Breaking Ground 2006 - 2007

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Book by Robert L. Freedman
Music by Steven Lutvak
Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
Based upon the film Kind Hearts and Coronets
Written and directed by Robert Hamer
by arrangement with Canal+
Thursday, April 6 at 7:30pm

Louis Mazzini is seventh in line to the D'Ascoyne family Dukedom, but that's not enough to win him the hand of his beloved Silbella. Determined to rise above his humble beginnings, Louis decides to remove the obstacles standing between him and his title... little does he know murder can get so complicated. Based upon the 1949 movie of the same name starring Alec Guinness, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a hilarious new musical adventure about the dark side of royal ascension. 


by Noah Haidle
Friday, April 7 at 8:00pm

Guiseppe is trying to carve an image of the Greek goddess Demeter from an unyielding block of marble – she’s the love of his life. Little does he know, he’s also the love of hers. But relationships are hard, especially when stretched over centuries. Noah Haidle, author of Off Broadway’s Mr. Marmalade, brings his trademark irreverence and eccentricity to this unusual comedy.


Voyeurs de Venus

by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Emma Griffin
Saturday, April 8 at 3:00pm

Sara, a black scholar specializing in pop culture, is writing a book about Saartjie Bartmaan, derogatorily known as the Hottentot Venus. Or, she’s trying to. Sara’s own issues of racial identity emerge as she struggles to recount Saartjie’s life to a largely white audience, while Sara navigates a minefield of personal intimacies between her husband and lover. Past and present merge as the women’s stories collide in this piercing drama.

Lydia R. Diamond is a member of the 2005-2007 cohort of Huntington Playwriting Fellows. Her most recent play, Smart People, was commissioned by the McCarter Theatre and had its world premiere at the Huntington in 2014. The Huntington’s 2010 hit production of her play Stick Fly produced in association with Arena Stage inspired the 2011 Tony Award-nominated Broadway production. Awards for Stick Fly include a 2012 Outer Circle Critics Award nomination for Best Play (Broadway), 2010 IRNE Award for Best Play, 2010 LA Critics Circle Award for Playwriting, 2010 LA Garland Award for Playwriting, 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Award for Playwriting, 2008 Susan S. Blackburn Finalist, 2006 Black Theatre Alliance Award, and 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Best New Work. Her other plays include Voyeurs de Venus (2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, 2006 BTAA for Best Writing); The Bluest Eye (2006 Black Arts Alliance Image Award for Best New Play, 2008 American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award); The Gift Horse (2005 Theodore Ward Prize, Kesselring Prize – 2nd Place); Harriet Jacobs; and Stage Black. She was a 2005-2006 Harvard WEB Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, a 2012-2013 Radcliffe Institute Fellow, a 2012 Sallie B. Goodman McCarter Fellow, and a 2012 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor. She is currently a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a playwright in residence at Arena Stage. Ms. Diamond is a graduate of Northwestern University where she majored in performance studies. She has an honorary doctorate of arts from Pine Manor College and was on faculty at Boston University.

(As of October 2018)



by Valerie Martin
Directed by Peter Schneider
Saturday, April 8 at 8:00pm

 The year is 1828. Manon Gaudet, who came as a bride to her husband's sugar plantation north of New Orleans bringing a prized wedding gift - her slave Sarah - to the union, is now trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she despises. Her husband has fathered two children, a deaf son and a baby daughter, by Sarah, and Manon has one wish: to leave her husband and return to her home in New Orleans. Unbeknownst to her, Sarah also nourishes dreams of escape. Whispers of a slave rebellion grow louder, inflaming a domestic nightmare of jealousy, possession, obsession, and fear.


The Atheist

by Ronan Noone
Directed by Emma Griffin
Sunday, April 9 at 2:00pm

Augustine, a crooked journalist with nihilistic intentions, has made an art of clawing his way up the professional ladder. When he unveils the Mayor’s tawdry predilections (involving a hidden camera and reams of videotape), the scandal threatens to undo the one person who thought he was immune – Augustine himself. Noone’s one-man play is a continuation of his focus on the American experience, a project he began with last year’s Breaking Ground play, Smiler Becoming Yank.  


by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Justin Waldman
Sunday, April 9 at 7:00pm

The world of high-stakes stamp collecting is much seedier and more dangerous than anyone ever suspected. After her mother’s death, Jackie discovers not only a raft of debts, but an album of old stamps, one of which may be her ticket to a life-saving windfall. Now too many philatelists are getting in on the game, and her half-sister’s claims on the album are the least of Jackie’s worries. From the author of Omnium Gatherum and the 2004 Huntington hit, Bad Dates.


Past Breaking Ground Readings

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