Wartime Drama, The Language of Trees, With Hayden, Begins Roundabout Run Oct. 4

News   Wartime Drama, The Language of Trees, With Hayden, Begins Roundabout Run Oct. 4 Steven Levenson's new play, The Language of Trees, about the homefront during a modern war, begins Oct. 4 as the second production of the Roundabout Underground program, which cultivates emerging writers in a 62-seat space in the midtown Manhattan theatre district.
Trees director Alex Timbers and playwright Steven Levenson
Trees director Alex Timbers and playwright Steven Levenson Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Alex Timbers directs Maggie Burke, Natalie Gold, Michael Hayden, Gio Perez and Michael Warner in the Off-Broadway production in the subterranean Black Box Theatre within the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre at 111 W. 46th Street. Opening is Oct. 29.

"When an American translator is sent into a U.S. war zone in the Middle East, a friendly neighbor volunteers to help out his wife and young son back at home," according to Roundabout. "As events abroad spiral out of control, the lives of all the characters are turned upside down. The Language of Trees is a boldly theatrical and provocative new play about the fragility of language, the ecology of war and the meaning of neighborliness in an age of terror."

All tickets for Roundabout Underground productions are $20. Seating is general admission.

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The design team includes Cameron Anderson (sets), Emily Rebholz (costumes), David Weiner (lights) and M.L. Dogg (sound). The limited engagement will run through Dec. 14.

The inaugural Underground production was a sold-out run of Stephen Karam's acclaimed play Speech & Debate, which extended twice and is now finding wider life in regional theatres.

Hayden, a graduate of the Juilliard School, is a Tony Award nominee for his portrayal of the German defense attorney Oscar Rolfe, opposite Maximillian Schell, in the National Actors Theatre production of Judgment at Nuremberg. His other credits include Dessa Rose, Billy Bigelow in Nicholas Hytner's Carousel (for which he won the Theatre World and Drama League awards along with Olivier, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations), Frank in Merrily We Roll Along at the Sondheim Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Chris Keller in the Roundabout Theatre production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons (Drama League Award), Sparky Watts in A.R. Gurney's Far East (Drama League Award) at Lincoln Center, and more.

Levenson's plays include Girls Day and Almost Stuck. He is a member of Youngblood Playwrights Group at EST and Play Group at Ars Nova. He is a graduate of Brown University.

Timbers is an Obie Award-winning director and artistic director of Les Freres Corbusier. Recent directing credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Center Theatre Group, LA; co-written with Michael Friedman), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Drama Desk nominee, Best Director of a Musical), Hell House (Drama Desk nominee, Unique Theatrical Experience; St. Ann's Warehouse), underground (BAM; International Tour), A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant (Obie Award, New York Theatre Workshop; two Garland Awards including Best Director, Los Angeles), Boozy (also writer), Boom and Dixie's Tupperware Party (both at Ars Nova), Heddatron.

Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office (111 West 46th Street).

The Language of Trees will play Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7 PM with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 PM.

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Roundabout Underground is an initiative to showcase new plays that will either allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots or give a debut production to an emerging writer or director. Robyn Goodman (Artistic Consultant to the Roundabout), who has significant artistic development experience, is curating the initiative that will be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent.

The 62-seat Black Box Theatre, below the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space.

<i>Language of Trees</i> cast: Gio Perez, Maggie Burke, Michael Warner, Natalie Gold and Michael Hayden
Language of Trees cast: Gio Perez, Maggie Burke, Michael Warner, Natalie Gold and Michael Hayden Photo by Aubrey Reuben