Jason Moore (Avenue Q) directs the work, which began previews Oct. 5 for a limited engagement through Dec. 16. The play is the first production at Roundabout Underground, a new initiative to introduce and cultivate artists. The new, 65-seat space is located below the company's Off-Broadway home, the Laura Pels Theatre, in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.
Speech & Debate centers on a trio of misfit teens in Salem, Oregon, who "reluctantly form their school's first speech and debate team after discovering they are all linked by a sex scandal that's rocked their town. Secrets become currency, blogs are belted and 'bathing suit areas' exposed in this black comedy about what, if anything, it means to be an adult," as show notes reveal.
The wannabe journalist, the school play reject and the openly gay teen all team to stretch the boundaries of the traditional forensics forum — using song and even interpretive dance with a number of nods to musical theatre.
The Speech & Debate cast features Susan Blackwell ([title of show]) as Teacher/Reporter, Jason Fuchs (Sea of Tranquility) as Solomon, Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening) as Howie and Sarah Steele (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, "Spanglish") as Diwata.
The design team includes Anna Louizos (sets), Heather Dunbar (costumes) and Brett Jarvis (sound and projections).
Playwright Karam co-wrote the work columbinus, which played Off-Broadway last season at the New York Theatre Workshop. His other works include Girl on Girl.
Director Moore was Tony Award-nominated for his direction of Avenue Q. Other credits include Broadway's Steel Magnolias and Off-Broadway's Guardians and The Crumple Zone. He is slated to direct the upcoming musical Shrek.
Tickets to Speech & Debate at The Black Box Theatre, 111 West 46th Street, are available by calling (212) 719-1300 or by visiting www.roundabouttheatre.org.