Jessica Blank (The Exonerated), Erica Gould (Brave New World) and Audrey Rosenberg (Elle) — who will serve as artistic directors for the troupe — announced the company's formation.
Initially inspired by The Exonerated and Brave New World: American Theatre Responds to 9/11, the new group "is made up of established and emerging writers, directors, actors and designers who have come together to create and produce work that cannot be replicated inside a television box or on a movie screen," according to an announcement.
The Fire Dept will launch itself with a theatrical event SpeakEasy that will take place at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, Oct. 22-24. Penned by founding members Rob Ackerman, Suzanne Bradbeer, Anton Dudley, Brian Keith Jackson, Rajiv Joseph, Laurence Klavan, Carson Kreitzer, Neil LaBute, Edwin Sanchez, Theresa Rebeck, and Sheri Wilner; with music by Nick Hallett and Stefania de Kenessey, the 80-minute piece will be directed by Erica Gould. "In a New York City something like our own," reads a description, "a performance space awakens and sees itself. Strongmen, snake charmers, showgirls and musicians turn neo-vaudeville on its head and surround the audience with things strange, unexpected and full of odd delight. But other forces are at work tonight?" Casting will be announced shortly.
The Artistic Advisory Board for The Fire Dept includes Peter Askin, Jill Clayburgh, Emily Mann, Lynn Redgrave, Marian Seldes, Sam Waterston. Founding members of the group — which is "dedicated to the development of new plays as well as vital re interpretations of existing works... [to] ignite questions, spark controversy, and respond to the urgency of our times — includes Kathleen Chalfant, Constance Congdon, Chuck Cooper, Peter Gallagher, Janeane Garafalo, Jeff Goldblum, Judith Hawking, Erik Jensen, Toby Jones, Harry Lennix, Matthew Modine, Dael Orlandersmith, Jose Rivera, Jake Robards and Rebecca Wisocky.
Tickets to SpeakEasy can be purchased at The Public Theater Box Office or through (212) 239-6200. For more information on The Fire Dept, visit them on the web at thefiredept.org.