Reading Series 2009-2010
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
music and lyrics by Adam Gwon
book and lyrics by Julia Jordan
directed by Joe Calarco
Bernice Bobs Her Hair is a musical adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's early short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and is also based on letters he wrote to his sister. It is set in Fitzgerald's hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota and concerns "the drama, the semi-cruel world of adolescence." Back in that time, a girl's hair was worn down until adolescence, at which point her hair was put up - only to be released again in front of a man on her wedding night. In the story, Bernice is the awkward country cousin who has come to the big city to visit her audacious and popular cousin Marjorie. She doesn't fit in and she makes every social mistake. Marjorie, frustrated by this human millstone around her social neck, decides to make Bernice over, personality and all. What she doesn’t count on is her overwhelming success.
The cast of Bernice Bobs Her Hair is Kevin Carolan (The Ritz, Chicago)*, Cady Huffman (The Producers, Surface To Air)*, Erin Mackey (Sondheim on Sondheim, Wicked)*, A.J. Shively (La Cage aux Folles)* and Phoebe Strole (The Metal Children, Spring Awakening)* with an ensemble of Carey Anderson*, Lindsay Nicole Chambers*, Demi Fragale*, Olli Haaskivi*, Morgan Karr*, Zachary Prince*, Casey Tuma* and Blake Whyte*. Musical Direction by Cathy Venable. *courtesy AEA.
Adam Gwon (Composer): Was named one of “50 to Watch” by The Dramatist magazine, and won the Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theater songwriting. His musical Ordinary Days made its NYC premiere this season with a sold-out run at the Roundabout Theatre Company. Adam’s other projects include the upcoming The Boy Detective Fails (book: Joe Meno) and Bernice Bobs Her Hair (book/lyrics: Julia Jordan). His work has been seen at Roundabout, Primary Stages, York Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Signature Theatre (Arlington), the Kennedy Center, Ars Nova, New Dramatists, NAMT, NYMF, SPF/Public Theater, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Finborough Theatre (London), the ASCAP/Disney workshop, and many others. His other honors include the ASCAP Harold Adamson award, the MAC John Wallowitch award and a MAC Award nomination for best song, as well as commissions from South Coast Rep, Signature Theatre (Arlington), Broadway Across America, and the EST/Sloan Project. Adam has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Dramatists Guild, an artist-in-residence at Weston Playhouse, and is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Visit www.adamgwon.com.
Julia Jordan (Book & Lyrics): Plays include Smoking Lesson, Tatjana in Color, St. Scarlet, Boy, Dark Yellow, and Jones. Musicals include Sarah Plain and Tall and The Mice, which was part of Harold Prince’s 3HREE, both composed by Larry O’Keefe, lyrics Nell Benjamin; Guitar, composed by Duncan Sheik; the upcoming Murder Ballad composed by Juliana Nash, co-lyrics with Nash; and the upcoming Storyville lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and composed by Lisa DeSpain. A film version of her play Dark Yellow is currently in development under the title “Tell Me Something I Don't Know” with Glen Luchford slated to direct. A short film version won Best Short at the Telluride Film Festival. Another short film, "The Hat," that she wrote and directed, premiered at Sundance and was the most often shown short on Bravo and IFC in 2001. Her work has been produced at theaters around the country including Actors Theater of Louisville, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, The American Theater in Chicago, Salt Lake Acting Company, La Jolla Playhouse, The Prince Theater, The Ahmanson in L.A., Primary Stages, Soho Rep and Studio Dante. She is the recipient of the Kleban Award, Francesca Primus Prize, Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, Manhattan Theater Club Fellowship, Jonathan Larson Award, Heideman Award and LeComte Nouy Award. Her work has been developed at The O’Neill Theater Center, Ojai Playwrights Conference, South Coast Rep, The Intiman Theater, Manhattan Theater Club and the Sundance Playwrights Conference. She is Juilliard playwriting fellow, a Manhattan Theater Club Fellow, a member of New Dramatists, a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop and is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild. She currently teaches playwriting at Barnard College, Columbia University.
Joe Carlarco (Director): Joe is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare’s R&J which ran for a year Off- Broadway, becoming the longest running version of Romeo and Juliet in New York history, and earned him a Lucille Lortel Award. He also directed the play’s premieres in Chicago (5 Jeff Award nominations including Best Play and Best Director) and Washington, D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director). He also directed the premieres in London’s West End (Evening Standard Award honorable mention for Best Director) and in Tokyo. His reworking of Ring of Fire: the music of Johnny Cash toured the U.S for over a year. Off Broadway and Regional: Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky by David Cale and Jonathan Kreisberg at Playwrights Horizons, Sarah, Plain and Tall (book by Julia Jordan, music by Larry O’Keefe, lyrics by Nell Benjamin) at the Lucille Lortel and Dallas Theatre Center (revised draft), Julia Jordan's The Summer of the Swans (Lucille Lortel) and Boy (Primary Stages), The Mistress Cycle by Beth Blatt and Jenny Giering (NYMTF). He directed Chris Miller’s and Nathan Tysen’s song cycle Fugitive Songs which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue and Irwin Shaw’s anti war play Bury the Dead for The Transport Group. Regionally, he is an Artistic Associate at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia where he has directed Assassins (Helen Hayes Award Best Director), the world premiere of Norman Allen’s Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Awards for Best Director and Best Play), Side Show (Helen Hayes Awards for Best Director and Best Musical), Elegies: a song cycle (Helen Hayes nomination Best Musical), Urinetown (a record breaking 8 Helen Hayes Awards including Best Director and Best Musical), and the world premiere of his own play in the absence of spring which premiered in New York as the inaugural production of Second Stage’s New Plays Uptown series under his own direction. in the absence of spring is published by Playscripts Inc. and is included in The Best Stage Scenes of 2004 published by Smith and Kraus. He directed the world premiere of Lincolnesque by John Strand and The Glass Menagerie at the Old Globe, the world premiere of the musical The Burnt Part Boys by Mariana Elder, Chris Miller, and Nathan Tysen at Barrington Stage Company, and the world premiere of Short Order Stories by Renee Calarco for Charter Theatre in Virginia. At the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference he has directed Sarah Plain and Tall, In Transit, and Picnic at Hanging Rock. He has directed The Last Five Years (Barrymore Award Best Musical), Elegies (Barrymore nomination Best Director and Best Musical), M. Butterfly, and The Light in the Piazza at The Philadelphia Theatre Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Shakespeare Theatre in D.C, and Of Mice and Men and My Fair Lady at the Hangar Theatre. Other regional credits include Suddenly Last Summer, To Kill A Mockingbird, Keely & Du, Educating Rita, How I Got That Story, Goodnight Desdemona, Goodmorning Juliet, Babes In Arms, and Godspell. He directed Twice Charmed: an original twist on the Cinderella story by Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary for Disney Creative Entertainment. He has directed numerous workshops including Picnic at Hanging Rock and Dogfight at Lincoln Center, Broadcast at Playwrights Horizons and, Liberty Smith, and Meet John Doe regionally. Upcoming projects include The Burnt Part Boys at Playwrights Horizons, In Transit at Primary Stages, and the world premiere of his new play Walter Cronkite is Dead at Signature Theater in Virginia. He served as resident playwright at Expanded Arts, Inc. for two years. He has been a Joseph Papp artist in residence at Second Stage, is one of New York Theatre Workshop’s "usual suspects," and is a Drama League directing fellow. He also sits on the executive board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC). Graduate: Ithaca College.
Other People's Problems
by Megan Mostyn-Brown
In Other People's Problems, Mary visits her friend Jack in New York City with the hope she'll fall in love and maybe encounter a little excitement. What she gets is --- literally --- a life changing experience. A play about who you are, who you want to be, rent control, karaoke and the power of Stevie Nicks.
Featuring: Patch Darragh* (The Glass Menagerie, Crimes of the Heart), Aubrey Dollar* (Juvenilia, "Women's Murder Club"), Rebecca Henderson* (The Retributionists), Kelly Hutchinson* (Desire Under The Elms, Or), Lucas Papaelias* (Cyrano de Bergerac, Essential Self-Defense) *courtesy of AEA
Megan Mostyn-Brown: Plays include: Girl, The Secret Lives of Losers, 4th of July, Going After Alice, The Hawk Has No Home, Lizards, Objects Are Closer Than They Appear, Other People's Problems, and The Rest Of Your Life. Her plays have been read and performed at: The Actor’s Theater of Louisville, The Women’s Project, LAByrinth Theater Company, University of Missouri Kansas City at Union Station, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The 52nd Street Project, The Guthrie Theater, The Public Theater, The Warehouse Theater, New Georges, Barrington Stage Company, The Old Vic/ New Voices New York Exchange, The NYC International Fringe Festival, The Tribeca Theater Festival, Bennington College, Duke University and The HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO. 2005-06 Cherry Lane Mentor Project (mentor: Theresa Rebeck). Honorable mention in the 2004 Herrick Theater Foundation New Play Competition. Girl was turned into a sound play by Coyote Rep and is available as a podcast on I-Tunes. Girl, The Secret Lives of Losers and Lizards and are published by Samuel French. Megan is a member of LAByrinth Theater Company and The Women’s Project Playwrights LAB. She has been a guest playwright at New River Dramatists, Electric Pear Theater Company, The Orchard Project, The Royal Court Theatre and the 24/7 Lab. Megan is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Noah and the Tower Flower
by Sean McLoughlin
When the Towers come down, Natalie will get a new flat and a new start. But when she meets Noah, her future is threatened by the chance of falling in love. Noah and the Tower Flower is about two Dubliners, lost in life, struggling to leave their pasts behind. It is a comic love story, set in the heart of the suburbs of Ballymun, a suburb of Dublin that is currently undergoing social rejuvenation after decades of neglect and alienation. Noah and the Tower Flower premiered in April 2007 at the Axis in Ballymun and subsequently was awarded Best New Play at The Irish Times Theatre Awards and the Stewart Parker Trust Award.
Noah and the Tower Flower will be read by Denis Butkus* (Measure For Measure, The Coast of Utopia) and Annie Purcell* (Dividing The Estate, The Coast of Utopia). *courtesy of AEA
Sean McLoughlin (playwright): As a young boy Sean wrote compulsively, winning many awards for his poetry and short stories. Sean started writing plays seriously when he was twenty eight, much due to the encouragement of the playwright Aodhan Madden. Noah and the Tower Flower was his first play, and was produced by the Fishamble Theatre Company at the Axis Theatre, Ballymun in April 2007. Noah and the Tower Flower won Sean The Irish Times Best New Play Award and The Stewart Parker Trust Award for Best Newcomer. Sean is currently developing a new piece for Fishamble Theatre called Big Ole Piece of Cake and he has also been commissioned to write a four part T.V. series for Accomplice/Samson Films. He is also finishing a new play The Happy House.
Four Last Things
by Lisa Tierney-Keogh
Janey is dropping out. Of college, of friends, of life. Stuck on her family farm, yearning for Dublin, she wants to swap the green fields for a concrete jungle and the endless quiet for a ceaseless noise. With a father she can’t talk to, and a dog that can’t talk back to her, Janey bows out and chooses no to life. This is an emotionally charged journey through the last days of a young woman’s battle with herself. An achingly true play that vigorously explores our most secret beliefs, the Four Last Things that are death, judgement, heaven and hell.
Four Last Things will read by David Wilson Barnes* (Becky Shaw, The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Larry Bryggman* (Groundswell, Romance) and Aya Cash* (Killers and Other Family, Three Changes). *courtesy of AEA
Lisa Tierney-Keogh (playwright): Lisa has trained with the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York, The Second City and Screen Training Ireland. Her work has been performed in Smock Alley Theatre, Project Arts Centre, Crypt Arts Centre and Draiocht Theatre in Dublin and at the Soho Theatre in London. Lisa won the Irish Times Theatre Awards Bursary in 2002 and was nominated for the Stewart Parker Trust/BBC New Writing Awards, Ireland’s most prestigious new writing award. She was a Writer-In-Residence through Poetry Ireland’s Writers-In-Schools Scheme and has had articles published in the Irish Times, Evening Herald and Sunday Independent. Lisa has received writing bursary awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, Screen Training Ireland and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation. In 2009, Lisa was a finalist for the BBC Tony Doyle Award and was invited on to the inaugural New Playwrights Programme at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Her sixth stage play, Four Last Things, sold out half way through its run at the 2009 Dublin Fringe Festival and was nominated for four awards including Best New Play and Best Production.
A Wake on Chappaquiddick
by Jessica Provenz
In 1969, a young Senator Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge on the island of Chappaquiddick leaving one woman dead and a country to wonder – did this accident derail his run for the presidency and thereby change the course of history? A Wake on Chappaquiddick is a play in three acts with Kennedy’s infamous crash as a backdrop. Each act is set on the ill-fated island and features a love triangle that spans from 1969 to today, from the heat of summer to the dead of winter, from a run-down cottage to a luxury estate. The question throughout is whether a single choice – or accident – can alter a lifetime.
Jessica Provenz (playwright): Jessica's plays have been developed or performed at New Georges, E.S.T., Manhattan Theatre Source, The Actor's Studio, The Gene Frankel Theatre, HERE, Bowery Poetry Club, Circle Rep, Lynx Theatre, Juilliard, 2Ladies Productions, Penobscot Theatre in Main, Theater Theatre and the Powerhouse in Los Angelse, and the Palm Springs Festival, and have been finalists for The Cherry Lane mentorship and The Actor's Theatre of Louisville's 10-minute play festival.
A Wake on Chappaquiddick was previously workshopped at the Cape Cod Theatre Project directed by Kyle Donnelly, with Amy Ryan, Jason Butler Harner, and Mia Barron. Jessica’s play Truth or Consequences was read at the DR2 under the direction of Ethan McSweeny with T.R. Knight and Carson Elrod. Better than Chocolate was workshopped at Juilliard with director Hal Brooks. Her newest play, Andromeda, was read at The Barrow Group in October under the direction Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Other plays include More Deceived developed at The Directors Company, Bubbly developed at Juilliard, and Menu – a play commissioned by and for comedian Louie Anderson.
Jessica wrote and co-produced the film Nothing Happened (director Julia Kots), which wrapped in September. She is writing a feature One Night in Bergdorf's for Alicia Keys’ Big Pita Lil’ Pita and is developing films with De Line, Jon Shestack Productions, and handsomecharlie films among others. She developed TV series "Married in a Year" and "Affairs of State," both with Killer Films, and sold her pitch, "Lone Man on Campus," to Touchstone Pictures.
Jessica Provenz received a B.S. from Northwestern University and was Artist-in-Residence at The Juilliard School for 2 years under the mentorship of Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman. Jessica is a 2-time recipient of the Lecomte du Nouy Award, a mentor with the 52nd Street Project, and a member of The Dramatists Guild.
Slow Falling Bird
by Christine Evans
Slow Falling Bird is set in an immigration detention center in Woomera in the dead heart of the Australian desert. It charts the tinderbox relationships between guards and inmates when a deadly bargain for a child's survival is struck across the wire. Mixing gritty realism with hallucinatory sequences, Slow Falling Bird is set in both a real desert, and a desert of the mind. Winner of the Rella Lossy Award (San Francisco) and the Monash National Play Award (Australia).
Slow Falling Bird will read by with Bianca Amato* (Trumpery, The Coast of Utopia), Maha Chehlaoui* (Aftermath, Betrayal), Crystal Dickinson* (Broke-ology, Ruined), Gian-Murray Gianino* (Freshwater, Eurydice), Matthew Rauch* (Still Life, Edward the Second), Jamal Rodriguez* (Venus, Tartuffe), Debargo Sanyal* (Queens Boulevard, Telethon). *courtesy of AEA.
Christine Evans (Playwright): Originally from Australia (though proud of her Irish roots), Christine Evans is an internationally produced playwright now resident in the U.S. In 2009, her multi-award winning play Trojan Barbie premiered at the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) and was published in Theatre Forum, Issue #35. Ms. Evans' work has been produced and developed at venues including the New Vic and RADA (London), Belvoir St. Theatre (Sydney), the Adelaide International Festival of the Arts, Deck Chair Theatre, Vitalstatistix, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Magic Theatre, Theater Simple, Live Girls!, Kitchen Dog Theatre, hotINK Play Festival, Bricolage Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Perishable Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Crowded Fire, Ohio Theatre (NYC), Rattlestick Theatre and Cutting Ball. Honors include two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a Millay Colony Artist Residency, the 2007 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, the 2009 Playwrights Theatre "Plays for the 21st Century" Award, the 2009 Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, a Fulbright Award in Visual and Performing Arts, the Rella Lossy Playwriting Award, the Monash National Playwriting Award (Australia), the Weston Award in Dramatic Writing, and Perishable Theatre's Women's Playwriting Award (2000 and 2001). Ms. Evans holds and M.F.A. (Playwriting) and Ph.D. (Theatre & Performance Studies) from Brown and lectures in playwriting at Harvard. She is a 2008-10 member of the Women's Project Playwrights' Lab, NYC.
by Lucy Caldwell
In Guardians, bright twenty-somethings Molly and Connor have been married for a year. Forced to relocate to Conor’s family home in Belfast, their love and understanding of each other is brought irretrievably into question. Caldwell explores what happens when our expectations come up against reality, and how easily it is to miss our step. Guardians is the follow-up to Lucy Caldwell’s George Devine Award winning play Leaves.
Guardians will read by Lucas Near-Verbrugghe* (Oohrah!, The Ritz) and Susan Louise O’Connor* (Blithe Spirit, Apostasy & Marion Bridge) *courtesy of AEA
Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. Her first full-length play, Leaves, won the George Devine Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the BBC Stewart Parker Award. Other awards include the PMA Award for Most Promising Playwright (for her short play The River) and the Irish Writers’ Guild Award for Best Radio Play (for her radio play Girl From Mars). Lucy is also a critically acclaimed novelist; her first novel, Where They Were Missed, was published by Penguin in 2005 and was shortlisted for the prestigious Dylan Thomas Award. Guardians is her second full-length play.
The 2009-10 New Works Reading Series is underwritten in part by Alexis Doyle, Patricia Smith,
and the members of our Patron's Circle.