The Ernst C. Stiefel Foundation, for which the series is now named, began supporting Manhattan Theatre Club's reading series in 2006. As the series title suggests, seven new works will be read in presentations that are open to the public.
The series begins at 7 PM and will be held on select Mondays at MTC at New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street. All readings are free and open to the public, but space is limited and RSVPs are encouraged.
To RSVP, e-mail [email protected] or call (212) 399-3000 ext. 4163.
According to MTC, "Now in its tenth year, this free rehearsed reading series is dedicated to the support and development of innovative new work. In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the series has expanded to include readings of six new plays and one musical."
* The 2008 Ernst C. Stiefel "[email protected] Reading Series" includes:
April 7: Shoe Story by Ben Snyder, directed by Thomas Kail. "At Yu's inner-city sneaker store nothing is more important than securing the newest pair of Air Jordans. In this carefully woven tale of romance and obsession, Juney struggles to find commitment and the perfect pair of high-tops." A graduate of Tisch School of the Arts and former Julliard Graduate Playwriting Fellow, Ben Snyder's work includes In Case You Forget (New York Stage and Film), You Can Clap Now (HBO Comedy Arts Festival) and History of the Word (The Vineyard Theatre).
April 14: Calvin Berger, book, music and lyrics by Barry Wyner, directed by Josh Prince. "Large of intellect and nose, Calvin Berger loves the beautiful but unattainable Rosanna. He sees the perfect way to express his affection when the studly but tongue-tied Matt seeks his help to woo her. A hilarious musical re-imagining of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac set in a contemporary American high school." Barry Wyner received the Jerry Bock Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, and an IRNE nomination for Calvin Berger. He was the original arranger and music director of Gutenberg! The Musical!
April 21: Wisdom by Simon Vinnicombe, directed by Sam Gold. "Peter has just given his notice. But before he gains his freedom, he must face a major health crisis, his philandering boss, his addict son and the creeping fear that he doesn't want to be married anymore. An honest and moving look at betrayal, regret and second chances." A graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers' Programme, Simon Vinnicombe's first play Year 10 has been optioned for film after being staged throughout England and France.
April 28: Willing by Amy Herzog, directed by Carolyn Cantor. "Senior Senior was an enigmatic visionary who transformed death into art. When a researcher tries to unravel his life's story, she becomes entangled in a mystery that haunts the artist's family years after his death. An imaginative new play exploring genius and the burden that comes with its inheritance." Amy Herzog's The Wendy Play received a reading at New York Stage and Film and was produced at the Yale School of Drama's Carlotta Festival. It will be staged this spring at ACT San Francisco.
May 5: The Imprisonment of the Eye by Sam Marks, directed by Anne Kauffman. "Sealed off together, Tina and Marjorie while away their time drinking and gossiping — until their husbands join them and bring violence in from the outside. What's real and what's imagined? Perspectives shift and things grow dark in this spare, stylized drama." Sam Marks' The Joke premiered last fall at Studio Dante, directed by Sam Gold. He received his MFA from Brown University and was the first recipient of Brown's John C. Russell '91 Fellowship.
May 12: Fake written and directed by Eric Simonson. "Alternating between 1914 and 1953, journalists and scientists set out to uncover who planted the Piltdown Man skull. Commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club through the Alfred P. Sloan Initiative, Fake explores the most famous archeological hoax in history." Eric Simonson received a Tony nomination for his production of The Song of Jacob Zulu and an Academy Award for his documentary short "A Note of Triumph." He is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he recently directed his play Carter's Way.
June 2: Kissing the Floor by Ellen McLaughlin, directed by Les Waters. "Everyone in the family has given up on Paul… except Annie. She believes she can save her brother from himself, but then she's also convinced she can talk to her dead father by tapping in Morse Code on the floor. Sophocles' Antigone freely adapted by esteemed classics interpreter Ellen McLaughlin." Ellen McLaughlin's plays have been produced at New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, Mark Taper Forum, Intiman Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville and the Almeida Theatre. She is a recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize."
Several plays developed in the series have gone on to full productions at MTC including Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, David Auburn's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof, Joe Hortua's Between Us, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Based on a Totally True Story.
Series plays that have been produced elsewhere in New York and around the country include Roberto Aguirre Sacasa's Good Boys And True, Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Little Flower of East Orange, Julia Cho's Durango, David Adjmi's Stunning, Naomi Iizuka's Strike-Slip, Adam Rapp's Red Light Winter and Theresa Rebeck's The Scene.
For information about Manhattan Theatre Club or the Ernst C. Steifel "[email protected]" Reading Series, visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.