the week of april 15 - 21, 2023
king of the road trip play
You’re reading Nothing for the Group, a newsletter where one dramaturg rounds up one week in theatre news, reviews, and takes. If you like this sort of thing:
The Friday weekly round-up is always free — no gods, no masters, no paywalls — but if you’d like to sustain this project (and get access to occasional bonus content), you can upgrade to a paid tier.
If you want to say hi (or send me a press release), you can email me, tweet @halvorsen, or just reply to this email.
Graphic Design: Elizabeth Haley Morton | Editorial Support: Rebecca Adelsheim
The world premiere of Charlie Oh’s Coleman ‘72 is now playing at South Coast Repertory as part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Chay Yew directs the dramedy about a Korean-American family embarking on road trip from Milwaukee to LA.
Taylor Mac’s Joy and Pandemic starts performances April 21st at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. Loretta Greco directs the early 20th century Philadelphia-set world premiere about a burgeoning public health crisis’ impact on two mothers and “exploring the complex and ever-evolving relationships between science and faith, art and tradition, and parents and children.”
Else Went’s Degenerates will have a reading April 21st as part of Ars Nova’s Out Loud series. Emma Rosa Went directs the “post-digital exploration of masculinity in crisis, inspired by text gathered from public message boards.”
Julissa Contreras’ Vámonos starts previews April 22nd at INTAR Theatre. The bilingual world premiere about a close-knit Dominican family navigating their changing sense of security in the post-9/11 Bronx is directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo.
The US premiere of Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork’s London Road runs April 22 - June 3 at Shattered Globe in Chicago. Elizabeth Margolius directs the new musical about a small town overcoming “the immense fear and media circus that unfolds following the serial murder of five local sex workers.”
Playwright Realm’s 2023 INK’D Festival of New Plays runs April 24-27. The line-up includes readings of Andrea Ambam’s Fragile State (directed by Chika Ike), Jesse Jae Hoon’s Somebody is Looking Back At Me (directed by Miranda Cornell), Alyssa Haddad-Chin’s The Ancestry Dot Com Play (directed by Kate Moore Heaney), and Alex Lin’s LASTHUNTER (directed by Cara Hinh).
Al Carmines’ Joan will have a staged reading on April 24th from Fickle Theatre Company in DC. The musical — which hasn’t been produced since 1975 — retells the life of Joan of Arc, set in Greenwich Village in the 1970s; Patrick McLaughlin directs with music direction by Nathan Beary Blustein.
Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s Passing Strange starts performances April 25th at Signature Theatre in Virginia. The “Tony Award-winning travelogue of identity, acceptance and love, bursting with energizing punk, blues, gospel, and jazz music” is directed by Raymond O. Caldwell.
The world premiere of Lauren Yee’s Young Americans begins April 26th at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Desdemona Chiang directs the comedy about two parallel road trips, 20 years apart, exploring “what home and belonging truly mean — and the lengths we will go to for the people we love.”
Elizabeth Irwin’s Support runs April 26 - May 20 at A.R.T./New York. The site-specific production following the eight-week journey of a domestic violence support group who “all want to heal but are conflicted about how to make that happen” is directed by Kate Bergstrom.
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size starts performances April 27th at Oklahoma City Rep. Ato Blankson-Wood directs the Louisana-set drama combining “flights of poetry, music, dance and West African mythology to explore the tenuousness of freedom and the need to belong somewhere, to something, to someone.”
UNIVERSES’ Live From the Edge runs April 27 - May 21 at Long Wharf Theater. The immersive musical “blending a range of performance styles — from childhood rhymes to poetry, community rituals, hip-hop, gospel” will be staged in Hamden, CT’s Space Ballroom.
Thornton Wilder’s The Emporium will have a reading at Classic Stage Company on April 28th. Kirk Lynn’s completion of Wilder’s last full-length play — which he deemed incomplete and banished to his archives before its scheduled 1951 Broadway premiere — will be directed by Rob Melrose. (Melrose is also the artistic director of The Alley Theatre in Houston, which will produce The Emporium next season.)
Christina Anderson’s the ripple, the wave that carried me home starts performances April 28th at Yale Rep. The “poignant, transporting, and quietly subversive story of justice, legacy, and forgiveness” is directed by Tamilla Woodard.
Orietta Crispino’s Let Me Cook For You runs April 28 - May 28 at NYC’s Theaterlab. Directed by Liza Cassidy and performed by Crispino, the “collage of inherited myths and apocryphal histories, melding the intoxicating act of storytelling with the ritual of preparing food” features a home-cooked meal designed for an intimate audience of 15.
Jennifer Barclay’s Hot Little Slice will have a free developmental reading April 27 & 29 as part of Round House Theatre’s National Capital New Play Festival. Ryan Rilette directs the “empathetic, dark comedy about a pair of estranged sisters reconnecting after their celebrity dad is accused of sexual assault.”
2023-24 season announcements
The Wilma Theater announced its 2023-24 season. The Philadelphia company will produce James Ijames’ Fat Ham (directed by Amina Robinson; the Wilma originally premiered the play as a digital work in 2021), Tony Kushner's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan (directed by Justin Jain), and two world premieres: Kelli Mecleary’s adaptation of Sasha Denisova's My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion (directed by Yury Urnov) and Kate Scelsa and Robert M. Johanson’s contemporary opera Hilma (directed by Morgan Green).
Pittsburgh Public Theater announced its upcoming season. The line-up includes Alec Silberblatt’s immersive adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell-Tale Heart, Nia Vardalos’ adaptation of Tiny Beautiful Things (directed by Marya Sea Kaminski), Sara Porkalob’s cabaret Dragon Lady (directed by Andrew Russell), Jenny Koons’ adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest, and two world premieres: Mark Clayton Southers’ The Coffin Maker (directed by Monteze Freeland) and the new musical Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For (directed by Kent Gash).
the regional theatre game of thrones
Snehal Desai is the next artistic director of Center Theatre Group (CTG) in Los Angeles. He is currently the producing artistic director of East West Players, the the nation's first professional Asian American theatre organization. He will become the third artistic director in CTG’s history, succeeding Michael Ritchie who stepped down in 2021 after sixteen years.
Lindsay Smiling is a new co-artistic director of The Wilma Theater. Smiley, a member of Wilma HotHouse Company, joins co-artistic directors Morgan Green and Yury Urnov. (Current co-artistic director James Ijames will depart after this season.)
Jeni Mahoney is stepping down after 23 years as Producing Artistic Director of Seven Devils New Play Foundry. The Idaho play development conference will adopt a new shared leadership model consisting of founding managing director Paula Marchiel, associate artistic director Mallory Metoxen, and a third artist/leader to be announced.
things i read this week when i wasn’t reading rebecca makkai’s i have some questions for you
Lauren Smart for American Theatre with more details on Dallas Theater Center’s layoffs. 37 employees were cut — about half of the theatre’s staff — but they’re still expected to work until after the company’s gala in mid-May? Notifying your production staff in the middle of tech that they're going to lose their jobs, but oh hey, happy opening in four days? Theatres have learned nothing in the last three years about how to conduct humane layoffs.
Deanie Vallone’s American Theatre report on World Premiere Wisconsin, the four-month state-wide theater festival, with nearly 50 new play projects produced in 20 communities across Wisconsin.
I don’t usually link to reviews, but I’m making an exception for Morgan Gould’s Jennifer Who Is Leaving because this is dramaturg bias at work: here’s Celia Wren in the Washington Post (gift link!), John Stoltenberg in DC Theater Arts, and Patrick Folliard in the Washington Blade, which describes the play as “Definitely feminist. Scarily relatable. Wholly unfettered.” (I aim to be two out of those three in my personal life.) It runs at Round House through May 7th!
Nothing for the Group is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.