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New Plays & Musicals Unveiled At TheatreWorks's NEW WORKS FESTIVAL

New Plays & Musicals Unveiled At TheatreWorks's NEW WORKS FESTIVAL

Lovers of new theatre will gather this August for an advance look at tomorrow's hits at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's 2019 New Works Festival at Palo Alto's Lucie Stern Theatre. This unique festival offers audiences an extraordinary opportunity to experience new plays and musicals in their early stages of development, and hear about the creative process in a "Meet the Artists" panel discussion. With multiple performances of each work, playwrights and composers are able to revise and refine their shows during the festival, allowing audiences to view the exciting evolution of brand new pieces of theatre. The popular festival runs August 9 - 18, 2019 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. Festival passes ($65 general/$49 season subscribers) and single event tickets ($20) can be purchased online at or by calling (650) 463-1960.

Among the musical highlights for 2019: a new musical based on a short story by Willa Cather by the creators of Tuck Everlasting and a haunting new musical exploring racial tensions in the past and present. Plays include a touching drama about family, a madcap farce about a tea shop, and a frank and feminist play about a doctor who revolutionized women's healthcare. Other events at the 18th Annual New Works Festival include a special keynote address to kick off the Festival, the opportunity to hear first-hand about the creative process in a "Meet the Artists" panel discussion, and a presentation by the playwrights of tomorrow (winners of 1440 Countdown, TheatreWorks Education Department's 24-hour playwriting festival for high school students).

The Festival lineup is as follows:


A Heartland Romance


Music and Book by Chris Miller

Book and Lyrics by Nathan Tysen

Based on the short story Eric Hermannson's Soul by Willa Cather
Co-commission with Playwrights Horizons, New York

Directed by Kent Nicholson

Musical direction by William Liberatore

8/10 @ 8pm • 8/14 @ 8pm • 8/17 @ 12pm

The authors of Broadway's Tuck Everlasting spin a romantic musical drama across the vast prairies of 19th century Nebraska. This sweet, longing tale of a New England socialite drawn to a rough-hewn Norwegian fiddler is told with wry humor, and sung to an engaging, western-tinged score.

Revival was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, New York, New York and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, California with funds provided by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Chris Miller (Music & Book) is the composer of Broadway's Tuck Everlasting. Miller's Off-Broadway credits include The Burnt Part Boys and Fugitive Songs. His TV credits include songs for "Sesame Street," "Elmo's World," & "The Electric Company."

Nathan Tysen (Book and Lyrics) is the lyricist for Broadway's Tuck Everlasting and co-lyricist for Broadway's Amélie. His Off-Broadway credits include The Burnt Part Boys, Fugitive Songs, and Stars of David. His work has been seen across the country at regional theatres including Paradise Square at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Stillwater at Kansas City Repertory Theatre with his band Joe's Pet Project, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick at Barrington Stage Company. TV credits include "Sesame Street," "Elmo's World," and "The Electric Company."

Kent Nicholson (Director) returns to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley where he acted as Director of New Works. His TheatreWorks direction credits include Grey Gardens (2008), Ambition Facing West (2007), Vincent in Brixton (2005), All My Sons (2004), Cubamor (2013 New Works Festival), How to Write a New Book for the Bible (2010 New Works Festival), and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (2009 New Works Festival). He has directed in New York at The Sheen Center, Prospect Theater Company, NYMF, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Regional credits include Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Village Theater, TUTS, South Coast Rep, The Old Globe, and CATF. He is currently the Associate Producer for Musical Theater at Playwrights Horizons.

William Liberatore (Musical Director) is TheatreWorks's Resident Musical Director and has conducted more than 40 shows, including Tuck Everlasting, Fun Home, The Prince of Egypt, Rags, The Life of the Party, Sweeney Todd, Once on This Island (TBA Award), Crowns, Ragtime, and Pacific Overtures.

A Haunting New Musical


Book and Lyrics by Rebecca Hart

Book and Music by Jacinth Greywoode

Directed by Ken Savage

Musical direction by Sarah Hirsch

8/11 @ 7pm • 8/15 @ 8pm • 8/18 @ 7pm

Small town America, 1915-an Irish housemaid falls for an African-American blacksmith. A century later a rebellious white debutante befriends a mixed-race neighbor. Will the outcome be the same? Weaving past and present, this poignant new musical explores a haunting legacy of racism buried but not forgotten.

Rebecca Hart (Book & Lyrics) recently played Jessie in the Public National Mobile Unit tour of Sweat and released her album "The Magician's Daughter" at the Rockwood Music Hall.

Jacinth Greywoode (Book & Music) is a Brooklyn-based composer of classical and theater music. Recent work includes Master, a short-form opera in collaboration with Deepali Gupta and America Opera Projects; G'day, Ivan, a musical farce based on the short stories of Nikolai Gogol; and an upcoming opera commission by Cerise Jacobs/White Snake Projects.

Ken Savage (Director) is a San Francisco theatre director and Associate Producer at American Conservatory Theater. In development: Red Waters (EDM musical about pirate queen Ching Shih), Co-Founders (Oakland hip hop tech musical), and Gravity: A New(tonian) Musical (2017 O'Neill Finalist, 2016 TheatreWorks New Works Festival).

Sarah Hirsch's (Musical Director) credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Santa Clara University), West Side Story (McCallum Fine Arts Academy), Company (Nittany Theatre at the Barn), Parade (FUSE Productions), and See What I Wanna See (Yale Cabaret).


A Journey Across Generations


By Kait Kerrigan
Directed by Jessica Bird Beza

8/16 @ 8pm • 8/18 @ 3pm

In this funny, warm-hearted, and wonderfully human play about lovers, fathers, daughters, and the fragile bonds between them, two actors play very different generations in the same family. They chart the ups and downs of relationships found, lost, and everlasting.

Kait Kerrigan (Playwright) is an award-winning book writer, lyricist, and playwright. Off-Broadway: The Mad Ones, Henry and Mudge. Other musicals and plays The Bad Years, Republic, Irena, Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends, EarthRise, Disaster Relief, Imaginary Love, and Transit. Her work has been developed by La Jolla, Kennedy Center, Goodspeed, and others.

Jessica Bird Beza (Director) was Associate Director on the Tony Award- winning Broadway musical Come From Away. She has directed or assisted at La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, ACT, Ford's Theatre, Seattle Rep, Playwrights Foundation, San Diego Rep, Moving Arts, New Village Arts and others.

A British Breakfast Farce


By Lynn Rosen

Directed by Christian Parker

8/13 @ 8pm • 8/17 @ 4pm

A British teashop in Brooklyn? Where better to brew this broad, madcap farce about a daughter desperate to rescue her addled Dad from his colonial memories. With a Noises Off flair, this door-slamming romp sets old-school against new-wave in a hilarious quest for royalty and relevance.

Lynn Rosen's (Playwright) plays have been produced by: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, SF Playhouse, New Georges, Rivendell Theatre, Women's Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Baltimore Centerstage, Studio Theatre, Working Theater, ATL, among others. Current commissions include TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Gurley!), EST/Sloan, Red Bull Theater.

Christian Parker (Director) is a director, dramaturg, and professor at the Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre program. He was Associate Artistic Director of the Atlantic Theater Company for 14 years and has directed plays by Tina Howe, Ken Weitzman, Leslie Ayvazian, Rolin Jones, David Auburn, Jeff Whitty, Cusi Cram, and others. Most recently he staged David Hare's Skylight for Gulfshore Playhouse.

Uncharted Territory

NAN AND THE LOWER BODY (the pap smear play)

By Jessica Dickey

Directed by Giovanna Sardelli

8/11 @ 3pm • 8/17 @ 8pm

In the mid-60s, Dr. George Papanicolaou invented the Pap smear, saving many lives but creating moral dilemmas in the process. In this frank and feminist play, good-humored Dr. Pap has great mysteries to unravel and a bright assistant with dark secrets to hide.

Nan and The Lower Body (The Pap Smear Play) was originally commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director, Barry Grove, Executive Producer with funds provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Jessie Dickey's (Playwright) most recent plays are The Convent (premiered Off-Broadway with Rattlestick and Rising Phoenix) and The Rembrandt (sold-out run at Steppenwolf starring John Mahoney). Other plays Off-Broadway in New York and around the country: The Amish Project, Charles Ives Take Me Home, and Row After Row.

Giovanna Sardelli (Director) recently directed Rajiv Joseph's Archduke for TheatreWorks as well as the World Premiere at the Mark Taper Forum, and the Regional Premiere of They Promised Her the Moon (New Works Festival 2018) for The Old Globe which will be seen at TheatreWorks later this season. She'll be directing the World Premieres of Heidi Armbruster's Mrs. Christie for Dorset Theatre Festival this August and Catya McMullen's Georgia Merching is Dead for Ensemble Studio Theatre in the Fall.


Keynote Address

8/9 @ 8pm

TheatreWorks will kick off the 2019 New Works Festival with a keynote address from a prominent theatre-maker, to be announced at a later date.


8/18 @ 12pm

The Festival's featured playwrights and composers share their anecdotes and insights into creating brave new works for American theatre. Audiences are invited to bring questions and become a part of the conversation with writers who are shaping the theatre. This event will include a special presentation by the playwrights of tomorrow, the winners of 1440 Countdown, TheatreWorks Education Department's 24-hour playwriting festival for high school students.

The 2019 New Works Festival is presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's New Works Initiative. The program seeks out new material and serves as a collaborative matchmaker for writers and composers. The Festival has launched many new works onto TheatreWorks's main stage and to national productions, including Broadway's Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis. The Festival has given playgoers their first looks at new works by such luminaries as Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lippa, Joe DiPietro, David Hein & Irene Sankoff, Marsha Norman, Paul Gordon, Rajiv Joseph, and Beth Henley.

TheatreWorks's Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli has directed and developed plays throughout the country. Among Sardelli's directing credits at TheatreWorks are the 2019 production of Rajiv Joseph's Archduke, 2018 production of FINKS, the 2016 productions of The Velocity of Autumn and Crimes of the Heart, the 2015 production of Rajiv Joseph's The Lake Effect, the 2013 production of Somewhere by Matthew Lopez, and the 2011 World Premiere of Joseph's The North Pool. Besides her well-received productions with TheatreWorks, Sardelli also directed the 2018 Obie Award-winning production of Rajiv Joseph's Describe the Night, the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts, and Rajiv Joseph's first professional production, Huck & Holden, as well the World Premieres for his Archduke, All This Intimacy, The Leopard and the Fox, The North Pool, and Animals Out of Paper for which she was awarded the Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Direction. She has worked Off-Broadway at many theatres and has directed numerous productions for Dorset Theatre Festival, where she is Resident Director, as well as Actors' Theatre of Louisville, The Old Globe, Hartford Stage, and others. Sardelli has also developed plays at centers around the country including the Sundance Theatre Lab, The O'Neill Theater Center, Playwrights' Center, New York Stage & Film, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Sardelli's upcoming directing projects include the World Premiere of Heidi Armbruster's Mrs. Christie at Dorset Theatre Festival and the World Premiere of Catya McMullen's Georgia Merching is Dead at Ensemble Studio Theater. Sardelli directed the highly-acclaimed Regional Premiere of Laurel Ollstein's They Promised Her the Moon at the Old Globe Theatre and will return to direct the play's Northern California Premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in March 2020.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is the recipient of the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award. With over 100,000 patrons per year, the Palo Alto-based theatre company has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's New Works Festival is sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and Steinberg Charitable Trust.

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