THE ROSS HOWARD FESTIVAL to Kick Off This Month at Access Theater

After introducing American audiences to red-hot British indie playwright Ross Howard in 2014, New Light Theater Project (Strange Country, In the Soundless Awe) will present THE Ross Howard FESTIVAL.

This mini-festival will feature the World Premiere of TWO OF US; Howard's most acclaimed and often-produced work, ARTHUR AND ESTHER; and an evening of six short plays. Previews for the festival begin October 19 at Access Theater with openings set for October 27 (Arthur and Esther) and October 28 (Two of Us).

Flashing between Honolulu and New York City, TWO OF US shines a spotlight on the lives of Him and Her and the social and domestic pressures leading to His destructive act of assassinating John Lennon in December 1980. A showdown between the real and the fantastic, Two of Us addresses issues of economic hardship, gender equality, mental health, celebrity culture and gun violence. Directed by Sarah Norris.

In ARTHUR AND ESTHER, a laid-off librarian wrestles with suicide methods that hurt the least, while his wife waits impatiently. A play of two worlds, this elemental and affecting two-hander explores love, loss and the lives we impose on others. Directed by Jerry Heymann, starring Steven Rattazzi.

The Festival will also feature OUR WALK THROUGH THE WORLD, an evening of six short plays that will be presented November 2 & 3. In Tilly (An Introduction), a young woman films herself auditioning to become a surrogate mother. Color-coded jellybeans salvage one man's career in Rules of Assortment, and a soccer coach introduces his latest acquisition to an assembled press in Our Prospects For The Coming Season. A son is reunited with his biological mother in Relinquish, while in The Viewing, a real estate agent shows a couple around their dream home to a soundscape of gunfire and screams. In Frisky & The Panda Man, a conservationist tries to come to terms with a lost love, a lost world, and the last panda.

THE Ross Howard FESTIVAL features sets by Brian Dudkiewicz, lighting by Michael O'Connor, sound design by Andy Evan Cohen, costumes by Samantha Rose Lind (Arthur and Esther) and Genevieve V. Beller (Two of Us), props by Samantha Schaffer, and projection design by Zach Griffin. Rounding out the production team is Stephanie Klapper (casting), Michael Aguirre (line producer), Erikka Anderson (stage manager), Juni Li (stage manager), Joshua Shain (production manager) and Paul Passaro (technical director). ARTHUR AND ESTHER stars Steven Rattazzi (TV's The Venture Bros.) and Lucy Lavely (The Widow of Tom's Hill at 59 East 59); TWO OF US stars Chris Bert (The Green with Cheyenne Jackson ), Vivian Chiu (Chinglish on Broadway), Christopher Daftsios (The Muckle Man at Rattlestick), Dan Fenaughty, Lea McKenna-Garcia, and Janae Mitchell.

British playwright Ross Howard's work has been seen across the UK, Ireland and the United States. In 2002, he was invited to join The Royal Court Theatre Young Writer's Group. In 2008 he received a Playwright Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Arthur and Esther was awarded "Best of Fringe" at Las Vegas Fringe Festival in 2010 while No One Loves Us Here was a finalist for the New York Stage and Film Founders Award 2012. Frisky& The Panda Man was a winning finalist in the 38th Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival in 2013. Arthur and Esther, No One Loves Us Here, Picture Ourselves in Latvia and Our Walk Through The World are published by Samuel French. On occasion, he tutors at the Actor's Centre in London, the city in which he currently resides..

Sarah Norris (director, TWO OF US) is a director, actor and writer. In New York, she has worked with: Playwrights Horizons, LAByrinth Theater Company, Disney Theatrical Productions, BAMA Theatre Company, The Flea, The Gallery Players and Boomerang Theatre to name a few. She has an MFA in Directing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a BA in Theatre from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She is the Artistic Director of Access Theater and an Associate Producer for the Broadway producing company, Bisno Productions. For more information, visit www.SarahNorris.org.

Jerry Heymann (director, ARTHUR AND ESTHER) is an award-winning director. Select credits include: Call Me Charlie with Danny DeVito (La Mama), My Daddy's Serious American Gift (Tiffany Theatre in LA), A Country For Old Men (American Stage Company), Three (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and Demeter's Lost Daughter (St. Clement's Theatre). He holds a PhD and MFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and is a proud member of SSDC.

Under Artistic Director Sarah Norris, NEW LIGHT THEATER PROJECT is an ensemble-based theater company in New York City. They place writers at the center of the process of developing new works and reinterpreting classic stories. They create an environment-for both artist and audience-that is open, engaging, and affordable. The company was inducted into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame in 2014 by Indie Theater Now. For more information, visit NewLightTheaterProject.com.

THE Ross Howard FESTIVAL runs October 19 - November 12, Wednesday - Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 7pm & 8:45pm, and Sunday at 6pm & 7:45pm. Access Theater is located at 380 Broadway on the 4th floor (at White Street) -- accessible from the A/C/E/N/Q/R/6 trains at Canal Street or the 1 train at Franklin. Tickets are $15 at 630-632-1459 or www.NewLightTheaterProject.com.



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