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The Drama League Announces Its 2018 Resident Artists

By: Feb. 02, 2018
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The Drama League Announces Its 2018 Resident Artists  Image

The Drama League (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Artistic Director) has announced the theater directors and ensembles chosen to develop new plays and musicals as part of the 2018 Drama League Artist Residency Program. Public work-in-progress presentations will be held periodically throughout the year at The Drama League Theater Center, 32 Avenue of the Americas, in Tribeca. Schedules are available at or by calling (212) 244-9494.

The Drama League Artist Residency Program offers director/collaborator teams and/or ensembles an opportunity to comfortably develop a new theatre piece at the Drama League Theater Center in Tribeca. A residency stipend, rehearsal space, professional mentorship, administrative support, and community engagement allow directors to fully inhabit a process-oriented residency experience. The Drama League Artist Residency Program has developed many award-winning productions, including The TEAM's RoosevElvis (Vineyard Theatre, London's Royal Court Theatre); Ripe Time's The World Is Round (BAM); and the currently productions of America is Hard to See (HERE) and This Is The Color Described by the Time (New Georges/The Flea), to name but a few.

Many of the artists in the program will offer readings, experiments, and other insights into their creative process at public events throughout the year.

The Drama League Artist Residency Program is made possible thanks to the generosity of The Achelis and Bodman Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Riggio Foundation, and The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts. Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting The Drama League.

Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the

New York State Legislature.

Colette Robert

Written and directed by Colette Robert

The Beatrice Terry Residency funds the development of a new work by a female or female-identified writer-director, culminating in a residency and staged reading at The Drama League Theater Center. Previous recipients include Elena Araoz (Plastic Drastic), Morgan Gould (I Wanna F****** Tear You Apart) and Shakina Nayfack (Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club). An all-star advisory panel, including director Michael Mayer (Head Over Heels), playwright Gretchen Michelfeld (Nellie Bly), New Georges Artistic Director Susan Bernfield, Women's Project Artistic Director Lisa McNulty, and Mr. Stelian-Shanks made the selection.

THE HARRIET HOLLAND SOCIAL CLUB PRESENTS THE 84TH ANNUAL STAR-BURST COTILLION IN THE GRAND BALLROOM OF THE RENAISSANCE HOTEL, an immersive play with music, tracks a black debutante ball in a large American city in real time. Guided by an Emcee and Harriet Holland Social Club's esteemed Madam President, the play follows six well-to-do black girls on the night of their Coming Out, starting backstage through to the crowning of a bright-and-shiny new Miss Star-Burst.

Michael Levinton l Little Lord

Created by Little Lord

The Impact Residency, in partnership with the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City, which provides a year of resources, space, support, production development, a $10,000.00 grant for a director working inside of an ensemble company to create a new work.

SKINNAMARINK is Little Lord's exploration of education, and indoctrination, in America. Based on the simple yet rich language in McGuffey's Eclectic Readers -- a series of graded primers that were used as American textbooks from the late 19th to mid-20th century -- as well as V.C. Andrew's Flowers in the Attic, the nonsense work of Edward Lear, ephemera of one-room schoolhouses and the children's folk music of Sharon, Lois and Bram, SKINNAMARINK plays with ideas of language learning, society-building, groupthink, and discipline, in an effort to discover how we learned to hate, fear, and love in our post-fact/post-reason society.


Next Stage Residencies are bestowed upon early-career, mid-career, and established directors for one year in the development of multiple projects intended for production in the near future. The residency supports the collaborators for the year with rigorous rehearsal, workshop, and developmental time to ready the work for pre-production.

Director In Residence: Knud Adams
Lead Project: Nylon
Written by Sofia Alvarez | Starring Sheila Vand

Knud Adams is a director of new and experimental plays. RECENT PRODUCTIONS: Torrey Townsend's The Workshop (softFocus - Times Critics' Pick), Julia Jarcho's Every Angel is Brutal (Clubbed Thumb), Eliza Bent's On a Clear Day I Can See to Elba (The New Ohio), Justin Kuritzkes' Asshole and Celine Song's Tom & Eliza (both at JACK), Max Posner's Snore (Juilliard), Carl Holder's An Intimate Evening with Typhoid Mary (The New Ohio), Jen Silverman's That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her (U. of Rochester), Jenny Schwartz's Krazytown (NYU), and Nick Jones' Salome of the Moon (Waterwell). AFFILIATIONS: The Drama League Directors Project, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident.

A modern-day Doll's House, NYLON follows Anna when she reaches a crisis point in her life and marriage. When her husband pressures her to start a family, Anna's long-held lies begin to unravel. As the complexities and traumas of Anna's life surface, she risks everything to maintain the walls between her past and present selves. NYLON is a funny and brutal story about the most difficult choices women face.

Director In Residence: Shelley Butler
Lead Project: The Moth
Conceived by Shelley Butler | Adapted by Meg Miroshnik

Shelley Butler's recent productions include the world premiere of Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2 (South Coast Repertory) and the Japanese premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Imperial Theatre in Tokyo). She has developed over two dozen new plays and musicals at companies including Ars Nova, Primary Stages, E.S.T., Women's Project, Hartford Stage, South Coast Repertory, Denver Center Theatre Company, Geva, New York Stage and Film, Dallas Lyric Stage, PlayPenn, New Dramatists, the Lark, NYMF, The Playwright's Realm and Keen Company. Shelley is the recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship, a 2005 Director's Guild of America Trainee, a member of SDC, the Lincoln Center Directors' Lab and the Women's Project Directors Lab.

In THE MOTH, a soldier returns from night watch to his remote Siberian outpost to reveal he is now a she -- not trans, or a person in disguise, but inexplicably, magically, a woman overnight. In this new adaptation, director Shelley Butler and playwright Meg Miroshnik will examine both the toxic masculinity and surreal beauty touched on in contemporary Russian playwright Pyotr Gladilin's European hit play.

Director In Residence: Leigh Fondakowski
Lead Project: Casa Cushman
Written and Directed by Leigh Fondakowski

Leigh Fondakowski was the head writer of "The Laramie Project," co-writer of "Laramie: Ten Years Later," and an Emmy Nominated co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of "Laramie" with HBO Films. Her other original plays include, "I Think I Like Girls," "The People's Temple," "SPILL, and "Casa Cushman" (in development). Her plays have been produced under her direction at American Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Encore Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Guthrie Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Perseverance Theater, Swine Palace, TimeLine Theater, and Z Space Studio. Awards include: The Glickman Award for Best New Play, two Bay Area Critics Circle nominations, and a Jeff Nomination.

CASA CUSHMAN is an ensemble play about the life and work of 19th-century American actress Charlotte Cushman. One of the most important actors of her time, Cushman was famous for her interpretation of the leading male roles in Shakespeare, especially Romeo. Cushman continually challenged Victorian notions of gender in her stage portrayals of male characters and of strong, androgynous female characters.

Director In Residence: Whitney White
Lead Project: Three Sisters
Book, music and lyrics written by Whitney White

Whitney White is an director, musician, and writer originally from Chicago, based in Brooklyn, New York. This year she developed work at: New York Theatre Workshop, 59E59, Trinity Rep, Chautauqua, The Roundabout, Luna Stage, SUNY Purchase, Princeton, Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, The Drama League, South Oxford, Jack, The Tank, New York Musical Festival, The Lark, and more. She has also assisted Sam Gold, Dan Sullivan, and Anne Kaufman. Whitney is currently a 2050 Fellow at NYTW and the Artistic Development Associate at The Roundabout. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep, BA Political Science Northwestern University. February of 2018 she will direct Othello at Trinity Rep.

Director, composer and playwright White is creating a very different look at Anton Chekov's THREE SISTERS. The ensemble is black. Stepping in and out of themselves, they play with identity; both their own and those constructed by Chekov. The ideological focus is on W.E.B Du Bois' concept of double consciousness. Through this exploration of Chekov's world contemporary understandings of the "black self" crack open to reveal something larger, something stranger, something that is both 1900 and 2018.


First Stage Residencies are bestowed to early and mid-career directors who are beginning the development of a worthy new project, and supports the initial investigations, rehearsals, and collaborations of the work.

Lauren Z. Adleman, Conversations with Eliza

Adrian Alea, Dreaming in Cuban

Catherine Andre, Max Schiller's Dead

Joe Barros, Cheeyang Ng

Daniella Caggiano, Brewsters

Estefania Fadul, Untitled Latinidad Project

Peter Kuo, Gay Chinese Gold Rush Play

Charles Quittner, The Pitchforks

Noam Shapiro, Quick, Change

Sarah Wansley, Iphigenia

All Residency activities take place at The Drama League Theater Center (32 Avenue of the Americas, New York City); The 2018 Fourth Friday Art Party Series of public presentations will be announced next week at


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