Off-Off-Bway's Broken Watch Troupe Names Space After Playwright Michael Weller; Three Shows Slated

News   Off-Off-Bway's Broken Watch Troupe Names Space After Playwright Michael Weller; Three Shows Slated Broken Watch Theatre Company will name its New York City home on West 43rd Street The Michael Weller Theatre, after the playwright, the company announced.

Artistic director Drew DeCorleto and executive director Leo Lauer announced Aug. 24 that for the past 16 months Broken Watch Theatre Company has been the resident theatre company at the Sande Shurin Theatre at 311 West 43rd Street, 6th Floor. On July 1 the Off-Off-Broadway Equity showcase troupe took over the space and called it home. This fall marks the start of the first season of three full productions.

Weller wrote Moonchildren, Spoils of War and Loose Ends, among other plays. He is a mentor and advocate of emerging playwrights.

There will be a special ribbon cutting ceremony before the Broken Watch performance on Sept. 18 at 7:30 PM.

According to a Broken Watch statement, "Michael Weller creates the type of work that speaks to the masses. His ability to capture a moment, an idea, a situation and put in on stage is as amazing as his dedication to mentoring young playwrights. By naming our theatre after Mr. Weller, we not only honor his tremendous achievements in the theatre community at large; we also acknowledge and celebrate what he's meant and continues to mean to Broken Watch. Acting as counselor and matchmaker, Michael has been a great patron of our company, providing us with a theatre company's most precious resource: talented young playwrights. Michael Weller's name above a theatre door is long overdue."

Weller responded in a statement, "What pleases me, and amazes me most about this honor is having my name associated with a space devoted exclusively to encouraging new plays and new writers for the theatre. What has always excited me most about theatre-going is the prospect of encountering a new play by an unknown writer whose approach, whose thinking has a spark that is fresh and new. Best of all, I am delighted that the premiere production in this newly named space will be a play by Christopher Kyle [The Safety Net], one of the finest and most subtly subversive playwrights of his generation." Weller is co-founder (along with Angelina Fiordellisi and Susann Brinkley) and current Supervising Mentor for the Mentor Project at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York. His body of work has garnered a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and an Academy Award nomination, as well as an NAACP Annual award for outstanding contributions. Among his best-known plays are Moonchildren, Loose Ends, Buying Time and Spoils of War (for which he also wrote the Hallmark teleplay) and What the Night is For. His other films include " Hair," "Ragtime" (for Milos Forman), and "Lost Angels" (for Hugh Hudson). He was a writer/producer on the series "Once & Again," and developed two pilots ("Our Life" and "Just Like Home") with director Michael Pressman, with whom he is currently developing a new series called "Nassau County."

Approaching Moomtaj, his play about a Brooklyn Everyman caught in a virtual Arabian fairy tale shortly after 9/11, had its world premiere last September at the New Rep in Boston under the direction of Rick Lombardo. He penned the book to the Broadway-aimed musical of Boris Pasternak's novel Dr. Zhivago (music by Lucy Simon, and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers), being developed at the La Jolla Playhouse under the direction of Des McAnuff.

Weller is currently writing the book for a musical using songs from the legendary rock band, Fleetwood Mac. His play What the Night is For (the first of a trilogy) premiered in London's West End and the Laguna Playhouse in last season. The second play of this series, 50 Words will be produced next spring, and a film based on the entire trilogy is currently in development starring Annette Bening.

Broken Watch Theatre Company introduced itself to the New York scene with a workshop production of Howard Korder's Boys' Life. Based on the success of that workshop, the company re-mounted the production and opened it to solid reviews in 2001.

Broken Watch's works have included Michael Weller's Split and the world premieres of Edward Allan Baker's American Storage and Hunt Holman's The Kidney.

Broken Watch Theatre Company’s 2005-2006 Season came out of its BrokenWorkshop series, which tests new works and has developed new plays by Bill C. Davis, Ross Berger, Robert Vaughan, Kendra Levin, J. Holtham, Sam Forman, David Parr, James Christy and others.

Broken Watch Theatre's first season of full productions will include The Safety Net by Christopher Kyle, directed by Martha Banta (Sept. 16-Oct. 2); A Broken Christmas Carol by James Christy, J. Holtham, Kendra Levin, Robert Vaughan, directed by Drew DeCorleto (December 2005); Never Tell by James Christy, directed by Drew DeCorleto (February 2006).

For more information visit www.brokenwatch.org.