Off-Broadway 2018/2019 Season In Review by Sarah Rebell
There was a plethora of exciting new work in the New York City region this season. Many non-profit theatre companies supported multiple new works by DG members in their off-Broadway houses this year, such as Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Public Theater.
Playwrights Horizons’ season included work by five DG writers: Craig Lucas (I was Most Alive With You), Anthony Giardina (Dan Cody’s Yacht), Jordan Harrison (Log Cabin), Heather Raffo (Noura), and Halley Feiffer (The Pain of My Belligerence). Lincoln Center Theater produced John Guare’s Nantucket Sleigh Ride and Antionette Nwandu’s Pass Over, which won the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.
New York Theatre Workshop presented work by three Guild playwrights, including Hurricane Diane by Madeleine George and Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris. Also by Jeremy O. Harris was Daddy, which opened at the New Group this past March. The New Group produced another play by a DG writer this past season: The True by Sharr White.
Second Stage Theater produced Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts, Days of Rage by Steven Levenson, and the musical Superhero, written by Tom Kitt and John Logan.
Back in June 2018, Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick opened at the Public Theater. The show was a finalist for the Hull-Warriner Award. Also at the Public Theatre this season were new plays Fire in Dreamland by Rinne Groff, Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson and Socrates by Tim Blake Nelson.
After a run up in the Berkshires over the summer, Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady opened at Ma-Yi Theatre this past November. More recently, Fruiting Bodies by Sam Chanse opened at Ma-Yi theatre at the end of April 2019.
John Kander’s musical Beast in the Jungle, written with collaborator David Thompson opened at the Vineyard theatre last spring. Josh Harmon’s Skintight opened at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre in June 2018. Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties by Jen Silverman opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in September 2018. Downstairs, by Theresa Rebeck, opened at Primary Stages in the fall. Eleanor Burgess’ The Niceties opened at Manhattan Theatre Club, while Cori Thomas’ Lockdown opened at Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, both this past spring.
Both The Great Leap, by Lauren Yee, and This Ain’t No Disco, by Stephen Trask, Peter Yanowitz, and Rick Elice, opened at the Atlantic Theatre last June. Two shows by Guild members opened at MCC theatre this past February: Alice by Heart by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater and The Light by Loy A. Webb. The following month, three shows by Guild members opened at 59 East 59 Theaters: Imagining Madoff by Deb Margolin, Smart Blonde by Willy Holtzman, and After by DG’s former Florida Regional Rep Michael McKeever. Additionally, Prospect Theater Company produced The Hello Girls, by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, at 59 E 59 Theaters this past winter.
Emily Mann’s show about Gloria Steinem, Gloria: A Life opened at the Daryl Roth Theatre in October 2018. Accidentally Brave, by Madde Corman, opened at Daryl Roth’s DR2 theatre back in March. Other feminist work this season included the debut of Eve Ensler’s Fruit Trilogy at the Lucille Lortel this past summer, Charley Evon Simpson’s Behind the Sheet at EST, as well as two plays at WP (Women’s Project) Theatre, Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks this past fall and Rehana Lew Mirza’s Hatef**k in spring 2019.
Education was on the minds of Guild writers who explored related issues in a historical context (in the case of Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj’s Little Rock at the Sheen Center), and a contemporary setting (in Chisa Hutchison’s Surely Goodness and Mercy, produced by the Keen Company).
Two shows by DG members both opened off-Broadway and transferred to Broadway in this past theatrical season: Joe Iconis & Joe Tracz’s musical Be More Chill and Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me, the latter of which was the winner of this year’s Hull-Warriner Award.