CHINGLISH Cast Members and More Star in LUTHER, etc. at Summer Works 5/26-6/30

The annual season of new plays at Summer Works is presented the Obie Award-winning theater company Clubbed Thumb -- has announced complete casting for its 17th season running May 26 to June 30 at the HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick Street) in Manhattan.

Joining the previously announced casts of SUMMERWORKS 2012 will be Angela Lin (CHINGLISH), Nick Choksi (INVASION!), Francis Benhamou (INVASION!). Boo Killebrew (author THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD), John Ellison Conlee (THE CONSTANT WIFE), Pete Simpson (Young Jean Lee's LEAR), Paul Juhn (30 Rock), Glenn Kubota (Pan Asian's THE SECRET OF OSONO), Kelly Mares (THE WOMEN), Crystal Finn (JULIUS BY DESIGN), Linda Marie Larson (DEUCE) and Mike Shapiro (EAVESDROPPING ON DREAMS).

Featuring productions of three new plays – TAKARAZUKA!!! by Susan Soon He Stanton, directed by Lear deBessonet; LUTHER by Ethan Lipton, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll; and MOTEL CHERRY by Peggy Stafford, directed by Meghan Finn – SUMMERWORKS 2012 will offer longer runs for each production, with each show playing nine performances, up from six in past SUMMERWORKS.

About the increased number of performances for each production, SUMMERWORKS Producing Artistic Director Maria Striar says, "Summerworks has always been a hot ticket in the theater community. We want to give all theater goers more of a chance to catch exciting work by ascendant artists for the first time, in an intimate space, and for a super affordable price."

This year Clubbed Thumb will co-produce MOTEL CHERRY with New Georges. “We're so excited at the prospect of collaborating with our close colleagues at Clubbed Thumb, and on MOTEL CHERRY, the perfect vehicle for our intersecting theatrical interests,” states Susan Bernfield, Producing Artistic Director of New Georges.

With its track record for discovering and supporting new playwriting talent -- in many cases providing writers with their very first production in New York or anywhere -- SUMMERWORKS is one of the most eagerly-anticipated theatrical offerings kicking off the summer stage season in the city. In seasons past, Clubbed Thumb's SUMMERWORKS has presented new works by Sarah Ruhl (IN THE NEXT ROOM or THE VIBRATOR PLAY; THE CLEAN HOUSE), Rachel Sheinkin (THE 26th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE) , Gina Gionfriddo (Becky Shaw; RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN), Adam Bock (A SMALL FIRE; THE THUGS), Rinne Groff (COMPULSON; THE RUBY SUNRISE), Jordan Harrison (MAPLE AND VINE), Jason Grote (NBCs SMASH), and Lisa D'Amour (DETROIT).

Clubbed Thumb describes its mission as one that "commissions, develops and produces funny, strange and provocative new plays by living American writers." Since its founding in 1996, the company has presented over 80 productions, earned four Obie Awards, and incubated and nurtured hundreds of scripts, careers and collaborations.

Summerworks ‘12 is a part of HEREstay, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.


May 26-June 4

Previews begin May 24, press opening May 29, closes June 4

Written by Susan Soon He Stanton, directed by Lear deBessonet

Part ghost story, part love story, TAKARAZUKA!!! tracks the career sunset of Yuko, the star of a Japanese theater that stages all-female Western style musical extravaganzas. But when you take away her partner, her fans, and her tux, who will she be?

SUSAN SOON HE STANTON’s plays include AMERICAN PIG PEN, CYGNUS, FURBALL, THE THINGS ARE AGAINST US, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JOHN BOY KIHANO?, THE UNDERNEATH, THE ART OF PRESERVATION and others. She is a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writer’s Group and Ma-Yi Playwrights Lab. Awards include the 2011 Van Lier Fellowship at The Lark, and The Sloan Foundation feature film development grant. MFA: Yale Playwriting. From Honolulu, Susan lives in New York City. This is Susan’s first NYC production.

Lear deBessonet Original works have been produced by Lincoln Center Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, the Intiman Theatre, Joe’s Pub, and Performance Space 122. She has worked with writers Marcus Gardley, Naomi Iizuka, Todd Almond, Deborah Stein, and Lucy Thurber. She most recently conceived and directed ODYSSEY at The Old Globe, featuring a cast of nearly 200 performers including local choirs, marching bands, and park rangers.

The cast of TAKARAZUKA!!! includes Jennifer Ikeda (TOP GIRLS, Manhattan Theater Club; TITUS ANDRONICUS, The Public), Brooke Ishibashi (THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G, Ma-Yi Theater Company in association with Vampire Cowboys Theater Company), Paul Juhn, Glenn Kubota and Angela Lin.


June 8-17

Previews begin June 8, press opening June 11, closes June 17

Written by Ethan Lipton, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll

LUTHERis a tense comedy of the city, concerning unusual families, war-damaged veterans and the high price of everything, including dancing and convictions. Marjorie and Walter love Luther so much, even though he’s tricky. But should they have brought him to the office party?

Ethan Lipton’s plays have been seen and heard in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Edinburgh (Scotland) and Berne (Austria). His play 100 ASPECTS OF THE MOON was produced by Clubbed Thumb in 2005. Ethan has received a NYFA grant and Drama-League Award for playwriting. He has been a member of the Public's Emerging Writers Group and he is currently a Playwright’s Realm Fellow. He wrote, composed and performed in NO PLACE TO GO, commissioned by and performed at The Public Theater.

Ken Rus Schmoll is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb where he directed Kristin Newbom’s TELETHON, Jordan Harrison’s AMAZONS AND THEIR MEN, and Erin Courtney’s DEMON BABY. He previously directed Ethan Lipton’s MEAT at the A.T.A. Recent credits include Erin Courtney’s A MAP OF VIRTUE (13P), Madeleine George’s SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND (Two River Theater Company), Will Eno’s MIDDLETOWN (Vineyard Theatre). OBIE Award for Ariana Reines’s TELEPHONE (Foundry Theatre).

The cast of LUTHER includes Gibson Frazier (TELEPHONE, The Foundry Theatre; GOD’S EAR, The Vineyard, New Georges; THE INTERNATIONALIST, The Vineyard, 13P), Bobby Moreno (HAND TO GOD, Ensemble Studio Theater/Youngblood; RE-ENTRY, American Records; INVASION!, The Play Company), Kelly Mares, Crystal Finn, Pete Simpson and John Ellison Conlee.


June 21-30

Previews begin June 21, press opening June 24, closes June 30

Written by Peggy Stafford, directed by Meghan Finn

A Co-Production with New Georges

MOTEL CHERRY unfolds in the eight rooms of a roadside motel deep in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula, as the guests and their fantasies collide over the course of one charged night. Local calls, ice and the little soaps are free. But careful, walls are thin, and your secrets might seethe through.

PEGGY STAFFORD’s play WAPATO was commissioned by Women’s Project and opened their 2007 season. She was a member of the Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, which commissioned her play LITTLE MISS 1565 through their Phase 2 program. Current projects include a stage adaptation of Marguerite de Angeli’s Newbery Award winning book THE DOOR IN THE WALL for Seattle Children’s Theatre, the book for a new musical, ELEANOR & HICK based on the thousands of letters between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok; and a new play THE JEWEL CASKET, inspired by a Joseph Cornell box. She’s been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Northern Ireland Arts Council, Rain City Projects, and is a proud member of the Brooklyn-based Machiqq Women's Auxiliary playwriting group as well as The Dramatists Guild. She has been an affiliated artist with New Georges since 2002.

MEGHAN FINN’s recent directing credits include: 3 2's; or AFAR by Mac Wellman (Dixon Place, World Premiere), RELATIVE VALUE by Jesse Longman (3LD), FUTURITY by the Lisps (HERE Arts Center), SATURN NIGHTS by Jess Barbagallo (Incubator Arts Project), WALTZ by Corina Copp (CSC -Weasel), BLUE DRESS REDUCTION featuring Eliza Bent (PS122), HIM by E.E. Cummings (Walkerspace), THE FAKE HISTORY OF GEORGE THE LAST by Misha Shulman (TNC), A WEEK AT THE NJ SHORE by Valerie Work (The Bushwick Starr, and others).

The cast of MOTEL CHERRY includes Monique Vukovic (GOD’S EAR, The Vineyard, New Georges; HOUSEBREAKING, Cherry Lane Theatre), DJ Mendel (“Fay Grim”, directed by Hal Hartley; PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE, PANIC, THE UNIVERSE all at The Ontological-Hysteric Theater) Steven Boyer (HAND TO GOD, Ensemble Studio Theater/Youngblood; THE UGLY ONE, Soho Rep in association with The Play Company), Eboni Booth (GIRLS IN TROUBLE, The Flea Theatre), Francis Benhamou, Linda Marie Larson, Nick Choksi, Boo Killebrew and Mike Shapiro.

SUMMERWORKS 2012 will perform May 26 – June 4 (no performance on May 30); June 8-17 (no performance on June 12) and June 21-30 (no performance June 25). All shows are at 8:30 p.m. (except June 10 when the performance begins at 5 p.m.) Tickets are $18 ($15 for students/seniors) and can be reserved by calling (212) 352-3101 or online at The box office is open every performance day starting at 5:00 p.m..

HERE Arts Center is located 145 Sixth Ave. (entrance on Dominick St., one block south of Spring).

For further information about SUMMERWORKS 2012, visit

CLUBBED THUMB commissions, develops and produces funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers. Since its founding in 1996, the company has earned 4 OBIES and presented plays in every form of development, including over80 full productions. Clubbed Thumb is a groundbreaker, with a remarkable track record for finding un-established artists and producing innovative new plays; a matchmaker, cultivating relationships between theater artists through our development and production programs; and an incubator, nurturing artists and their work, from first read-through to fully mounted production. "Funny, Strange, Provocative," an anthology of plays produced by Clubbed Thumb, is available through Playscripts. May 2010, Ms. Striar was honored with a first-ever Lilly Award for Artistic Directorship, citing her work as a "fierce champion of new works and new writers… who has helped launch and/or develop the careers" of scores of playwrights, especially women. Maria Striar, Producing Artistic Director; Diana Maxine Konopka, Managing Director.

Past productions of note presented by Clubbed Thumb include CIVILIZATION (ALL YOU CAN EAT) by Jason Grote, DOT by Kate E. Ryan, directed by Anne Kauffman; THE SMALL by Anne Washburn, directed by Les Waters; PUNKPLAY by Gregory Moss, directed by Davis McCallum; TELETHON by Kristin Newbom, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll; AMAZONS AND THEIR MEN by Jordan Harrison, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll; Clubbed Thumb has also premiered Anne Washburn's I HAVE LOVED STRANGERS, Adam Bock's MEDEA EATS and THE TYPOGRAPHER’S DREAM; Gina Gionfriddo’s US DRAG, Lisa D’Amour’s 16 SPELLS TO CHARM THE BEAST and RED DEATH; Rachel Sheinkin’s THE DOCTOR OF LAST RESORT, Rinne Groff’s INKY and JIMMY CARTER WAS A DEMOCRAT; Sarah Ruhl’s LATE (A COWBOY SONG); and Sheila Callaghan’s CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN Justin Timberlake).

NEW GEORGES (co-producer of MOTEL CHERRY) has premiered 36 new full-length plays and 11 festivals of new work; hundreds of original works have passed through New Georges' workspace, The Room, on their way to venues in New York City and beyond. In addition to producing regular seasons, the company is a play and artist development organization, providing essential resources and opportunities to a community of venturesome artists. New Georges has produced early works by many notable playwrights, including Lisa D’Amour, Tracey Scott Wilson, Diana Son, Cusi Cram, Sheila Callaghan, Heidi Schreck, Leigh Fondakowski, Catherine Filloux, Kate Moira Ryan and Carson Kreitzer. In 2009, The L Magazine named New Georges among its “Best of NYC;” and a study published by TDF, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE: The Life and Times of the New American Play, lists New Georges as one of the top 10 theaters nationwide named by playwrights as a leading producer of their plays. Susan Bernfield, Producing Artistic Director; Sarah Cameron Sunde, Deputy Artistic Director; Jaynie Saunders Tiller, Managing Director.

Next on Stage

Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You