The Studio Theatre Announces its 2013-2014 Season by Liz O’Meara Goldberg


Studio Theatre

– British Invasion Festival celebrates UK writers under 40
– Michael Kahn directs at Studio for the first time
– Commissions for Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Vivienne Franzmann, and
Rachel Bonds

Artistic Director David Muse is pleased to announce The Studio Theatre’s 2013-2014 Season, featuring a British Invasion Festival of work by young playwrights from the UK, Michael Kahn’s directorial debut at Studio, the third season of The Studio Lab, and a new late-night offering from Scotland as a part of its Special Events Series. In addition to its eleven-play lineup, Studio announces the first three new play commissions in the Theatre’s 35-year history.

To kick off Studio’s five-play 2013-14 Subscription Series, Muse welcomes Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn to direct a revival of Harvey Fierstein’s bittersweet comedy Torch Song Trilogy, which appeared on Broadway in 1983. “I am delighted to welcome Michael to Studio for the first time,” says Artistic Director David Muse. “He has a wonderful rapport with actors and a real skill with language; it’ll be great to set him loose on Harvey’s groundbreaking play.”

That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad, the first two works in Richard Nelson’s quartet of plays depicting an extended family over four years, will play in rotating repertory under the banner The Apple Family Plays. “Richard is a master of realism,” says Muse, “and his sophisticated dramas offer an opportunity to showcase strong acting, one of the core values of Studio.”

Following the acclaimed US premiere of Contractions in 2ndStage earlier this year, British playwright Mike Bartlett brings his Olivier Award-winning drama Cock to Studio’s Subscription Series. “Mike’s plays are marked by an economy of language, with a dry wit and a deeply theatrical sensibility,” says Muse, who will direct. “After the success of Contractions, we’re thrilled to bring his work to a larger audience.”

Water by the Spoonful, the lush and moving Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Quiara Alegría Hudes, traces the lives of six wounded but vibrant people as real-life and online worlds collide. “Quiara writes with intensity and emotional intelligence,” says Muse, “and the play’s conception of how we live and interact with each other is extremely ambitious.”

Closing out the Subscription Series is Tribes, Nina Raine’s deft exploration of family, belonging, and the limitations of language. Muse also directs this play, which Studio is presenting in collaboration with Gallaudet University. “Tribes is a play I’ve wanted to direct for years,” he says. “It’s such a human exploration of in-groups and out-groups, focusing on the experience of a deaf son in a hearing family. With Gallaudet — a world leader in deaf education—in DC, it’s a natural fit for this city and community, and the University has already been an invaluable resource as I’ve started working on the show.”

Studio’s productions of Cock, Tribes, and Edgar and Annabel (Studio 2ndStage) spearhead its British Invasion Festival, showcasing the work of some of the most accomplished and innovative plays by British writers under 40. “We’ve been reading plays from great young British writers, and it seemed like the right time to shine a spotlight on the range and complexity of plays coming from the United Kingdom,” explains Muse. Studio’s Festival will include readings of other plays alongside conversations with artists, scholars, and critics to place the work of these writers in a wider theatrical and cultural context.

Now in its third year, The Studio Lab—dedicated to stripped-down productions of invigorating new plays—will present Red Speedo, a world premiere from Lucas Hnath. “Lucas is an exciting new American voice,” says Muse. “Red Speedo is a stylish exploration of professional sports and the larger American competitive spirit, for better and worse.” The production will be directed by Lila Neugebauer, who returns to Studio after directing The Aliens last fall. Both of Studio’s previous Lab plays—Lungs by Duncan Macmillan and Dirt by Bryony Lavery—were nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play.

The Studio’s 2013-14 Special Events kick off with The Night Watcher, written and performed by Charlayne Woodard. A radiant tour de force, the agile Woodard embodies dozens of characters in this triumphant and thoughtful examination of the various definitions of parenthood. Studio’s second special event is the US Premiere of Beats, written and performed by Kieran Hurley. Studio will offer special late-night performances of this Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit, set at an illegal rave and featuring a DJ and live video.

The Studio 2ndStage season continues its decades-long commitment to innovation, risk-tasking, and the development of new artists with two US premieres directed by DC actors. Holly Twyford (Contractions) will direct Edgar and Annabel by British playwright Sam Holcroft, while Tom Story (POP!) will helm Australian Declan Greene’s Moth. “Holly and Tom are two of DC’s most accomplished actors, and 2ndStage is the perfect venue to support their directorial careers,” says 2ndStage Artistic Director Keith Alan Baker. “We’re thrilled to pair them with Sam and Declan, two exciting new international voices.” 2ndStage will close its season with the legendary revenge thriller Carrie: The Musical, adapted from the novel by Stephen King and directed by Baker.

The Studio Theatre announces the first three new play commissions in its 35-year history to British writer Vivienne Franzmann and American Rachel Bonds. Passing Strange creators Stew and Heidi Rodewald share a third commission for a new musical exploring the 1963 March for Jobs and Justice, the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s Resurrection Cities, and the contemporary Occupy movement. Further details on season dates, casting, and creative teams will be announced shortly.

Torch Song Trilogy
by Harvey Fierstein
directed by Michael Kahn
1983 Tony Award for Best Play
“A theatrical phenomenon that defied all odds.”—The Advocate
Drag queen Arnold Beckoff comes by his blues honestly: he knows what it is to long for love. Tired of trawling New York’s gay bar backrooms, and armed with fierce humor, Arnold decides to find a family on his own terms. But that means facing his most formidable opponent yet—his mother. With biting wit and startling poignancy, Torch Song Trilogy illuminates a defiant romantic’s fight for intimacy, honesty, and respect in a hostile world. First performed in 1981, Harvey Fierstein’s bittersweet comedy resonates with today’s questions about marriage, family, and self-acceptance in the gay community and beyond.

The Apple Family Plays
by Richard Nelson
directed by Serge Seiden
“One of Mr. Nelson’s points with this series is how world events are refracted and reflected in our own living and dining rooms in ways we’re not always aware of.” —The New York Times. Studio presents the first two plays in Richard Nelson’s quartet of plays about the Apple siblings and their extended family. Set at successive meals over the course of four years, the tensions and compromises, affection and resentments of the Apple Family’s personal lives play out against a rapidly changing America. Presented in rotating repertory.

That Hopey Changey Thing
“Insightful, funny, moving.” —The New Yorker
It’s 7 pm on the eve of Obama’s first midterm election, and Barbara’s hosting dinner for the family at her Rhinebeck, NY home. Over the course of a meal, the Apples delve into lost family history, the social meaning of manners, and the fragile state of the American body politic.

Sweet and Sad
“A soul-stirring new play.” —The New York Times
One year later, Barbara hosts a lunch on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Uncle
Benjamin is going downhill, Marian has moved in, and Richard—who was working
in the Trade Center a decade before—tries to treat the day like any other.

by Mike Bartlett
directed by David Muse
2010 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement
“An equivalently brilliant and blackly hilarious feat of provocation.”—The Independent While on a break from his long-term boyfriend, John met the woman of his dreams. When his boyfriend wants to reconcile, John’s torn. His two lovers decide to hash it out with him in person, entangling John in their primal battle—and forcing him to make a choice. Cock detonates the love triangle in this investigation of attraction, ambivalence, and commitment from one of Britain’s most provocative young playwrights.

Water by the Spoonful
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize
“A combination poem, prayer, and app on how to cope in an age of uncertainty, speed and chaos.”—Variety
In North Philly, ex-Marine Elliot works at Subway, cares for his dying mom, and leans on his cousin Yaz as he tries to acclimate to civilian life. Online, four addicts cling to their chat room support group, struggling for another day sober. These lives collide as events small and large threaten their fragile stabilities, in this eloquent and haunting play about resilience, redemption, and families of both blood and choice.

by Nina Raine
directed by David Muse
2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
“The best-written, best-plotted, deepest, most daring—and funniest—new play in recent years.” —The Wall Street Journal
Billy was born deaf into a garrulous academic family who raised him to lip read and integrate into the hearing world. When he meets Sylvia—who’s going deaf herself—Billy decides it’s time to speak on his own terms, sending shock waves through the family. Playing out in sign language, argument, music, and mesmerizing silence, this sophisticated drama examines family, belonging, and the limitations of language. A moving and surprising play from a rising star of the British theatre, presented in cooperation with Gallaudet University.

The Studio Lab presents stripped-down productions of world premiere plays, giving playwrights in residence the ability to work in an environment of experimentation, collaboration, and discovery.

Red Speedo
by Lucas Hnath
directed by Lila Neugebauer
World Premiere Ray’s swum his way to the eve of the Olympic trials. If he makes the team, he’ll get a deal  with Speedo. If he gets a deal with Speedo, he’ll never need a real job. So when someone’s stash of performance-enhancing drugs is found in the locker room fridge, threatening the entire team’s Olympic fate, Ray has to crush the rumors or risk losing everything. A sharp and stylish play about swimming, survival of the fittest, and the American dream of a level
playing field—or of leveling the field yourself.

Studio Special Events bring unique performances and one-of-a-kind events from around the world to DC.

The Night Watcher
written and performed by Charlayne Woodard
2011 Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Solo Performance
“Ms. Woodard roams the stage like a human searchlight, casting a permanent glow that reaches all the way to the back rows.” —The New York Times
Motherhood eluded Charlayne Woodard, but as a godmother, aunt, confidant, and mentor, countless children have enhanced—and sometimes rattled—her life. With exuberance and grace, two-time Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee Woodard fuses ten vignettes of non-parental guidance into a radiant tour de force.

Written and performed by Kieran Hurley
US Premiere
2012 Best New Play, Critics’ Awards For Theatre
“A high-octane rollercoaster ride.”—The Telegraph
It’s 1994, the government has banned raves, and a suburban teen is sneaking off to his first. A hit at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Beats is a pulsating feat of storytelling, combining psychedelic visuals, a techno-spinning DJ, and the irrepressible urgency of youth.

Innovative and thrillingly eclectic, The Studio 2ndStage offers a playground for directors, actors and audiences alike.

Edgar and Annabel
by Sam Holcroft
directed by Holly Twyford
US Premiere
“Holcroft’s suspenseful sense of dramatic rhythm and sheer versatility put her at the head of the new writing brat pack.” —Time Out London
Marianne comes home to discover that the man playing her husband has been recast. But the government is still listening, and Marianne, a resistance operative, still has a part to play. Directed by Studio favorite Holly Twyford, this dark and cheeky look at what the future might hold features undercover agents, surveillance algorithms, and explosive karaoke.

by Declan Greene
directed by Tom Story
US Premiere
“Greene is a writer with a black wit, iron nerve and a considerable lyrical gift… [his] work is distinctive but never predictable.” —Theatre Notes (Australia)
Anime-obsessed Sebastian and emo-Wiccan Claryssa survive high school with a mix of imagination and belligerence. But then a horrific event on the school’s athletic field sends Sebastian on an apocalyptic mission, changing their friendship forever. Unfolding in pitch perfect teenspeak by one of Australia’s provocative young writers, this US premiere is directed by acclaimed DC actor Tom Story. A visceral exploration of the intimate, devastating betrayals of adolescence.

Carrie: The Musical
music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford
book by Lawrence D. Cohen
based on the novel by Stephen King
directed by Keith Alan Baker
“Welcome to the prom, Carrie. They’re not going to laugh at you now.” —Time Out New York Carrie is lonely. Carrie is angry. Carrie will fit in. Whatever it costs. New blood courses through this contemporary rock musical, based on Stephen King’s
haunting story of teen angst, religious fervor, and the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter. As Carrie navigates the harsh realities of high school bullying and her overprotective mother, a new and violent power is unleashed inside her—and she’ll use it. Directed by 2ndStage Artistic Director Keith Alan Baker.

Rachel Bonds is a playwright and performer currently living in Brooklyn. Her plays have been developed by New Georges, Ars Nova, Ensemble Studio Theatre, LaMaMa, The Flea, Playwrights Horizons, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Williamstown Theater Festival, Gotham Stage Company, Chicago’s American Theater Company, and (upcoming) McCarter Theatre, Roundabout Underground, The Arden, and Manhattan Theatre Club. She is an Affiliated Artist with New Georges, a member of EST’s Youngblood, a 2010-12 member of Ars Nova’s
Play Group, and a Playwriting Mentor in the PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program. She was an Associate Artist in Residence at The Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Father William Ralston Fellow at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Rachel is a graduate of Brown University.

Vivienne Franzmann was a drama teacher in London for twelve years. She left teaching in 2009 to pursue writing after winning the 2008 Bruntwood Playwriting Competition for Mogadishu. Mogadishu was also winner of the George Devine Award in 2010 and opened at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester in January 2011. She is currently under commission to Clean Break, Channel 4, and Radio 4. She was awarded the Pearson Playwright Bursary for the Royal Court, which started in 2012. Her latest play, The Witness, premiered at The Royal Court in
2012. Stew wrote the book and co-wrote the music and lyrics to Passing Strange, for which he received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and four other Tony nominations including Best Musical. He is also a two-time Obie Award winner for Passing Strange (Best New Theater Piece and Best Ensemble). Stew leads a band called The Negro Problem (TNP), which created the song cycles Making It (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and Brooklyn Omnibus (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Stew is a member of The Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board and
was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Heidi Rodewald was co-composer of the musical Passing Strange, which transferred from The Public Theater to Broadway in 2008 where it was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Orchestrations. Passing Strange won a Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, the 2008 Obie Award for Best New American Theater Piece and Best Ensemble, and was made into a film by Spike Lee. Rodewald joined The Negro
Problem in 1997 and since then has worked alongside Stew, performing, producing, arranging, and composing. She is currently working on a new musical, Against You, a free adaptation of Antigone set in the 1960’s with librettist, Donna Di Novelli.

Now in its third season under the leadership of Artistic Director of David Muse, The Studio Theatre is Washington’s premiere venue for contemporary theatre, “where local audiences will find today’s edgiest playwrights” (Variety). Muse is joined by Keith Alan Baker, Managing Director/Artistic Director, 2ndStage; and Serge Seiden, Associate Producing Artistic Director.

One of the most respected midsized theatres in the country, The Studio Theatre produces the work of today’s greatest writers, augmented by occasional productions of modern classics, performed by acclaimed actors in intimate spaces. Studio’s programming, while purposefully eclectic, emphasizes plays of sophistication and style with true literary and theatrical merit. The five plays of The Studio Theatre Season form the core of its work, and are complemented by its
Special Events, which bring unique performances and one-of-a-kind events to Washington DC; the rawer, frequently irreverent productions of The Studio 2ndStage; and the Studio Lab, in its third season, which is dedicated to the development of new plays in stripped-down productions.

Housed in a landmark complex that anchors the 14th Street Arts District and Logan Circle, each of Studio’s four theatres seats fewer than 225 patrons, giving Studio productions their signature intimacy. Throughout the Theatre’s 35-year history, the quality of its work has been recognized by sustained community support as well as with 303 nominations and 57 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre. In addition,

The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory has trained more than 10,000 students, many of whom have gone on to acclaimed careers across the country. A premiere cultural organization in Washington DC, The Studio Theatre serves more than 75,000 people annually and is a vital part of its neighborhood and city.


Accessibility: All performances are fully accessible to accommodate patrons with special needs. FM listening assistive system available. Call for schedule of sign-interpreted performances. Accessible seats available by reservation. Call the Box Office at 202-332-3300 or V/TTY 202-667-8436.

Location: 1501 14th Street NW (Northeast corner of 14th and P Streets).

Parking: Limited on-street parking; Colonial Garages located at P Street NW between 14th and 15th Streets and P Street NW between 16th and 17th Streets . Metro Stops: Red Line: Dupont Circle, Orange/Blue Lines: McPherson Square, and
Green/Yellow Line: U Street/Cardozo.

Contact Information:
Tickets: 202-332-3300. V/TTY: 202-667-8436


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