Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Announces its 2016-2017 Season


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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2016-2017 season, beginning with a world premiere and continuing with hotly-anticipated new plays by award-winning playwrights. Woolly’s new season features the work of Jen Silverman, Guillermo Calderón, Clare Barron, Nilaja Sun, Taylor Mac, and The Second City.

Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops is an absurdist romantic comedy about five women named Betty colliding at the intersection of anger, sex, and the representation of female identity.

Kiss, by Guillermo Calderón, is a farcical soap opera that abruptly reveals itself to be a politically charged drama; the play is making its U.S. premiere at Woolly.

Baby Screams Miracle, Obie Award winner Clare Barron’s gripping family drama about a religious household and an impending storm, comes to DC after a successful engagement at Clubbed Thumb (NYC). Nilaja Sun returns to Woolly for the first time since 2008’s No Child with her transformative, critically-acclaimed new solo piece Pike Street.

Taylor Mac’s Hir, a bold new comedy deemed “audacious” and “uproarious” by the New York Times, rounds out the season. And as a special holiday treat,

The Second City will bring some of Chicago’s most creative black comedians to fantasize about the racial future of America in the brand new provocative satire, Black Side of the Moon.

Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Woolly Mammoth’s 2016-2017 Season celebrates the courage, resilience, humor, and even eagerness of the collective human spirit in the face of terrifying, confusing, cataclysmic, and electrifying change,” says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. “As the ground shifts beneath our feet and everything that we thought we knew about gender, culture, race, faith, and family is called into question, what do we do? Is the response to dig in our heels and hold fast or to embrace the chaos and collapse? Either way, the storm is coming, whether we want it to or not. Who knows what (and who) will emerge from the wreckage?”

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By Jen Silverman

Directed by Mike Donohue

September 14-October 9, 2016

Playwright Jen Silverman.
Playwright Jen Silverman.

Betty is rich. Betty is lonely. Betty’s a dutiful wife, but Betty’s busy working on her truck. Betty wants to talk about love, and Betty wants Betty, but Betty needs to hit something. And Betty keeps using a small hand mirror to stare into parts of herself she’s never examined. Meanwhile, Betty decides to stage a production of that play-within-a-play from…what’s it called? Summer’s Midnight Dream?

In Collective Rage, five different women named Betty collide at the intersection of anger, sex, and the “thea-tah.” Award-winning playwright Jen Silverman’s absurdist romantic comedy is at once hysterical, inspired, and boldly uncompromising. When you’re done laughing, you’ll be ready to deliver a knockout blow to a thousand different well-worn tropes about female identity… and dare them all to say “Boop.”



By Guillermo Calderón

Directed by Yury Urnov

October 10-November 6, 2016

Playwright Guillermo Calderón.
Playwright Guillermo Calderón.

A standing double-date quickly becomes a hilarious farce as four friends unburden their hearts and reveal their secret passions. But is anything really what it seems to be? An intense, furtive video chat with what might be an exiled author, living on the run while escaping persecution, slowly upends both their world and ours. Can we recover what’s been lost in translation?

This U.S. premiere by “Chile’s most acclaimed playwright-director of the last two decades” (LA Times) is a disquieting exploration of the limitations of art in grappling with the suffocating effects of an oppressive regime. Politically charged and emotionally urgent, it dares us to question whether we can truly understand other cultures… because just when we think we get Kiss, it gets us instead.




Directed by Howard Shalwitz

January 30-February 26, 2017

A small house is besieged by an apocalyptic storm. Great trees crack and splinter, garbage shatters windows, a deer impales the car windshield, and the wind hurls a trampoline into the living room. While their family home collapses all around them, a prodigal daughter and her zealous relatives try to pray their way to safety.

Playwright Clare Barron.
Playwright Clare Barron.

Obie Award-winner Clare Barron’s new play is “a genuinely fragile, complex piece of work” (Time Out New York): a Rorschach test for the faithful and the faithless alike. You’ve never seen anyone pray quite like this. You’ve never met a family like this. But if you enter the eye of the storm with them, you might find an imperfect, harrowing miracle.



By Nilaja Sun

Directed by Ron Russell

March 27-April 23, 2017

From the one-woman dynamo who brought the Obie Award-winning No Child to Woolly in 2008 comes a rich slice of Puerto Rican immigrant life that “glows with humor” (New York Times). If you’ve ever seen Nilaja Sun’s virtuosic performance style, you’ll want to experience it again… and if you haven’t, you must not miss the chance to be transported to Pike Street.

Playwright Nilaja Sun.
Playwright Nilaja Sun.

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters— a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.”




By Taylor Mac

Directed by Shana Cooper

May 22-June 18, 2017

Isaac, a veteran, returns to his childhood home and discovers that his family’s been transformed. His mother, freed from the constraints of her marriage, has begun a crusade to subvert the patriarchy, and his former sister has become a transgendered queer anarchist who uses the pronouns ze and hir. Meanwhile, his once-abusive father now wears clown makeup and downs estrogen pills… against his will.

Playwright Taylor Mac.
Playwright Taylor Mac.

Obie Award winner Taylor Mac’s “audacious, uproarious black comedy” (New York Times) flips the script on gender power dynamics and asks a key question: does destroying the past really free you from it? It’s a sly kitchen-sink drama covered in glitter, and you’ll laugh your way through to an answer.


Woolly’s Holiday Special


Directed by Billy Bungeroth

November 12, 2016-January 1, 2017

The Second City renews its long-running, hugely-successful partnership with Woolly Mammoth by turning its satirical lens toward Black America. A cast of Chicago’s funniest and edgiest African American sketch and stand-up artists—the first of its kind ever assembled by the troupe—delivers the street satire and cultural cosmologies of a city on the brink.


scscriptlogoblack-1-300x72What does it mean to be black in the future? A new generation of audacious comedic voices explores everything from a utopian black planet founded by a retired Barack Obama to the ongoing struggles black people face with police brutality to the ongoing struggles white people face with gluten. We’ll see you on the Black Side of the Moon! 






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Now in its 36th Season, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company continues to hold its place at the leading edge of American theatre. Acknowledged as “one of the most influential outposts for the best new American plays” (The Washington Post), and “known for its productions of innovative new plays” (The New York Times), Woolly Mammoth is a national leader in the development of new works, and one of the best known and most influential mid-sized theatres in America.


*Press release is from Justin McCarthy, Communications Coordinator of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company


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