Playwrights Horizons' alternative production initiative, New Theater Wing, officially opens Jessica Goldberg's award-winning Refuge, Dec. 1 at Playwrights Horizons second-floor Studio Theater on 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Previews for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winning play began Nov. 18 and performances continue to Dec. 12.
Neil Pepe, artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company, directs the new play about dysfunctional siblings coping after their parents run away. In the story, older sister Amy becomes intrigued by a drifter looking for refuge.
The cast includes Christopher Bauer (Hothouse and Mojo), Catherine Kellner (The Iceman Cometh), Chris Messina ("You've Got Mail") and Mandy Siegfried (The Mineola Twins).
Designers are Scott Pask (scenic concept), Sarah Edwards (costume), Tyler Micoleau (lighting) and David Carbonara (sound). The New Theater Wing was founded as a venue for the development of new works. Each year, Playwrights Horizons presents one or two small-scale, minimally-designed stagings offering writers and composers the time, space and freedom to hear and develop their works.
Playwrights Horizons Studio Theater is at 416 W. 42nd Street. Tickets for Refuge are $25. Call (212) 279-4200 for information.
Goldberg won the 1999 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Refuge. The Blackburn award is an annual honor given to women dramatists who create the year's outstanding plays for the English-speaking theatre. The honor is named after American actress Susan Smith Blackburn, who lived her last fifteen years in London before dying at age 42 in 1977.
In the 1999 honors, Julie Hebert took second place for The Knee Desires the Dirt. Nine other finalists were Judith Adams (The Bone Room), Hilary Bell (Shot While Dancing), Sara Clifford (A Thousand Days), Eve Ensler (Lemonade), Rebecca Gilman (Spinning Into Butter), Yazmine Judd (Unfinished Business), Liz Lochhead (Perfect Days), Kira Obolensky (Lobster Alice) and Diana Son (Stop Kiss). The latter recently completed a successful Off-Broadway run at The Public Theater.
-- By Kenneth Jones and David Lefkowitz