THE PLACE WE BUILT Begins Tonight at Marilyn Monroe Theatre

THE PLACE WE BUILT - a new play by Sarah Gancher that marks the 2nd annual production from the Clifford Odets Play Commission - will receive its debut tonight, December 11-14 at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre (115 E. 15 St. Lee Strasberg Way) in Manhattan. The play is presented by the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and the Lee Strasberg Center in collaboration with NYU Tisch School of the Arts Undergraduate Department of Drama.

A new play about gentrification and the loss of cultural identity, THE PLACE WE BUILT continues the Clifford Odets Play Commission's efforts to expand on the lineage of The Group Theatre, the renowned works of legendary director and pioneer in actor training Lee Strasberg and playwright Clifford Odets, whose plays for the storied ensemble transformed the American theatre in the 1930's, most notably GOLDEN BOY. Through the Commission, The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and The Lee Strasberg Creative Center seeks to partner talented emerging playwrights, directors and Method-trained actors and encourage the synergy of great acting with the development of true ensemble plays - in the spirit of The Group Theatre - in New York City.

THE PLACE WE BUILT was created as a six-month collaboration between playwright Gancher, director Portia Krieger (TIGERS BE STILL) and a dozen graduating students from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, who will perform the play.

Set in present-day Budapest, THE PLACE WE BUILT concerns the changes in the city's famed 7th district in the early years of the 21st century as gentrification squeezes out the last traces of the historic Jewish community that flourished there for generations. A play about, as the author notes, "how living where we do makes us who we are," Ms. Gancher wrote THE PLACE WE BUILT having resided in Budapest for a time starting in 2006. Furthermore, the play is being presented at a time of political crisis in Hungary as a new "right-wing" regime has fostered a rise in anti-Semitism, homophobia and anti-gypsy sentiment while it is shutting down organizations it feels represent political opposition.

Sarah Gancher frequently collaborates with ensembles - Colorado's Telluride Theatre, Hand2Mouth from Portland, Oregon and NYC's The Team, having been the playwright on its production of MISSION DRIFT, winner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Prize. Her plays have been developed or produced at insitutions such as London's National Theatre, La MaMa, Ars Nova, and NYC Summerstage.

Portia Krieger is co-director of the recent Ars Nova debut of the burlesque entertainment EAGER TO LOSE and directed last summer's premiere of Clare Barron's BABY SCREAMS MIRACLE for Clubbed Thumb. Other productions include THE NETFLIX PLAYS at Ars Nova and Kim Rosenstock's play TIGERS BE STILL.
Tickets to THE PLACE WE BUILT are $10 on December 11, 12 and 13. The plays' engagement will conclude on December 14 with a gala benefit performance: tickets are $30 and can be reserved at For more information call 212 533 5500.

The Lee Strasberg Creative Center is a not-for-profit branch of the Institute initially founded by Anna Strasberg in 1977 to develop outreach programming for inner-city youth. Its mission has expanded as it seeks opportunities to engage with the greater community, contribute to the direction of the American theater and extend the understanding of Lee Strasberg's innovative contributions to modern acting and the philosophy of actor training.
As part of its commitment to nurturing the future of American theater, the Creative Center currently supports an extensive scholarship program that fosters artistic development for over 20 students each year. It offers opportunities for emerging, young directors and playwrights through The Lee Strasberg Directing Fellowship and The Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission. Additional programs supported by the Center include the StrasbergTalks lecture series, workshops and international collaborations. It also maintains the Strasberg archives and library.

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