PUBLIC LAB, as it is to be known, will be launched Feb. 4-23 with Mom, How Did You Meet The Beatles? by Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy and continue every month through the end of June. Six works will be seen between February and June, in three-week runs within the Public's home on Lafayette in Manhattan. Tickets are now on sale.
The series will include a staging of the late John Belluso's unfinished work, The Poor Itch.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's five-year grant is one of the largest grants ever received by the Public Theater and will be used, in part, "to allow audiences to see these important new plays for only $10, cheaper than the price of a movie ticket," The Public announced Jan. 22.
The plays "will be minimally designed and have short rehearsal periods."
According to The Public, "PUBLIC LAB is designed to respond to new work immediately, and present fresh, raw and relevant plays that embrace The Public's history as a theatre receptive to the big issues, the public issues of our time. In so doing, this innovative program creates a new model for the ways in which The Public engages with our artists and audience. This important initiative will give writers the essential opportunity to realize their work in collaboration with director, designers and actors through production and most importantly, to see their work in front of an audience." The playwrights selected for the inaugural season of PUBLIC LAB will be Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy; John Belluso; Steven Cosson and Michael Friedman; Naomi Wallace; Tracey Scott Wilson; Rebecca Cohen; and Scott Hudson.
In PUBLIC LAB's inaugural year, LAByrinth will present two works in the six months of programming. As the PUBLIC LAB expands to year-long programming, LAByrinth will collaborate on more productions each year.
"LAByrinth has always had a distinctive play development process and we're delighted in our fifth year of residence at The Public to share that process with our hosts," stated LAByrinth co-artistic director John Gould Rubin. "What the fruits of this deeper union will look like we can't yet say, but given the heat of excitement, we know it'll be hot."
"It is thrilling to bring this important new initiative to fruition at the Public," stated Public associate artistic director Mandy Hackett. "Not only is it a critical step for playwrights but it's also exciting to create a new way audiences can experience and engage in new work at our theatre."
The works in the first PUBLIC LAB series will be:
Sweet Storm (June 28-29) by Scott Hudson, directed by Padriac Lillis. "Rain, clouds and a heavy wind blow love, revelation and honesty into the lives of two tree-bound newlyweds. A LAByrinth Theater Company presentation." PUBLIC LAB will begin performances on Feb. 4 and continue every month through June 30. The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 3 PM and 7 PM. Check individual shows for additional and unavailable performances.
The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street. All tickets are $10. To purchase tickets, call (212) 967-7555 or visit www.publictheater.org.
LAByrinth Theater Company (artistic director John Ortiz; co-artistic director Philip Seymour Hoffman; co-artistic director and executive director John Gould Rubin) "is a multicultural collective of over 100 artists, founded in 1992, that produces new plays reflecting the many voices in our New York City community. These plays were first presented behind closed doors at the Company's annual retreat, the Summer Intensive…and then mounted readings of them at the 2006 Barn Series festival. Now, these bare-bone productions mark the next stage in LAByrinth's unique play development process, taking the collaboration between the playwright, director, designers and audiences, to the next level."
The Public Theater (artistic director Oskar Eustis; executive director Mara Manus) "was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 as the Shakespeare Workshop and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, productions of Shakespeare, and other classics at its headquarters on Lafayette Street and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public's mandate to create a theatre for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through its extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 40 Tony Awards, 141 Obies, 39 Drama Desk Awards, 23 Lucille Lortel Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes."