SEVEN PLAYS ANNOUNCED
FOR STUDIO’S FALL AND WINTER 2015-2016 LINE-UP
The inaugural year for Studio X programming
The creation of Studio Cabinet, Studio’s affiliated artist program
A new slate of commissioned playwrights.
Artistic Director David Muse announced the fall and winter programming for Studio Theatre’s 2015-2016 season today. These eight plays include a world premiere in DC’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival, an epic drama about the US and China, the Studio debut of veteran director Ethan McSweeny, the final two plays in The Apple Family Cycle and the return of Bad Jews, the best-selling show in the Theatre’s history. In addition, Studio shares news about its artistic programming streams, additional commissions, and its new affiliated artist program.
Studio’s five-play Main Series is the core of Studio’s programming, offering a repertoire of provocative contemporary writing from around the world and inventive stagings of contemporary classics.
Leading off Studio’s Main Series is Chimerica, a political thriller by Lucy Kirkwood that follows a quarter-century of Sino-American relations. “This play is stunning in its breadth and ambition,” says Muse, “and is as emotionally engaging as it is intellectually rigorous. It was a huge hit in London; I think that DC audiences will respond to its balance of geopolitics and the personal stories Lucy explores.”
Studio will produce the final two plays in Richard Nelson’s The Apple Family Cycle. Following the success of That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad in 2013, Studio will reunite the full cast for Sorry and Regular Singing, under the direction of Serge Seiden. “Richard is a master of contemporary naturalism, and when we knew we could secure the cast, finishing The Apple Family Cycle was a no-brainer. Richard’s plays deal seriously with politics, but even more seriously with the people of this family.” Studio’s productions of That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad were nominated for the 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble, and Ted van Griethuysen received the Helen Hayes for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his performance as Uncle Benjamin.
The Main Series continues with Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis, a boisterous and uncensored comedy about gentrification, race, and the NYPD. “Stephen’s work is brash, big-hearted, and remarkably funny without shying away from the consequences of the terrible decisions his characters make,” says Muse. Guirgis’s The Motherfucker with the Hat was a hit in Studio’s 2012-2013 season.
Irish writer Deirdre Kinahan’s family drama Moment, directed by Ethan McSweeny, will fill out Studio’s winter programming. “Ethan and I have been looking for a project for him for a number of years, and Deirdre’s play—with its mix of well-observed behavior and explosive secrets—is a perfect fit for Ethan’s nuance with actors and Studio’s intimate spaces.” This production marks DC-born McSweeny’s first production at Studio, on the heels of his acclaimed production of The Tempest at Shakespeare Theatre Company last season, and his Helen Hayes-nominated A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2013.
A fifth and final play, to be announced, will round out the Main Series.
Five-play subscriptions to Studio’s Main Series are now available by calling 202.332.3300 or visiting studiotheatre.org/subscribetoday. Subscriptions start at $220.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
Studio will also bring back Joshua Harmon’s ferocious comedy Bad Jews for a limited run over the winter holidays. The best-selling show in its history, Studio had to close its 2014 production after 15 weeks due to actor availability. Bad Jews is currently nominated for four 2015 Helen Hayes awards—Outstanding Play, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Director (Serge Seiden), and Outstanding Lead Actor (Alex Mandell).
The 2015-2016 season will inaugurate Studio X, a new umbrella for a wide variety of productions. Studio X is a consolidation and outgrowth of the type of work Studio currently produces in its Studio Lab, Special Events, and 2ndStage programming series. The work of Studio X will remain purposefully eclectic, encompassing presented work, plays that will benefit from particularly intimate or immersive stagings, and some of Studio’s world premiere projects.
“Studio X plays will be a little more experimental, will dabble a bit more in the unknown than the work of our Main Series,” says Muse. “We’ll cast a wide eye in our programming and maintain the aesthetic flexibility of Studio’s previous three programs, continuing to bring innovative projects that wouldn’t otherwise be seen in DC.”
Studio X kicks off with the Studio-commissioned play Animal by British director-turned-playwright Clare Lizzimore. “Clare has a tremendous theatrical imagination paired with an understanding of the subtle skill of actors to animate characters,” says Muse. “Her latest play is an intimate and character-driven domestic drama, full of twists and humor.” Animal is Clare’s first play to be produced in the US and will run alongside Chimerica as a part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, a DC-wide celebration of new writing by contemporary female playwrights in September and October 2015.
It is followed by Nick Payne’s Constellations, a smart and playful romance that unfolds in partial, repeated scenes. “Nick’s writing is fantastic—fleet and poetic,” Muse says. “And the conceit of the play—that we’re never quite sure how we’ve gotten where we’ve gotten, if our relationships are something we’ve lucked into or something we’ve earned—is endlessly appealing.” Muse will direct Constellations in Stage 4, Studio’s black box space.
Studio will announce two additional summer and spring Studio X offerings in the coming months.
SERGE SEIDEN STEPS DOWN AS PRODUCING DIRECTOR; APPOINTED INAUGURAL MEMBER OF THE STUDIO CABINET
Serge Seiden, Studio’s Producing Director, has announced that he is stepping down from his position after 25 years at Studio Theatre. During his tenure, Seiden directed 35 productions, including last season’s Bad Jews, the best-selling play in Studio’s history. Seiden has also directed around DC, including Jacques Brel is Alive and Well... at MetroStage (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director), two Helen Hayes Award-winning productions for young people at Adventure Theatre-MTC, Freud’s Last Session at Theater J, Awake and Sing! at Olney Theatre Center, and is currently directing A Tale of Two Cities at Synetic Theatre.
Seiden began as a student at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory in 1986 and completed the curriculum in 1990, the same year he was hired as Studio’s Stage Manager and Literary Manager. He has managed Studio’s Production Department since 1996 and was named Studio’s Associate Producing Artistic Director in 2004.
“Serge has been an integral part of Studio Theatre and the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory—as well as my five years as Studio’s Artistic Director,” says Muse. “Serge has worn many hats and brought deep passion for the work on our stages and a tireless work ethic to the whole institution. We thank him for his many years of service and look forward both to seeing him around the building and to following his work on other stages in DC.”
“Studio has been my artistic home,” says Seiden. “My tenure here has been a tremendous gift, and I am very grateful to the staff and the board for their support over two and a half decades.” Seiden leaves Studio to pursue freelance and other opportunities. He will continue to teach in the Conservatory (where he has been on faculty since 1995) and will direct three plays in Studio’s 2015-2016 season.
Muse has also announced that Seiden will be the inaugural member of the Studio Cabinet, the Theatre’s new program for affiliated artists. “I’ve wanted to create a meaningful affiliate artist program for some years,” says Muse. “It will be a group of select artists with whom we will be in regular conversation as we develop upcoming seasons. I’m very pleased that Serge will be its first official member, and I look forward to years of continued collaboration with him.”
Additional members of the Studio Cabinet will be announced in the months and years to come.
On the heels of its acclaimed production of Rachel Bonds’s The Wolfe Twins, and the inclusion of commissioned play Animal in the 2015-2016 season, Studio announces three new commissions: Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Ike Holter, and Aaron Posner, who join Stew and Heidi Rodewald as commissioned writers for Studio.
“Mary Hamilton’s plays are smart and brutal,” says Muse. “Her work unfolds in tense and surprising ways, and she writes dialogue with a real understanding for actors, which felt like a good match for Studio’s intimate spaces.” Hamilton’s plays have been developed with Page 73, New Georges, and Ensemble Studio Theater and she is currently a playwriting fellow at The Juilliard School.
Ike Holter is a Chicago-based writer. His play Hit the Wall ran for four months in Chicago and played Off Broadway in New York. “Ike’s writing is dark and funny, political in all the best ways,” says Muse. “He’s got a deft hand at balancing distinct characters with the story of an ensemble. I think DC will really respond to his voice.” Holter is the Resident Writer with the Chicago company The Inconvenience, and was recently named the Best Playwright of 2014 by Chicago Reader and Chicagoan of the Year in Theater by the Chicago Tribune.
Aaron Posner is a DC-based director, playwright, and adaptor who first worked at Studio directing the inaugural Lab production, Lungs. Posner has been commissioned to create a contemporary adaptation of Three Sisters. “With our roots in both Chekhovian realism and new plays, Aaron’s piece seems like a great fit. Aaron is in interested in exploring Three Sisters in a different stylistic mode than his adaptations of The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, and I look forward to seeing what he’ll come up with.” Posner’s recent Chekhov adaptations are Stupid Fucking Bird (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 2013) and Life Sucks (or the Present Ridiculous) (Theatre J, 2015).
“A gloriously rich, astonishingly mind-expanding play.” —The Guardian
In 1989, Joe, a young American journalist, photographs a protester facing down four tanks in Tiananmen Square. In 2012, with election season bringing US-China relations into the spotlight, Joe decides to seek out the subject of his most famous image—just as an old friend from China reaches out with an agenda of his own. A sensation in its London run, Chimerica covers two decades in the history of two superpowers as it considers political change, personal responsibility, and the stories that exist beyond the margins of a frame.
The Apple Family Cycle: Sorry and Regular Singing
by Richard Nelson
directed by Serge Seiden
Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Special Citation
Presented in rotating repertory
“Mr. Nelson’s series is quietly turning into one of the great accomplishments in American theater to date in this century.” —The New York Times
The final plays in Richard Nelson’s Apple Family quartet explore the immediate present and evolving future of the United States. Over meals at the family homestead, the tensions and compromises, affections and resentments of the Apple family’s lives play out against a rapidly changing America. The Apple Family Cycle reunites the “generous, feisty ensemble of DC’s finest acting talent” (DC Metro Arts) from Studio’s 2013 production.
It’s 5am on Election Day, 2012. Obama’s bruised reelection campaign is almost won and the Apple siblings have gathered to move their ailing Uncle Benjamin into an assisted care facility. Over orange juice and cold Chinese food, they grapple with their unease about the paths they are taking, as a family and a nation.
Late into the night, the Apple Family keeps vigil for a beloved family member on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, and raise their voices together one last time—in discussion, dissent, hope, and song.
Between Riverside and Crazy
by Stephen Adly Guirgis
“A smart, exuberantly funny urban dramedy with a spirit as shrewd and forgiving as its motormouth language is wild and lush.”—Newsday
Irrepressible ex-cop Walter Washington is facing eviction, City Hall, and the recent death of his wife. Clinging to both his grievances and the palatial rent-controlled apartment he shares with his ex-con son and a ragtag surrogate family, Walter needs to shake the past—but isn’t ready to move on. A boisterous and unflinching dark comedy from the playwright of The Motherfucker with the Hat.
by Deirdre Kinahan
directed by Ethan McSweeny
“One of most quietly shattering evenings in the theatre that I have experienced.”—The Independent
In the suburbs of Dublin, a long-absent son returns home to visit his ailing mother. But his reappearance—and the welcome he receives—ignites his sisters’ long-simmering resentments and sets the siblings on a collision course over his criminal past. Riveting and insightful, Moment considers the slippery nature of memory and forgiveness, and how the consequences of one tragic decision can ripple through an entire family. Directed by Helen Hayes and Tony-nominated director Ethan McSweeny in his Studio debut.
A fifth and final play, to be announced soon, will round out the Main Series.
by Joshua Harmon
directed by Serge Seiden
“The funniest play of the year.” —The Washington Post
Back by popular demand—in time for the holidays.
The night after their grandfather’s funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal battle royale over a family heirloom. In one corner is the unstoppable and self-assured force of “Super Jew” Daphna. In the other, the immovable and entitled object of her secular cousin Liam. And in the middle is Liam’s brother Jonah, trying to stay out of the fray. This savage comedy about family, faith, and legacy became the best-selling play in Studio’s history during its 2014 run.
by Clare Lizzimore
directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
Commissioned by Studio Theatre
A part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival
“Lizzimore’s writing is impressively perceptive and observant.” —The Arts Desk (UK)
Rachel has it all: marriage, house, career. So why does she suddenly have this creeping feeling? Did she leave something behind? Or is there something in the walls…? Her husband thinks she needs time; her psychiatrist suggests positive thinking. But then the visions start. Apparitions of doubts, past decisions, future mistakes. Is it time for Xanax? Prozac? Or perhaps she just needs to forget it all, follow her instinct, and find a stranger to kiss. A darkly comic play about the underside of domesticity, the complexity of the brain in chaos, and the thin line between sinking and survival.
by Nick Payne
directed by David Muse
“Who knew that higher physics could be so sexy, so accessible—and so emotionally devastating?” —The New York Times
A physicist and a beekeeper meet at a barbecue—again and again, as versions of their relationship play out in a distinctly intimate staging by Artistic Director David Muse. Written by one of Britain’s most innovative playwrights, Constellations tackles choice and chance, and charts the infinite possibilities of one relationship.
Mary Elizabeth Hamilton has developed work with Page 73, New Georges, and Ensemble Studio Theater. The recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship and the Provost’s Writing Fellowship, she has participated in Play Penn, Youngblood, I-73, and New Georges’ The Jam. Her plays have been finalists for The O’Neill, The Lark Pony Fellowship, The Yale Drama Series, The Princess Grace Award, and New Dramatists. Mary holds her MFA in Playwriting from The University of Iowa and is currently attending the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard.
Ike Holter’s plays have been produced at The Steppenwolf Garage, LiveWire Chicago, Theater 7, Nothing Without a Company, Route 66, Theater on The Lake and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. He’s received commissions from The Goodman Theater, The Playwrights Center (MN), Writer’s Theater, and Teatro Vista. Ike is the winner of three awards from The Kennedy Center’s ACTF. His show Hit the Wall played Off Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater after a critically acclaimed four-month run in Chicago. His new play Exit Strategy recently enjoyed two sold-out runs at the Jackalope Theatre and will premiere in New York at Primary Stages in 2016. Holter was named Best Emerging Playwright by Chicago Magazine and the 2014 Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune.
Aaron Posner was the founding Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre and is an Associate Artist at the Folger Theatre and Milwaukee Rep. He has won numerous awards as a director and playwright including A Theatre Bay Area Award, three Barrymore Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, The John Gassner Award, and Helen Hayes Awards as a director or playwright four of the last ten years. His plays include My Name is Asher Lev; The Chosen; Stupid Fucking Bird; Life Sucks (or the Present Ridiculous); Who Am I This Time? (And Other Conundrums of Love); Sometimes a Great Notion; A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage (with James Sugg); and many others. Posner has directed more than 150 productions at major regional theatres across the country. Posner, from Eugene, Oregon, is an Eisenhower Fellow, a graduate of Northwestern University, and lives in the area with his wife, actress Erin Weaver, and his daughter Maisie.
Entering its sixth season under the leadership of Artistic Director David Muse, Studio Theatre is Washington’s premiere venue for contemporary theatre, “where local audiences will find today’s edgiest playwrights” (Variety). Muse is joined by Managing Director Meridith Burkus. One of the most respected midsized theatres in the country, Studio Theatre produces the work of today’s greatest writers, augmented by occasional productions of modern classics, performed by acclaimed actors in intimate spaces. Throughout the Theatre’s 38-year history, the quality of its work has been recognized by sustained community support as well as with 329 nominations and 61 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre.
Location: 1501 14th Street NW (northeast corner of 14th and P Streets).
Studio has a parking partnership with Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle NW, three blocks south of Studio; patrons who park at the hotel’s parking garage can purchase a $13 voucher at concessions.
Street parking is limited; arrive early to increase your options.
Metro Stops: Red Line: Dupont Circle, Orange/Blue Lines: McPherson Square, and Green/ Yellow Lines: U Street/Cardozo.
Accessibility: Studio’s theatres are all wheelchair accessible; seats are available by reservation. Assistive listen devices are available for all shows at concessions.
Call the Box Office at 202.332.3300 for more information.
Tickets and Subscriptions: 202.332.3300
[This press release was sent by Liz O’Meara-Goldberg, Publicist & Publications Manager, Studio Theatre].