Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) continues its 2008/2009 Season with the New York premiere of THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION, a new play by Evan Smith (Psych and The Uneasy Chair at Playwrights Horizons, Remedial English for the Young Playwrights Festival at Playwrights Horizons, Servicemen at The New Group). This will be Mr. Smith's fourth collaboration with the theater company.

Directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, New Jerusalem), in his Playwrights Horizons debut, the production will began previews on Friday, February 6, 2009 with an Opening Night set for Tuesday, March 3 at 7PM. The limited engagement will run through Sunday, March 15 at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street).

The cast will feature five-time Tony Award nominee and three-time Obie Award winner Dana Ivey (Driving Miss Daisy, Sunday in the Park with George and Mr. Smith's The Uneasy Chair at Playwrights Horizons, The Rivals, Butley), Obie Award winner Reed Birney (The Butterfly Collection, Pen and Gemini at Playwrights Horizons; the current hit Blasted; Bug; "Gossip Girl"), Drama Desk Award winner Marylouise Burke (Fuddy Meers, plus Kimberly Akimbo, Broadway's recent Is He Dead? and the revival of Into the Woods) and Kellie Overbey (Betty's Summer Vacation at Playwrights Horizons, The Coast of Utopia, Good Boys and True).

Dana Ivey and Reed Birney both have long histories with Playwrights Horizons. Ms. Ivey first appeared here in Sunday in the Park with George in 1983 and has since appeared in Baby with the Bathwater, Driving Miss Daisy and The Uneasy Chair. Mr. Birney first appeared here in Gemini in 1976 (in his New York debut) and has since appeared in Herself As Lust, An Imaginary Life, The Butterfly Collection and Pen. THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION will be Ms. Ivey's fifth production at Playwrights Horizons and Mr. Birney's sixth.

Resurrect this! When susceptible Catholic spinster Margaret (Marylouise Burke) politely admits door-to-door Pentecostal missionary Melissa (Kellie Overbey) into her home, her seemingly-solid faith starts to waver - much to the chagrin of her feisty sister Mary (Dana Ivey). But who's the blasphemer and who's the believer? Before long, the God-fearing sisters have ambushed their steadfast "guest" with the aid of an unsuspecting local priest (Reed Birney), setting the scene for a smackdown of truly biblical proportions.

The production will feature scenic design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty, costume design by two-time Tony Award nominee David C. Woolard, lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony Meola. Production Stage Manager is Robyn Henry.

Playwrights Horizons' 2008/2009 Season is generously supported by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Playwrights Horizons is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate. In addition, Playwrights Horizons receives major support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charina Endowment Fund, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, The Shubert Foundation and Time Warner Inc.

The performance schedule for THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION will be Tuesdays through Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 2:30 & 8PM and Sundays at 2:30 & 7:30 PM. There will be an additional Monday night performance on March 2 at 8PM. Tickets are $65 and will go on sale to the general public starting Wednesday, January 14. Tickets may be purchased online via, by phone at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily), or in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues). Subscriptions for the 2008/2009 Playwrights Horizons season are also available.

A ticketing initiative created last season as part of the theater company's Arts Access program, LIVEforFIVE makes available $5 tickets for the first preview performance of each Playwrights Horizons production through a lottery via the company's website.

The LIVEforFIVE lottery for THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION will be for tickets to the first preview on Friday, February 6 at 8 PM. Details for the lottery are as follows: beginning Wednesday, January 28 at 10 AM, theatergoers can enter the lottery by filling out an entry form at

Entries will be accepted until Monday, February 2 at 12 Noon. Winners of the lottery will be notified via email no later than 3:00 PM on Monday, February 2 with instructions on how to book their $5 tickets. Unclaimed tickets will be offered via email starting at 12 Noon on Tuesday, February 3 on a first-come, first-served basis. One or two tickets may be purchased for $5 each. At least 50 tickets will be available for Mainstage shows via the lottery.

Reflecting Playwrights Horizons' ongoing commitment to making its productions more affordable to younger audiences, the theater company will offer HOTtix, $20 rush tickets, subject to availability, day of performance only, starting one hour before showtime to patrons aged 30 and under. Proof of age required. One ticket per person, per purchase. STUDENT RUSH, $15 rush tickets, subject to availability, day of performance only, starting one hour before curtain to full-time graduate and undergraduate students. One ticket per person, per purchase. Valid student ID required.
LIVEforFIVE, HOTtix and STUDENT RUSH are some of Playwrights Horizons' popular Arts Access initiatives, which allow the institution to reach out to those who may not be able to afford the cost of a full-price theater ticket. Playwrights Horizons is grateful to Goldman, Sachs & Co., lead sponsor of Arts Access at Playwrights Horizons. This program is also supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, McGraw-Hill Companies and the Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation.
A special open captioned performance of THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION for theatergoers who are deaf and hard of hearing will be held on Sunday, February 22 at 2:30 PM. Funding for this program is provided, in part, by the Theodore H. Barth Foundation and the Theatre Development Fund's TAP Plus program in cooperation with the New York State Council on the Arts.

How to order tickets for the open captioned performance:

● Online: log on to

● Phone: call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily) via Relay Service (800) 421-1220

● TTY: call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (noon-8pm daily) via Relay Service (800) 662-1220

● By fax: a printable order form may be found online at
In addition, special Post-Performance Discussions with members of the cast and creative team will take place immediately after the following three performances: Wednesday evening, February 11 at 8PM, Sunday matinee, February 15 at 2:30 PM and Friday evening, February 20 at 8PM.
Following THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION, the Playwrights Horizons 2008/2009 Season will continue with the World Premiere of INKED BABY, a new play by Christina Anderson, directed by Kate Whoriskey, featuring Tony Award winner LaChanze, starting previews March 5; and the New York premiere of OUR HOUSE, a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck, directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, starting previews May 15.
For subscription and ticket information to all Playwrights Horizons productions, call TICKET CENTRAL at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8 pm daily, or purchase online at the Playwrights Horizons website at

Evan Smith (Playwright). The Savannah Disputation marks Evan's fourth work to be produced at Playwrights Horizons, following Remedial English (1986, as part of the Young Playwrights Festival), The Uneasy Chair (1998) and Psych (2001). The play premiered at the Writers Theater in Chicago in 2007. His other works include The Ecstasy of Lucy (Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art at HERE) and Servicemen (New York Stage and Film at Vassar, The New Group). He has an ongoing relationship with City Lights Theatre in Savannah, where he is a writer in residence. He is a graduate of Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama.

Walter Bobbie (Director) directed the Broadway revival of Chicago, for which he won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. Other Broadway credits include the current White Christmas, High Fidelity, Sweet Charity starring Christina Applegate, Twentieth Century starring Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche, Footloose for which he also co-authored the book and A Grand Night for Singing. Off-Broadway he most recently directed New Jerusalem at CSC. He has also directed for the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Sundance, the O'Neill Center, Goodspeed Opera House and City Center's Encores! Series, for which he served as artistic director. Other credits include directing concerts of Carousel and South Pacific at Carnegie Hall and White Christmas across the U.S. and in England.

Reed Birney (Father Murphy) won a 2006 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. He made his New York debut at Playwrights Horizons in 1976 in Gemini. He also appeared there in Herself As Lust (1982), An Imaginary Life (1994), The Butterfly Collection (2000) and Pen (2006). Other New York appearances: the current sold-out hit Blasted (Soho Rep); Stuff Happens (The Public, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble); Our Leading Lady (MTC); Bug (Barrow Street); Loose Knit, The Family of Mann (Second Stage); The Common Pursuit (Promenade); Volunteer Man (Rattlestick); Bedfellows (Bat Theatre); Minor Demons, The Exact Center of the Universe (Century Center). Regional includes The Lisbon Traviata (Seattle Rep) and the world premiere of Neil Simon's Hotel Suite (Walnut Street). TV work includes episodes of "Gossip Girl."

Marylouise Burke (Margaret) most recently appeared on Broadway as Madame Caron in Is He Dead? and also appeared in the revivals of Into the Woods and Inherit the Wind. She was also featured in the national tour of Lettice and Lovage. Off-Broadway credits include Fuddy Meers (MTC, Drama Desk Award), Kimberly Akimbo (MTC, Drama Desk nomination), The Oldest Profession (Signature), Wintertime (Second Stage), American Sligo (Rattlestick) and Now That's What I Call a Storm (Edge Theater). Film work includes Doubt, A Prairie Home Companion, Sideways, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Bringing Out the Dead and Jeffrey.

Dana Ivey (Mary) appeared in the Playwrights Horizons productions of Sunday in the Park with George (also Broadway -Tony nomination), Driving Miss Daisy (Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards), Baby with the Bathwater and Evan Smith's The Uneasy Chair. Other Broadway: Butley (Tony nomination), The Rivals (Tony nomination), Henry IV, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Major Barbara, Sex and Longing, Waiting in the Wings, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Drama Desk Award and Tony nomination), Indiscretions, Pack of Lies, Marriage of Figaro, Heartbreak House (Tony nomination), Present Laughter (Derwent Award). Other Off-Broadway: Mrs. Warren's Profession (Obie Award), Hamlet (Bayfield Award), Quartermaine's Terms (Obie). Kennedy Center: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Television: "A Lesson Before Dying" (HBO), "Easy Street," "Homicide," "Oz," "Frasier." Film: Legally Blonde 2, Two Weeks Notice, The Addams Family, Sabrina, Sleepless in Seattle, Home Alone 2, The Color Purple.

Kellie Overbey (Melissa) last appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Betty's Summer Vacation. Broadway: The Coast of Utopia, Twentieth Century, Judgment at Nuremberg, Q.E.D., Present Laughter, Buried Child. Off-Broadway credits include Good Boys and True (Second Stage), Ophelia in Hamlet (CSC), Animals Out of Paper (McGinn-Cazale), The Music Teacher (Minetta Lane), Gone Home (MTC) and Once Around the Sun (Zipper). Film: Favorite Son, Sweet and Lowdown, Outbreak, Love Thy Neighbor. TV: "Law & Order," "The Job," "That's Life," Stephen King's "The Stand." As a playwright: Once Around the Sun, Girl Talk and My Wife's Coat.

Photos By Joan Marcus

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