Central Works Announces 2019 Season, Featuring Four World Premiere Plays

Central Works' 2019 season begins February 16 and runs through November 24, 2019 featuring the world premieres of 4 new plays. This 29th season begins with a bizarre comedy, followed by a Victorian mystery, a political thriller, and then in the fall it takes us on a deep dive into the sensual world of author Christina García. The 2018 Season was celebrated and nominated for the comedy and SRO runs of Patricia Milton's Bamboozled and Cristina García's King of Cuba which featured Marga Gomez as El Comandante. Milton's Bamboozled was a finalist for 6 TBA Awards, including Outstanding World Premiere, Entire Production, and Outstanding Direction - it won for Entire Production, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Performance for its 2 principal actors, Stacy Ross and Chelsea Bearce. Central Works is committed to new works inspired by social issues, classic texts, and history - every production received a TBA Awards Recommendation, and each played to responsive houses every weekend!

Central Works thinks globally, and acts locally; it is "The New Play Theater." Local and national theater artists come together as partners in the creation and development of challenging new world premieres, conceiving daring, intimate productions. For its 2019 season, Central Works takes us down the rabbit hole in February with Wonderland, a Kafka-esque comedy by Gary Graves (Feb 16-Mar 17). Spring brings a new mystery set in London, where it seems Jack the Ripper may be at it again in The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective by Patricia Milton (May 4-Jun 2). Then in summer's full glare, a lesbian couple must confront questions that they never thought to ask as their marriage collides with national security, in Christina Gorman's political thriller, Roan @ The Gates (Jul 20-Aug 18). The season culminates with a new work by award-winning novelist Cristina García, which follows last season's sensational theatrical adaptation of her own novel "King of Cuba" with a new adaption, The Lady Matador's Hotel (Oct 12-Nov 10). The play follows the denizens of a luxurious hotel in the capital of an unnamed Central American country in the midst of political turmoil.


Wonderland Feb 16-Mar 17
written by Gary Graves

A Kafka-esque comedy

Someone must have recommended Joseph Kaye, for one morning, without having done anything to deserve it, he was summoned to the White House. He doesn't know why. He doesn't know who summoned him. He's just an accountant at Herman Brothers. Why him? Some very strange things happen as he waits anxiously in an empty room off the West Wing, waiting for his meeting with the "Red King," a code name...but for who? There's a woman named Alice. And someone called "The Rabbit." There's a "Mad Hatter" and a "Red Queen," too. Something ghastly is going on in the White House. Someone's being murdered. Joseph just wants to do his civic duty. But what exactly is that when you've fallen down the rabbit hole, and through the looking glass?

Gary Graves has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has helped develop 62 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has written and/or directed. Some of the other plays he has written for the company include Chekhov's WARD 6, Palace Wreckers, Edward King, Machiavelli's The Prince, Project Ahab, Lola Montez, Enemy Combatant, The Mysterious Mr. Looney, Misanthrope, Mata Hari, and Pyrate Story. He directed the company's first collaboratively developed script, Roux, at the City Club in 1997. He also leads the Central Works Playwriting Program, and teaches playwriting regularly at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.

The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective
May 4-Jun 2
written by Patricia Milton

A murder mystery

Victorian London: Sisters Loveday and Valeria run a boarding house for Single Ladies. When a series of gruesome murders terrorizes the neighborhood, they appeal to the police for protection. But Scotland Yard is no help at all. And the bodies are piling up on their doorstep. So the women set out to bring the killer to justice on their own. Is Jack the Ripper at it again?

From the company of last season's award-winning comedy, Bamboozled, including playwright Patricia Milton, its principal performers, Stacy Ross and Chelsea Bearce.

Patricia Milton is a Resident Playwright for Central Works and a long-term member of the Central Works Writers Workshop. Plays written for Central Works include: Bamboozled (2018), Hearts of Palm (2016), Enemies: Foreign and Domestic (2015), and Reduction in Force (2011). She is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding World Premiere Play by Theatre Bay Area for Enemies: Foreign and Domestic, and Reduction in Force was voted 2011 "Best Local Play" in Broadway World's annual poll. Her comedy Believers has enjoyed productions in Monterey and San Francisco, and has played for the past two years in Istanbul, Turkey. Her drama about the death penalty, Without Mercy, was presented at the Newfoundland Women's Work Festival and was produced by Off Broadway West Theatre Company in San Francisco in 2017. Ms. Milton has had more than 100 productions and readings of her plays internationally, including at the 3Girls Theatre, San Francisco Exploratorium, PlayGround SF, Woman's Will, Women's Theatre Project, Bay Area One Acts, and City Lights Theatre.

Roan @ The Gates
Jul 20-Aug 18
written by Christina Gorman

A political thriller

"If our government can access information from your present or your past, they can use it to get you to do what they want. What's being collected and stored is not information, it's leverage."

Could you still love your partner if she followed her conscience but kept you in the dark? A long-time lesbian couple confronts questions that they never thought to ask as their marriage collides with national security.


A Shared World Premiere with Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

Roan @ The Gates received a developmental workshop at The Alley Theatre, Houston, TX

Christina Gorman was an inaugural member of The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, and her plays have been produced and/or developed at The Public Theater, American Blues Theater, Alley Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Samuel French Short Play Festival, HotINK International Festival, and New York International Fringe Festival, among many others. She is a recipient of many awards including TCG's Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, the New York International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting, and runner up for the Princess Grace Award. This is her first production with Central Works.

The Lady Matador's Hotel
Oct 12-Nov 10
by Cristina García

adapted from her novel

Cristina García, author of last season's hit King of Cuba returns to Central Works adapts another of her lush, sensual novels. The Lady Matador's Hotel follows the denizens of a luxurious hotel in the capital of an unnamed Central American country in the midst of political turmoil. There is the matadora in town for a bullfight. There is an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel. And there is a colonel who committed atrocities in the country's long civil war. Each day, the pull of revenge and desire draws them closer and closer together.

Cristina García (playwright) is the author of seven novels, including: Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, The Lady Matador's Hotel, King of Cuba, and Here in Berlin. García has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon, and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008 and a young adult novel, Dreams of Significant Girls, in 2011. A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death, was published in 2010. García's work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others.She is the founder and artistic director of Las Dos Brujas Writers' Workshops and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Company co-directors Jan Zvaifler and Gary Graves remain steadfast in their mission to develop and produce new works. "New plays are the lifeblood of the theater," says Ms. Zvaifler. "We look at current events, politics, classic literature and traditional storytelling to bring our audience face to face with the challenges of our lives everyday, juxtaposed against the reflections of history, both recent and far-reaching. Given our current harrowing times, we all need an opportunity to pause, feel, think and act." The special intimacy of the Central Works theater offers this in a truly unique package.

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