Works by Robert Schenkkan, Samuel D. Hunter & More Set for Seattle Rep's 2013 New Play Festival, 1/5-2/3


Seattle Repertory Theatre announced the line-up for its first New Play Festival in Winter 2013, including four plays-in-progress from three Seattle playwrights and a native Idahoan. From Jan. 5 to Feb. 3, Seattle Rep will present workshops and readings of new works by Robert Schenkkan (By the Waters of Babylon, The Kentucky Cycle), Samuel D. Hunter (A Bright New Boise, The Whale), and Elizabeth Heffron (New Patagonia, Mitzi's Abortion). Newcomer Justin Huertas rounds out the group with an innovative debut. Established Northwest directors Sheila Daniels (Dancing at Lughnasa, Seattle Rep; Ramayana, ACT) and Artistic Director Jerry Manning (I Am My Own Wife, Of Mice and Men) will direct.

"I am thrilled to present four works by four incredibly talented Northwest writers," said Seattle Rep Artistic Director Jerry Manning. "The variety of voices and subject material really highlights the diversity of talent we are fostering at the Rep. We have a rich tradition of developing new work."

Headlining the festival are readings of Seattle writer Robert Schenkkan's All the Way, Part 1 and All the Way, Part 2, biographical companion plays about President Lyndon B. Johnson. Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep commissioned Parts 1 and 2, respectively. OSF company members Kenajuan Bentley, Peter Frechette, Christopher Liam Moore, and Jack Willis join Seattle actors for these readings. This will be the first public reading of All the Way, Part 2.

Also on the roster is a reading of Seattle Rep's new commission by Samuel D. Hunter, Exodus (Working Title). The play centers around Walter, who has spent his life counseling teenage Christian boys whose parents fear their sons have homosexual tendencies. When a teenager arrives at a fellowship camp in the Idaho wilderness, Walter has a crisis of faith. Hunter's work has been produced nationally and internationally, making him a rising young star in the theatre world. His play A Bright New Boise won the 2011 OBIE Award for playwriting. Hunter hails from Northern Idaho and is currently a playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater.

Seattle writer Elizabeth Heffron's newest work The Weathermen Project (Working Title) will be workshopped during the festival, directed by Sheila Daniels. Co-written with former Weathermen member Kit Bakke, the play tells the story of the radical Vietnam-era proto-terrorist group, the Weather Underground. Heffron is one of eight writers in Seattle Rep's Writers Group, a collection of local playwrights who have been awarded a two-year residency to develop and refine new works using Seattle Rep resources.

Justin Huertas is well-known in the Seattle arts community as an actor (Speech & Debate, Seattle Rep; Spring Awakening and Avenue Q, Balagan Theatre; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, ArtsWest), but this will be his first public foray into playwriting. Seattle Rep's new commission by Huertas, Lizard Boy with Cello (Working Title), will be workshopped during the festival under the direction of Artistic Director Jerry Manning. In Lizard Boy, a young concert cellist discovers he has superpowers that seem to emanate from his cello bow. Manning describes the play as "Marvel Comics meets chamber operetta". Huertas serves as writer, librettist, and composer for this new theatrical experiment with live music.

Called "a smartly crafted history play" by The Washington Post, Anna Ziegler's new work Photograph 51 will bring the New Play Festival to a close Feb. 1-March 3. The play tells the story of Rosalind Franklin and her often overlooked contribution to the discovery of the DNA double helix structure. Seattle Rep Associate Artistic Director Braden Abraham will direct this fascinating portrait of a female scientist in a male-dominated field in the Leo K. Theatre.

Seattle Rep's New Play Program is the theatre's umbrella for readings, workshops, and commissions. Originally launched under former Artistic Director Daniel Sullivan, the 2009-10 season marked the official re-instatement of a formalized program dedicated to cultivating new voices and presenting world premieres by some of the country's top playwrights. Recent world premieres under this program include Cheryl L. West's Pullman Porter Blues (October 2012), Bill Cain's How to Write a New Book for the Bible (January 2012), and An Iliad by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson (April 2010).

All readings take place at Seattle Repertory Theatre's PONCHO Theatre. Seattle Rep is located at Seattle Center at the corner of Second Ave. and Mercer St., Seattle, Washington.

Ticket packages to the 2013 New Play Festival will go on sale Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 (Seattle Rep subscribers will have access to a pre-sale beginning Thursday, Nov. 8). Tickets will range from $15-$101. Single tickets will go on sale in January 2013. For ticket reservations, call the Seattle Repertory Theatre Box Office at 206-443-2222 or toll-free at 877-900-9285, or go online at

Seattle Repertory Theatre celebrates its 50th Anniversary with the 2012-2013 season. The theatre was founded in 1963 and is currently led by Artistic Director Jerry Manning and Managing Director Benjamin Moore. One of America's premier nonprofit resident theatres, Seattle Repertory Theatre has achieved international renown for its consistently high production and artistic standards, and was awarded the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. With an emphasis on entertaining plays of true dramatic and literary worth, Seattle Rep produces a season of plays along with educational programs, new play workshops and special presentations.

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