Sanguine Theatre to Debut Aleks Merilo's EXIT 27, 11/7-17

In celebration of its fourth season, Sanguine Theatre Company will produce EXIT 27, a new work by award-winning playwright, Aleks Merilo and directed by Mark Karafin. Based on a true story, EXIT 27 combines the themes of rejection, survival, and redemption in exploration of the human experience. As the overwhelming winner of Sanguine's highly competitive playwriting competition, EXIT 27 brings a stirring perspective of raw human nature in its NYC premiere.

"EXIT 27 blew me away, not only because of its haunting relevance, but because it is based on real interviews," said Sanguine's executive producer, Karly Fischer. "It is a tightly written piece that makes audiences wonder what the heck is happening in America's back yard."

Since the year 2000, the citizens of one town have abandoned nearly fourteen hundred boys in the Utah Desert. Deemed the "Lost Boys of Utah", EXIT 27 is based on their true stories. Merilo's play follows the journey of four of these "lost boys" to The Edge of the desert. Exiled by their families from the only world they've known, the boys are forced to rebuild their lives as outsiders. Their only hope for survival? Each other.

"This story's topic is one that is incredibly relevant, but not well known to most of the public," said JillIan Robertson, artistic director. "I think it will encourage people to ask questions, and that is something that Sanguine artists strive to do."

Sanguine provides new experiences for its audiences is by producing unique, unheard stories. The theatre company's annual Project Playwright competition encourages emerging artists to submit their new work. After highly selective rounds of preliminary judging, audiences at the annual event choose which finalists' play will be produced in Sanguine's upcoming season. This year EXIT 27 won the hearts of both the theatre's audiences and Sanguine's artistic team.

"EXIT 27 makes us wrestle with our preconceptions and see the world from a new perspective," said Sanguine's associate producer, Anna Fearheiley. "Aleks makes the characters speak in a language we can all understand: that of loneliness, confusion, heartbreak, and steadfast hope for tomorrow."

As the creator of Project Playwright, Fischer is thrilled that the selection of EXIT 27 upholds the underlying mission of Project Playwright: giving a voice to great work.

"There are so many outstanding plays that most companies won't even take the time to read, let alone produce," Fischer said. "New playwrights are the people who will move American theatre to new heights."

EXIT 27 will run November 7-17, 2013 at the Medicine Show Theatre on West 52nd Street between 11th and 12th avenues. Performances are November 7-9 at 8pm, November 13-16 at 8pm, and November 10 and 17 at 3pm. For more information about the show, visit, or call: (281) 946-9563. For questions about tickets, email:

Founded in New York City in 2010, Sanguine Theatre Company is a small but mighty pioneer for rising artists and new works. In its 4th season, Sanguine will have produced world premieres for 5 different playwrights, as well as New York City debuts to dozens of actors and designers. Sanguine Theatre Company is committed to advancing the art of American theatre through the spirit of collaboration, making art accessible to everyone. For more information about Sanguine Theatre Company, visit

KARLY FISCHER, Sanguine's executive producer, received her BFA from The University of Oklahoma School of Drama with an emphasis in Dramaturgy and a minor in English. Fischer recently became the dramaturgical consultant at The Pekoe Group, an advertising and marketing firm. She is the winner of the Goldia Cooksey Creative Achievement Award, and she works as a house manager at the Juilliard School. Currently she is working toward her MFA in producing and theatre management at Columbia University, and is a producing intern at Harriet Leve Productions.

JILLIan RobertsON, Sanguine's artistic director, hails from Houston, TX. She has directed numerous shows over the past five years, including: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The Drunken City, Bees and Lions with Sanguine Theatre Company, Come Back Up with Magic Time, and The Laramie Project with Under the Umbrella Theatre. In the Fall of 2009 she assistant directed A Piece of my Heart with the Emmy-nominated Lou Antonio. She received her BFA from The University of Oklahoma School of Drama with an emphasis in performance in 2009. Jillian is a member of Alpha Psi Omega, and is also recognized as proficient in unarmed and single sword combat by the Society of American Fight Directors.

ANNA FEARHEILEY, Sanguine's associate producer, moved to New York from Asheville, North Carolina, where she performed with Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective and Montford Park Players. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in drama performance and a minor in psychology. Anna is a founding member of 2 x 4 in Repertory, with whom she performed Mary Stuart in Dallas. She is a two-time participant in World Literature Today's Puterbaugh Festival, most recently as Hester Swane in Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats.

ALEKS MERILO is an award-winning and critically-acclaimed playwright from Palo Alto, California. He received is BA in theatre and his MFA in playwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. Merilo holds his MAT in education from Southern Oregon University, and he is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

MARK KARAFIN, EXIT 27's director, recently directed Certifiable with FringeNYC, Bottles On The Water (Drama Book Shop Theatre), Erotomania (Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival), Keep On Truckin' - It's War (M.I.T.F.), Insecurity, for which won the Best Music and Lyrics Award (M.I.T.F.). Karafin also directed Cell 6 (Manhattan Repertory Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Row), The Only Miracle & Nothing But Gold (Ensemble Studio Theatre), 50 Shades Of Hey (The Ugly Rhino Festival), Black Latina (La Tea Theatre), The Big Ride, Finalist (American Globe Theatre), Bombs and Manifestos (Roy Arias Theatre), Ready (Shetler Studios), America's Next Most Wanted (The Players Theatre). He assisted Alexander Dinelaris on The Drawer Boy at SoHo Playhouse, and was the Company Manager. He has assisted Christopher Durang, Billy Hopkins, Neil LaBute, Austin Pendleton, and more. He was recently the production manager for Summer Shorts 2013, the venue director for the "Fringe Encore Series" and is currently the General Manager of SoHo Playhouse. He holds a BFA in directing from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His acting credits include The Sopranos (HBO). He is a proud core member of Oberon Theatre Ensemble.

Alec Shaw (Brodie) is honored to be making his New York City debut with Sanguine Theatre Company After graduating the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Conservatory in May, Alec starred in the independent feature film, Silver Cove and played "Billy" in Bekah Brunstetter's The Oregon Trail at the O'Neill National Playwright's Conference.

Ali Rose Dachis (The Outsider) is thrilled to help tell the story of EXIT 27. She recently worked on the world premiere of Deborah Zoe Laufer's LEVELING UP at Cincinnati Playhouse in The Park. Her New York credits include the Off-Broadway production of The Awesome 80s Prom (Davenport studios), Hamlet (The Factory) and The Classroom (Slant Theater

Company). Some of her favorite past credits include: Adam Rapp's one-woman show The Edge of Our Bodies, The Great Gatsby, Circle Mirror Transformation (The Guthrie Theater)
and Romeo and Juliet (Southwest Shakespeare). Dachis received her BFA from The University of Minnesota/Guthrie Actor Training Program.

James Leighton (Ryker) has worked off- Broadway at 59E59. His regional credits include The Guthrie Theater. In New York, Leighton has worked with Rising Phoenix Rep, Boomerang Theater Company, Articulate Theater Company and Red Shirt Entertainment. James earned an MFA in directing at Columbia University. James is a company member of Sanguine Theatre Company and The Factory NYC Hamlet Project. James also earned a BFA in the University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Actor Training Program.

Christian Daly (Dodge), a recent graduate from the North Carolina School of the Arts, is proud to be a part of the NYC premiere of EXIT 27. He was recently featured in the Dutch Indie Film All Those F*@^&%# Sunflowers, following his role as Romeo in the Cygnet Theatre's premiere of Joe Calarco's Shakespeare's R&J.

Will Dagger's (Shyler) credits include Ghost Sonata, Hypochondria, Lulu, Spoon River Anthology (all at Columbia), Children of the Future Age (Calliope), Marat/Sade (Moses Mogilee), and Portrait (Phillstock). Dagger has helped develop new works at Naked Angels, New Dramatists, Episcopal Actors Guild, Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble, Sparrowtree, Communal Spaces and Do It Live in San Francisco. He recently conceived and directed Six Windows Presents A Hero Of Our Time (Calliope), and has directed pieces for Williamstown Theatre Festival workshop, Nylon Fusion Collective, Hearth Gods, The Dirty Blondes, American Globe Theatre, and Tiny Rhino. He is a former Williamstown apprentice, an alum of Kenyon College and BADA, and a frequent collaborator with online sketch comedy group goodcopgreatcop.

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