DRAMA DESK AWARD-WINNING
LEADS THE NEW DIGITAL AGE OF THEATER
ANNOUNCING 2020-2021 SEASON
PRESENTING WORKS BY
LEILA BUCK, MICHAEL PREMO, RACHEL FALCONE
and LISA RAMIREZ
WORKING THEATER, the DRAMA DESK and AUDELCO award-winning Off-Broadway company – now in its 36th Season, under the leadership of Artistic Directors Mark Plesent and Tamilla Woodard – is pleased to announce its digital programming for 2020-2021 beginning late October. Opening with Leila Buck’s ‘AMERICAN DREAMS,’ which is currently on a national virtual tour, WORKING THEATER will also feature the audio immersive experience ‘SANCTUARY’ by Rachel Falcone and Michael Premo, with music by Broken Chord, and a benefit performance of ‘TO THE BONE’ by Lisa Ramirez, a Working Theater Commission.
“Tamilla and I have collaborated on projects for many years, but our 36th Season is the first that we are co-leading the Company as Artistic Directors. And while the pandemic has been a blow to Working Theater and the theater community at large, that won’t stop us from serving the workers of New York and beyond – be it through a nationwide partnership on a live digital play about immigration or an intimate sound-walk inspired by the intersection of faith, sanctuary and social justice. Engaging our audience of working people and representing their hopes, dreams and challenges on stages, virtual and otherwise, remains the reason Working Theater was founded and continues to survive and thrive,” said Plesent.
AMERICAN DREAMS: October 20-25, 2020
Written by Leila Buck
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Created and Developed by Leila Buck and Tamilla Woodard with Jens Rasmussen,
in collaboration with Osh Ghanimah, Imran Sheikh, and the Company
With Ali Andre Ali, Leila Buck, India Nicole Burton, Jens Rasmussen, Imran Sheikh, Andrew Aaron Valdez
This playful participatory production will be the first to launch the Working Theater’s Sliding Scale Ticketing Initiative which reflects the Company’s commitment to accessibility and the belief that theater should not be a luxury or a privilege, but available and accessible to all.
Highlighted by The New York Times as ‘thought provoking,’ the production of American Dreams, is presented by Working Theater in an unprecedented national partnership alongside eight esteemed partners — Round House Theatre (Bethesda, MD), Salt Lake Acting Company (Salt Lake City, UT), Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA), HartBeat Ensemble, The Bushnell and University of Connecticut (Hartford, CT), Arizona State University’s ASU Gammage (Tempe, AZ) and Texas Performing Arts (Austin, TX). American Dreams is written by playwright Leila Buck, and takes a page from America’s favorite game shows by asking audiences to vote on who will be America’s newest citizen.
Kicking off Working Theater’s week of performances are several surround events including a free Town Hall featuring artist, activist and policy makers in conversation about Citizenship and the American Dream. The evening will include a keynote by Broadway/ TV/ Film actor Carlo Alban, followed by a moderated panel with Nura Elgmagbari (Portland Refugee Support Group) Richard Lujan-Valerio (The Latino Network), Juanita Sarmiento (Rural and Migrant Ministry) and actor/ playwright/ advocate for native communities DeLanna Studi (Cherokee).
SANCTUARY: November 16- December 5, 2020
A Soundwalk for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Created by Michael Premo & Rachel Falcone
Developed with & directed by Rebecca Martinez
Music Director Broken Chord
Commissioned by Working Theater
Believers and nonbelievers from all walks of life and faith traditions are welcome at St. John the Divine. In the community of this magnificent cathedral, many people have found home and sanctuary, but in a world of chaos and injustice, what does that mean? In this aural exploration, featuring the majestic Cathedral, audiences are invited to put on their headphones and take a walk that weaves together the aural landscape of New York City and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and to reflect on the intersection of faith, sanctuary and social justice.
Sanctuary is part of Working Theater’s Five Boroughs/One City Initiative and is developed in partnership with the community at St. John the Divine.
Rachel Falcone and Michael Premo (Photo of Michael Premo by Kisha Bari Horiz)
TO THE BONE: December 7, 2020
By Lisa Ramirez
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Commissioned by Working Theater
With Dan Domingues, Liza Fernandez, Annie Henk Paola Lazaro-Munoz, Lisa Ramirez, Gerardo Rodriguez, Xochitl Romero and Danny Wolohan
Inspired by actual interviews with immigrant workers in the poultry processing plants of upstate NY, To the Bone examines the very nature of equality and justice in contemporary America. Featuring the original cast from the acclaimed Cherry Lane Theater production, this virtual reading of To the Bone will benefit Sullivan County migrant farm workers and their fight for a farm workers’ Bill of Rights.
Photo of Lisa Ramirez: David Green
TheaterWorks! with members of 32BJ SEIU: February 22, 2020
TheaterWorks! is a signature adult education program of Working Theater, which teaches playwriting and performance skills to working New Yorkers. Offered this fall to building service workers at the union 32BJ SEIU, the 16-week course is led by teaching artist Joe Roland, and will culminate in a final performance on February 22, 2021.
Leila Buck is a Lebanese American playwright, actor, facilitator and educator. She has performed and developed her work at the Public, NYTW, Culture Project, BRIC Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Cleveland Public, Cal Shakes, Mosaic Theater at Arena Stage, and the Wilma (Barrymore Award), and performed and taught theatrical tools for literacy, conflict resolution, and intercultural engagement to youth, educators, aid workers, UN delegates and others across the U.S., Europe, China, Australia and 11 Arab countries. She is a member of the Public’s inaugural Emerging Writers Group, a Usual Suspect with NYTW, and teaches Creation and Representation in U.S. Theater at NYU.
Michael Premo is an artist, journalist, filmmaker, and civic engagement strategist. He is Executive Producer of Storyline, a production company building power with story and strategy. Recent projects include the multi-platform exhibit 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right, the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline, the short film and exhibit Water Warriors, and the PBS series Veterans Coming Home. Sandy Storyline won the first ever Storyscapes Award at Tribeca Film Festival. Water Warriors has won ten awards and is currently touring film festivals and communities. Premo has produced projects with the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps, The Foundry Theater and The Civilians, and was an Impact Producer for Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. He is an affiliate facilitator with the Interaction Institute for Social Change, a board member of A Blade of Grass and the Center for Story-Based Strategy, and a recipient of a 2019 Creative Capital Grant.
Rachel Falcone is an artist and filmmaker. Before starting the nonprofit production company Storyline, Rachel traveled across the United States with the award-winning national oral history project StoryCorps, worked as a producer with EarSay, Inc., and was associate producer on Incite Picture’s Young Lakota, broadcast on Independent Lens. She is co-director of the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline (winner of the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award) and the multi-platform exhibit 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right and a producer of the short film and exhibit Water Warriors. She has directed dozens of short films for organizations like AFSCME and The John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Rachel has also taught oral history and storytelling for movement building in collaboration with institutions like the Museum of the City of New York and Parsons The New School for Design. Rachel studied philosophy at University College London and Vassar College.
Rebecca Martinez is the BOLD Associate Artistic Director at WP Theater, an NYC-based director and ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre. Recent projects: I Am My Own Wife (Long Wharf Theatre); Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Miss You Like Hell (Baltimore Center Stage), Wolf at the Door (Milagro Theatre, NNPN rolling world premiere), Anna in the Tropics (Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Henry Award for Outstanding Direction). Rebecca has worked with INTAR, Working Theater, Signature Theatre, the Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Dramatists, the 52nd Street Project, Radical Evolution among others. Member of: Sol Project Collective, INTAR’s Unit52, SDCF Observer, Latinx Theatre Commons Advisory Committee, 2019 Audrey Resident, New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2018-2020 WP Lab, 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow, Member of SDC. Rebeccamartinez.org
Broken Chord has written music on Broadway for: The Parisian Woman, and Eclipsed. Off-Broadway credits include Toni Stone at Roundabout Theatre Company; The Lying Lesson at the Atlantic; OZET at Incubator Arts; Bull in a China Shop at LCT3; Party People at The Public. Selected regional credits are Angels in America at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Enemy of the People, and As You Like It at the Guthrie Theatre; Ruined at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Top Girls, and A Raisin in the Sun at the Huntington Theatre; UniSon at OSF; Macbeth, and Hamlet at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Film credits include Fall to Rise. www.brokenchord.us
Lisa Ramirez Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland)- Working Theater, NYC world premiere. Art Of Memory – Company SoGoNo, world premiere at 3LD/NYC. Pas de Deux (lost my shoe)– Cherry Lane Mentor Project. To The Bone– Working Theater commission, world premiere Cherry Lane Theatre. Down Here Below – Oakland Theater Project commission and world premiere. Currently working on All Fall Down– a dance theatre/memory play, joan (of arc)- an Oakland Theater Project commission and two original TV pilots.
Working Theater believes the transformative experience of live theater should not be a luxury, but a staple. Now in its 36th season, Working Theater continues its mission to produce theater for and about working people — the essential workers of any city or town — and to make play going a regular part of our audiences’ cultural lives. By making productions relevant, accessible and affordable regardless of geography or socio-economic status, Working Theater strives to always acknowledge the city’s diversity while seeking to unite us in our common humanity. Working Theater is under the leadership of Artistic Directors Mark Plesent and Tamilla Woodard, and Managing Director, Laura Carbonell Monarque. www.theworkingtheater.org