's A.C.T., Mr. Ashley at La Jolla Play House in San Diego, Ms. Paulus at Boston's American Repertory Theatre, James Bundy of Yale Repertory Theatre, Kevin Moriarty of Dallas Theater Center, Laura Kepley at Cleveland Play House, and many more.
For additional festival details and tickets, please visit directorfest.org
Photo Credit: The Drama League
Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (Artistic Director), Ali Skye Bennet (Artistic Line Producer), Chika Ike (Director, The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones), Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly (Director, The Drowning Girls), Bevin Ross (Executive Director).
Chika Ike (Director, The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones), Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly (Director, The Drowning Girls)
Chika Ike, Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly
The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones set rendering by Kate McCrea
Cast of The Sporting Life of Icarus Jones a?" Martin Fisher, Cherrye J. Davis, Eric Lockley
Martin Fisher, Chika Ike, Cherrye J. Davis, Eric Lockley
The Drowning Girls set rendering by Kate McCrea