2023 projects and artists
Created by The Pack
The world is catching on rain, people are turning into nuts, fear and uncertainty reigns over the plains. Our main character H is assumed to have turned into an almond, (though yet hard to ascertain) and her community grieves her in varying stages. Meanwhile, H is waking up from a shameful but hot sex with a stranger, who we (and she) learn is Charon, the ferryman of Styx. Time and myth and metaphors collide in this collage story about despair where no one is safe, everyone is confused, and almond milk is diabolical.
Hansol Jung Upcoming: Merry Me (New York Theater Workshop) Plays: Wolf Play (Soho Rep & Ma-Yi), Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater and La Jolla Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (NAATCO), Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theater), and No More Sad Things (Sideshow and Boise Contemporary). TV & Film: Pachinko (Apple +), Tales of the City (Netflix) including development with Amazon Studios, Apple + TV, Ink Factory, Fifth Season Production, and Kindred Spirit. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, NYTW’s Usual Suspects, and the New Class of Kilroys. MFA: Yale. @chokkie
Dustin Wills Upcoming: Jeremy O. Harris’ A Boy’s Company Presents: Tell Me If I’m Hurting You (Hauser & Wirth), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Heartbeat Opera). Recent: John Caswell Jr.’s Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons), Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play (Soho Rep, Ma-Yi, MCC), Kate Tarker’s Montag (Soho Rep). Wills has devised work with Teatro L’Arciliuto in Rome, Italy, created large-scale puppetry pageants with Creative Action, trained with Augusto Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed legislative performance, lectured in directing at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, and for a couple of years gave rogue tours of the Vatican. He is the 2023 Lucille Lortel Award Recipient for Outstanding Direction, a Princess Grace Awardee, and a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow. @dustinobenino or dustinwills.com
Esco Jouléy actor, singer, dancer, clown, movement artist, creator. Recent credits: State of the Union (Sundance), Blindspotting (Starz), High Maintenance (HBO), Inventing Anna (Netflix), Monsterland (Hulu), movement coach on In a Man’s World (Bravo). Theatre credits: 12th Night, Wolf Play, As You Like It, Interstate, Runaways, Galatea, Magic Theatre Player in The Demise, Beowulf. Other: resident actor at the historic Barter Theatre for three and a half years, alum of the ABC Discovers: Talent Showcase.
Lexy Leuszler is a dramaturg and educator specializing in new work. She has developed works with Kimber Lee, Keiko Green, Florencia Cuenca, Jaime Lozano, Eliana Pipes, Hansol Jung, Brian Quijada, Robi Hager, and Georgina Escobar, among others. She has taught at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Kennedy Center. Lexy is a member of American Theatre magazine’s Role Call: People to Watch list. Current projects in development include Azul: A Bilingual Musical (Joe’s Pub), Little Duende (NAMT, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat), and Siluetas (Power Street Theatre).
Christopher Bannow is an actor and a nascent writer. Broadway credits include Oklahoma! (also first national tour) and The Elephant Man (also Theatre Royal Haymarket, West End). NY credits include Wolf Play (MCC/Soho Rep, Lortel Award), The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory), Sleep No More (Punchdrunk), Alamat (Ma-Yi), Awful Event (Baryshnikov Arts Center). Regional credits include CTG, Kennedy Center, Williamstown, Yale Rep, Huntington, McCarter, and Berkshire Theatre Group. TV/film: The Late Late Show, #Screamers, Not Fade Away, and Three Christs. His writing includes Ain’t Gonna Make It (Ars Nova ANTFEST) and Mystery Boy (Yale Cabaret). Christopher received his MFA from Yale School of Drama, BFA from Boston University, and Acting Certificate from LAMDA. @hellobannow
Nicole Villamil Upcoming: Merry Me (New York Theatre Workshop) Recent Credits: Wolf Play (MCC Theatre and Soho Rep), How to Load a Musket (59E59), Network (Broadway), Queens (LCT3), Lessons in Survival (Vineyard Theatre Online Series), MUD (Boundless Theatre), Shakespeare’s R&J (Hangar Theatre), De Profundis (PlayMakers Rep), Tell Me I’m Not Crazy, The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Hunchback of Seville, The Love of the Nightingale (Trinity Repertory Co). TV: New Amsterdam, The Last OG. MFA, Brown/Trinity Repertory Co; BA University of Pennsylvania. She is the 2023 Lucille Lortel Award Recipient for Outstanding Ensemble. @nicoleavillamil
Brian Quijada is an Emmy-nominated playwright, actor, and composer. Upcoming: Mexodus (Baltimore Center Stage, Mosaic). Recent acting credits: Wolf Play (MCC), Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout), Oedipus El Rey (The Public), My Mañana Comes (Playwrights Realm), How We Got On and Airness (Actors Theatre of Louisville). TV: Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, Manhattan Love Story, Search Party. As a writer, his plays include Where Did We Sit on the Bus? (Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, Ensemble Studio Theatre), Kid Prince and Pablo (The Kennedy Center), Somewhere Over the Border (Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre, Teatro Vista). Brian is a four-time Jeff Award Winner, a three-time Drama Desk nominee, and the 2023 Lucille Lortel Award Recipient for Outstanding Ensemble. @mrbrianquijada
Written and performed by David Cale
Directed by Les Waters
A playwright receives a fellowship to live and write for a month in Ernest Hemingway’s home in Ketchum, Idaho. There to work on a specific play idea, his writing plans take an unanticipated turn after he has an unusual exchange with a ranch worker at the local sheep run. Following this chance encounter, the writer’s play subject shifts to becoming the story of an openly gay, fifty-nine-year-old playwright living for a month in Ernest Hemingway’s home, and his three-week affair with an elusive thirty-nine-year-old Idaho cowboy, who’s very much in the closet. Detailing their relationship in frank sexual and emotional terms, Blue Cowboy is a solo play that paints a portrait of two men from very different walks of life, who come into each other’s lives at a moment when both have a deep need to intimately connect to another human being. But living in Hemingway’s house, where the novelist committed suicide, raises ghosts from the playwright’s past, after an inexplicable happening one night brings them to the fore. Blue Cowboy is part love story, part ghost story. But then again, maybe all love stories are ghost stories.
David Cale is a performance artist, playwright, songwriter, and actor. His recent works include his solo musical memoir We’re Only Alive For A Short Amount Of Time, for which he wrote the book, lyrics, co-composed the music with Matthew Dean Marsh and starred (The Public Theater, NYC, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, Jeff Award); and the solo plays Harry Clarke, starring Billy Crudup (Audible at Minetta Lane Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, NYC, Lucille Lortel Award) and Sandra starring Marjan Neshat (Vineyard Theatre). Harry Clarke will have its West Coast premiere this fall at Berkeley Rep.
Les Waters is a multi-Obie Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated director. Previous shows at Steppenwolf are The Designated Mourner by Wallace Shawn, The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, and Middletown by Will Eno. He has directed on Broadway, Off Broadway, and many theatres throughout the U.S. From 2003–11 he was Associate Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and from 2012–18 he was the Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is both the subject and co-author of The Theatre of Les Waters: More Like the Weather, edited by Scott T. Cummings, published by Routledge, 2022.
Created by Lauren Spencer and Erika Chong Shuch
We meet Cassandra post Trojan war, after being dragged to a strange land by her captor, rapist, and now-husband, Agamemnon, who is about to be murdered by his wife. The Cassandra Project cracks open this moment between silence and speaking — the moment of Cassandras choice — to speak or not to speak. In this liminal space, we enter the memory palace of Cassandra’s mind, as she attempts to “re-member” the events that led her to this moment. Through dance, song, and ritual movement, Cassandra contends with the past, transfigured by her grief, in order to liberate herself. The play asks: is Cassandra’s experience madness or the ecstasy of being a woman who belongs to herself?
Lauren Spencer wears many artistic hats including actor, director, writer, teacher, and coach. She is a member of the award-winning ensemble Campo Santo and has worked with companies across the Bay Area and beyond: Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, Crowded Fire, Shotgun Players, SF Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Rep, and The Rally Cat, among others. She is an inaugural member of the Cal Shakes Artist Circle, a founding member of the Coalition of Black Women Professional Theatre Makers in the Bay, and an “Imagining Political Power Fellow” with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Erika Chong Shuch is a choreographer, director, and performance maker whose work spans devised experimental performance and social practice and produces unexpected forms of audience engagement. Shuch co-founded For You, a performance collective that brings diverse strangers together and makes performances as gifts. For You has been commissioned to create work by Court Theatre, The Momentary, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival with support from Creative Capital and NEFA. Erika has worked as a choreographer for theatres including Arena Stage, Round House Theatre/Getty Villa, Theatre for a New Audience, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Pittsburg Public, Portland Center Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Folger Theatre, and Kennedy Center. Erika is a fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts.
Created and performed by Jo Lampert and Debra Barsha
Directed by Sivan Battat
Framed by the forms of vaudeville and variety shows, Conversations with Ourselves: Two Neurotic Queer Jewish Dykes in Concert is an exploration of intergenerational connection, told through music, scenelets, sketches, and banter. Conversations… regales with tales — personal, anecdotal, historic, current — dissecting how we love and remember across generations, how we define lived experience and identity, how we keep up with the ever-expanding language and landscape of queerness, and more. As outsiders navigating fixed systems with an unrelenting will to be themselves within and without, Barsha and Jo hope that the wisdom they offer each other might conjure new perspectives across the bounds of age and otherness.
Jo Lampert is a performer and aural historian. Selected Off-Broadway: David Byrne’s Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (Public Theater, Lucille Lortel Award nomination), The Bengsons’ Hundred Days (New York Theatre Workshop), Rimbaud in NY (BAM), New York Animals (New Ohio), Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company). Regional: Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene, Lyric Opera of Chicago), Marie Antoinette (ART/Yale Rep), Prometheus Bound (ART), and Jeff Buckley/Romeo & Juliet rock musical The Last Goodbye (Mercutio, Williamstown Theatre Festival). TV: Transparent, Orange Is the New Black, The Path, Betty. Jo sang for Oakland-based band tUnE-yArDs’ 2014 Nikki Nack world-tour.
Debra Barsha won the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Award for the score to Radiant Baby, (Public Theater – dir. George C. Wolfe). Barsha co-wrote A Taste of Things to Come (with Hollye Levin) – at Bucks County Playhouse, Broadway in Chicago/off-Broadway – The York Theatre (dir. Lorin Latarro), pub. – Concord Theatricals. Barsha co-wrote Every Other Thursday (w/Sheilah Rae) – (Smith and Krauss pub.) and T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M with George Clinton. Broadway: Associate Conductor – Jersey Boys and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Pianist/Key 1 sub – Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Barsha’s one-person show (Cherry Lane Theatre) was A Womb with a View.
Sivan Battat (she/they) is a theatre director and cultural organizer, and Director of New Work Development at Noor Theatre. Recent credits include: Layalina (World Premiere, Goodman), Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Studio), Brass Knuckles (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Trouble in Mind (AD, Broadway). Sivan has developed work with companies including Roundabout, the Park Avenue Armory, NYTW, Atlantic, Ars Nova, New Georges, New York Stage & Film, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Long Wharf, MCC, and more. Fellowships include Roundabout Directing Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, TCG Rising Leaders of Color. Upcoming: Wish You Were Here (Yale Rep), Backstroke Boys (Fault Line). sivanbattat.com
Written by Reggie D. White
Directed by Ken-Matt Martin
Fremont Ave is a multi-generational story about three Black men who embark on a journey to choose love and the battles they wage along that journey.
Reggie D. White (he/him) is thrilled to make his Berkeley Rep debut as a playwright after appearing as an actor in Party People (2014), The Last Tiger in Haiti (2016), Goddess (2022), and countless Ground Floor development projects. Other acting credits include The Inheritance (four Tony Awards including Best Play), Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (People’s Light), I and You (59E59), and Hundred Days (NYTW). He co-conceived Lessons in Survival: 1971, based on the iconic conversation between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin at Vineyard Theatre (NYT Critic’s Pick). Reggie, currently serving as the Associate Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, is a recipient of the Colman Domingo Award, the TCG Fox Fellowship, the TBA Titan Award, the RHE Artistic Fellowship, and an NCAAP Theatre Award nomination. reggiedwhite.com
Ken-Matt Martin is a producer and director that has worked at many theatres across the country. Martin is a co-founder of Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, IA where he served as executive director until 2018. Pyramid is the first and only theatre in the state of Iowa to produce plays by August Wilson, including Martin’s productions of Fences and The Piano Lesson. Martin’s producing and directing credits in Des Moines have received numerous Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Award nominations, including two awards for Best Play and a Special Honor for Martin in 2016. As a director he has developed new plays at Vineyard Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, Primary Stages, and Space at Ryder Farms. Next season he will direct world premiere plays and musicals at Flint Rep, Mosaic Theatre Company, and Olney Theatre Center. Martin has also served as producing director at Williamstown Theatre Festival, where his tenure included the Broadway transfers of The Sound Inside and Grand Horizons. Additionally, he has served as associate producer at the Goodman Theatre where he co-created the Future Labs program. He was recently appointed interim artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He received two degrees from Drake University and his MFA in Directing from Brown University.
Written by Max Posner
Directed by David Cromer
Featuring Kate Berlant
Hanukkah Spectacular asks what does it mean to be Jewish? Why are there no Holiday Smash Hits about Jews? Why is the word “Jew” avoided by the goyim, like a slur? Can the traumatic events of our childhoods make us sick in adulthood? Can we be victims to our siblings? The play is the raucous, uproarious unraveling of a torment between a brother and a sister. A brother who won’t let go, and a sister who has moved on, worlds away. But really, it’s a REHEARSAL COMEDY set in the glass conference room in the office of a Talent Agency in a skyscraper. An Ashkenazi-American writer is working on a commission: he’s promised to deliver a commercially viable play about Hanukkah, but he can’t until he exorcises the many permutations of my sister and halts the unraveling of his nervous system. The play is a realistic portrait of “workshopping” a new play that doesn’t yet exist — an ill-advised act of revenge and betrayal — only the actors are falling in love with each other, and the director knows the whole thing is destined for destruction of biblical proportions. Can they salvage a Hanukkah spectacular from the rubble of their present lives? Or should they give up?
Max Posner is an award-winning playwright whose upsetting comedies of family life have pushed buttons Off-Broadway and across the United States. His plays are published and licensed by Dramatists Play Service. His play The Treasurer (NYT Critic’s Pick) was printed in American Theater Magazine and nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Play after a celebrated, sold-out run at Playwrights Horizons directed by David Cromer. Included on year-end “best-of” lists in New York Magazine, The New York Times, and TimeOut New York.
David Cromer A Case for the Existence of God (Signature); The Sound Inside (Broadway); The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company, Broadway & National Tour); the Broadway revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and The House of Blue Leaves; Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theater); The Effect, Orson’s Shadow, and Tribes (Barrow Street); Women or Nothing (Atlantic Theater Company); When the Rain Stops Falling and Nikolai and the Others (Lincoln Center Theater); and Adding Machine (Minetta Lane Theatre). Cromer has received a Tony, Drama Desk, three Obies, three Lucille Lortels, a Joe A. Callaway, four Jeff Awards, and in 2010 was made a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Kate Berlant Comedian, actress, and writer Kate Berlant most recently concluded her second sold out run of KATE, her one-woman off-Broadway play, to a rapturous response, “the New York City Show to See” (Vulture). Her comedy special Cinnamon in the Wind (directed by Bo Burnham) is now streaming on Hulu. In addition, her A24/Peacock sketch comedy special Would It Kill You to Laugh?, created with her collaborator John Early, was recently nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award. Kate’s film credits include Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You. She can currently be seen on the Amazon series A League of Their Own, starring alongside Abbi Jacobsen and Nick Offerman; her additional television credits include Search Party, The Other Two, Transparent, and I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, as well as her celebrated episode of Netflix’s The Characters. She was named a Just for Laughs “New Face of Comedy” and a Variety “Ten to Watch.”
Written and performed by Ryan J. Haddad
Directed by Danny Sharron
Hold Me in the Water is an autobiographical solo one-act about Ryan’s quest for sex, intimacy, and love as a gay man with cerebral palsy.
Ryan J. Haddad an actor and playwright, returns to Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, where he developed his play Good Time Charlie in 2018. His plays include Dark Disabled Stories (Bushwick Starr/Public Theater - Lortel, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations) and Hi, Are You Single? (Woolly Mammoth/IAMA - Helen Hayes nomination). Haddad received the Drama Desk’s 2023 Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award, Vineyard Theatre’s 2021 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, and a 2020 Disability Futures Fellowship. He will next appear opposite Emma Corrin and Clive Owen in the Hulu limited series A Murder at the End of the World.
Danny Sharron (he/him) is a theatre director with a focus on developing new plays and musicals, dedicated to elevating the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. Danny has developed and directed work with The Public, NYTW, Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Rep, Williamstown, Ars Nova, LAByrinth, Primary Stages, Ma-Yi, and The Lark. He was most recently a Next Stage Directing Resident with The Drama League. He is also a recipient of New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, Williamstown’s Bill Foeller Fellowship, The Drama League’s New York Fellowship, and is an alumnus of the Ars Nova Director’s Troupe. NYC-based. Proud member of SDC. dannysharron.com
Written by LeAnne Howe and Colm Summers
Music by Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate
Directed by Colm Summers
Assistant Directed by Emma Denson
175 years ago, the Choctaw sent a $170 gift to the Irish in the worst year of the Great Famine, also known as Black ’47, beginning a generations long reciprocity between the two cultures. The story of the Choctaw gift at the height of the Irish Famine has touched the imaginations of people around the world. The Keening is a high-octane thrill-ride featuring traditional Irish and Choctaw music, dance, and poetry. In an increasingly atomized era of isolation and factionalism, The Keening invites audiences to celebrate the gifts we can give each other if we imagine we are all kindred spirits.
Colm Summers is a director-writer from Waterford, Ireland, based between Los Angeles, New York, and Dublin. Colm has worked with The Wooster Group, the feath3r theory, Milo Rau, Dead Centre, and Pan Pan. As playwright, Colm is published in Fresh Cuts: New Plays from Dublin Fringe (Oberon). He is a Dublin Fringe Radical Spirit Award Nominee, Dublin Theatre Festival Next Stage cohort member, and Pan Pan International Mentee. Colm was Resident Director at the National Theatre of Ireland. Colm is Director-in-Residence at The Geffen Playhouse, and Resident Performing Artist at BRIClab, Brooklyn. Upcoming: Every Brilliant Thing at Geffen Playhouse. colmsummers.com
LeAnne Howe is a thrill seeker, always up to no good just like Trickster Rabbit. Her first novel, Shell Shaker, 2001, received an American Book Award in 2002. Equinoxes Rouge, the French translation, was the 2004 finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, one of France’s top literary awards. An enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation, Howe received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, and the 2012 USA Ford Fellowship in Literature. In 2022, she and filmmaker James Fortier were awarded a Telly Award for their 56-min documentary Searching for Sequoyah that aired nationally on PBS stations.
Emma Denson is an Alabama-born, Brooklyn-based director and writer of theatre. In January 2023, she directed a reading of her and Dr. Maria Rewakowicz’ bilingual adaptation of Hunger at Irish Arts Center for Origin Theatre Company’s First Irish Festival, and a second reading took place at the Ukrainian Museum in May. She wrote and directed the short play sub[vert]way as part of IATI Theater’s Mujerstory 2023. She was recently a director-in-residence at Mississippi State University. Selected credits: The Keening (assistant director, Irish Arts Center); The Taming of Kate (director/devisor, Triskellion Arts); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (director, Stagedoor Manor); Emily (director, The Chain); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (assistant director, Classical Theatre Harlem Young Company); Blanche and Stella (assistant director, Columbia University); Top Hate (director, Staged Reading at Arts on Site); The Messages (assistant director, BRICLab Residency). Upcoming: runaway home (director, Staged Reading at Theatre Row). emmadenson.com
Written and performed by Dan Hoyle
Directed by Michael John Garcés
Rage & Reconciliation is a new piece of journalistic theatre based on conversations with real people making change in their communities and finding a way to change themselves. Former violent extremists now working to deradicalize others, grassroots organizers in the South registering hundreds of thousands of new voters, former FARC Combatants in Colombia, remorseful mercenaries in South Carolina, new-age healers in Florida, and ex-Mormons in Las Vegas are among the characters encountered in this early workshop piece.
Dan Hoyle is an actor and writer whose solo shows in his signature journalistic theatre style — Border People, Each and Every Thing, The Real Americans, and Tings Dey Happen — have toured the country and overseas including Joe’s Pub; Culture Project; Working Theater; Baltimore Center Stage; Berkeley Rep; Cleveland Playhouse; The Marsh; Mosaic; Portland Center Stage; Playmakers Rep; The Park in Kolkata, India; Samuel Beckett (Dublin, Ireland); and a five-city tour of Nigeria. Hoyle has been recognized with many awards, including the Will Glickman, Prize of Hope, BATCC, TBA, and Lucille Lortel. BA: Northwestern University. Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria in 2005–2006.
Michael John Garcés is a director and playwright based in Los Angeles. Recent directing credits include world premiere productions of Wicoun by Larissa FastHorse (Cornerstone Theater Company), The Play You Want by Bernardo Cubrias (The Road Theatre), The Rivers Don't Know by James McManus (City Theatre), and the just and the blind by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (Carnegie Hall). Recent productions of his plays include 36 Yesses (Cornerstone) and TOWN (Theatre Horizon). Michael is a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award and the executive vice president of SDC. He was the artistic director of Cornerstone Theater for 17 years.
Created by Machel Ross, Sekai Abeni, Nina Grollman, Bubba Weiler, and Ellen Winter
The Pennsylvania Dutch word Rumspringa translates to “jumping or running about;” a near perfect word to describe the vessel of time when Amish youth “get the wild out” of themselves, before moving towards adulthood, marriage, and a lifetime commitment to the Amish Church. This rite of passage is an extreme contrast to the Amish way of life. A life that is anchored in the belief that the body and mind should constantly be kept busy, and in constant service of their God. The Rumspringa Project follows the story of two Amish teen girls as they move through arguably the most complex and dense time of their lives. As Anna and Mary’s journeys collide, an overwhelming connection and attraction makes them each have to choose: A life in pursuit of tradition and familiarity? Or blazing a new path of uncertainty, but ultimately of freedom.
Machel Ross (she/her) is a Dominican American director and creative collaborator, who specializes in the development of new work and aesthetic world building. She’s developed work with Aziza Barnes (NANA), Agnes Borinsky (A Song of Songs), and Jeremy O. Harris (Black Exhibition). Machel is the current Associate Artistic Director of The Bushwick Starr, a 2022 Lily Award winner, a 2020–2022 WP Directing Fellow, a 2020 Sundance Theater Lab fellow, and a 2019 grant recipient of the Women’s Fund for Film, TV, and Theatre for her short film Signs He Made at Home. BFA-NYU.
Sekai Abeni A native of Portland, Oregon, is a graduate of The Juilliard School with her BFA in Acting. Sekai can be seen in the Amazon/Plan B series Paper Girls. She was seen in A Song of Songs at the Bushwick Starr, directed by Machel Ross and produced by Jeremy O. Harris. She appeared in Garage Magazine’s and Gucci’s A Cake Walk, directed by Miranda Haymon. Her short film and installation Winter Citrus premiered at Ars Nova. She is a Summer 2023 Residency Fellow at Wassaic Project. She was named one of Backstages On-The-Rise Performers You Need to Know for 2023.
Nina Grollman (all pronouns) is a multi-hyphenate actor, musician, and comedian. They also go by the alter ego Softee, and they just released their second LP, Natural, via City Slang Records. Their music has been featured in Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, Wonderland, and Billboard, to name a few. She is also known for her work on and off Broadway, most notably as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. They have a BFA in acting from Juilliard.
Bubba Weiler is a Brooklyn-based writer and actor. His plays include This Room is For Everybody, The Lost Sheep, and Tattoo. As an actor, he has performed on Broadway in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and in several TV shows and films including Kaleidoscope on Netflix and Puzzle, which premiered at Sundance. He studied acting and playwriting at Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU.
Ellen Winter (she/they) is a song-singing queerdo, music producer, and teaching artist whose music fuses theatrical storytelling with dreamy synths and vocal stacks. She co-composed/wrote/directed 36 Questions, the world’s first Broadway-caliber musical podcast starring Jonathan Groff (Hamilton) and Jessie Shelton (Hadestown). In 2020, she released her debut glitter-fueled album, Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt, and the record’s viral empowerment anthem “Mantras” hit #1 on the U.S. In-Store Radio Charts. Ellen is a recipient of the 2021 Bryan Gallace/Posthumous Prodigy Productions Musicians Fellowship. Past Residencies: Ars Nova, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Mercury Store, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and BarnArts. @itsellenwinter | ellenwinter.com
Written by Ken Savage, Jessia Hoffman, and Kyle Ewalt
On a fundamental level, all humans want to find love — and because romance, sex, and partnership are paramount in our lives, we’re naturally obsessed with watching people date. Someone Over the Rainbow is a new super queer reality dating show musical (yes, you read that right!) wherein the audience is given the power to determine the fate of its cast of hopeful romantics. Set to the discography of dance/pop band Kyven and inspired by Sondheim’s Company, this musical invites audiences to ride the love life rollercoaster, and to choose whether or not there really is some ONE or MANY over the rainbow.
Ken Savage is an Asian American producer and director. Ken was the associate producer at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and American Conservatory Theater. Other theatres: Ars Nova, NY Theatre Barn, Cal Shakes, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The Public Theater, Arena Stage, Playwrights Foundation, Crowded Fire Theater, Feinstein’s at The Nikko, Z Space, Manchester International Festival. Other new musicals in development: Gravity: A New(tonian) Musical (O’Neill Finalist, 2017) and Rachel Lark’s Coming Soon: A New Rock Musical. Education: Stanford University. Currently he is the events producer for Festival Napa Valley, bringing together his love for food, wine, and music. kensavageproductions.com
Jessia Hoffman (she/her) is an experience designer, multi-hyphenate creator, improvisor, and founder of On Deck Workshops, a creative consultancy that levels-up company culture at orgs like Google, Bloomberg, Intuit, and LinkedIn. A Bay Area native and Stanford grad, Jessia guest lectures in experiential leadership at Stanford and UC Berkeley. She also hosts live dating events in San Francisco – check out tempo.date! Favorite theatre credits: Carolyn, The Bridges of Madison County (TheatreWorks); Lisi, The Man in the Ceiling (TheatreWorks); Tracy Turnblad, Hairspray (Stanford); Dot/Marie, Sunday in the Park with George (Stanford); playwright, Sheila; co-creator, Gravity: A New(tonian) Musical. | jessiahoffman.com | ondeckworkshops.com
Kyle Ewalt (he/him) is a composer, lyricist, and recording artist writing for musical theatre, ballet, and dance/pop and has written seven musicals, five with playwright Michael Ian Walker. Ewalt’s musical Meet the Voyagers was produced virtually in 2021 and featured live music via actors in multiple geographies. His musical Bromance was produced Off West End at The Other Palace in London. Kyle has also written lyrics for the last seven Broadway Bares NYC finale numbers. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music where he studied songwriting and vocal styles with Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer.
Written by Madeleine George
The Sore Loser, a Faustian comedy set in a bowling alley, is a play about power, domination, and the death of the patriarchy. It begins in realism, following mild-mannered loser Jamie as he bargains away his soul to the devil (who, it turns out, has a side-gig as a personal trainer and goes by “Paul”) in exchange for three back-to-back perfect games in a local bowling tournament. Things start to go wrong — and get musical — when Nicki, Jamie’s secret crush and bowling nemesis, shows up and starts racking up perfect games of her own, threatening Jamie’s hard-bargained domination of the lanes. By the end of the play, we’re in full-blown epic theatre, and Nicki has wrested the role of protagonist away from Jamie, setting up a final showdown between Nicki and the prince of darkness himself. All of this plays out with the assist of an ensemble of singing, dancing league bowlers. The play aims to delight and disarm, even as it draws us into an encounter with our own darkest impulses: the will to dominate that lives inside all of us, out of which the annihilating hierarchies of our world arise.
Madeleine George Plays include Hurricane Diane (Obie Award), The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Precious Little, and The Zero Hour. Honors include a Whiting Award, the Hermitage Major Theatre Award, the Princess Grace Award, and a Lilly Award. Madeleine has written on shows for FX and HBO, and she is a writer/producer on the Hulu mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building. Since 2006, she has worked with the Bard Prison Initiative at Bard College, where she currently serves as director of admissions.
Created by Samora la Perdida, Mobéy Lola Irizarry, Matthew Zweibel, Josiah Handelman, and Paloma Sierra
Spanglish Sh!t is a bilingual musical about Brujita, a transgender Puerto Rican witch who runs the most poppin’ restaurant in East Harlem. But when an old family recipe calls for a tablespoon of her Spanish, she must make a shocking confession…and wrestle with the demons of her whitewashed past.
Samora la Perdida (she/they) is a trilingual creator, poet, and performer. She wrote and starred in the Spanglish rap opera pato, pato, maricón, which premiered at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest. She recently gave a TEDxTalk entitled, “Do Latines Need to Speak Spanish? Finding Your Lost Mother Tongue.” As a performer her credits include A Transparent Musical at the Mark Taper Forum, Soho Rep’s Notes on Killing…, and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ My Broken Language at Signature Theatre. Samora graduated from Carnegie Mellon with Drama and Global Studies degrees and is a YoungArts Presidential Scholar from LaGuardia High School.
Mobéy Lola Irizarry (they/she) is a genderqueer composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, painter, and transdisciplinary artist. Based in Brooklyn, they hail from the Puerto Rican diaspora in Hartford, CT, and are a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She makes within the lineages of decolonial uprisings, collections of tiny mirrors at queer clubs, and things that come from trees. Mobéy is a cofounder and composer for Las Mariquitas, NYC’s Queer and Trans-centered Salsa band, and a member of the experimental performance trio Dendarry Bakery and the Latin Rock outfit AVATAREDEN. In May 2023 they released Seka’s Dream, her latest album, on Panapen Records and Funnybone Records.
Matthew Zweibel is an East Coast-based composer, music director, and pianist. He’s a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in music composition. In the Bay Area, Matt recently worked with the writing duo Kerrigan & Lowdermilk on their newest musical, Justice, with book by Lauren Gunderson, as well as The Beat Goes On with Susan Draus and Eryn Allen at Transcendence! They are a recipient of the Harry G. Archer Award for Composition and have produced two original musicals while at Carnegie Mellon. Deeply passionate about new works. Current inspirations: säje, Ola Gjeilo, Stevie Wonder, and Stephen Sondheim. @matthewzwiebel
Josiah Handelman is a composer, music producer, pianist, and percussionist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in music composition, Josiah frequently showcases his diverse musical background, incorporating various percussive elements as well as his roots in jazz, R&B, neo-soul, and gospel music. In 2019, Josiah debuted his first full-length composition as a sophomore, marking the beginning of his career as a composer at Carnegie Mellon. Since then, he has collaborated in composing and arranging various original musical theatre productions for the Purnell School of Drama. He has also composed music for various short films and fashion shows. Josiah frequently collaborates as a music producer and songwriter with many Hip-Hop and R&B artists. He has also independently released three full-length music projects under his artist name “J Baby Smooth,” including his third album Juice in June of 2022. @jbabysmooth
Paloma Sierra is a writer and director who reimagines theatre and film through translation to break down cultural barriers, foster empathy and understanding, and bring forth stories that have been historically underrepresented in mainstream media. Invested in narratives centering Latinx/Hispanic communities, Paloma has developed films, musicals, and verse dramas across Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, an Emerging Poet Laureate of Allegheny County appointment, and a ¡Tú Cuentas! CineYouth Festival Grand Prize. Paloma holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing and a BHA in Creative Writing and Drama from Carnegie Mellon University.
Written by Isabella Dawis and Tidtaya Sinutoke
The brilliant Japanese solar scientist Hisako Koyama was as groundbreaking as Galileo, yet she has remained a “hidden figure” — until now. Sunwatcher is an inventive new musical about one woman’s unsung genius, and her drive to advance science in the face of immense obstacles. In 1944, a young woman in Tokyo dares to stare at the sun. Despite oppressive gender roles which limit women to the kitchen, and though the violence of WWII rages around her, Hisako fights for an impossible dream — to widen our understanding of outer space. Her struggle leads her to the guidance of an unexpected teacher, the mighty Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu. Through an innovative musical score which uses electronic live looping and traditional Japanese musical instruments, Sunwatcher animates Hisako’s story with a cast of all Asian women.
Isabella Dawis is a Filipina-American playwright and performer from Minneapolis. She is the recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, the Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre, the Fred Ebb Award, and the Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award. Her musicals with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke include Half the Sky (5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft and Radio Play, Musical Theatre Factory at Joe’s Pub, Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival, Theater Mu’s New Eyes) and Sunwatcher (Ancram Opera House Playlab, Civilians R&D, Rattlestick Global Forms). Her work has been supported by Loghaven, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the Kurt Weill Foundation, Weston Theater Company, Tofte Lake Center, the O’Neill, Goodspeed, the Atlanta Opera, the American Opera Project, and more. isabelladawis.com
Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) is a Jonathan Larson Grant, Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, and Fred Ebb Award-winning musical theatre composer, writer, and musician. Theatre credits: Half the Sky (5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft Commission & 20/21 Digital Season), Sunwatcher (The Civilians R&D Group); Little Dugong and Her Seagrass Song (American Opera Project), and Dear Mr. C (Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative Award). Her works have been developed and supported by the Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Johnny Mercer Foundation, NYFA IAM Mentoring Program, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Kurt Weill Foundation, Drama League, Tofte Lake Center, Loghaven Artist Residency, and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. MFA: NYU. tidtayasinutoke.com
Written by Eric Lockley
Directed by Shariffa Ali
When the prospect of a far-off place called Home seems more appealing than the terrors of Earth, Marcus, a down and out teacher, launches himself on a journey across planets and centuries. Marcus risks everything, and a dysfunctional space crew will stop at nothing to discover Home. But as they encounter mysterious alien figures, Afro-Bots, and a very uncertain future, Home may not be all that they expected. Sweet Chariot is an Afro-futuristic exploration of the fine line between escapism and unshakeable resilience, posing the question: is true liberation only possible for Black people beyond Earth?
Eric Lockley is an Obie and AUDELCO award-winning writer, actor, and producer. Eric’s plays and solo shows include Blacken the Bubble, Without Trace, Last Laugh, and Asking for More. Lockley’s recent solo show, We the People (Not the Bots), was a walking tour that put audiences on a time-traveling adventure through Lower Manhattan and received a New York Times feature. Lockley’s newest play, an Afrofuturistic triptych entitled Sweet Chariot, recently had a developmental presentation at The Public Theater. Valuing diverse representation on and off stage, Eric is a founder of and produces with The Movement Theatre Company (What to Send Up When It Goes Down) and Harlem9 (48Hours in… HARLEM). Stay connected: @iamericlockley, iamericlockley.com
Shariffa Ali is a creative leader committed to working with an open heart at the intersection of the performing arts and humanitarianism.
Written by Ro Reddick
Directed by Taylor Reynolds
Six “sexy singles” go to a secluded island for true love, nostalgia soaked #goodvibes, and a chance to win $100K. But when a strongman bachelor enters the villa there’s a lot more at stake than a pot of money… Throwback Island is a dark and eerie satire that explores good old fashioned American fascism through a bonkers reality dating show (Love Island meets the zero-sum cruelty of Survivor). It’s a play interested in how order is maintained through the performance of reality, a reality that rubs up against America’s professed values of equal opportunity, freedom, and democracy.
Ro Reddick (she/her) is a queer Black MFA playwright at Brown University. Her plays have been read/developed with the Bushwick Starr Reading Series and Williamstown Theatre Festival (NYC Reading). Plays: Throwback Island (O’Neill Finalist), ROBAMA (O’Neill Semifinalist), Cold War Choir Practice, Miss Black Syracuse, and The History of Black People… Fellowships + fun stuff: Venturous Fellowship nomination, The Ground Floor, Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow, LaMama Umbria Playwright Retreat, Miranda Theatre Company Grant, BAI Songwriting Workshop. Degrees: BFA in Acting from Ithaca College, MBA from NYU (which she has no intention of using).
Taylor Reynolds is an Obie Award-winning director based in New York, originally from Chicago. Selected directing credits: This Land Was Made (Vineyard Theatre), Clyde’s (Berkeley Rep/Huntington Theatre), La Race (Page 73/Working Theater), Tambo & Bones (Playwrights Horizons/CTG), Man Cave (Page 73), The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, New York Times Critic’s Pick), Plano (Clubbed Thumb, Drama Desk nomination for Best Director). She is the 2021 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award recipient, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2017–2018 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, and Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab alum. iamtaylorreynolds.com
Written by Soomi Kim
Directed by Peter Kim
When David Bowie died, performing artist Soomi Kim was reminded of her own coming of age in the MTV generation and her adolescent desire to be the exotic Asian woman in Bowie’s China Girl video. MLCG (My Little China Girl) is a dance theatre solo performance that traverses Kim’s experiences as a first-generation Korean American navigating the sudden death of her mother, the confiscation of memory, and the attempts to replace them. Untitled Acts is an autobiographical dance theatre work, detailing the continuation of Soomi’s tussle with mortality and grief after the loss of her father in 2020.
Soomi Kim Credits as an actor/multi hyphenate artist: Body Through Which the Dream Flows (New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory and the Tank 2022), Testing Testing (2022 Dixon Place), MLCG (My Little China Girl) (Dixon Place 2017, COHO 2019). Trilogy based on Asian American visionaries created in collaboration with Suzi Takahashi: Chang(e) (HERE Arts Center 2015), Dictee: bells fall a peal to sky (Women Center Stage), Lee/gendary (HERE Arts Center). Kim is a three-time Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists artist. Residencies: Assembly Theater’s Deceleration Lab, Orchard Project’s Greenhouse Lab, Marble House, HERE Arts Center, Hemispheric Institute, and Mabou Mines. soomikim.com
Peter Kim is an accomplished actor and creative producer of the Obie Award-winning NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Co). He has acted on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally. Film and TV credits include BROS, The Forty-Year-Old Version, The God Committee, Saturday Church, Margin Call, Sex and the City, Hackers, Chicago Med, Ugly Betty, L&O: CI. He is a founding member of the Tony Honor-winning AAPAC; co-creator of the Off-Broadway comedy SIDES, and recently produced Radha Blank’s exhibition at The Met’s Costume Institute. He is a recipient of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color grant and holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. peterkimpeterkim.com
Joe Waechter Plays include The Hidden People, Good Ol’ Boys, Lake Untersee, PROFILES, and The Strangler. Honors include Jerome and McKnight Fellowships from The Playwrights/Center, the AracaWorks Prize, and residencies at the O’Neill, Space on Ryder Farm, and the Arctic Circle. His work in VR has been recognized by Sundance, Tribeca Film Festival, Google, Apple, and he wrote for the forthcoming VR adaptation of Stranger Things. He is currently working on a new play commissioned by Berkeley Rep.
Harrison David Rivers is an award-winning playwright, librettist, and television writer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. His works include we are continuous (Geva Theatre Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival), the bandaged place (Roundabout), and This Bitter Earth (TheatreWorks Hartford, About Face, Penumbra, NCTC), among others. His television credits include One of Us Is Lying (Peacock), The Nevers (HBO), and Wytches (Amazon). Harrison is a recipient of McKnight, Jerome, and Van Lier Fellowships and residencies with the Siena Art Institute, NYTW, Williamstown, and Duke University. He sits on the board of directors of The Movement Theatre Company and Playwrights’ Center. MFA: Columbia University.
Carey Perloff is a director, playwright, producer, and educator who served as Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater (1992–2018) and of Classic Stage Company, NYC (1988–1992). She recently launched Tiny Theatricals, an online digital project featuring open rehearsals of classical plays for London’s Digital Theatre Plus, and published Pinter and Stoppard: A Director’s View (Bloomsbury Methuen 2022). As a playwright, Perloff’s work includes Vienna, Vienna, Vienna (Finalist, Jewish Play Project); Edgardo or White Fire (commissioned by WTF); If God Were Blue; Kinship; Higher; The Fit. Recent directing: The Lehman Trilogy (Huntington Theater), Home? (Voices Festival, D.C.), Ibsen’s Ghosts (Seattle Rep and Williamstown), Pale Sister (Gate Theater, Dublin), Queens (LJP), Private Lives (Stratford Festival), A Thousand Splendid Suns, Merchant of Venice, and The Oedipus Cycle starring John Douglas Thompson. Author: Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Press) 2016. careyperloff.com
The Ground Floor is supported by Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau, with additional funding provided by Bank of America, The Maurer Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.