(Via Jim Byk/Kelly Guiod, The Press Room; Sajous’s interview was recorded for “A Wonderful World.”)
“Floyd Collins is the finest work of American musical theater,
not excluding opera, to come along
since Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.”
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
Out of the Box Theatrics
the first Off-Broadway revival of
Music and Lyrics by
November 11-December 18 at Theatre 71
Opening Night November 28
Out of the Box Theatrics (Elizabeth Flemming, Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Ethan Paulini, Associate Artistic Director) is thrilled to announce that the company will produce the first Off-Broadway revival of the critically acclaimed musical, Floyd Collins. The production, to be directed by Christina Sajous (Broadway’s SpongeBob SquarePants, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, American Idiot; Out of the Box Theatrics’ 2019 production of Baby), will play from November 11 through December 18, 2022 at Theatre 71 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (152 West 71st Street). Opening night is Monday, November 28.
Floyd Collins features music and lyrics by two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza), with a book by Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Tina Landau (member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Broadway’s SpongeBob SquarePants, Superior Donuts). The musical was originally commissioned by The American Musical Theatre Festival in Philadelphia, which produced its world premiere in 1994. The Off-Broadway premiere, directed by Landau, was produced in 1996 by Playwrights Horizons. It won the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and Guettel won a 1996 Obie Award for Music for the score’s unique mix of bluegrass and folk music with other contemporary musical forms and influences. The show has been viewed by many critics as a modern classic of musical theatre, with John Simon, New York Magazine, hailing it as “the original and daring musical of our day.” After its brief original New York run, it has since been produced throughout the United States, in London and elsewhere.
Floyd Collins is based on the true-life incident of the “Cave Wars” that took place in Central Kentucky in the early 20th century, where explorers and landowners fought each other to exploit the system of interconnected caves for commercial profit. In 1925, while chasing a dream of fame and fortune by turning a Kentucky cave into a tourist attraction, Floyd Collins himself becomes the attraction when he gets trapped 200 feet underground. Alone but for sporadic contact with the outside world, Floyd fights for his sanity – and, ultimately, his life – as the rescue effort above explodes into the first genuine media circus. Reporters and gawkers from across the country descend on the property, fueling the hysteria and manipulating the nation into holding its collective breath.
Out of the Box Theatrics, an Off-Broadway company founded in 2015, stages inventive and site-specific productions of new and classic plays and musicals, while challenging audiences to experience work outside of their expectations. The company has earned recent attention for its critically acclaimed streaming co-production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last 5 Years (New York Times’ Critic’s Pick, 2021 Drama League Nominee for Outstanding Digital Theater, 2022 Antonyo Award nominee for Best Digital Theater Production), and its new production of the 1983 Broadway musical Baby, originally staged in 2019 and revived in 2021 (2022 Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Revival of a Musical).
Out of the Box Theatrics’ production will explore the sensationalist news reporting in the show’s world, which almost 100 years later reflects our own era of ‘fake news’ and ‘click bait.’ The production will also examine the racial elements at play in the segregated Kentucky of the 1920s.
Known for staging site-specific productions, Out of the Box Theatrics selected Theatre 71 in the basement of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament for the underground feeling the intimate space generates. The church was in danger of closing during the pandemic, and Out of the Box Theatrics is thrilled to perform at this hidden gem of the Upper West Side.
The creative team for Floyd Collins will include Billy Bustamante as Associate Director and Choreographer, Adam Rothenberg as Music Director, Ant Ma as Scenic Designer, Brynne Oster-Bainnson as Costume Designer, Christopher Wong as Lighting Designer and Germán Martínez as Sound Designer. Tyler Danhaus is Stage Manager. Egypt Dixon is Assistant Stage Manager.
Casting and additional production details will be announced in coming weeks.
Adam Guettel (Music and Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist living in New York City. His musical The Light in the Piazza, with a book by Craig Lucas, premiered on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater in April 2005, following a world premiere at the Intiman Theater in Summer 2003, and a second engagement at Chicago’s Goodman Theater in early 2004 (where it received three Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Musical). The Light in the Piazza received six Tony Awards, including two for Mr. Guettel. Piazza received its UK premiere at the Curve Theater in Leicester in April 2009. Mr. Guettel wrote music and lyrics for Floyd Collins (cast album on Nonesuch Records), which received the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and earned Mr. Guettel the Obie Award for Best Music. Floyd Collins has been presented at Playwrights Horizons, New York; Prince Theatre, Philadelphia; Goodman Theatre, Chicago; Old Globe, San Diego; Bridewell, London; and elsewhere. His other works include Love’s Fire, a collaboration with John Guare for The Acting Company, and Saturn Returns, a concert at Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. Saturn Returns was recorded by Nonesuch Records under the title Myths and Hymns. Four of Mr. Guettel’s songs were featured on Audra McDonald’s Nonesuch Records album Way Back to Paradise (1998). Two more appear on her 2000 album How Glory Goes (including the title track), and two more are on Build a Bridge (2007), including the title track. Mr. Guettel performed a concert evening of his works at New York’s Town Hall in 1999. He can be heard singing four duets with Meryl Streep in the short film The Music of Regret (2008). Film scores include Arguing the World, a feature documentary by Joe Dorman (1999), and the score for Jack, a two-hour documentary for CBS by Peter Davis (1994). Awards for Mr. Guettel include the Stephen Sondheim Award (1990), the ASCAP New Horizons Award (1997), and the American Composers Orchestra Award (2005).
Tina Landau (Book) is a writer and director whose work has been produced on Broadway and Off-, internationally and regionally, and most frequently at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, where she is an ensemble member. Known for her original, large-scale musical and ensemble work, Tina has been recognized by the Tony Awards, Drama Desks, Drama League, Outer Critics, Lucille Lortel and Obies, and is a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statuette, a NEA/TCG Directing Fellowship and Rockefeller and Pew grants. On Broadway, Tina has directed SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical (also conceiver; Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle winner for Best Direction and Best Musical, 12 Tony Award nominations), Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts and the revival of Bells Are Ringing (Tony nomination). Her Off-Broadway productions include Bill Irwin/David Shiner’s Old Hats, Chuck Mee’s Big Love and Iphigenia 2.0, all at the Signature; Tarell McCraney’s Head of Passes (also Steppenwolf, Berkeley Rep, Mark Taper Forum, NAACP Best Director) and In the Red and Brown Water, both at the Public Theater; Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas at NYTW; McCraney’s Wig Out! and her original musical Dream True written with Ricky Ian Gordon, both at the Vineyard; her musical Floyd Collins, written with Adam Guettel, at Playwrights Horizons, the Old Globe and the Goodman (Lucille Lortel Best Musical, Obie Award, Barrymore Best Direction, etc.); and En Garde Arts’ site specific productions of Orestes, The Trojan Women: A Love Story and Stonewall: Night Variations (also writer). Tina has created over 20 productions at Steppenwolf, which include Ms. Blakk for President (which she co-authored with Tarell McCraney), Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s The Doppelgänger, McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays, Zinnie Harris’ The Wheel, Mee’s Berlin Circle and Time to Burn, classics such as The Tempest, Time of Your Life, The Cherry Orchard and The Diary of Anne Frank, and her own plays Space (also Mark Taper and NYC Public Theater) and Theatrical Essays. Regionally, Tina has directed the musical Dave by Tom Kitt and Nell Benjamin (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Award for Best Director); her own play Beauty (Old Globe, San Diego Critics’ Award for Best Play), and productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Of Thee I Sing, and many more. She teaches regularly in the U.S. and abroad, and is the co-author, with Anne Bogart, of The Viewpoints Book.
Christina Sajous (Director). Sajous’ Broadway acting credits include Spongebob Squarepants, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, American Idiot, Baby It’s You! and Tupac Shakur’s Holler If Ya Hear Me. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in Joe Iconis’ Broadway Bounty Hunter and Out of the Box Theatrics’ 2019 production of Baby. Regionally, she performed in Paradise Square (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Prince of Egypt (TheatreWorks), Carmen: An Afro Cuban Musical (Tectonic Theatre Project), directed by Moisés Kaufman, Romeo & Juliet (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), and Disgraced (Denver Center of Performing Arts). She appeared in the Emmy Award-winning “Jesus Christ Superstar Live” (NBC) starring John Legend and Sara Bareilles and “The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!” (Nickelodeon). Her other TV and film credits include “Run the World” (Starz), “Chicago Med” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Alpha House” (Amazon), “One Life to Live” (ABC), Broadway Idiot (Netflix), and Brazzaville Teen-Ager directed by Michael Cera. Christina attended New York University: Tisch School of the Arts, and the International Theatre Wing in Amsterdam.
Out of the Box Theatrics (OOTB) is an Off-Broadway not-for-profit committed to lifting the voices of marginalized communities through the stories they tell. OOTB also produces site specific theatre to provide a more intimate and challenging experience to our audiences’ expectation of theater. Out of the Box Theatrics was founded in 2015 by Elizabeth Flemming. Recent nominations include 2020 Off Broadway Alliance Best Musical Revival and 2022 Drama Desk for Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Baby) and 2021 Drama League Outstanding Digital Theater, Individual Production and 2022 Antonyo Award, Best Digital Theater Production (The Last 5 Years).