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Photos: [PORTO] Celebrates Opening Off-Broadway

Tuesday night marked the opening night of the Off-Broadway premiere of [PORTO], a new play by Obie Award Winner Kate Benson presented byWP Theater and The Bushwick Starr, in association with New Georges. Directed by Obie Award winner Lee Sunday Evans (Bull in a China Shop, Caught), the play's cast features Noel Joseph Allain (Luft Gangster, Queerspawn), Kate Benson, Ugo Chukwu (Ripcord, JOB), Jorge Cordova (Moment of Zen, Hillary), Leah Karpel (The Harvest, Pocatello) and Julia Sirna-Frest (Welcome to the Gun Show, A Tunnel Year).[PORTO] began previews at WP Theater (2162 Broadway) on Sunday, January 28, and will run through Sunday, February 25.

Deemed a Critics' Pick by both The New York Times and Time Out New York, the play is hailed by New York Magazine as "Laugh-out-loud hilarious. A smart, surprising ode to the modern woman's anxious, circuitous quest for simultaneous self-actualization, pleasure, and perhaps even love." The New York Times describes the production as ""A stealthily ferocious, comfortingly hopeful, very funny new play! An exhortation to get out of your head and live, in thoughtful pursuit of joy." TheaterMania exclaims "[PORTO] makes its triumphant return! Uniquely theatrical, magical, mischievous, and just plain hilarious. A comedy that dissects its audience with uproarious precision." Time Out gives the play "Four Stars! Hugely worth seeing. A feel-weird comedy that exposes the underbelly of meet-cute romance."

A woman walks into a bar. Her name is Porto. She's a regular. She likes this bar: serious food, serious wine, serious bartender--a staple in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood (perhaps Bushwick?). Her friends, her wine, and her artisanal snacks are there; her doubts about being a Modern Woman are put on snooze. A handsome stranger walks in and orders something special. Disruption ensues: an upside-down romantic comedy unfolds inside and outside her head. Desires of all kinds are awakened with a ferocious thump. A nice smile is a nice smile, but can we enjoy the sausage once we know how it's made? [PORTO] reunites Benson and Evans, whose last collaboration, the Obie Award-winning A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, was a smash success at WP Theater in 2015.

[PORTO] features set design by Kristen Robinson (Company - Barrington, Esais' Table) costumes by Obie Award winner Ásta Bennie Hostetter(The Wolves, Smokefall, John), lighting by Amith Chandrashaker (Twelfth Night - The Public, Her Requiem), and sound design by Kate Marvin(Somebody's Daughter, Happy Days). WP Lab alum Rachel Karpf (Stuffed, Queens) and John Del Gaudio (the food was terrible, Comfort Dogs: Live from the Pink House) are the line producers. [PORTO] was initially produced by WP Lab alum Rachel Karpf, John Del Gaudio and The Bushwick Starr (Noel Allain- Co-Founder, Artistic Director, Sue Kessler- Co-Founder, Creative Director), where it received its world premiere in their 2016-17 Season.

Photo Credit: Tarah Lee

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