Krebs, the producer of It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues on Broadway and Langston Hughes's Little Ham Off-Broadway, as well as many other productions, expects to produce the play in Manhattan perhaps as early as fall, he told Playbill.com.
No casting, dates or theatre have been announced. An Off-Broadway life is expected.
The docudrama has a writer character, Barbara, at its center taking us on a journey of the minimum wage world. The play traces the undercover road essayist Ehrenreich traveled to see if she could more than make ends meet. In the 1998 book, Ehrenreich was a waitress, housecleaner and retail worker, and in each state where she settled she encountered low morale, poor working conditions, thoughtless managers, workers without health insurance, anti-union pressures and more.
The still-in-print New York Times bestseller has the subtitle "On (Not) Getting By in America."
Seattle's Intiman Theatre commissioned the play, with Bartlett Sher (The Light in the Piazza) directing its premiere there in 2002. Resident theatres around the country have since mounted their own productions. In the play, Barbara is center stage and four actresses and one actor play multiple roles in the ensemble. The world Ehrenreich encountered was populated by white women (like herself) in Florida, Maine and Minnesota.
As previously reported by Playbill.com, Joan Holden, whose credits include political works for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, fashioned the play on the artistic advice of Anna Deavere Smith, whose social-issues plays include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles.
In the opening chapter of her book, Ehrenreich figures out her necessary wage ($7 an hour), finds a living space (she aspires to afford something as "good" as a trailer in Key West, FL) and lands a job (waitressing the dinner shift at the Hearthside for $2.43 an hour plus tips). Through her contacts, she realizes how physically, emotionally and economically hard it is to work for what is considered a living wage.
For the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe from l967 to 2000, Holden created, as author or head writer, a satire a year for the Troupe's annual summer season in the parks. Since the l980s she has enjoyed parallel careers as a translator and adaptor of comedies; notably The Accidental Death of an Anarchist for the Eureka Theater, The Marriage of Figaro and The Pope and The Witch for the American Conservatory Theatre, and Volpone and The Alchemist for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. With Dan Chumley, she has created shows in collaboration with artists in Israel, the Philippines, Nepal and Hong Kong. She has been honored with Bay Area Critics' Circle, Dramalogue, Los Angeles Critics' Circle awards; playwriting grants from the Rockefeller and Gerbode Foundations; the San Francisco Working Women's Festival Working Woman of the Year award, and, with the Troupe, the San Francisco Media Alliance Golden Gadfly Award.
Producer Krebs founded the John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks theatres Off-Broadway, which shut down in spring 2005 to be razed to make way for development. On Broadway he produced Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home, Neil Simon's The Dinner Party, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues (nominated for 1999 Tony Awards Best Musical), and Electra starring Zoe Wanamaker. Off-Broadway he produced Langston Hughes's Little Ham, The Capitol Steps, the world premiere of bash by Neil LaBute, and This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan. In the not-for-profit theatre, he founded and for 14 years was the Producing Director of the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. He was awarded the Robert Whitehead Award for excellence in producing in February 1999.
Krebs conceived and produced Off-Broadway's Golf: The Musical, which has also been seen in engagements around the country and (currently) in Scotland.