On Monday evening, September 18, Audible Inc., the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, hosted a celebration of the 5th anniversary of Audible Theater, in its Off-Broadway home at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Since its founding in 2018, Audible Theater has presented 42 live shows there, released 114 audio titles globally on Audible, commissioned 50 playwrights through its Emerging Playwrights Fund, and received 35 award nominations and thirteen wins, including Tony, Drama Desk, Lortel, and Audie Awards. That’s a lot to celebrate!
The star-studded invitation-only event began with a pre-show reception that filled two floors of the lobby with excitement and camaraderie, after which guests were invited into the theater for a program featuring sneak-peek performances of musical numbers by Laura Benanti, Solea Pfeiffer, Sinfolk (Gabriel Ruiz and J), and David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna. In addition to the music, acclaimed stage artists Colman Domingo, Santino Fontana, and Michael Cruz Kayne addressed the enthusiastic house, and Kate Navin, Head of Audible Theater, announced the expansion of its programming, with three new shows that will also be recorded and released as Audible Originals.
Navin noted, “For the next five years and beyond, our home at the Minetta will not only be a space for theater but also for live storytelling, including musical performances, podcasting events, and more. Our upcoming season underscores this expansion, including a series of variety shows [The Energy Curfew Music Hour, playing November 11-December 10, 2023] from the Grammy-winning Punch Brothers, original music performed by stage and screen luminary Laura Benanti [Nobody Cares, a three-night-only show of her personal stories and songs she created with Todd Almond, running Friday, February 2-4, 2024], and our first commissioned musical from the Tony-winning team of The Band’s Visit [Dead Outlaw, with a book by Itamar Moses, music and lyrics by Della Penna and Yazbek, and directed by David Cromer, beginning previews on February 28, 2024, for a limited engagement through April 7]. All of these live experiences will be recorded and released on Audible, furthering our commitment to sharing the power of live performance with listeners everywhere.”
In further uniting riveting performances with immersive audio, Domingo, a Tony nominee for The Scottsboro Boys and an Obie Award winner for Passing Strange, will star in and direct the audio adaptation of his play Wild with Happy, an outrageously imaginative work exploring the bizarre comedy that lies within death and healing, which made its debut at The Public Theater in 2012. Navin also announced the fifth cohort of Audible Emerging Playwrights, which includes Ava Geyer, Deepak Kumar, Sinfolk, Gloria Majule, and Omer Abbas Salem.
And on Thursday, September 21, Audible Theater is releasing a slate of four audio Originals, including the audio adaptations of three shows that were presented at the Minetta Lane Theatre earlier this year- playwright and director Erica Schmidt’s Lucy; A Father and the Sun, written and performed by Chris Gethard; and Kayne’s Sorry For Your Loss – plus the new direct-to-audio play Vanessa in Bed by Audible Emerging Playwright Diana Grisanti.