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Urbanite Theatre Announces 2022-2023 Season Featuring a World Premiere, Regional Premiere & More

Urbanite Theatre Announces 2022-2023 Season Featuring a World Premiere, Regional Premiere & More

The 2022/23 Season, titled Heredity, will feature productions that investigate the complexities of interpersonal family dynamics and heritage.

Urbanite Theatre, Sarasota, Florida's premiere destination for bold, contemporary black-box theater, announced its 2022-23 season, which includes four main productions and two special engagements.

The 2022/23 Season, titled Heredity, will feature four productions that investigate the complexities of interpersonal family dynamics and heritage. "Families provide us joy, tragedy, heartbreak, comedy and challenge," says Co-Artistic Director Brendan Ragan. "One could argue that the most powerful inspiration for compelling stories is the family unit, and our 22-23 season supports that idea. The productions have variety, cross-generational appeal, and feature everything from zany comedy to heartfelt drama."


Urbanite's main productions start with The Burdens, by Matt Schatz (October 21 - November 27, 2022). This madcap dark comedy, which follows a set of clumsy siblings plotting to address a problematic grandfather, will be directed by Brendan Ragan.

Next, Urbanite Theatre will present a tender father-daughter drama, Birds of North America by Anna Ouyang Moench (January 6 - February 12, 2023), directed by Summer Wallace.

The season continues with the world premiere of one-man show, Backwards Forwards Back by Jacqueline Goldfinger (March 24 - April 23, 2023), also directed by Mr. Ragan. In this story, a soldier considers VR therapy to address his PTSD in order to reconnect with his family.

Urbanite Theatre will conclude its 22/23 main productions with a second world premiere, That Must Be The Entrance to Heaven by Franky D. Gonzalez (June 9 - July 9, 2023). This inventive drama about four Latino boxers vying for glory was commissioned by Urbanite Theatre in 2020.

At the beginning of the season, Urbanite Theatre will present a limited, special engagement of the comedic solo show about race in casting, Mr. Yunioshi, written and performed by J. Elijah Cho (September 7-11, 2022). Additionally, the season will feature the fourth edition of the Modern Works Festival (May 3 - 7, 2023), a playwrighting contest for female playwrights presented by Summer Wallace.

"We're bringing Sarasota meaningful, accessible stories and unique entertainment experiences," says Wallace, "this season of diverse theatrical styles and new works will be as thrilling for longtime Urbanite Theatre patrons as it will be for new audiences."

Tickets and Subscriptions are now on sale at www.urbanitetheatre.com, or available over the phone at 941-321-1397.

URBANITE THEATRE 2022/23 SEASON: HEREDITY

MR. YUNIOSHI

Written and performed by J. Elijah Cho

September 7-11, 2022

THE BURDENS

by Matt Schatz

October 21 - November 27, 2022

BIRDS OF NORTH OF AMERICA

By Anna Ouyang Moench

January 6 - February 12, 2023

BACKWARDS FORWARDS BACK

By Jacqueline Goldfinger

March 24 - April 23, 2023

2023 Modern Works Festival

May 3-7, 2023

THAT MUST BE THE ENTRANCE TO HEAVEN

by Franky D. Gonzalez

June 9 - July 9, 2023

MR. YUNIOSHI

Written and performed by J. Elijah Cho

September 7-11, 2022
A limited, special engagement.

Summary: What compels an actor to play a character that they probably shouldn't? In this sidesplitting and poignant roast, J. Elijah Cho cleverly answers that question by exploring Mickey Rooney's infamous yellowface performance of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Playwright bio: Jonathan Elijah Cho is a writer and actor based in Los Angeles, by way of Tampa, FL. Cho is the son of Hoon and Miyoung Cho, an artist and a nurse. Both of his parents served in the U.S. Air Force and he and his brother, Joshua, grew up on military bases in Germany and South Korea. Cho graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa and upon graduating he performed theatre in the area with local theatre companies that include Jobsite, Stageworks, Hat Trick, Tampa Rep, American Stage and Urbanite Theatre.

Production History: Mr. Yunioshi has been performed at the New York and Hollywood Fringe Festivals, the SoHo Playhouse in New York City, District Theater in Indianapolis, Santa Monica Playhouse, and is slated for a production at freeFall Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida later in the 22-23 season.

Noteworthy:

-J. Elijah Cho performed in White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour at Urbanite Theatre

-Mr. Yunioshi was named Best Solo Performance at the Hollywood Fringe, 2019

THE BURDENS

by Matt Schatz

Directed by Brendan Ragan

October 21 - November 27, 2022


A Regional Premiere

Summary: Siblings Mordy and Jane have a problem. Their dreadful, centenarian grandfather is an emotional and financial tax on the family, and he just won't die. Scheming almost entirely via sarcastic and misspelled text messages, the siblings hatch an outrageous plan to relieve their family of their grandfather's burden. Zany, twisted and inventive, this dark comedy reminds us it's much easier to write what we could never say face to face.

Playwright bio: Matt Schatz is a writer and composer. Upcoming musicals include A Wicked Soul In Cherry Hill (Geffen Playhouse, Edgerton New Play Award) and An Untitled New Play By Justin Timberlake (City Theatre/Pittsburgh CLO). Other plays and musicals include The Door You Never Saw Before (Geffen Stayhouse), No One Sings Like You Anymore (Seattle Rep Commission), Georama (St. Louis Rep, Great River Shakespeare Festival, NYMF), Dunkfest '88 (Ars Nova), and more. Awards include The Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre, The ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theater Award, The Reva Shiner Comedy Award, and the New York Musical Festival Outstanding Lyrics Award. Matt has been the recipient of five Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation New Play Commissions. Non-theater work includes television and film projects developed for Fox, USA, TBS, Warner Bros, CBS, and others. Matt was a writer for Netflix Animation's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Production History: The Burdens was developed during a residency at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and has received productions at City Theatre, Bloomington Playwright's Project, and Mile Square Theatre.

BIRDS OF NORTH OF AMERICA

By Anna Ouyang Moench

Directed by Summer Wallace

January 6 - February 12, 2023

Summary: As birders, John and his daughter Caitlyn adore spending tender autumn days attempting to catch glimpses of elusive birds. But as seasons, the climate, and global politics change, the two find their connection as rare as a red-headed Woodpecker. In a lyrical and endearing family portrait, Birds of North America unfolds in detailed layers like the scattered leaves of each passing year.

Playwright bio: Anna Ouyang Moench is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been produced at The Geffen Playhouse, the Playwrights Realm, East West Players, InterAct Theater, and many other theaters across the country and around the world. Anna is a 2020 Steinberg Award winner and the recipient of a Gerbode Special Award in the Arts commission for a new play that will be produced at Magic Theater in 2022. She has been commissioned by NAATCO for a new play premiering in 2021. In television and film, Anna has worked with Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO, UCP, eOne, PictureStart, and Universal. Anna lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Production history: Birds of North America received its world premiere at Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company in 2017, and professional productions at Thrown Stone Theater and Theater With a View.

Noteworthy:

Winner, Generations Award, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, 2017

BACKWARDS FORWARDS BACK

By Jacqueline Goldfinger

Directed by Brendan Ragan

March 24 - April 23, 2023

A WORLD PREMIERE

Summary: When a soldier returns from war carrying the ghosts of his tour, he's faced with a sobering decision: address his alarming PTSD with Virtual Reality therapy, or risk losing access to his family forever. Can this new technology re-calibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers? This electric, vivid, one-man drama studies the power of healing and finding strength in vulnerability.

Playwright bio: Jacqueline Goldfinger (she/they) began their career as a teaching artist and dramaturg with a focus on education and new work. Their career evolved into Literary Management and Artistic Administration. Today, they are a writer, educator, and arts advocate who works nationally and internationally on performative texts which interweave humor and heartbreak, speaking to our shared humanity while honoring the nuanced identities of each character. Their plays have won the Yale Drama Prize, Smith Prize, Generations Award, and Barrymore Award, and have been on The Kilroy's List.

Jacqueline's work has been produced by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Court Theatre (New Zealand), École nationale de théâtre (Canada), Perseverance Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, and others. As a dramaturg, they have worked with La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Native Voices, PlayPenn, New Village Arts, and others. They also serve on the Board of the international dramaturgy association, LMDA, and was the Conference Chair in 2022.

Production History: Commission, Sloan Foundation/BETC, 2020

Noteworthy: Backwards Forwards Back will star US Army Veteran and FSU/Asolo Conservatory alum L. James, who returns to Urbanite Theatre after appearing in 2020's smash hit Sender.

2023 Modern Works Festival

Presented by Summer Dawn Wallace

May 3-7, 2023

Summary: Back for the fourth time and returning to an in-person experience, the Modern Works Festival is a playwriting contest, reading festival and celebration of women in theatre.

In brief: The festival will feature staged readings of three finalist plays, which will be selected out of more than 200 submissions of new works, all by female playwrights. The finalist playwrights will visit Sarasota to develop the scripts with professional actors and directors. At the conclusion of the festival, one playwright will be named the festival winner based on a vote by audience, Urbanite staff and guest judges.

The festival will also include guest artists and panelist discussions, to be announced in early 2023 along with the selection of finalist plays.

Noteworthy: Previous festival guests include Lauren Yee and Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok.

THAT MUST BE THE ENTRANCE TO HEAVEN

By Franky D. Gonzalez

Director TBA

June 9 - July 9, 2023

A WORLD PREMIERE

Summary: Glory. Survival. Legacy. Citizenship. Four Latino boxers all chase a world title to achieve their personal versions of heaven. But to get there, they must battle each other, their own battered bodies, and the universe itself. All four men walk the line between life and death in this poignant, poetic collision of combat and cosmos.

Playwright bio: ​Franky is the recipient of the 2018 MetLife Nuestras Voces Latino Playwriting Award, won the 2020 Crossroads Project Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative Award, the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival Manila Best Overall Production Prize, and was a staff writer for the fourth season of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.

Nationally, Franky's work has appeared with The Lark, The Sundance Institute, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Latinx Playwrights Circle, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Goodman Theatre (Live @ Five Series), The New Harmony Project, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Repertorio Español, LAByrinth Theater Company, Ars Nova (ANT Fest 2021), Dallas Theater Center, Austin Latinx New Play Festival, Stages Repertory Theatre's Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival, the HBMG Foundation National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Play4Keeps Podcast, the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, The Mid-America Theatre Conference and The Midwest Dramatists Conference.

Production History: Developed from the 2020 Charles Rowan Beye New Play Commission at Urbanite Theatre. Workshops and readings: SOL Project in NYC, Playwrights Center Play Labs festival, The Latinx Playwrights Circle, Ammunition Theatre Company and The Road Theatre Company.

TodayTix


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