Works by Benjamin Benne, Majkin Holmquist and More to be Featured in Roundabout Underground Reading Series

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Works by Benjamin Benne, Majkin Holmquist and More to be Featured in Roundabout Underground Reading Series

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) has announced the ninth annual Roundabout Underground Reading Series, a five-night event that includes nightly readings of new works written and directed by emerging artists, as well as post-show receptions. The Reading Series will feature new works by Benjamin Benne, Majkin Holmquist, Shayan Lotfi, Nick Mecikalski and Harrison David Rivers.

The Roundabout Underground Reading Series is February 3-7, 2020 at 5:00PM at StubHub, Roundabout's Premier Secondary Ticketing Partner (1412 Broadway). Tickets are FREE.

Roundabout Underground's upcoming production of Exception to the Rule by Dave Harris was selected from this series in 2019.

Roundabout Underground exists to provide a new generation of playwrights with their debut New York productions, at Roundabout's 62-seat Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. To encourage the widest possible audience, all seats are $30.

Now in its 13th season, Roundabout Underground is part of Roundabout's New Play Initiative, discovering new writers and providing them long-term development and production support. In addition to the Black Box production, every Underground playwright gets a commission for a future play. Roundabout's Jill Rafson serves as Artistic Producer.

Among the playwrights who made their New York debuts at Roundabout Underground are Stephen Karam (Speech & Debate, 2007), Steven Levenson (The Language of Trees, 2008), Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, 2009), Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, 2012), Meghan Kennedy (Too Much, Too Much, Too Many, 2013), Lindsey Ferrentino (Ugly Lies the Bone, 2015), Jiréh Breon Holder (Too Heavy for Your Pocket, 2017), Alex Lubischer (Bobbie Clearly, 2018), Ming Peiffer (Usual Girls, 2018) and Daniel Zaitchik (Darling Grenadine, 2020). Levenson and Karam went on to win Tony Awards, respectively, for Dear Evan Hansen and The Humans, Karam's second Roundabout commission.

Readings and workshops at Roundabout are supported, in part, by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

IN HIS HANDS; OR THE GAY CHRISTIAN PLAY

By Benjamin Benne, Directed by Mike Donahue

Monday, February 3 at 5:00PM


Christian is the new guy at the tech start-up. Daniel is the receptionist at the tech start-up. This is a list of things discussed in this play: faith, religion, Mario Kart, candy, conversion therapy, divinity school, sex. In His Hands; or the gay christian play explores the space where the spiritual and the sexual intersect.

BENJAMIN BENNE (Playwright) (he/him) is a second year MFA Playwriting Candidate at the Yale School of Drama. He is Arizona Theatre Company's 2019 National Latinx Playwriting Award winner (Alma), American Blues Theater's 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award winner (Alma), a 2019 Kennedy Center/KCACTF Latinx Playwriting Award recipient (In His Hands; or the gay christian play), a 2017 Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award winner (querencia: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits), and a Playwrights' Center Affiliated Writer (2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting, 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship). His plays have been produced/developed by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference (2018), The Playwrights Realm's Scratchpad Series (2017-18), The Lark's Playwrights' Week (2016), The Old Globe, Two River Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Boston Court Pasadena, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Teatro Milagro, and SPACE on Ryder Farm, among others. Benjamin's work was featured on Steppenwolf Theatre Company's The Mix and 50 Playwrights Project's Best Unproduced Latin@/x Plays 2018 & 2019 lists. Upcoming: Alma staged reading at Denver Center for the Performing Arts 2020 Colorado New Play Summit. www.benjaminbenne.com

Mike Donahue (Director) is a New York-based director. NYC credits include: world premieres of Matthew Lopez's The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC, The Geffen and Denver Center, Joe A. Callaway Award, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Ovation Award Nomination); Jen Silverman's Collective Rage (MCC, Woolly Mammoth, Drama League Nomination), The Moors (Playwrights Realm - NYC premiere), Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb); Jordan Seavey's Homos, Or Everyone In America (Labyrinth); and Ethan Lipton's Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm). Regionally: Little Shop of Horrors with MJ Rodriguez, George Salazar and Amber Riley (Pasadena Playhouse), and world premieres of Jen Silverman's The Roommate (Humana, Williamstown, Long Wharf), Wink (Marin); Rachel Bonds' Curve of Departure (South Coast Rep, Studio Theatre), The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre) and Swimmers (Marin); Matthew Lopez's Zoey's Perfect Wedding and Lauren Feldman's Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Denver Center); and Shostakovich's Moscow, Cheryomushki in a new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre). Mike is recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Drama League Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, winner of the Inaugural Opera America Director-Designer Showcase Award, and was the Artistic Director of the Yale Summer Cabaret for two seasons. Mike is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama. Upcoming: world premiere of Kate Cortesi's Love (Marin), and Euripides' Bakkhai (Baltimore Center Stage).

PARK-E LALEH

By Shayan Lotfi

Tuesday, February 4 at 5:00PM

18 days since arrival. 419 days since arrival. 904 days since arrival. Amir-a gay Iranian asylum seeker-attempts to 'settle' in the UK, but comes to realize his new life in London is not what he had expected, and includes a set of challenges for which he was unprepared. How long will it take for London to finally feel like home?

SHAYAN LOTFI (Playwright) is an Iranian-born, Canadian-raised, New York-based writer whose work explores the ways in which urban environments, political institutions, and shifting notions of 'pluralism' alter individual identities and interpersonal relationships. He received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, was a 2019 resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm, was a participant in The Lark's 2019 Playwrights' Week, and is a 2020 recipient of South Coast Rep's Elizabeth George Emerging Writers Commission. In addition to writing, he also works as an urban planning and policy consultant, having previously been based in London, Hong Kong, and San Francisco in this capacity. MFA New York University; MSc London School of Economics; BSc University of British Columbia.

BAD STAR

By Nick Mecikalski

Wednesday, February 5 at 5:00PM

Billie has done something. Something bad. Quite bad, actually. Bad enough that she might not be a good person anymore. As her days begin to unwind, Billie unwinds herself, searching for an answer to a question that grows larger by the minute: Was she ever a good person to begin with?

NICK MECIKALSKI (Playwright) is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Huntsville, Alabama. His play Really Really Gorgeous (a Finalist for the 2017 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference) will be running at The Tank in NYC this coming January and February, directed by Miranda Haymon. Nick previously served as the Artistic Associate at Roundabout Theatre Company, and he has had his plays developed and/or staged at such companies as IRT Theater, Dixon Place, and Nashville Repertory Theatre. He is a two-time alumnus of the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Theater Institute and a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

TENT REVIVAL

By Majkin Holmquist, Directed by Teddy Bergman

Thursday, February 6 at 5:00PM

Rural Kansas, 1957. A farmer-turned-preacher searches for inspiration, his wife for hope, and their daughter for a sense of stability. When a seeming miracle turns their church on its head, young Ida follows her parents across the state as they spread the word of their newfound faith. But when The Miracles begin to multiply, and the demand for spiritual healing grows faster than anyone expected, Ida must confront the cost of deeds done to inspire devotion.

MAJKIN HOLMQUIST (Playwright) is a playwright originally from the Smoky Valley region in central Kansas where she was co-founder of The Next Stage Theatre Company. Her plays include The Vegetable Man, Tent Revival, Quickmatch, The Dog Pack Play, Stargazers, and Skinflint. Other credits include The Quonsets (co-written with Alex Lubischer, Yale Cabaret), Broken Melodies (WVIT Women in Theatre Festival), and Styx Songs (contributing writer, Yale Cabaret). She has taught at the O'Neill Playwriting Program at New Haven's Cooperative Arts High School and at the Yale School of Drama. She holds a BA in Secondary English Education from Bethany College and an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

Teddy Bergman (Director) is a Drama Desk nominated director, producer, and actor. As the Artistic Director of Woodshed Collective, he has co-conceived and directed many productions including the critically acclaimed Empire Travel Agency (NYTimes Critics Pick, TimeOutNY Critic's Pick, Guardian's Ten Best of the Year) and the award-winning hit musical KPOP (Lucille Lortel Winner for Outstanding Musical, Richard Rodgers Award Winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters). His work as a director has also been seen at The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theater Club, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, New York Stage and Film, The Edinburg Fringe Festival, Portland Center Stage, Columbia University, Primary Stages, The Vineyard Arts Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Clubbed Thumb, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. He is currently under commission from The Public Theater and recently directed Canadian pop duo's Tegan and Sara's fall tour Hey, I'm Just Like You. As an actor his theater work includes: the Tony Award Winning play Peter and the Starcatcher (original Broadway cast), Philip Goes Forth (The Mint), Sex Lives of Our Parents (2nd Stage), Peter and the Starcatcher (NYTW), Seven Minutes in Heaven (HERE), Hell House (St. Ann's), I.E. (The Flea Theater). Regionally, Teddy has performed at Bay Street Theater, Williamstown, the Huntington Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage and more. His film work includes Wolves, Listen Up Philip, Fading Gigolo, Hairbrained, Julie and Julia, Little Big League, and Honeymoon in Vegas. TV work includes: a major recurring role on Amazon Studios's "Good Girls Revolt," "The Affair," "Law and Order: SVU," and more.

THE BANDAGED PLACE

By Harrison David Rivers, Directed by Jeffrey Page

Friday, February 7 at 5:00PM

When Jonah's livelihood as a dancer is threatened by an injury inflicted by a former lover, he retreats far within himself. The only people who might be able to pull him out are his tenacious grandmother, Geraldine, his spirited eight-year-old daughter, Ella and her ballet teacher, Sam. But will he allow them to help him heal? At once hopeful and heartbreaking, Harrison David Rivers's delicate new drama considers how we move forward when our deepest wounds are often caused by those we love.

Harrison David Rivers (Playwright) is a St. Paul, Minnesota based playwright. He is the winner of the 2018 Relentless Award for The Bandaged Place. His other plays include When Last We Flew (GLAAD Media Award, NY Fringe Excellence in Playwriting Award), Sweet (AUDELCO nom), Where Storms Are Born (Berkshire Theatre Award nom, Edgerton Foundation New Play Award), Five Points (MN Theatre Award for Exceptional New Work, Lavender Magazine citation for Outstanding New Playwriting, BroadwayWorld Minneapolis Award for Best New Work, Inclusion in MinnPost's year-end "Best" list), This Bitter Earth (Jeff nomination for Best Production, MN Theatre Award for Exceptional New Work, Lavender Magazine citation for Outstanding New Playwriting), Look Upon Our Lowliness, And She Would Stand Like This, To Let Go And Fall and Broadbend, Arkansas produced Off-Broadway by Transport Group and The Public Theater. Harrison was named a Runner-up for the 2018 Artist of the Year by the Star Tribune and a 2017 Artist of the Year by City Pages. He has received McKnight and Many Voices Jerome Fellowships, a Van Lier Fellowship, an Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship and residencies with the Bogliasco Foundation, the Siena Art Institute, the Hermitage, Duke University, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage & Film and Williamstown Theater Festival. Harrison is an alum of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group, P73's Interstate 73, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Festival and the Lincoln Center Directors' Lab. He is a member of the Playwright Center's Board of Directors. MFA: Columbia University School of the Arts. harrisondavidrivers.com

Jeffrey Page (Director) is an opera/theatre director of both classical and contemporary works. The first African American to be named the Marcus Institute Fellow for Opera Directing at The Juilliard School, he has also been nominated for an Emmy Award. Credits include: 2015 and 2018 Tokyo productions of the musical Memphis as Director/Choreographer (four Yomiuri Award Nominations); 12 years of work with Beyoncé (MTV Video Music Award); Creative Director Mariah Carey's "Sweet, Sweet Fantasy" European tour; featured choreographer on SYTYCD; productions of Violet (Broadway), Company (Barrington), Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington) and the upcoming 1776 on Broadway. In 2016, Jeffrey established Movin' Legacy as an Indianapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to the ethnology and documentation of contemporary and traditional dance from Africa and the African diaspora. Mr. Page holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University in NYC, and has been awarded the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellowship from the Brooklyn Academy Of Music.

TICKETS INFORMATION

A limited number of FREE tickets to the reading series will be available to the general public. Tickets can be reserved by emailing undergroundreadings@roundabouttheatre.org.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

There will be one reading each night at 5:00PM, Monday, February 3 - Friday, February 7 at StubHub, Roundabout's Premier Secondary Ticketing Partner (1412 Broadway).



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