Lesser America Presents AMERICAN RIVER World Premiere Tonight, 7/14

Lesser America, in residence at Theater for the New City, presents the world premiere of American River, written by Micheline Auger and directed by Stephen Brackett, opening tonight, July 14th at 8pm at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. American River marks the close of the inaugural season for Lesser America, a young theater company in residence at Theater for the New City.

Set in s(mall)-town California, American River is the story of two childhood friends and sometime sweethearts living on rock and roll and dreams of making it big. But after Conner checks into rehab, they learn there's more than a bag of meth standing between them and the American dream. In this darkly comic, eruptive drama, Conner and Liz struggle to overcome their failed expectations and unhealed wounds, discovering the limitations of their ambitions for escape.

The production features John Patrick Doherty* (A Bright New Boise, The Coward), Laura Ramadei (Squealer, Frequenty Unasked Questions), Brendan Spieth* (Inventing Wonderland, The Aliens at Weston Playhouse) and Robbie Collier Sublett* (Other Desert Cities, You Better Sit Down).

Lesser America is a pop theater ensemble of renegade artists dedicated to smart, quality entertainment that puts the audience first, fulfilling the promise of affordable, accessible theater for the 21st century. The company’s past productions include Squealer by Jonathan Blitstein, and Too Much Too Soon, a series of six short plays, featuring writing by Nikole Beckwith, Dean Imperial, Nick Jones, Melissa Ross, Emily Schwend, and Ken Urban. The series was directed by Portia Krieger alongside Stephen Brackett. The company is currently in residence at Theater for the New City, Crystal Field, Executive Director. For more information on the company, please visit www.lesseramerica.com.

Micheline Auger’s Micheline’s first play POOP-A TRUE STORY, was based on her experience being an art object in a NYC gallery and won an Audience Favorite Award in the 2003 NY Fringe Festival. Her work has been developed or produced by Primary Stages, Westside Theatre, Miranda Theatre, Horsetrade Theatre Co, Kraine Theatre, NY International Fringe Festival, Riot Act, Sugar Space and Highways Performance Complex among others. She is the creator and curator of the installation “WRITE OUT FRONT: a Playwright Happening” taking place in the storefront of the Drama Book Shop August 13th - September 4th, 2012 and is currently developing her memoir: Poop and Other Stories. She interviews theater artists for the blog Theaterspeak, is a founding member of the 15th Floor Playwrights Collective, and a proud member of The Dramatist Guild. For more information: www.michelineauger.com.

Stephen Brackett recently directed the world premieres of Anton Dudley's The Empty Ocean with The Clurman Lab and Chad Beckim’s After with Partial Comfort Productions. Other NY credits include Bekah Brunstetter's Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova), The Tenant (Woodshed Collective), Too Much Too Soon (Lesser America), political strategist and humanitarian David Mixner’s From the Front Porch (Dixon Place), Nick Jones and Rachel Shukert’s The Sporting Life (Studio 42/Vineyard Theater), Dylan Dawson’s Cinemediocracy (Ars Nova), Dan Fishback’s You Will Experience Silence and thirtynothing (Dixon Place), Sam Forman and Eric Davis’ F#@king Up Everything (NYMF), Bixby Elliot’s PN1923.45LS01 Volume 2 (FringeNY), Whore and The Ones That Flutter (SPF/Public Theater), and Kilroy Was Here: A Styx Rock Opera (Williamstown). Stephen was the Assistant Director of Passing Strange at the Public and Belasco Theaters and the 2010 Director in Residence at Ars Nova. Upcoming: The Trouble With Doug (TheatreWorks).

Theater For the New City is a Pulitzer Prize-winning community cultural center that is known for both its quality artistic work and unique widespread community service. One of New York’s most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 30-40 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights. Many influential theater artists of the last quarter century have found TNC’s Resident Theater Program instrumental to their careers, among them Sam Shepard, Moisés Kaufman, Richard Foreman, Charles Busch, Maria Irene Fornes, Miguel Piñero, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Vin Diesel, Oscar Nuñez, Laurence Holder, Romulus Linney, and Academy Award Winners Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody. TNC also presents plays by multi-ethnic/multi-disciplinary theater companies who have no permanent home. Among the well-known companies that have been presented by TNC are Mabou Mines, The Living Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and COBU, the Japanese women's drumming and dance group. TNC also produced the Yangtze Repertory Company’s 1997 production of BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, which was the only play by Gao Xingjian ever produced in America before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. TNC productions have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and over 42 OBIE Awards for excellence in every theatrical discipline.TNC is also the only Theatrical Organization to have won the Mayor's Stop The Violence award. For more information about Theater for the New City, visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

American River will run in a strictly limited engagement at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, Thursday July 12th to Sunday July 22nd, with performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm, with an additional Sunday matinee on July 15th at 3:00pm. Tickets are $15 (with a $10 student ticket) and may be purchased at www.lesseramerica.com.

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