Speech & Debate Will Inaugurate New "Roundabout Underground" Space; Moore Directs

News   Speech & Debate Will Inaugurate New "Roundabout Underground" Space; Moore Directs
Jason Moore will direct Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate, which will launch the Roundabout Theatre Company's new 65-seat black-box theatre in this fall.
Jason Moore
Jason Moore Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The new space — located below the company's Off-Broadway home, the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre — will kick off "Roundabout Underground," a new initiative to "introduce new voices," according to an announcement.

"We are committed to actual productions of new plays as a means to develop and nurture new talent in a protected environment," said artistic director Todd Haimes in a release. "It will give emerging writers a professional experience with all the support Roundabout can provide without the pressures of a larger stage.  We are very fortunate to have Robyn Goodman working with us; her experience in nurturing talent will enhance this new initiative."

Speech & Debate centers on a trio of misfit teens in Salem, OR, 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.

Previews begin Oct. 5 and the work will open Oct. 29. Casting and designers are yet to be announced.

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. Goodman — a producer on Broadway's Avenue Q, Metamorphoses and Off-Broadway's Red Light Winter, Altar Boyz and Our Lady of 121st Street — also serves as an artistic consultant to Roundabout and will curate the new "Roundabout Underground" program.

"Roundabout Underground" will "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."

With the new 65-seat black box theatre, Roundabout now spans four theatres — adding to its current Broadway spaces at the American Airlines Theatre and Studio 54 and Off-Broadway house, the Laura Pels Theatre. The company has been reportedly in talks to add the Henry Miller Theatre to its roster as well.

Tickets ($20) will go on sale in August through Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office (111 West 46 Street) or online at roundabouttheatre.org.


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