directors in theatre seats

New Works Initiative

The New Works Initiative (NWI) is an Artist-in-Residence program and developmental platform in the Department of Theatre and Dance in Montclair State University’s College of the Arts. NWI’s mission is to bring together established and emerging playwrights, composers, choreographers, theatre-makers, and professional directors with Montclair State University theatre students to explore adventurous theatrical works.

The New Works Initiative is made possible through the generous support of Bob and Holly Gregory.

ANNOUNCING FALL 2022 NWI INCUBATOR PROJECT

Grin and Bare It

20 years after her death, items from the abandoned Josephine Baker estate, once lost, have been found and are scheduled to be sold off at New York’s Sotheby’s auction house. It’s July, 1995 and the city is in the middle of a scorching heat wave. As each object is placed on the auction block for bidding, they magically come to life, revealing more than her famous “Banana Dance” ever could.

Guest Artists:
Stephanie Pope Lofgren: Conceived by / Co- Creator / Director / Additional Lyrics by
Joël Scoville: Book Writer
Chesney Snow: Composer / Lyrics
Kate Havnevik: Composer / Lyrics
Bill Goodson: Choreography

Public Showing Thursday Nov. 11 at 7:00 pm and Friday Nov. 12 at 3:00 pm in Presentation Hall, School of Communication and Media.

Stephanie Pope Lofgren was born and raised in East Harlem, New York and is a director, choreographer, writer, producer and a Broadway musical theater icon with a career that includes having appeared in over 10 Broadway shows. She was hand picked by the legendary award winning director and choreographer, Bob Fosse along with his wife and muse, Gwen Verdon, for her first two Broadway shows, the 1986 revival of SWEET CHARITY and Bob Fosse’s BIG DEAL. She has also starred on Broadway in the musicals FOSSE, the revival of PIPPIN and the longest running American musical, CHICAGO, as Velma Kelly, just to name a few. Her work with Mr. Fosse and Ms. Verdon has earned her the treasured title of “Fosse Dancer” and she is one of a handful of performers sanctioned to teach Fosse Master Classes on behalf of The Fosse Estate and The Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC.

Stephanie has shared the stage with such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Ben  Vereen, Donna McKechnie, Marilu Henner, Gregory Hines, Brian “Stokes” Mitchell and Nathan Lane. She has worked with directors and choreographers such as Tommy Tune, Lester Wilson, Billy Goodson, Christopher Chadman, Chet Walker, Anne Reinking, Rob Marshall, Kathleen Marshall, Peter Gennaro, Michael Kidd, Michael Peters, Dianne McIntyre, Jerry Zaks, Jack Hofsiss, George C. Wolfe, Hal Prince, Alex Sanchez, Hope Clarke, George Faison, Diane Paulus, Jason Sparks and Regina Taylor. She most recently created choreography for the pre-Broadway workshop of WHEN PLAYWRIGHTS KILL written by Matthew Lombardo and starring Jeremy Jordan and Harriet Harris. When Stephanie removes her many theatrical hats, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Aarne Lofgren and their daughter, Mari. www.stephaniepope.com

Joël René Scoville is a Black Mormon (yes, really), actress, writer and lyricist. As a librettist/lyricist, she was a recipient of the inaugural “Spark Grant” from Barrington Stage Company, “sparking”, Tulsa! An American Musical about the 1921 race massacre, with award winning composer Diedre Murray. Her project with composer Jenna Byrd, 2&1: A Harlem Musical with Loose Morals about queer love, passing and the limitations of Black women during the Harlem Renaissance, recently had a reading through UNTITLED Musical Writers Group. She wrote and starred in her original web series, Crazy with a K! about her mental health struggles and most recently signed a deal with AfterShock comics for a new series helmed by tv and film writer/producer Aron Eli Coleite. She is a member of the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop, The Dramatists Guild of America, Actors’ Equity Association and is a founding member of the UNTITLED Musical Writers Group. She loves Agatha Christie, Batman and Star Wars: The Force Awakens; much to the chagrin of her three grown sons and her husband, whom she recently remarried…for the third time. Yes, really.

Drama Desk award winner Chesney Snow is widely considered a pioneering figure in American beatbox culture. He executive produced and starred in the feature documentary film American Beatboxer which was placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Schomburg Center for Black Research, and Harvard University Hip Hop Archives among others. The film was licensed by Revolt TV. He was a 3 time artist in residence at Harvard University and has taught masterclasses and workshops at Harvard University, Princeton University, Juilliard, New York University, University of Wisconsin, and for the U.S. State Department. Snow is an associate professor at Berklee College in NYC and Lecturer of Music Theater at Princeton University and chair of theatre at Harlem School of the Arts. A former LEAP theater teaching artist he has worked with numerous arts organizations as an educator. He has worked at leading regional theaters as a lyricist, sound artist, composer, actor, and playwright including McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Two River Theatre, Village Theatre (Seattle), Delaware Theatre Company, New Victory Theatre, Dixon Place Theatre, National Black Theatre to name a few. He starred on Broadway’s first a cappella musical In Transit originating the role of Boxman which he also performed off Broadway at Primary Stages. InTransit was the most nominated off-Broadway show of the 2010 season receiving multiple Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and Lortel nominations. He wrote and starred in Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay off Broadway at Primary Stages 59E59 Theater directed by Kimille Howard with Pulitzer Finalist Diedre Murray composing the score. He joined the creative team as a vocal soundscape artist on the Broadway play Skeleton Crew written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Ruben Santiago Hudson at Manhattan Theatre Club. He has headlined Carnegie Hall twice with Distinguished Concerts International and has toured internationally with the US State Department. He has performed alongside legends including Nile Rodgers, KRS One, Kayah, and Eternia, amongst notable others. He has opened for Snoop Dogg, Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge, MC Lyte, Pharoah Monch and many more. He is a member of the group Spoken Love, their debut album was released on Warner Music Europe. He has written chart topping songs in Europe for multi platinum selling artists including Edyta Gorniak and Marina. He is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and Actors Equity.

Kate Havnevik lives in a small wooden cottage outside Oslo, between the mountains and the sea. She was fostered on classical music and opera as her parents are classical musicians in various theatres and orchestras in Norway. Kate has a Bachelor of Music from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), a School founded by Paul McCartney. Kate ‘s composition and songwriting experience stretches out 15-20 years; she has had 10 song placements in Grey’s Anatomy from her debut record Melankton. Kate also wrote the song Grace on request from the series producer Shonda Rhimes, the song was used in the show 3 times and also sung by Sara Ramirez in a musical episode. Other shows like The O.C, Injustice and West Wing have also used Kate’s songs. Kate has also featured and co-written with Norwegian group Royksopp and American producer Carmen Rizzo, plus many more. After living and working in London and New York for 14 years. Kate is now based in Norway where she, among other things, has been writing film scores for numerous feature films, documentaries, short films and a Norwegian children’s Film-musical. Kate also works as a music supervisor and consultant for film and TV. Kate continues to release records as an artist and compose music for various projects in film and for stage.

Bill Goodson was born in Los Angeles and started dancing in the mid 70’s as a club/street dancer, where he was soon discovered by Toni Basil. She encouraged him to study dance more seriously and as a result, his career quickly picked up momentum.  Bill soon became the choreographer and lead dancer for Diana Ross.  Subsequently, he had the pleasure of working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Paula Abdul, Gloria Estefan, The Jacksons and many more. He has also worked in the Film Industry, The most popular of his works being Electric Boogaloo – Breakin’ II. His career also took him to Las Vegas where he has choreographed at the most famous hotels on the Strip: Diana Ross at Caesar’s Palace, The Main Event at The Venetian, Splash at the Riviera, Show Stoppers at the Desert Inn and Headlights and Tailpipes at the Stardust. For the last 31 years, Bill has been the choreographer for the world famous Parisian review, Moulin Rouge.  He has worked extensively in Italy doing TV and Musicals on such titles as Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, Full Monty and Roman Holiday.


NWI SPRING 2022 PROJECTS:

Randi & Roxanne

Randi Beaudelaire, junior year transfer and secret poet, has a major inconvenience: she’s totally in love with her best friend Roxanne and can’t seem to stop writing sappy poetry about it. So when Kristy, the new star of the softball team, asks Randi for help on how to woo Roxanne, what’s she supposed to do? Tell the truth? A queer romantic comedy about secrets, sonnets, and softball.


Rachel Graf Evans (she/her) is a writer and theatre artist recently returned to Atlanta. Dramatic writing credits include: PHEROMONE: AN AWKWARD OLFACTORY INQUIRY (Finalist: Philadelphia Theatre Company 2021 Terrence McNally Award; Winner: Elon University 2021 New Play Award/Virtual Production; 2018 Working Title Playwrights Ethel Woolson Lab); RANDI & ROXANNE (Finalist: 2021 Lanford Wilson New American Play Award/Reading at Southeast Missouri State University; 2020 Hollins Playwright’s Lab Reading); BUILT TO FLOAT (Winner: 2018 Essential Theatre Award for Georgia Playwrights).
RGE is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Ring of Keys, Working Title Playwrights, and the New Play Exchange. M.F.A. Musical Theater Collaboration, Graduate Certificates: Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Teaching in Higher Education (Temple University). M.F.A. Playwriting Candidate (Hollins University, est. 2022). B.A. with High Honors: Theatre/Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies (Oberlin College). Stay tuned at www.rachelgrafevans.com

Ran Xia is a Shanghai-born, Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary theatre artist. Beatrice Terry Resident at the Drama League (2021/22); Resident Director at the Tank (inaugural Artist of the Year 2019); Guest director ar Barnard (Orlando, fall 2021), Commissioned playwright at Vanderbilt University (To Stab a Butterfly Through the Heart); Usual suspect at Exquisite Corpse Co; audio producer at Black Revolutionary Media, etc.
Ran holds immense respect for tardigrades, gets enthused by long train rides and Franz Marc’s Blue horses, and is really to PLAY. ranxia.info


The Farmer

Conceived and Directed by Mia Walker

Music and lyrics by Jessy Tomsko

Book by Jessy Tomsko and Mia Walker

“It’s a folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and disturb comfortable people.” — Woody Guthrie

Staged Reading: Friday, April 8 at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm in Presentational Hall, School of Broadcasting and Media. Please RSVP (required) with your name and number of seats to: msu.nwi@gmail.com. Masks must be worn and vax cards must be presented at the door.

“The Farmer” is a new folk opera based on the true story of Victorian “baby farmer” Margaret Waters, who was hanged in the late 19th century for the deaths of dozens of children.  Margaret came to be forever defined by a cartoonist’s renderings of her discarding a baby’s body in the woods and became a symbol of society’s shame. Yet, like many villainized women’s stories in history, Margaret’s story holds more than meets the eye. “The Farmer” gives Margaret the opportunity to tell her own narrative. Through unearthing statements, articles, trial transcripts, Margaret’s own writings, and other sources, a much deeper context unfolds that rings hauntingly true to modern times.

Mia Walker (she/her) is an award-winning multimedia director/developer who focuses on new work. In theater, Mia has been on the original creative teams of multiple Tony Award-winning shows (Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, Pippin, Finding Neverland, Porgy and Bess) and gone on to direct national tours, as well as off-Broadway and regional premieres. In the audio world, Mia is developing a new musical series, directed an ASMR theater experience with Yale Cabaret, and has developed new work with Audible. In TV/Film, Mia was awarded the Drama League TV Directing Fellowship and most recently directed the short film Pippi (Audience Award winner, DIFF). B.A. Harvard University. www.miapwalker.com
Jessy Tomsko (she/her) is a writer, composer, lyricist, vocal coach, and performer in New York City.  As a singer/songwriter, she has shared the stage with such notable artists as Joan Osborne, Dar Williams, Edwin McCain, Loudon Wainwright, Patty Larkin, and James McCartney, and she has independently released several albums, EPs, and singles – most recently “Wild and Good” (2019).
Jessy has performed several times with Sesame Street’s Leslie Carrara-Rudolph in the NY cabaret scene, and she was a featured soloist on October Project’s Book of Rounds, with whom she also performed at Carnegie Hall.  She is currently a vocal director on the Apple TV show Helpsters, as well as a sub vocal coach on Sesame Street.  Jessy is currently writing and developing three original musicals, through which she has been able to work with such Broadway performers as Jackie Burns (Wicked), Erin Elizabeth Clemons (Hamilton), DeAnne Stewart (Jagged Little Pill), Adam Michael Kaufman (Waitress), Conor Ryan (Moulin Rouge), Jane Bruce (Jagged Little Pill), Elijah Caldwell (The Devil Wears Prada), and Alanna Saunders (Harry Potter).  She is thrilled to workshop this new piece, “The Farmer“, with Montclair and Mia Walker!


2022-23 NWI Submission Announcement:

2022/2023 NWI Artist-in-Residence: Seeking a playwright, theatre maker/deviser, composer/ lyricist or choreographer for a new full-length work in progress that has been partially developed but not yet fully produced. Potential commissions will also be considered. Artistic collaborators may apply as a team. NWI is particularly seeking stories and voices from under-represented communities in the theatre.

Fall 2022 Developmental Workshop culminating in a staged reading in Montclair, New Jersey (two to four-week rehearsal period).

Spring 2023 Full Production in the main stage department season, venue and budget appropriate for the demands of the piece (minimum four-week rehearsal period).

Venues include:

  • Alexander Kasser Theatre, a state of the art 500-seat proscenium theatre
  • Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat proscenium theatre
  • Howard Fox Theatre, a flexible black box
  • Performance Studio Theatre with flexible seating for immersive productions

Artist(s) fee to be determined by the scope of the project.

Criteria:

  • Preferable minimum of 10 performers
  • Age appropriate roles for undergraduate actors
  • Innovative form and content

Submissions of Complete or In-progress Works:

Please submit proposal, artist’s statement, resume and/or CV, project description, cast breakdown, and a sample of the work (video, text, or other format). All submissions will be curated by the NWI Committee.

Submissions for Commissioned Works:

Please submit an artist’s statement, resume and/or CV, detailed project concept and description for the proposed work including projected cast size, and a representative complete work (text or video). Evidence of other produced work or work in development appreciated but not required.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 1, 2022

Send submissions to msu.nwi@gmail.com


2019 – 20 New Works Initiative

How to Mourn the Dead: A Tragedy in Flux
by Eric Marlin
Directed by Ilana Khanin

Two bros watch the dissident Antigone buried alive on national television, captivated by her martyrdom. A chorus of women, Antigones throughout the ages, observe, debate, and dispense with the men, to tell their own stories. A large-scale, explosively theatrical investigation of the allure of spectacle, the dangers of myth making, and the ease with which suffering becomes co-opted for personal profit.

NEW WORKS INITIATIVE 2019 – 20 ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Eric Marlin

Eric Marlin was featured in the January 2020 issue of American Theatre magazine’s Role Call: People to Watch by Amelia Merrill
As a part of his residency with Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative, he’ll present his play How to Mourn the Dead: A Tragedy (in flux) at Montclair February 20-23, with direction by Ilana Khanin.
While the forms of his work vary, Marlon says he can trace the “core concerns“ of his writing to a quote from Anne Carson, a translator of Greek tragedians: “Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief.” Marlon says that this combination of “deep thinking and deep feeling” is the source of his new work, adding that he is “endlessly inspired by the new generation of writers who fearlessly explore their own rage and grief.

Marlin has been produced and developed by the Ars Nova ANT Fest, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Dixon Place, Samuel French, HOT! Festival, Play Date @ Pete’s, Exquisite Corpse Company, PTP/NYC, Tennessee Williams Festival, Wildclaw Theatre, Metro Arts Initiative, Buffalo United Artists, and Left Coast Theatre. Winner of the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival and shortlisted for the Berliner Festspiele Stuckemarkt. Finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Co-founder of the Healthy Oyster Collective, with whom he has created three original works.[/column][/row]He has worked as a stage manager and producer for the Bushwick Starr, New Georges, the Women’s Project, Red Bull Theatre, CTown, PTP/NYC, the Public Theater, the New Ohio Ice Factory Festival, & PRELUDE. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop. BA: Bennington College. www.ericmarlin.com

Ilana Khanin

Ilana Khanin is a New York based director. Directing: Ars Nova ANT Fest, HERE, Theaterlab, Exquisite Corpse Company/ Governors Island, Joust Theater Company, Samuel French, Center at West Park, Primary Stages, The Brick, The Tank, Dixon Place, Atlantic Stage 2, among others. She has worked as an associate for Lila Neugebauer, Lee Sunday Evans, Annie-B Parson.

She has worked on productions at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Old Vic (London), Deutsches Theater (Berlin), Canadian Stage (Toronto), Carolina Performing Arts, Playmakers Rep, La MaMa, WP Theater, Bushwick Starr, Clubbed Thumb, New York City Players, and Big Dance Theater. M.A. in Performance Studies and B.F.A. in Directing from NYU. www.ilanakhanin.com


2019 – 20 NWI INCUBATOR PROJECT

GREY LADY
by Kate Mulley
Directed by Dara Malina

Grey Lady is, simply told, a love story and a story about a woman discovering her vocation. When Nantucket native Cady Hood learns that her husband has died on the battlefield in Antietam she disguises herself as a man to fight with the Massachusetts 20th Regiment. There she meets two men who change the course of the war for her. One, Ralph Lewis, awakens a deep sexual longing that she has never experienced before. The other, Nathan Hayward, teaches her how to be a nurse and eventually possibly even a surgeon. As the Civil War rages on, the consequences of Cady’s decision to go to war deepen and her safety and her secret are threatened.

Kate Mulley

Kate Mulley is a playwright, librettist/lyricist, producer, dramaturg and founding member of Vox Theater. Her plays and musicals have been developed and performed on four continents at theaters including Hayes Theatre Company, Luna Stage, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Dixon Place, the Flea, Theatre503 and the Soho Theatre. Kate has been an Artist-in-Residence at Arteles Creative Center, a Playwriting Fellow at Shanghai Theatre Academy, and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Theater and History, received an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College, London, and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York.
Dara Malina

Dara Malina is a director of theatre, performance, opera and film. She devises radical performance experiments, develops new plays, directs opera films, and reinvents classic works. Recent projects: INFINITE MEAT (New Georges Jam/Dixon Place); Sophie Treadwell’s MACHINAL (Pace University); THE CYMBELINE PROJECT (Rutgers University). In 2019, she developed an opera adaptation of Clarice Lispector’s THE PASSION ACCORDING TO G.H.  with composer Lacy Rose under the mentorship of Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program. She has collaborated with playwrights at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Tank, Dixon Place, JACK, The Flea, Chez Bushwick, New Ohio, and Rattlestick. Next, she is directing MEASURE FOR MEASURE with LIU-Post. MFA Theatre Directing, Columbia University. Member: New Georges Jam, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Commitment Experiment Performance Collective. daramalina.com

2020-21 NWI Submission Announcement:

2020/2021 NWI Artist-in-Residence: Seeking a playwright, theatre maker/deviser, composer/ lyricist or choreographer for a new full-length work in progress that has been partially developed but not yet fully produced. Potential commissions will also be considered. Artistic collaborators may apply as a team. NWI is particularly seeking stories and voices from under-represented communities in the theatre.

Fall 2020 Developmental Workshop culminating in a staged reading in Montclair, New Jersey (two to four-week rehearsal period).

Spring 2021 Full Production in the main stage department season, venue and budget appropriate for the demands of the piece (minimum four-week rehearsal period).

Venues include:

  • Alexander Kasser Theatre, a state of the art 500-seat proscenium theatre
  • Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat proscenium theatre
  • Howard Fox Theatre, a flexible black box

Artist(s) fee to be determined by the scope of the project.

Criteria:

  • Preferable minimum of 10 performers
  • Age appropriate roles for undergraduate actors
  • Innovative form and content

Submissions of Complete or In-progress Works:

Please submit proposal, artist’s statement, resume and/or CV, project description, cast breakdown, and a sample of the work (video, text, or other format). All submissions will be curated by the NWI Committee.

Submissions for Commissioned Works:

Please submit an artist’s statement, resume and/or CV, detailed project concept and description for the proposed work including projected cast size, and a representative complete work (text or video). Evidence of other produced work or work in development appreciated but not required.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 1, 2019

Send submissions to msu.nwi@gmail.com


2018 – 19 New Works Initiative

woman greeting sunrise

DAUGHTERS OF THE REBELLION
by Guadalís Del Carmen
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Even though Katya and Fanya are sisters raised in the same rich and aristocratic home, their experiences are worlds apart. With their country on the cusp of a revolution, the sisters take separate paths to fight for their country’s future. Having the odds against them, both make drastic choices that will forever change their relationship. With one sister sacrificing her life and the other sacrificing her livelihood, the fate of their beloved country ultimately lays in their hands.

Guadalís Del Carmen featured in June 2018 in The Theatre Times article: “AFRO-LATINX, FRONT AND CENTER: AN INTERVIEW WITH GUADALíS DEL CARMEN.”

NEW WORKS INITIATIVE 2018 – 19 ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Currently based in NYC, Carmen’s first play, Blowout, was produced by Aguijón Theater in 2013. In 2014, she was one of eight early career playwrights to be chosen to form El Semillero, a playwright writing group curated by ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theater Artists) in residency at Victory Gardens Theater. My Father’s Keeper was developed through El Semillero and was a semi-finalist in Quick Silver Theater Company’s 2018 Playwrights of Color Summit.

Guadalís’ play, Tolstoy’s Daughters, was part of UrbanTheater Company’s 2015 R.A.W. (Real Aggressive Writing) Series. Tolstoy’s Daughters went on to be selected as a finalist in Quick Silver Theater’s Playwrights of Color Summit which culminated in a public staged reading in Geneva, NY in June 2016. In 2017, Tolstoy’s Daughters would go on to be selected as one of 50 Playwrights Projects Best Unproduced Latino/a Plays and received an Honorable Mention in the Kilroys List. Her play, Anacaona and Yemayá Taught Me… was a semi-finalist in The Playwrights Realm’s 2017-2018 Writing Fellowship and was originally written through The Brooklyn Generator. Guadalís has written for the One Minute Play Festival Chicago and NYC, CastandLoose Live! Not So Buenos Aires at Joe’s Pub, and Black Lives, Black Words Chicago. Guadalís is also a Seattle Public Theatre’s 2017 Emerald Prize nominee.

Melissa Crespo is a NYC based director of theater, opera and film. Recent credits include: mj kaufman’s eat and you belong to us (NYU Tisch), Vid Guerrerio’s ¡Figaro! (90210) (The Duke on 42nd Street & LA Opera), Karen Zacarías’ Destiny of Desire (Garden Theatre), Stupid Fucking Bird (NSKI, Norway), The ABC Talent Showcase and Tar Baby written and performed by Desiree Burch with Dan Kitrosser and winner of the Scotsman Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Upcoming: World Premiere of Nathan Louis Jackson’s Brother Toad (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), In the Blue Hour by Martina Potratz and Pedro Pan: The Musical by Rebecca Aparicio & Stephen Elkins. Melissa is an alum of the Drama League Director’s Project, Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and a current Time Warner Directing Fellow at the Women’s Project Theatre. She received her MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama. http://www.melissacrespo.com

New Works Initiative 2017 -18:

World Premiere of a new commissioned play by Jeff Talbott

Directed by Wes Grantom

chalkboard reading civics and humanities for non-majors

People got it together to write the Constitution, so why can’t two student action groups get a single sentence on paper to form a charter? Finding the right words can be the hardest thing in the world. Two stories. One story. Their story. Our story. A thorny comic drama about getting things started.

Department of Theatre and Dance
L. Howard Fox Theatre

  • Wed, April 18 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Thu, Apr 19 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri, Apr 20 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat, Apr 21 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat, Apr 21 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Sun, Apr 22 – 2:00 p.m.
Cast of Civics and Humanities for non-majors
Cast of CIVICS AND HUMANITIES FOR NON MAJORS making their own charter in the rehearsal room.

Critics rave about Jeff Talbott’s recent premiere /i/ at the Pioneer Theatre:

“Talbott’s script is sharp and perceptive, savvy about the ways that technological advances inevitably come with consequences… While it might be unfair to say too much to a potential viewer about what “i” is about, it’s the kind of thought-provoking theater that’s exactly right for the kind of person who’s willing to turn themselves over to the artists.”

City Weekly, Scott Renshaw

“Subtle and witty commentary on how the world interacts with technology and the possibilities and dangers of its evolution serve as an intriguing lead to the story, but the intense and emotional dialogue about the complexities of human relationships is what really connects the audience to her story and gives it meaning. Compelling…”i” offers a big truth for audiences to walk away with.”

Deseret News, Aubrey Eyre

“i” is a complete delight… Surprising for its originality and intriguing for its structure, “i” is deeply gratifying theater.”

Broadway World, Blair Howell

“Gripping… “i” defies genre labeling and yet feels familiar; it is engaging and thought-provoking… The most moving, accurate and impassioned portrayal of absolute heartache that I have ever seen on a stage… It isn’t every day a new play makes you really consider some heavy and heady questions, and it’s even rare when questions are posed without an agenda. “i” asks a lot, but it never tells you what you should think or how you should feel.”

Utah Theatre Bloggers, Megan Crivello

 


Jeff Talbott’s play The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play.  The Gravedigger’s Lullaby received its world-premiere production in March 2017 off-Broadway with TACT at Theatre Row.  Three Rules for the Dragon and A Public Education were both finalists for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

His plays (including iElliotAll the Stars in the Midnight Sky and How to Build a City) have received workshops and readings at MCC Theater, Premiere Stages, Chicago Shakespeare, Pioneer Theatre, TACT, Crowded Outlet and Route 66.  He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke.  Their work includes:  Imagine Harry (NAMT Festival of New Musicals), Wintersong (Goodspeed’s Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and the just-completed Seven Broken Hearts.  They have released an EP (A View of the River) and a single (A New Year, recorded by Annaleigh Ashford), both available on iTunes or wherever digital music is sold.  Jeff is a member of TACT and graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama.  www.jefftalbott.com


Wes Grantom (Director) is thrilled to develop brand new work with Jeff Talbott after collaborations on four of this other plays.  Recent directing credits include Toxic Avenger by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro at Pittsburgh CLO, Lone Star Spirits by Josh Tobiessen with Crowded Outlet, Eager to Loseby Matthew-Lee Erlbach at Ars Nova, The Cloud by Matt Moses, The Steadfast by Mat Smart, Mine by Bekah Brunstetter for Slant Theatre Project.

Wes has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page and Rufus Norris. He is a recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a graduate of the University of Evansville and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet, based in Queens.