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The Pearl Theatre Company Sets 2016-17 Season


The Pearl Theatre Company has announced programming for the 2016-17 season. All four productions will take place at The Pearl Theater (555 West 42nd Street.)

The 2016-17 season continues The Pearl's exploration of theater's canon by highlighting stories of outsiders with a hidden gem from a trailblazing female playwright, a raw-retelling of small town politics, an adaptation of literature's ultimate social climber, and an absurdist political masterpiece. Since taking leadership of The Pearl in 2014, Artistic Director Hal Brooks has reinvigorated the Company's mission by producing a unique alchemy of classics and contemporary plays, several of which were hailed as Critics' Picks by The New York Times. The Pearl's new season continues this dynamic conversation, both onstage and off, on the enduring power of theater.

The Fall 2016 season begins with Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, which is directed by Tony-nominee Austin Pendleton. It continues with the U.S. premiere of Henrik Ibsen's Public Enemy, in a version by David Harrower, which will be directed by Hal Brooks. The world premiere of Kate Hamill's Vanity Fair launches the Spring 2017 season. Eric Tucker will direct this adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's 19th century novel. Closing out the season will be a Hal Brooks helmed revival of Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco.

Reflecting on the season, Artistic Director Brooks said, "It has been a transformative year for The Pearl. The successes of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stupid Fu**ing Bird and The Dingdong have shown New York audiences what we've long known at The Pearl-there's always something new to be discovered in timeless stories." Brooks went on to say, "All fours productions in the 2016-17 season speak broadly to the tension between individual desires and the confines of modern society. We're thrilled that this season will showcase two female playwrights; we're excited to welcome back Eric Tucker as a director; and I'm really looking forward to bringing David Harrower's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People to this side of the Atlantic."


A Taste of Honey
By Shelagh Delaney
Directed by Austin Pendleton
September 6 - October 16

Playwright Shelagh Delaney rocked the theatre world when, at 18, she wrote a play that both defined and defied her generation. A Taste of Honey is the clever, passionate, and poignant story of a young woman facing an uncertain future in a hostile world-and learning to trust that love, in its every heartbreaking and messy form, will see her through. A Taste of Honey was last staged Off-Broadway in 1981.

Henrik Ibsen's Public Enemy (U.S. premiere)
In a version by David Harrower
Directed by Hal Brooks
September 29 - October 29

Ibsen's parable of the collision of truth and politics in the public sphere takes on new immediacy in the punchy and raw adaptation from the playwright behind Broadway's Blackbird. When Dr. Stockmann finds that the town's tourist-friendly baths contain lethal levels of toxins, he sets out to clear the air and quickly finds his friends and neighbors poisoned against him.

David Harrower is an internationally acclaimed Scottish playwright who currently lives and works in Glasgow. Previous work includes Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival, West End, Manhattan Theatre Club and Sydney Theatre Company); Ciara (Traverse Theatre); Public Enemy (adapt.) (Young Vic Theatre); Good With People (a Traverse Theatre and Datum Point Co-Production in association with Paines Plough); Calum's Road (Communicado Theatre Co,National Theatre of Scotland); A Slow Air (Tron Theatre, Glasgow); Good With People (Paines Plough/ Oran Mor, Traverse Theatre); 365 (National Theatre of Scotland); Dark Earth (Traverse Theatre); Presence (Royal Court Theatre); Kill the Old Torture Their Young (Traverse Theatre); and Knives in Hens (Traverse Theatre and Bush Theatre).

Vanity Fair (World premiere)
Adapted from the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
by Kate Hamill
Directed by Eric Tucker
March 24 - April 23

In a society that cares more for good birth and good manners than for skill, Becky Sharp, poor, plain, and devilishly clever, is determined to defy the odds. Through risky romantic entanglements, shady business practices and social climbing at any cost, she won't stop until the world lies at her feet. Adapted by Kate Hamill (Sense and Sensibility) from William Makepeace Thackeray's masterpiece, Vanity Fair exposes a world where surfaces are everything, virtue is only skin deep, and every fifteen minutes of fame carries heart-pounding risk.

Hamill is a playwright and actress based in New York. In 2014, her adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility (in which she originated the role of Marianne Dashwood) was selected to kick off Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's HVSF2 reading series by Artistic Director Davis McCallum. It had its world premiere off-Broadway with critically acclaimed theater troupe Bedlam, helmed by Eric Tucker. Sense & Sensibility was named one of the "Top Ten Plays of 2014" by both Ben Brantley of the New York Times, and by the Huffington Post, which called it "the greatest stage adaptation of this novel in history." It reopened in New York in January of this year at the Gym at Judson where it will continue to run through November. Sense & Sensibility had its regional debut in spring 2015 at Dallas Theater Center. Productions will be upcoming at the Folger Theatre in Washington DC and The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. Kate's other plays In The Mines (a folk musical) which was workshopped at Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis and The Little Fellow (Or, The Prostitute Play) which was part of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble's First Stories Festival. She is currently at work on an adaptation of Little Women. Kate is a company member of Bedlam, a member of Jose Rivera's writers' group, and a member of both AEA and the Dramatists' Guild. She received her BFA from Ithaca College and studied at the Circle in the Square Theatre School. She is published by Dramatists Play Service. More information at

By Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Hal Brooks
April 17 - May 13

What better way to expose the dangers of social stagnation, unexamined group thought, and burgeoning totalitarianism, than through spontaneous animal transformation? Ionesco's blunt satire rampages through a world of everyday people at first perplexed and then swept up in the most outlandish cultural makeover ever devised. After all, "rhnocifcation" can happen to anyone-so keep your eyes open.

Additional Programming

In the spring of 2016, Modern/Classics Workshop Seriesreturns for its second year to explore playwrights tackling "the great plays" in fresh and innovative adaptations. Projects include No Sisters by Aaron Posner (May 19) a work-in-progress adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters; Ubu Roi By Rob Melrose (May 20), adapted from Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi; and an advance look at the upcoming season's Vanity Fair by Kate Hamill(May 21), adapted from the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray.

Mike Daisey: The Great Tragedies
Written and performed by Mike Daisey
Winter 2016/17

Monologuist Mike Daisey presents a dazzling new work: Over the course of four performances Daisey explores the nature of our theatrical genetics and wrestles with the genius that penned Romero & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear and reveals how the heights and depths of his gifts have much to teach us about ourselves. From the sublime to the ridiculous, he'll delve into what Shakespeare can mean to us today, and how this cultural religion changes and shapes our theaters. Each evening is unique and can be viewed independently, but all four together form an epic oral accounting of triumph and folly told with Daisey's dark and hilarious intensity.

Mike Daisey has been hailed as a "master storyteller" and "one of the finest solo performers of his generation" by The New York Times and is the preeminent monologist in American theater today.

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