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HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY’S FOURTH ANNUAL SUMMER WORKSHOP INCLUDES NEW PLAYS BY LOPEZ, GREENIDGE, URBAN, AND CHUNG

(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company’s annual Summer Workshop will start rehearsals on July 14 and conclude in public readings of four new plays on July 25 and 26, 2015. The workshop allows selected members of the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program two weeks to focus on developing new plays. The workshop and public readings will take place in the South End at the Huntington’s Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston.

  • Yerma by Melinda Lopez, directed by Melia Bensussen
    Public reading: Saturday, July 25  at 3pm
    RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/yerma   
  • A Guide for the Homesick  by Ken Urban, directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
    Public reading: Sunday, July 26 at 1pm
    RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/homesick 
  • Catch as Catch Can by Mia Chung, directed by John Steber
    Public reading: Sunday, July 26 at 4pm
    RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/catch  

**Please note that readings are open to the public, but not to reviewing members of the press. An RSVP is required to attend.

“Only in its fourth year, this annual development retreat has quickly become an important cornerstone for our new play activities,” says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “Boston area playwrights participate in all levels of the process – the original design, and the annual selection process. Plays from previous years have gone on to production both by the Huntington and other Boston companies, and I’m excited to see how these plays evolve this summer.”

Modeled after the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Summer Workshop is an extension of the Huntington’s Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Festival. Huntington staff members Lisa Timmel (Director of New Work) and Charles Haugland (Artistic Programs & Dramaturgy) support the writers in development. The festival is produced by Huntington Associate Producer M. Bevin O’Gara and workshop producing associates Stephanie LeBolt and Daniel Morris. 

ABOUT THE PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS

YERMA
by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Public reading: Saturday, July 25 at 3pm
RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/yerma   

Federico García Lorca’s aching portrait of one woman’s longing to have a child finds fresh expression in Melinda Lopez’s adaptation. Consumed by her dream of motherhood, Yerma defies her husband and confronts her community. In this darkly poetic fable, Yerma’s obsessive desire propels her into a collision with the universe that is urgent and terrible in scope.

Melinda Lopez is the Huntington’s first playwright-in-residence and a Huntington Playwriting Fellow. Her play Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards) inaugurated the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in 2004. It has subsequently been produced at Coconut Grove Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and many others. Her play Becoming Cuba was produced at the Huntington and North Coast Repertory Theatre. Other plays include Orchids to Octopi (Underground Railroad Theater, Elliot Norton Award), Gary (Steppenwolf First Look and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse), Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival), God Smells like a Roast Pig (Elliot Norton Award), and Midnight Sandwich/Medianoche (Coconut Grove Playhouse). Ms. Lopez has appeared in Our Town, The Rose Tattoo, Persephone, and A Month in the Country at the Huntington and the Motherf**ker with the Hat at SpeakEasy Stage Company (Elliot Norton Award for Best Supporting Actress). She teaches playwriting at Boston University.

TONGUE TIED TIGHT, AND DELIVERED 
by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Caitlin Lowans
Public Reading: Saturday, July 25 at 6pm
RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/tonguetiedtight

At a late Victorian picnic in a Boston park, two gentlewomen negotiate the fate of their unladylike sister over tea. At the same park in present day, a young college professor is menaced by a manic stranger with a fixation for $750 strollers and ironed linens. Tongue Tied Tight, and Delivered weaves together past and present in a rich landscape of contemporary womanhood and how “holding it together” ties us down.

Kirsten Greenidge is a Village Voice/Obie Award winner and a recent PEN/America Laura Pels Award recipient. She is the author of Luck of the Irish (premiered at the Huntington in 2011), Splendor, Bossa Nova, Milk Like Sugar, Rust, Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land, 103 Within the Veil, and The Gibson Girl. She has developed her work at Sundance (Utah and Ucross), Magic Theatre, National New Play Network, Cardinal Stage, South Coast Repertory, Madison Repertory Theatre, Page 73 Productions, Hourglass Group, Bay Area Playwrights, Playwrights Horizons, New Dramatists, Mark Taper Forum, ASK, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Humana Festival of New American Plays, Moxie Theatre, and New Georges. She is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of an NEA/TCG residency at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and was playwright-in-residence at Company One Theatre. She has also received Sundance’s Time Warner Award for Bossa Nova. Ms. Greenidge attended Wesleyan University and the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop. A member of Rhombus and an alumna member of New Dramatists, she is currently working on commissions from LCT3, Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, ArtsEmerson, Big Ten, the Huntington’s Education Department, and The Kennedy Center. Her play Milk Like Sugar will be performed at the Huntington in January 2016.

A GUIDE FOR THE HOMESICK  
by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Public reading: Sunday, July 26 at 1pm
RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/homesick

En route from his year in East Africa, a young aid worker goes back to a shabby Amsterdam hotel room with a fellow American. The two strangers replay their pasts and confess their fears that they betrayed the people who needed them most. Their powerful chance encounter probes the porous boundaries between private suffering and global strife in a world where the farthest distance is a plane ride away.

Ken Urban is a playwright and screenwriter based in New York. He is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and his plays have been produced and developed at the Huntington, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Summer Play Festival at The Public Theater, Donmar Warehouse (London), 59E59 Theatres, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Studio 42, Theatre @ Boston Court, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Irish Repertory Theatre, Primary Stages, and Stable Cable. In 2015, A Future Perfect received its world premiere at SpeakEasy Stage Company and Sense of an Ending opened in London at Theatre503 in May. Awards include the Weissberger Playwriting Award, Headlands Artist Residency, Djerassi Artist Residency, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, and MacDowell Colony Fellowships. He is a core writer at the Playwrights’ Center and a company member of Rising Phoenix Rep. He wrote the screenplay for The Happy Sad, which screened internationally at over 25 film festivals and is now available on Netflix and iTunes. 

CATCH AS CATCH CAN
by Mia Chung
Directed by John Steber
Public reading: Sunday, July 26 at 4pm
RSVP: huntingtontheatre.org/catch  

The Phelans and the Lavecchias grew up in each other’s homes in a tight-knit middle class community, sharing the good times and the bad together. But when Tim Phelan comes home with some news, a shifting crisis is set in motion that tests the bonds and identities of each member of this extended family. Catch as Catch Can employs the theatrical convention of character doubling in an unconventional way to help us look again at the roles we play when at home with family.

Mia Chung is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and the author of You for Me for YouThis Exquisite CorpseCatch as Catch CanSkin in the Game, and We Spend Our Lives. Upcoming productions of You for Me for You by the Portland Playhouse and Mu Performing Arts have been announced for 2016. An early draft of the play premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in 2012 (in association with Ma-Yi Theatre Company, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts) and at Company One Theatre in 2013. She is an emeritus member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab; has received awards/fellowships from Southern Rep Theatre, RISCA, TCG, and others; and her work has been developed by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Civilians / R&D Group, Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Icicle Creek Theater Festival, The Inkwell Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company, Playwrights Realm, and the Stella Adler Studio. She is a member of New Dramatists.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY’S NEW PLAY INITIATIVES AND PLAYWRITING FELLOWS PROGRAM

The Huntington Theatre Company is a national leader in the development of new plays. The cornerstone of activity is the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program, a two-year fellowship for selected local writers. A three-year, $245,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation adds local playwright Melinda Lopez to the Huntington’s full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. The annual two-week Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground Festival of new plays allows selected HPFs and national writers to develop their plays in two and three dimensions. The Huntington has produced 115 world, American, or New England premieres.

The cornerstone of the Huntington’s new works activities, the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration, and encourages dialogue between local artists. Huntington productions of plays by HPFs include Stick Fly and Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond, Ryan Landry’s “M” and Psyched by Ryan Landry, Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, The Atheist, Brendan, and The Second Girl by Ronan Noone, Sonia Flew and Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez, The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel, Shakespeare’s Actresses in America by Rebekah Maggor, and next season’s Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge.

Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers’ collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the annual Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground festival of new plays. 

The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship. The Summer Workshop, which began in 2012, was developed from conversations at convenings with HPFs past and present to solicit ideas about how to improve and expand the program.

Since 2009, the Huntington has instituted an open application process with submissions solicited each spring from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org

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