"When I first read Laugh, Beth Henley's slapstick homage to 1920s silent films, I was taken by its exuberance and daring," artistic director David Muse said in a statement. "It's a fearless play: a gold mine explodes in the first five minutes of the play, and the piece as a whole covers years and increasingly dire — and ridiculous — circumstances. It's funny and unpredictable, and has a real heart. I'm excited to welcome Beth to Studio as we develop and produce this piece."
"It's a pleasure to welcome back two accomplished writers in the heat of their careers," he added. "Amy Herzog's incisive Belleville follows our 2013 production of 4000 Miles. Amy has written a kind of thriller for the stage, full of the psychological precision and insights that 4000 Miles offered, but in a darker key. She writes so very, very well for actors; she used to be a performer, and reading her dialogue, you can tell that she understands just how much they can do with the right material."
Studio Lab will present the world premiere of The Wolfe Twins by Rachel Bonds. Muse will also direct Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash's rock musical Murder Ballad as a part of Studio's Special Events Series. The 2ndStage season will include Silence! The Musical, Taylor Mac's Hir and Terminus, by Mark O'Rowe.
The season-at-a-glance follows.
Studio Subscription Series
by Beth Henley
"The West. The 1920s. Mabel's had a hard few weeks: A dynamite accident at a gold mine has left her wealthy but orphaned, and she's shipped off to a calculating aunt whose nephew is charged with seducing her to control Mabel's fortune. This hapless courtship reveals a shared love of silent movies and a plan for greater things. A story of mishaps and moxie, the romance of Hollywood and ultimately a Hollywood-caliber romance. A world-premiere slapstick comedy from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart."
By Amy Herzog
Directed by David Muse
"Abby and Zack traded the comforts of America for noble adventure abroad, moving to the trendy Parisian enclave Belleville for his prestigious post with Doctors Without Borders. Their lives seem perfect. But when Abby returns home early one afternoon, she uncovers a few seemingly inconsequential surprises. Chillingly precise and psychologically astute, Amy Herzog (4000 Miles) anatomizes the consequences of deceptions small and large and the terrifying, profound unknowability of our closest relationships."
By Tarell Alvin McCraney
"For 50 years, the elite boarding school Charles R. Drew Prep has stood by its traditions and prepared young black men to lead. But times and finances have changed, and the pressure on Drew's legendary gospel choir is high. So when Pharus, an ambitious and talented student, is told to ignore a gay slur to take his place as the choir's leader, he has to decide who he is and what he's willing to fight for."
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Serge Seiden
"The night after their grandfather's funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal battle royale over a family heirloom. In one corner is self-proclaimed 'Superjew' Daphna: volatile, self-assured, unbending. In the other, Liam: secular, entitled, and just as stubborn. And in the middle, Liam's brother Jonah tries to stay out of the fray and honor his grandfather's memory on his own. A savage comedy about family, faith, and identity politics."
The final play in the Subscription Series will be announced at a later date.
The Wolfe Twins
By Rachel Bonds
"Lewis invites his estranged sister Dana on a trip to Rome to reconnect. But when he befriends a beautiful stranger, old wounds fester and intimate secrets are revealed. A dark, contemplative world premiere from the Studio Theatre commissioned playwright Rachel Bonds."
Conceived by and with book and lyrics by Julia Jordan
Music and lyrics by Juliana Nash
Directed by David Muse
"Sara's life is perfect — Upper West Side husband, daughter, and life. But her irresistible past blows back into her life in the form of an old flame, a dangerous passion, and a love triangle headed for ignition. Staged cabaret-style in Stage 4, this sexy twist on an old form puts the audience in the middle of its action."
By Mark O'Rowe
"A is a teacher attempting to rescue her former pupil from a dangerous back-street abortion. B is a young woman who falls from a construction crane and in love with a demon made of worms. C is a homicidal sociopath who sells his soul to the Devil for an angelic voice heard only by his victims. This supernatural vision from Irish playwright Mark O'Rowe (Crestfall) takes its audience on a dizzying plunge through its characters' quietest fears and most intimate desires."
By Taylor Mac
Directed by Holly Twyford
"Isaac's father built their house and ruled it absolutely. But when Isaac returns home from the Marines, he discovers that everything has changed: his father is incapacitated by a stroke, his sibling Max is creating a third gender for hirself, and his mother's liberation into a world of unlimited possibilities has forever demolished the familiar structures of Isaac's childhood (including some of the house itself)."
Silence! The Musical
Book by Hunter Bell
Music and lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan
Directed by Keith Alan Baker
"FBI trainee Clarice Starling has to track down notorious serial killer Buffalo Bill before he claims another innocent victim. Time's running out, and the brilliant cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter may hold the truth — if Clarice plays his dangerous game of quid pro quo."
Visit studiotheatre.org for more information.