The Sol Project Announces OEDIPUS EL REY, New Partner Theaters, and $100K Grant
The Sol Project, the new theater initiative dedicated to producing the work of Latinx playwrights, has announced The New York premiere of OEDIPUS EL REY by MacArthur Fellow Luis Alfaro, directed by longtime collaborator Chay Yew, the OBIE award-winning director.
Set in South Central Los Angeles, OEDIPUS EL REY is an electrifying new take on the Sophoclean tragedy. Oedipus is reimagined as a troubled Latino whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar above the barbed wire of the prison where he's spent his life. But in a place where everyone is trapped-by desperation or fate, history or violence-no one man can change his story alone. Love, family and belief collide in this chilling, incredibly powerful new play that asks: what's fate, and what's just the system?
Performances of OEDIPUS EL REY, produced in collaboration with The Public Theater, begin in the Shiva Theater on October 3, with opening night set for October 24. The sold-out run continues through November 19. Lead production support for OEDIPUS EL REY is provided by David Frederick and Sophia Lynn.
"The entire body of my work has been shaped in and with the spirit of community. No less so in collaboration with the immediacy of The Sol Project, which is in the business of making advocacy a reality in the American theatre," said Luis Alfaro. "Telling stories, sometimes difficult ones, about the extraordinary possibility of people is the work I do. I try my best to bring to light those faces and stories we do not always see in our culture. Celebrating my citizenry by telling the stories of our people is one way that I can put a face to a statistic, an idea or even a tweet. Seeing the humanity in hopes and dreams is a political act. Bringing to light that which is in the dark is the objective and our Latinx contribution to the woefully unrecognized canon of our work in the American Theatre is long overdue. I am happy and grateful for this opportunity to contribute."
This production marks The Sol Project's third collaboration with a leading Off-Broadway theater to raise the visibility of Latinx playwrights in New York City and beyond. Previous collaborations include The New York premiere of Martin Zimmerman's SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the world premiere of Hilary Bettis' ALLIGATOR with New Georges. These companies continue their work with The Sol Project to promote a more inclusive landscape for the American theater.
MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and The Playwrights Realm join the growing roster of Off-Broadway companies committed to the mission of The Sol Project. As with the previously announced partners, these new companies have committed to producing a play by a Latinx playwright in collaboration with The Sol Project, commissioning a Latinx playwright for future production and meeting with as many artists of color as possible to deepen the pipeline of talent upon which they can draw for future projects.
"We are excited to undertake a partnership with The Sol Project to foster deeper relationships with Latinx playwrights and theater artists," said Tim Sanford, Artistic Director of Playwrights Horizons. "True artistic development happens in production: opportunities create artists. And the aims of The Sol Project, based in advocacy, community engagement and artistic collaboration, embrace a multivalent approach to theater-making that takes into consideration all the points of intersection the creation of theatrical art asks of and offers its stakeholders."
Jacob G. Padrón, Artistic Director of The Sol Project adds, "I am deeply honored to have MCC, Playwrights Horizons, and The Playwrights Realm join our expanding network. To have our stages reflect the true kaleidoscope of our city, and of our world, we must work in community and be vigilant about making different choices. The Sol Project is excited to work towards more comprehensive and systemic change with these new partners. We're in this together."
In addition, Time Warner Foundation continues its partnership with The Sol Project with a $100,000 grant to support the ongoing work of the initiative. The Foundation provided The Sol Project its first grant in 2016 for the initiative's inaugural production with New Georges. The Foundation's commitment as a leading sponsor, in conjunction with these three new partners, highlights the major impact that The Sol Project has made in the theater field since its inception one year ago.
"We believe The Sol Project is a game-changer for the field" states Diahann Billings-Burford, Executive Director of Cultural Investments for Time Warner, Inc. "We are so proud to partner with Jacob and his collaborators as they build a body of work with, for, and by Latinx artists for the new American theater. The Sol Project is catalyzing a movement of inclusion and equity, and it is thrilling to see these artists find artistic homes at some of the most exciting theaters in New York City and around the country."
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Luis Alfaro has been working in theater, performance, poetry and journalism since 1982. A multi-disciplined artist, he is also works as a director, curator, producer, educator and community organizer.
A Chicano born and raised in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles, Luis is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a "genius grant", awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He is the first Playwright-in-Residence in the 83-year history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest repertory theatre in the United States, serving for six seasons through the generous support of the Andrew S. Mellon Foundation. He was most recently a Joyce Foundation Fellow. Luis is the only playwright to have received two Kennedy Center 'Fund for New American Play' awards in the same year.
His plays have been seen throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and include Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Getty Villa-Malibu [Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Los Angeles Ovation Award, Best Play], Victory Gardens Theatre-Chicago [Jefferson Award, Best New Play], and upcoming at Portland Center Stage) St. Jude (Victory Gardens Theatre-Chicago, Under The Radar West @ Kirk Douglas Theatre-Los Angeles, South Coast Repertory-Costa Mesa) Delano (Magic Theatre-San Francisco) Painting in Red (Playwrights Arena-Los Angeles) Alleluia the Road (Campo Santo/California Shakespeare-San Francisco) Aesop in Rancho Cucamonga (Lewis Family Playhouse-Rancho Cucamonga) Bruja (Magic Theatre-San Francisco, Borderlands Theatre-Tucson), Oedipus El Rey (Getty Villa-Malibu, Magic Theater-San Francisco [Glickman Prize, Bay Area Theatre Critics Award], Boston Court Theatre-Pasadena [L.A. Weekly Award, Adaptation], Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company-Washington DC, Borderlands Theatre-Tucson, Pangea Theatre-Minneapolis, Miracle Theatre Group-Portland, Victory Gardens Theatre-Chicago [Best of the Year: Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader], eSe Teatro-Seattle, Dallas Theatre Center, San Diego Repertory) Hero (Playwrights Arena-Los Angeles, Teatro Vision-San Jose) Electricidad (Goodman Theater-Chicago, Mark Taper Forum-Los Angeles [Published-American Theatre Magazine, Backstage Garland Award], Teatro Vision-San Jose, Sacramento Theatre Company, San Pedro Playhouse-San Antonio, Teatro Nuevo Mexico-Albuquerque, Pacifica Spindrift Players, Bilingual Foundation of the Arts-Los Angeles, Artes de la Rosa-Fort Worth, Teatro Vagon-San Francisco, Teatro Espejo-Sacramento; 32 productions) Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Teatro Vista-Chicago, Synchronicity-Atlanta, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival) Body of Faith (Cornerstone Theater Company-Los Angeles [PEN Center Award for Drama]) Straight as a Line (Goodman Theatre-Chicago, 3-Legged Race-Minneapolis, Playwrights Arena-Los Angeles, Primary Stages-New York, National Theatre of Romania [two-year run], Edinburgh Festival-Scotland) Bitter Homes and Gardens (Latino Chicago, Playwrights Arena-Los Angeles) Ladybird (La Jolla Playhouse-POP Tour) Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Pinata Woman and Other Super Hero Girls, Like Me (Smithsonian Museum, The Kennedy Center, Actors' Gang-Los Angeles, Coterie Theatre-Kansas City, Mark Taper Forum-Los Angeles, East L.A. Repertory, Working Classroom-Albuquerque)
His solo performance work has been seen throughout the United States, England and Mexico, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, The Getty Center, Boston Center for the Arts, The Goodman Theatre, Hirshorn Museum at the Smithsonian, South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and X-Teresa Performance Space in Mexico City.
Luis was a resident artist at the Mark Taper Forum for ten years. He served as Director of New Play Development where he produced and developed over one hundred and fifty new plays in the Taper Too, New Work Festival and Next Step seasons as well as managed the laboratory work of the company.
He has taught throughout the country and is now an Associate Professor with tenure in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at the University of Southern California (USC). Previously he taught at California Institute of the Arts (Cal-Arts).
He has an Emmy-nominated short film, Chicanismo [Best Experimental Film, San Antonio CineFestival, Best Short, CineAccion San Francisco] and an award-winning recording, down town, on SST/New Alliance Records [Best Spoken-Word Release, National Association of Independent Record Distributors]
Chay Yew: New York credits include Durango, Ameriville and Low (Public Theater); A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick (Playwrights Horizons); The Architecture of Loss (New York Theater Workshop); My Manana Comes (Playwrights Realm); The House of Bernarda Alba (National Asian American Theatre Company); and Last of the Suns (Ma Yi Theatre Company). His regional credits include productions at Goodman Theater, Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center; Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Northlight Theater, Playmakers Rep, InterAct, Empty Space Theatre, Boise Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Boston Court, East West Players, Teatro Vista, amongst others. His opera credits include world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang's Ainadamar (coproduction with the Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Rob Zuidam's Rage of d'Amours (Tanglewood Music Center). A recipient of the Obie Award and DramaLogue Award for Direction, he is the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.
The world-renowned Public Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare, the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. This fall begins The Public's Astor Anniversary Season celebrating 50 years of new work at 425 Lafayette Street and the 50th Anniversary of HAIR which opened the landmark theater in October 1967. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and by leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues-including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe's Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to Free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs. The Public's wide range of programming includes Free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company's dedication to making theater accessible to all; Public Works, an expanding initiative that is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year; the Under the Radar Festival, a yearly festival celebrating diverse and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad; and audience and artist development initiatives that range from the Emerging Writers Group to the Public Forum series. The Public's work is also seen on tour throughout the U.S. and internationally and in collaborations and co-productions with regional and international theaters. The Public is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The Public is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning acclaimed American musicalHamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 169 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics Awards, and six Pulitzer Prizes. Visit www.publictheater.org.
MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director), founded in 1986, is driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Our programming encompasses annual productions; development of new work; and renowned education and outreach programs that help more than 1,200 NYC public high school students each year to find - and use - their own unique voice, increase literacy, improve grades, and develop important life skills through the creation and performance of their own original work. MCC empowers artists and students to take risks to create bold, daring work that explores contemporary moral issues and inspires active engagement of audiences. MCC Theater's celebrated productions include Robert Askins' Hand to God (Broadway transfer with five 2015 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, and London transfer 2016); Penelope Skinner's The Village Bike; John Pollono's Small Engine Repair; Paul Downs Colaizzo'sReally Really; Sharr White's The Other Place (Broadway transfer); a fully reimagined version of the musical Carrie; Jeff Talbott's The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award); Michael Weller's Fifty Words; Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride; Bryony Lavery's Frozen(Broadway transfer; four 2004 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actor); Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone; Rebecca Gilman's The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Margaret Edson's Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize); and nine plays by Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute, including The Money Shot, Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty (Broadway transfer, three 2009 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play), Some Girl(s), Fat Pig and The Mercy Seat. Many plays developed and produced by MCC have gone on to productions throughout the country and around the world. Go to mcctheater.org.
Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to cultivating the most important American Playwrights, composers and lyricists, as well as developing and producing their bold new plays and musicals. Under Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, Playwrights builds upon its diverse and renowned body of work, counting 400 writers among its artistic roster. In addition to its onstage work each season, Playwrights' singular commitment to nurturing American theater artists guides all of the institution's multifaceted initiatives: our acclaimed New Works Lab, a robust commissioning program, an innovative curriculum at its Theater School and more. Playwrights has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including six Pulitzer Prizes, 13 Tony Awards and 39 Obie Awards.
Notable productions include six Pulitzer Prize winners - Annie Baker's The Flick (2013 Obie Award, 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award, Best Play), Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George - as well as Ms. Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play); Lisa D'Amour's Detroit (2013 Obie Award, Best New American Play); Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale (2013 Lortel Award, Best Play); Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar (2012 Obie Award); JorDan Harrison's Marjorie Prime (2015 Pulitzer finalist); Lucas Hnath's The Christians (2016 Obie Award, 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award, 2015 Kesselring Prize); Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy (two 2015 Obie Awards); Adam Bock's A Life and A Small Fire; Taylor Mac's Hir; Danai Gurira's Familiar; Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play; Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss and Dead Man's Cell Phone; Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn; Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan and After the Revolution; Bathsheba Doran's Kin; Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I; Melissa James Gibson's This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist); Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards); Craig Lucas's Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play); Adam Rapp's Kindness; Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting); Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero; David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award); Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award); Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead (2000 Tony Award, Best Book); Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins; William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland; Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You; Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island; Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire; Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room; A.R. Gurney's Later Life; Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins; and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.
The Playwrights Realm (Katherine Kovner, Founding Artistic Director; Roberta Pereira, Producing Director) is devoted to supporting early-career playwrights along the journey of playwriting, helping them to hone their craft, fully realize their vision and build meaningful artistic careers. To serve this mission, The Playwrights Realm provides comprehensive support to playwrights through its Page One Residency, Alumni Playwrights Program, Writing Fellowship, and, of course, productions. Previous productions by The Realm include Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves (Pulitzer finalist in Drama 2017, Lortel, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations, Obie award and Drama Desk special award for outstanding ensemble), Jen Silverman's The Moors, Mfoniso Udofia's Sojourners, Anna Ziegler's A Delicate Ship, Anton Dudley's City Of, Elizabeth Irwin's My Mañana Comes, Lauren Yee's The Hatmaker's Wife, Ethan Lipton's Red-Handed Otter, Jen Silverman's Crane Story, Gonzalo Rodríguez Risco's Dramatis Personae, Christopher Wall's Dreams of the Washer King, Anna Ziegler's Dov and Ali, and Anton Dudley's Substitution.
The Time Warner Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation that is wholly supported by Time Warner Inc. and its subsidiary companies Home Box Office, Inc., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. Its mission is to seek innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers. The Foundation strives to build impactful partnerships with best-in-class nonprofit organizations that push the boundaries of artist development and support underrepresented storytellers. The Foundation's ultimate goal is the cultivation of an artistic community that is rich, vibrant and relevant to audiences of today and tomorrow.
Launched in May 2016, The Sol Project is a New York City-based theater initiative dedicated to producing the work of Latinx playwrights. Founded by Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón and driven by a collective of actors, producers and directors, The Sol Project will elevate the visibility of Latinx writers in New York and nationally by activating a network of partner theaters committed to artistic excellence and racial equity. Twelve playwrights, at all stages in their careers, are each partnered with leading Off-Broadway companies to mount main stage productions. Regional partners throughout the country then commit to the continued life of each play with subsequeNT Productions. By placing Latinx voices alongside the most celebrated theater-makers of our time, The Sol Project hopes to contribute to the vibrant theater ecology by building a bold, timeless, and kaleidoscopic body of work for the new American theater. The Sol Project's founding artistic collective is: Claudia Acosta, Elena Araoz, Adriana Gaviria, David Mendizábal, Padrón, Kyoung Park and Laurie Woolery. Current Off-Broadway partners include: New Georges, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, LAByrinth Theater Company, WP Theater, MCC, Playwrights Horizons, and The Playwrights Realm. Regional partners include: Cara Mía Theater Company (Dallas, TX), Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Sol Project's honorary board includes Raúl Castillo (HBO's Looking), Junot Díaz (Pulitzer Prize-winning author), Priscilla Lopez (Tony Award-winning actress), Sandra Marquez (Steppenwolf ensemble member), Edward James Olmos (Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor), John Ortiz (co-star, Silver Linings Playbook), Tony Plana (ABC's Ugly Betty), Chita Rivera (Presidential Medal of Freedom), Diane Rodriguez (OBIE-winning actress, member of National Arts Council) Rosalba Rolón (Artistic Director of Pregones/PRTT) and Daphne Rubin-Vega (Tony nominated-actress, original company of Rent).