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Plays by Robert O'Hara, Jessica Blank & More Set for The Public's NEW WORK NOW! Series, Begin. 9/9

The Public Theater announced the September line-up today for NEW WORK NOW!, the free reading series that allows audiences an opportunity to experience new work by a diverse selection of established and emerging theater artists. NEW WORK NOW! will run September 9 to September 21 in The Public's Martinson Theater (425 Lafayette Street). Now in its twentieth season, NEW WORK NOW! is an important part of The Public Theater's ongoing commitment to developing and mentoring new voices for the American Theater.

Member tickets are available now for this free reading series, and single ticket reservations will be available on Tuesday, August 20 online at publictheater.orgor by contacting the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at Astor Place at (212) 967-7555.

This year's NEW WORK NOW! playwrights are Jessica Blank, Radha Blank, Mikhail Durnenkov, Kathryn Grody, Adi Hanash, Erik Jensen, Harry Kondoleon, Ethan Lipton, Dominique Morisseau, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dan O'Brien, Robert O'Hara, Pavel Pryazhko, Ethan Sandler, Patrick Vassel, and Natal'yaVorozhbit.

"New Work Now! explodes on our stage this fall with 14 incredible plays from a brilliantly talented group of writers," said Associate Artistic Director Mandy Hackett. "Sharing new work-in-progress with our audiences is always a thrilling experience and this dynamic line-up (for free) is not to be missed."

This year's NEW WORK NOW! series also includes NEW WORK THEN, an opportunity for The Public to celebrate seminal works from the past. This year, The Public will present a reading of Zero Positive by Harry Kondoleon. Originally produced by The Public Theater in 1988, NEW WORK THEN is proud to once again present this searing and fantastical play to a new generation.

Previous NEW WORK NOW! series have included the debuts of Wild With Happy by Colman Domingo; Urge for Going by Mona Mansour; In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney; The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson; Paris Commune by Steven Cosson and Michael Friedman; The Poor Itchby John Belluso; In Darfur by Winter Miller; Durango by Julia Cho; Measure for Pleasure by David Grimm; Satellites by Diana Son; Well by Lisa Kron;Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz and Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks.

2013 NEW WORK NOW! Schedule

Monday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m.

By Dan O'Brien
Directed by Davis McCallum

With a single, stark photograph, the course of global events is changed forever. In powerful, theatrical language, Dan O'Brien explores the ethical and personal consequences resulting from Paul Watson's real-life photograph of the body of an American soldier dragged from the wreck of a Blackhawk and mutilated in the streets of Mogadishu. Winner of the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama.

Tuesday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m.

By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

Detroit's Blackbottom neighborhood. 1949. An old jazz spot and rooming house stays alive by its resident bebop band. Headed by troubled trumpeter and club owner Blue, the band and business struggle to stay afloat in face of the city's urban renewal plans to uproot Blackbottom. But when a mysterious woman comes along with her own money and a walk that drives men crazy, no one is prepared for how far she'll go to change the plans. PARADISE BLUE is the first part of Dominique Morisseau's Detroit Trilogy, which includes the recent Public Lab/Classical Theatre of Harlem co-production of Detroit '67.

Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m.

By Harry Kondoleon
Directed by Sarah Benson

New York City. 1987. AIDS is a death sentence and Himmer has just gotten the bad news. But the resourceful author isn't going to wait around to die. He's going to take his death into his own hands - with a little help from his friends. Originally produced by The Public Theater in 1988, NEW WORK THEN is proud to once again present this searing and fantastical play to a new generation.

Thursday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.

By Adi Hanash and Patrick Vassel
Directed by Patrick Vassel

"This is a love story. Unlike most love stories, this one ends with me setting myself on fire." So begins Mohamed, the Tunisian fruit-seller who set himself ablaze and began the Arab Spring, as he tells his tale. Mohamed and Fazia meet at the market and a forbidden romance blossoms, but the personal eventually turns political in this romantic comedy that ends in tragedy, though not without hope.

Saturday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m.

By Mary Kathryn Nagle
Directed by Kate Whoriskey
Co-presented by The Eagle Project

When a modern day Lenape woman returns to her ancestral land to work on Wall Street, she must reconcile all that her people have lost with what she now attempts to gain. Simultaneously, MANAHATTA also tells the story of the Lenape Indians who lived on the island of Manahatta in the 1600s, when Peter Minuit and the Dutch claim to have purchased the island for $24. Written in The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, this play explores how the concepts of indigenous identity, ownership, and the entire system of American capitalism have made us who we are today.

Sunday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Written and performed by Ethan Sandler
Directed by Daniel Goldstein

Ethan Sandler has carefully (some might say "obsessively") constructed a survival kit meant to keep his family alive for five days if/when the sh*t hits the fan. Earthquake? Alien Invasion? Zombie Apocalypse? He's got it covered (or at least he prays he does). ARTIFICIAL FELLOW TRAVELER tells the story of how these five post-apocalyptic days might unfold while exploring questions of fear, paranoia and the possible identity of a second gunman in the JFK assassination.

Monday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m.

By Ethan Lipton
Directed by Leigh Silverman

In a small frontier town in the Old West, the men are dropping like flies at the hands of no good gangster Big Bill Yardley. Orphaned sharpshooter Catalina Vucuvich-Villalobos dreams of taking the murderer down. But when the demon ghost Tumacho rolls back into town, all the rules change. An uproarious tale about cowboys, coyotes, and chronic halitosis. Yeehaw! An inaugural member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, Ethan Lipton is the Obie Award-winning author of No Place to Go.
TUMACHO is a commission of Clubbed Thumb, made possible with funding from the New York State Council of the Arts.

Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Written and performed by Kathryn Grody
Directed by Timothy Near

In the middle of their lives, two performers find their younger and naïve expectations of a life of domestic bliss and artistic fulfillment challenged by the reality of their marriage, children and careers. In her new solo show, two-time Obie Award-winning actress and writer Kathryn Grody explores how a family can go from idyllic deliciousness to relative catastrophe and yet still manage to survive - bruised and altered, but wiser in the knowledge of the work it takes to make and hold onto a family.

Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m.

By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Performed by Erik Jensen
Directed by Jessica Blank

Outsized, manic, often fucked-up and impossibly creative, Gonzo journalist Lester Bangs was America's greatest rock critic and a living icon. Both irreligious and messianic about humanity in general and music in particular, Lester traveled with and battled the likes of The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed and the MC5, peeling away the veneer between "star" and audience. But when the ragged, rebel ethos of the 70's gave way to the corporate pop of the 80's, Lester lost the myth he'd built a life around, and overdosed at 33. This solo play performed by Jensen and created by the award-winning team behind The Exonerated andAftermath utilizes Lester's own writing to chart the life, work and death of one of the 20th century's most ground-breaking, pioneering voices.

Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Robert O'Hara

A pot head, an alcoholic, a pill popper and a control freak. The last four people who should ever perform an intervention decide it's time for their crack-head sister, Zippity Boom, to get her life together. This hilarious, over-the-top family portrait offers all the pleasures of watching people in a knock-down drag-out fight, but also asks: who's zooming who? The Obie Award-winning director of In the Continuum, Robert O'Hara recently directed Wild With Happy at The Public.

Friday, September 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Written and performed by Radha Blank
Directed by Liesl Tommy

Business is bad for Mrs. Sung. A rival nail salon just opened up down the street. Her best manicurist is nowhere to be found. And her most loyal customer is facing eviction. In a Korean-owned nail salon in the heart of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, the lives of five women intersect in this timely solo-performance play that explores loss, survival, gentrification and the American Dream. Radha Blank was an inaugural member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group.

Saturday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. (One Day Marathon)

Presented in Collaboration with Actor's Touring Company, UK (with Elyse Dodgson, International Director, Royal Court Theatre, London)
CEC ArtsLink

In June 2012, three Russian-speaking playwrights went to live in Brighton Beach to explore a world made up of emigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and formed their own community on the Brooklyn shorefront. Mikhail Durnenkov (Russia), Pavel Pryazhko (Belarus) and Natal'ya Vorozhbit (Ukraine) were accompanied by Elyse Dodgson, International Director of The Royal Court Theatre, London who grew up in Brighton Beach; Ramin Gray, Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company, UK; poet and translator Sasha Dugdale; and hosted by The Public Theater. The resulting plays shine startling lights on Brighton Beach, its residents and their attitudes to being both immigrants away from their homeland and new Americans. All from the perspective of those left behind.

By Mikhail Durnenkov
Translated by Rory Mullarkey
Directed by Ramin Gray

It's a normal day in Brighton Beach. Roman works in his hair salon. His father makes a model of the Kremlin from matchsticks. Anna and Mark rehearse for a concert of Silver Age poetry. Then they hear the news: "Russia is gone." Instead of a country, there's only a black hole. In this poignant, sci-fi romp, it falls to the Brooklyn shorefront residents of Brighton Beach to preserve Russia - not only its culture and heritage but also its soul.

By Pavel Pryazhko
Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Ramin Gray

Zhenya runs a boarding house in Brighton Beach with some strange foreign visitors: a woman who presents him with a pumpkin pie, a man who Skypes in German, and Kira - who arrived from Russia when she was eight but has no memory of her life before America. They all have problems with keys. From the perspective of his basement room on Neptune Avenue, Pryazhko creates a world of laconic dialogue and surreal imagery in which nothing is what it seems and nothing quite fits.

By Natal'ya Vorozhbit
Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Sacha Wares
Paradise for You, Zhanna's shop selling remnants of the Soviet Union, is a painful reminder of her past: the gangster husband she left in Kiev, his murder by the KGB. It is also her sole means of supporting her disabled mother and her unmarried son Misha. Zhanna is desperate for Misha to marry and provide her with grandchildren, not least because she promised Father Yury that she'd abstain from sex until a grandchild arrives. But when the mysterious Lyonya arrives from Kiev, this promise proves increasingly difficult to keep. A story about one woman and her will to survive.

The entire development of this project was made possible by the generous support of the Genesis Foundation. Special thanks for the additional support from the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center and TMU (Trust for Mutual Understanding).

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