THE BEST WE COULD World Premiere to Begin Previews Tomorrow at Manhattan Theatre Club

The cast of The Best We Could (a family tragedy) features Aya Cash, Constance Shulman, Frank Wood and more.

By: Feb. 07, 2023
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THE BEST WE COULD World Premiere to Begin Previews Tomorrow at Manhattan Theatre Club
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Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere The Best We Could (a family tragedy), written by Emily Feldman (Three Women in Four Chairs, My Lover Joan) and directed by Daniel Aukin (Fool For Love, Fulfillment Center), will now begin preview performances tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8, at New York City Center - Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Opening night is set for Wednesday, March 1.

The cast of The Best We Could (a family tragedy) features Aya Cash ("The Boys," "Welcome to Flatch," Kings at The Public Theater), Brian D. Coats (August Wilson's Jitney at MTC / U.S. Tour, On The Levee), Maureen Sebastian (Lonely I'm Not, Thanks for Sharing), Constance Shulman (three-time SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series for "Orange is the New Black"), and Tony Award® winner Frank Wood (Side Man, The Great Society).

A daughter's road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines. This funny, wise, and heartbreaking debut from an exciting new writer will be brought to vibrant life by director Daniel Aukin, whom MTC audiences will remember from Fool for Love and Fulfillment Center.

The production's creative team includes Lael Jellinek (scenic design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Matt Frey (lighting design), Kate Marvin (sound design), Kelly Gillespie (casting), and lark hackshaw (production stage manager).

The Best We Could (a family tragedy) is supported by an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. The production was previously scheduled for the 2019-2020 season, when Feldman was MTC's 2019-20 Tow Playwright-in-Residence, and delayed due to the COVID shutdown.

Manhattan Theatre Club is pleased to offer audiences and the general public free Beyond the Stage content, which is designed to enrich audiences' experience with The Best We Could (a family tragedy) and to allow those not able to see the production a way to connect with the show. Join us on Tuesday, February 21 for "Contemporizing the Canon," a post-show discussion featuring contemporary playwrights who have penned plays inspired by or in conversation with dramatic works in the canon. Participants will be announced at a later date. On Wednesday, March 8, please join us for a Women and Femme Affinity Night Performance with a special post-show talkback entitled "Women in the Theatre Industry: Where Are We Now?" to mark International Women's Day. The moderator will be MTC Artistic Producer Nicki Hunter. Information about these events, as well as a podcast episode featuring a discussion between director Daniel Aukin and playwright Emily Feldman and a playlist inspired by the show and curated by Feldman, can be found on MTC's website at

The 2022-23 season marks Lynne Meadow's 50th Anniversary as Artistic Director of Manhattan Theatre Club. Meadow was joined by Executive Producer Barry Grove in her third season, and together they have helmed MTC for 48 years. MTC's mission, which Meadow created in 1972 and has implemented since, is to develop and present new work in a dynamic, supportive environment; to identify and collaborate with the most exciting new as well as accomplished artists; and to produce a diverse repertoire of innovative, entertaining, and thought-provoking plays and musicals by American and international playwrights. Since 1989, MTC Education, which uses the power of live theatre and playwriting to awaken minds, ignite imaginations, open hearts, and change lives, has also been an important part of our work.

Over five decades, MTC has grown from a small off-off-Broadway showcase into one of the country's most prestigious and award-winning theatre companies, creating approximately 600 world, American, New York and Broadway premieres. Our productions have earned 7 Pulitzer Prizes, 28 Tony Awards, 50 Drama Desk Awards and 49 Obie Awards amongst many other honors. Our Broadway home is the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and our two Off-Broadway theatres are at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). MTC is an anti-racist organization that respects and honors all voices, and upholds the values of community and equity.


To join MTC's season of plays as a Subscriber or a Patron, call the MTC Clubline at 212-399-3050 or go to

To sign up for MTC's "30 Under 35" program, offering $30 tickets for theatregoers age 35 and under, visit


Through the run of The Best We Could (a family tragedy), masks are required for all audience members attending performances on Tuesday evenings and Sunday matinees. For all other performances, masks are not required, but strongly encouraged.


· WEEK OF FEBRUARY 6 - Wednesday-Thursday at 7PM; Friday and Saturday at 8PM; Matinee on Sunday at 2PM.

· WEEK OF FEBRUARY 13 - Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday at 7PM; Friday and Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.

· WEEK OF FEBRUARY 20 - Tuesday and Thursday at 7PM; Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM.

· WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27 - Tuesday and Thursday at 7PM; Friday and Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.

· WEEK OF MARCH 6 - Tuesday and Wednesday at 7PM; Thursday-Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM.

· WEEK OF MARCH 13 - Tuesday and Wednesday at 7PM; Thursday-Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2PM, and an Education Matinee on Wednesday at 1PM.

· WEEK OF MARCH 20 - Tuesday-Thursday at 7PM; Friday and Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM.


Aya Cash

(Ella) can currently be seen starring in the second season of the FOX comedy "Welcome to Flatch." She most recently appeared opposite Elle Fanning in the Hulu limited series "The Girl From Plainville" and appeared alongside Michelle Pfeiffer in the Showtime limited series "The First Lady." Prior to that, Cash starred as "Stormfront," the Nazi superhero and primary antagonist in the second season of the Emmy Award-nominated streaming series "The Boys." Her performance on the show earned her a Critics Choice Award, as well as MTV Movie & TV Award and Hollywood Critics Association Award nominations. Cash's additional television credits include "Fosse/Verdon," the Emmy Award-winning limited series starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams; the critically-acclaimed comedy series "You're the Worst" (which earned her a Critics' Choice Award and TCA Award nominations); Joe Swanberg's streaming anthology series "Easy;" and the FOX comedy series "Traffic Light," as well recurring roles on "The Newsroom" and "We Are Men;" and guest-starring roles on "Will & Grace," "Modern Family," and others. On the film side, Cash recently completed production on the indie ensemble The Young Wife directed by Tayarisha Poe. She most recently was seen starring opposite William Jackson Harper in the indie comedy We Broke Up and in Josh Ruben's Scare Me (2020 Sundance Film Festival World Premiere). Her additional film credits include the indie dark romantic comedy Social Animals with Noel Wells and Josh Radnor; the Netflix action-comedy, Game Over, Man!, starring "Workaholics" co-creators Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson and produced by Seth Rogen; the dark comedy Mary Goes Round (2017 Toronto International Film Festival), for which she earned the Excellence in Acting Award from the 2018 Vail Film Festival; and Big Brother Volcano (2017 Los Angeles Film Festival), directed by Paul Briganti. She also appeared in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated film The Wolf Of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me and The Oranges, among others. Cash's theatre credits include starring roles in off-Broadway plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic Theater Company, MCC, and Rattlestick Theater, to name a few. She has starred in New York or world premieres of plays by Ethan Coen, Bruce Norris, Zoe Kazan, Matthew Lopez, Lucy Thurber, Liz Flahive and Nicky Silver. She most recently starred opposite Gillian Jacobs in the world premiere of Kings, a play by Sarah Burgess at The Public Theater.

Brian D. Coats

(Marc) has New York credits that include Broadway's August Wilson's Jitney (MTC/ U.S. Tour); On the Levee (Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3); La Ruta (Working Theater, Pan Asian Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre); The Bacchae, The First Noel (Classical Theater of Harlem); The Merry Wives of Windsor and Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public Theater); among others. Regional credits include productions at Mark Taper, Old Globe, Arena Stage, Seattle Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Huntington, Cincinnati Playhouse, Two River Theater, Denver Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, and others. Television credits include: "Queens," "FBI: Most Wanted," "Luke Cage," "Boardwalk Empire," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "JAG," "Blue Bloods," and "The Sopranos." Mr. Coats is a graduate of the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts.

Maureen Sebastian

(Maps). Regional credits include Vietgone (South Coast Repertory,) Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre & Arena Stage,) The Winter's Tale and A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey) and Thunder Above, Deeps Below (Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center & Second Generation). Her off-Broadway credits include Now Circa Then (Ars Nova); Lonely, I'm Not and Year Zero (Second Stage Theater), Soul Samurai (Vampire Cowboys & Ma-Yi Theater Company). Her television credits include "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC), "Bull" (CBS), "Elementary" (CBS), "Oasis" (Amazon), "American Gothic" (CBS), "Revolution" (NBC), "New Girl" (FOX). She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab.

Constance Shulman

(Peg). Yoga Jones in "Orange is the New Black" (three-time SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series); voice of Patti Mayonnaise in Nickelodeon's animated series, "Doug." Original cast of Steel Magnolias (Annelle - WPA, Lucille Lortel). Theater: Shhh, Atlantic Theater; Barbecue, The Public; Bobby Clearly (Drama Desk nomination), Roundabout; The Rose Tattoo, Williamstown Theater Festival, Roundabout American Airlines. TV: "Search Party," "Blacklist," "SVU," "Broad City," "Florida Girls" and upcoming, "The Curse" for Showtime. Film: From Fried Green Tomatoes to Reversal of Fortune to Strawberry Mansion to Funny Pages...

Frank Wood

(Lou). Tony Award and Drama League Award for Side Man. Broadway: The Great Society; Network; The Iceman Cometh; Clybourne Park; August: Osage County; Born Yesterday; Hollywood Arms. Off-Broadway: The Perplexed; In The Blood; Can You Forgive Her; The Babylon Line; The Nether; Angels in America; Spring Awakening. Film: Joker; Detroit; Gold; St. Vincent; Changeling; Taking of Pelham 123; Dan in Real Life; Thirteen Days; Pollock; People I Know; In America; Down to You; Royal Tennenbaums. TV: "Prodigal Son;" "Blacklist;" "The Get Down;" "The Night Of;" "Mozart in the Jungle;" "Newsroom;" "Younger;" "The Good Wife;" "Modern Family;" "Elementary;" "Blue Bloods;" "The Knick;" "Girls;" "Flight of the Conchords;" "Grey's Anatomy;" "Sopranos;" "Law & Order: SVU." Regional: Goodman Theatre; ACT; Long Wharf Theatre; Hartford Stage; Williamstown Theatre Festival; Cincinnati Playhouse; Arena Stage, DC; Mark Taper Forum; New York Stage & Film. Education: BA, Wesleyan University; MFA, NYU Graduate Acting Program.

Emily Feldman

(Playwright) was the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Manhattan Theatre Club. Her plays have been included on The Kilroys List, received The Kennedy Center's Paula Vogel Prize, and an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. She is an alum of MacDowell, The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Page 73's Interstate-73 Writers Group, and The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. She is a Core Writer at The Playwrights Center and a graduate of The Juilliard Playwrights Program. She is working on commissions for Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Arena Stage, and developing a television series for AMC.

Daniel Aukin

(Director). Daniel is a New York based director. Broadway: Sam Shepard's Fool For Love. World premieres: Admissions (LCT and London's West End), Skintight (Roundabout and Geffen Playhouse), Bad Jews (Roundabout), Fulfillment Center (MTC), Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons), Placebo (Playwrights Horizons), What Rhymes With America (Atlantic), Suitcase and [sic] (Soho Rep), The Fortress Of Solitude (Dallas Theatre Center and The Public), Heartless (Signature), 4000 Miles (LCT), The Ugly One (Soho Rep, US premiere), Back Back Back (MTC, NY premiere), Everything Will Be Different, Cat's-Paw, The Year Of The Baby and Molly's Dream. Also Catch As Catch Can (Playwrights Horizons) and revivals of A View From The Bridge and The Adding Machine. Playwright collaborators include Maria Irene Fornes, Dan LeFranc, Melissa James Gibson, Abe Koogler, Amy Herzog, Michael Friedman, Itamar Moses, Mark Schultz, Mac Wellman, Quincy Long, Sam Shepard, Joshua Harmon, and Mia Chung. As Artistic Director of Soho Rep (1998-2006) he garnered three OBIE Awards and developed and produced world premieres by Richard Maxwell, Young Jean Lee, Thomas Bradshaw, Adam Bock, Anne Washburn, The Flying Machine, and Jordan Harrison, among many others.


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