For the Saturday Evening and Sunday performance, please arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to curtain (seats will be released 15 minutes prior to curtain).
The three-day festival will include readings of plays and musicals in development by some of New York’s most exciting writers. The mission of the festival is to give playwrights a chance to hear their works in development in front of an audience and to give the audience at Bay Street and the East End Community a chance to experience cutting edge voices in the theater. Each play will be read by professional actors in its entirety, accompanied by minimal staging. Each reading will be followed by a talkback during which the playwrights and the audience will have to opportunity to ask questions of each other and share their reactions to the play. The plays included in the festival are The Roommate by Jen Silverman, Community by Stephen Kaplan, From Ship to Shape by Walker Vreeland, and the new musical The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
Friday, April 29 at 7pm: THE ROOMMATE by Jen Silverman, directed by Mike Donahue
Saturday, April 30 at 3pm: COMMUNITY by Stephen Kaplan, directed by Rob Urbinati
Saturday, April 30 at 8pm: FROM SHIP TO SHAPE by Walker Vreeland
Sunday, May 1 at 3pm: THE MAN IN THE CEILING book by Jules Feiffer, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, and directed by Jeffrey Seller (Producer of Hamilton, Rent, and Avenue Q)
THE ROOMMATE by Jen Silverman, directed by Mike Donahue will be presented on Friday to kick off the New Works Festival. The reading and talkback will be followed by a reception celebrating the opening of the Festival in Bay Street’s lobby bar. The play is about Sharon, someone who is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robin, also in her mid-50s, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robin's secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely... and a dangerous new world begins to emerge. A dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life - and what happens when the wheels come off.
COMMUNITY by Stephen Kaplan, directed by Rob Urbinati, is a play-within-a-play that tackles issues of race in the theatre community. Chris Marshall has just been cast as George in Mt. Laurel Community Players’ production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He invites Zach, the young, Black actor who’s been cast as Nick, over for a drink to give him some actorly advice – and possibly to kill him. Whatever works. When the production’s Martha and Honey show up uninvited, they find themselves caught in this play about a play tackling deadly issues like race and, perhaps even more dauntingly, community theatre. This ferocious comedy asks questions about how we view stories on race and the not-just-color blindness that many have when trying to talk about it.
FROM SHIP TO SHAPE by Walker Vreeland will be returning to Bay Street Theater after a previous reading last fall as part of The New Works Festival. The play begins in the summer of 2003 when 24 year-old performer Walker Vreeland got a job as a lead singer for Norwegian Cruise Lines. But he could never have imagined the voyage that lay ahead. Boarding the Bermuda-bound ship would mark the onset of a mental breakdown so severe he would wake up months later in 1 of the 101 beds at Johns Hopkins Hospital's Mood Disorder Psychiatric Ward. From Ship to Shape is a funny and heart-wrenching account of one young man’s struggle with mental illness in today’s world, his journey in pursuit of healing, and how sanity can be found in the most unexpected of places.
An Illustrated Musical Comedy, THE MAN IN THE CEILING with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa , book by Jules Feiffer, based on the illustrated novel by Jules Feiffer, directed by Jeffrey Seller. Someday he’ll be an artist! But for now, Jimmy is a flop as a boy: hopeless in class, helpless at sports, clueless as Mom and Dad. Can he find happiness as a boy cartoonist? A Pulitzer Prize cartoonist joins a Tony-nominated composer and the producer of Hamilton to find out.
Mike Donahue is a New York-based director. Credits include: the world premieres of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC and Denver Center); Jen Silverman’s Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb) and The Hunters (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm). Regionally: World premiere of Jen Silverman’s The Roommate (Humana); world premieres of Rachel Bonds’ The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre D.C.) and Swimmers (Marin); world premiere of Lauren Feldman’s Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Denver Center); Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya (Weston); Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre); Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles (Actors Theatre); Antony & Cleopatra (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); and Assassins, Henry IV & V (co-director) and A Number (Playmakers Rep, 2011/12 Distinguished Guest Artist). Readings/workshops: MCC, Roundabout Underground, NYTW, Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), Williamstown, McCarter, The O’Neill, Clubbed Thumb, Labyrinth, Denver Center, The Lark, Ars Nova, Dramatists Guild, The York, Chautauqua, Cape Cod Theatre Project and Studio 42. Mike is recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Drama league Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, winner of the Inaugural Opera America Director-Designer Showcase Award, winner of the Joe A. Callaway Award from the SDC Foundation for Georgia McBride, and was the artistic director of the Yale Summer Cabaret for two seasons. Mike is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama. Upcoming: world premiere of Jen Silverman's Collective Rage (Woolly Mammoth).
Jules Feiffer has won a number of prizes for his cartoons, plays, and screenplays, including the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. He illustrated the children’s classic, The Phantom Tollbooth. His books for children include The Man in the Ceiling, A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, I Lost My Bear, Bark, George, and Rupert Can Dance. Presently he is at work on his noir graphic novel trilogy, Kill My Mother. He lives in East Hampton, New York.
Stephen Kaplan grew up in Northridge, CA (home of the ’94 earthquake) and wrote his first play, And Jack Came Tumbling After (Old Globe Theatre, EST, HERE/Lincoln Center Theatre’s American Living Room Series) when he was 15. Selected awards, commissions and productions: Exquisite Potential (NJ Playwrights Contest, Dezart Performs, Across the Generations New Jewish Play Festival, finalist: Woodward/Newman Award, semi-finalist: Seven Devils); A Real Boy (This Is Water Theatre and semi-finalist: PlayPenn, Ashland New Play Festival, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest and MTWorks’ Newborn Festival); una casa/a home (finalist: Landing Theatre’s New American Voices Reading Series, Route 66 Theatre’s New Play Development Program); For Unto Us (Barrington Stage Company 10x10 Festival, MiniFest - Acadia Theatre Company, Luna Stage New Moon Short Play Festival, QueerShorts); In Mrs. Baker’s Room (Commission: Abingdon Theatre Company, Father Hamblin Award for Outstanding Playwriting, Center for Spiritual Living Playwriting Festival, Theatre Southwest); The Seventh Son (semi-finalist: Ronald M Ruble New Play Festival). Many of his plays are published on Indie Theatre Now. He is the New Jersey Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild.
Andrew Lippa’s new hit song Evil Like Me appears in Disney’s Descendants. Written for Kristin Chenoweth the soundtrack hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, #1 on the iTunes and Billboard soundtrack charts, and has been viewed over 27 million times on YouTube. Recently, Andrew composed and conducted a world premiere piece for the international piano virtuoso Lang Lang and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in Guangzhou, China. This new work, a 32-minute, 5-movement piece called Rising Tide, will be reprised later in 2016 and recorded in China. Lippa’s epic Concept Opera I am Anne Hutchinson/I Am Harvey Milk had its world premiere at The Music Center at Strathmore in April of this year starring Kristin Chenoweth as Anne Hutchinson and Mr. Lippa as Harvey Milk. This summer is the US premiere of Life of the Party – a musical compendium of Mr. Lippa’s career – produced by Theatreworks in Mountain View, CA and starring Mr. Lippa. Broadway credits include: Music and lyrics for Big Fish directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Tony-nominated music and lyrics The Addams Family (over 1,000 productions worldwide); music for Aaron Sorkin’s play The Farnsworth Invention directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys). In 1999 he contributed three new songs to the Broadway revival You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (including My New Philosophy for Tony-Award Winner Kristin Chenoweth) and created all new arrangements. Off Broadway credits include: The Wild Party (book/music/lyrics) which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best musical and Drama Desk Award for best music; John & Jen music and co-wrote book (w/ Tom Greenwald). His epic oratorio for men’s chorus, orchestra and soloists, I Am Harvey Milk has seen over 20 productions including Disney Hall and Lincoln Center. His musical A Little Princess (written with Brian Crawley) premiered at Theatreworks, was seen in concert at Texas State University in 2011, and is licensed for worldwide production by Music Theater International (MTI). Mr. Lippa is proud to have been music director for many concerts for Kristin Chenoweth including the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall. Recordings include Julia Murney’s CD I’m Not Waiting; The Addams Family (Decca Broadway and Spanish and German productions); Big Fish (Broadway Records); The Wild Party (RCA Victor); You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (RCA Victor) which earned him a Grammy Award nomination; A Little Princess (Ghostlight); and John & Jen (2 different recordings: Ghostlight and Broadway Records), I Am Harvey Milk. Mr. Lippa also produced the original cast recording of Bat Boy (RCA Victor). Awards: Tony and Grammy nominations; shared Emmy for Nickelodeon’s The Wonder Pets; The Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award; ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award; The Drama Desk Award; The Outer Critics Circle Award. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Lippa serves as president of The Dramatists Guild Fund. He was born in Leeds, England and grew up in suburban Detroit.
Jeffrey Seller is the winner of three Tony Awards for Best Musical: Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Avenue Q (2004); and In the Heights (2008). His newest musical, Hamilton, opened August 6, 2015 at The Richard Rodgers Theatre. The 10th longest running musical in Broadway history, Rent played 5,123 performances on Broadway and has grossed over $650 million worldwide. Productions of Rent have been seen in over 250 cities across America, as well as in 30 foreign countries. Avenue Q is still running in its 12th year in New York City. Jeffrey also produced De La Guarda (1998), Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party (2000), Puccini’s La Boheme directed by Baz Luhrmann (2002), High Fidelity (2006), West Side Story (2009), and The Last Ship (2014). Jeffrey directed the world premier of the new musical, FLY, at the Dallas Theater Center in 2013. Jeffrey is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Jen Silverman’s work has been produced off-Broadway by the Playwrights Realm (Crane Story), by Clubbed Thumb (Phoebe In Winter), at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (The Roommate, Humana 2015; Wondrous Strange, Humana 2016), Yale Rep (The Moors), and at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia (The Dangerous House Of Pretty Mbane, Barrymore Award, Steinberg Award finalist). She has work upcoming at Woolly Mammoth (Collective Rage: A Play In 5 Boops) and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (All The Roads Home). She is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and has developed work at the O’Neill, Playpenn, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Williamstown, New York Theatre Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Boston Court Theatre in LA, and the Royal Court in London among other places. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, a Leah Ryan Fellowship/ Lilly Award, the 2015 Helen Merrill Fund Award for emerging playwrights, and the Yale Drama Series Award for STILL. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard.
Rob Urbinati is a freelance director and playwright based in New York City. He has directed at the Public Theater, Culture Project, Abingdon Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Pearl Theatre, Queens Theatre, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, New York Music Theatre Festival, New York University and theatres and universities across the country. He is Director of New Play Development at Queens Theatre.
Rob’s first play as a writer, Hazelwood Jr. High, premiered at the New Group. Miss Julie in Hollywood, his bilingual adaptation of the Strindberg play, premiered at the 78th Street Theatre Lab. Rebel Voices, his adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s “Voices of a People’s History of the United States,” and Cruel & Barbarous Treatment, his adaptation of Mary McCarthy’s short story, premiered at the Culture Project. Rob’s play, Karaoke Night at the Suicide Shack, and his musical, The Queen Bees (formerly known as Shangri La), premiered at Queens Theatre. West Moon Street, based on a novella by Oscar Wilde, and his adaptation of Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant premiered at Prospect Theatre Company. His play, Death by Design: A Comedy With Murder, premiered at Houston Family Arts Center, and a new version of the play, Death By Design: A Comedy With Songs and Murder premiered at the University of Nebraska. Hazelwood Jr. High, West Moon Street and both versions of Death By Design have been published by Samuel French, who will also be publishing The Queen Bees, Rebel Voices and Nymph Errant. His play, UMW:University of Mostly Whites, was commissioned by Linfield College where it premiered. It will be published by Steel Springs Stage Rights. Rob is an alumnus of the Drama League Directors Project and The Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab. His plays have received over one hundred productions world-wide. His book, Play Readings: A Complete Guide for Theatre Practitioners was recently published by Focal Press/Routledge, and his new play, Mama’s Boy, which premiered at Good Theatre in Portland, Maine will open at the George Street Playhouse in October.
Walker Vreeland is an award-winning radio personality, interviewer, actor, singer, voice-over artist and writer. He currently hosts The Afternoon Show on 102.5 WBAZ-FM in The Hamptons where he has interviewed such stars as Joy Behar, Cyndi Lauper, Betty Buckley, David Brenner, Sally Struthers, James Frey, Bob Balaban, Sandra Bernhard and Jane Krakowski. As a radio personality, he has been heard on 92.9 & 96.9 WEHM on Long Island, 103.9 WFAS in Westchester, NY, 96.7 ‘The Coast’ in Norwalk, CT and WEBE 108 in Bridgeport, CT. Walker was voted Best Personality in the Hamptons of 2013, 2014 and 2015 (Platinum Award) by Dan's Papers. New York theater credits include: Little Women (with Deborah Gibson & Elaine Stritch), Erostratus, Just So Stories (Theaterworks USA), Our Life & Times (Winner of 1999 MAC and Bistro Awards) and From Ship to Shape at Bay Street Theater (reading). He got his Equity Card originating the role of Arthur in Arthur’s Christmas at The Vineyard Playhouse and has done several national tours. TV & Film credits include: MTV News (MTV), Web Junk (VH1), Guiding Light (CBS), Sex Farce, Thinking Out Loud and A Beautiful Mind. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
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