2018…THAT’S A WRAP!
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Throughout 2018, Williamstown Theatre Festival continued its traditions of developing and producing artistically vibrant and culturally resonant plays and musicals, incubating the next generation of great theatre artists, and connecting broad and diverse audiences with its work. This summer, over just 55 days of the Festival, we produced more than 165 performances of 34 shows, readings, and special events as well as dozens of lawn talks, talkbacks, backstage tours, dinners, community events, panel discussions, workshops, opening celebrations, and more!
Highlights from 2018 included two New York Times Critic’s Picks – both world premieres: Mary-Louise Parker starred in Adam Rapp’s “astonishing new play,” The Sound Inside, in a “sensationally controlled performance” under the “masterly direction of David Cromer” (The New York Times). Matt Gould and Carson Kreitzer’s “exciting new musical,” Lempicka, directed by Rachel Chavkin, was “a woke throwback — old-fashioned if you think of Evita or Les Miserables, the blockbusters that ruled Broadway, as old-fashioned” and featured Eden Espinosa in a star turn that is “a legitimate successor to Ms. Patti LuPone’s Eva Perón” (The New York Times). A new interpretation of The Member of the Wedding, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, featured a “wondrous” Roslyn Ruff, whose “uncompromising performance shifts the center of the classic Carson McCullers story from a white girl’s tween anxiety to a black woman’s unanswerable sorrows” (The New York Times). Jen Silverman’s Dangerous House, directed by Saheem Ali, was hailed by The New York Times as “powerful,” “harrowing,” “urgent,” and “a sexy if tragic love story – passionately engaged in the struggle to understand the responsibility we bear for terrible things going on around us.” Each of these plays was the result of over a year of development by Williamstown Theatre Festival – the work honed in a year-round process that included workshops, readings, and other developmental activities in Williamstown and New York City.
In addition to developing plays and musicals for production, the Festival is renowned for developing talent – actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and more – who go on to create work across the country and around the world. Guided by a seasonal staff of creative, technical, and administrative leaders, members of our Professional Training Program are engaged in the process of producing a full season of theatre in only eight weeks – a phenomenal accomplishment by any measure. Take a moment to peruse “Roll Call” below and learn a little about what a few of our 2018 collaborators are up to now.
The current moment underlines the importance of theatre’s potential to unify audiences through shared experiences and exposure to new perspectives. Support from our generous patrons and donors allows WTF to reach a broad audience by offering low-income EBT ticketing options, continuing free-admission programs like our Fridays@3 new play reading series, and producing COMMUNITY WORKS, which engages Berkshire locals year-round and culminates in a world premiere production presented free of charge on our Main Stage. Theatre’s ability to impact and affect its viewers and participants serves a powerful and vital purpose, which we must strive to share with as broad and diverse an audience as possible.
Our work manifests in the summer, but it is an endeavor that continues all year long and whose success depends on the involvement of many: Trustees, donors, volunteers, audiences, artists, summer staff, Apprentices, interns, and more. Thank you to everyone who made Williamstown Theatre Festival possible in 2018. Please enjoy this look back on the year that was!
Cost of Living by Martyna Majok won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The production, directed by Jo Bonney and starring Rebecca Naomi Jones, Gregg Mozgala, Wendell Pierce, and Katy Sullivan, had its world premiere on the Nikos Stage at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016. The production moved to New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club in 2017, and was included in The New York Times’ “The Best Theater of 2017”.
The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp was included in The New York Times’ “The Best Theater of 2018”. The production had its world premiere on the Nikos Stage at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018, directed by David Cromer and starring Mary-Louise Parker and Will Hochman.
Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau, which had its world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2015, made its New York City debut at Signature Theatre in 2018.
Actually by Anna Ziegler was nominated for a 2018 Artios Award in the Regional Theatre West category. In 2017, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Geffen Playhouse partnered in the co-world premiere production of Actually, which moved to Manhattan Theatre Club that fall.
Three world premiere productions from the 2018 season received Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards; The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp, Artney Jackson by James Anthony Tyler, and Lempicka with book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer and music by Matt Gould. Selected by an independent panel, winning productions receive funding for extra time in the development and rehearsal process with the entire creative team, helping to extend the life of the show after its first run.
ANDREW MARTIN-WEBER NEW PLAY AND MUSICAL COMMISSIONING PROGRAM
Established in 2015, the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program annually commissions and develops three to six projects from playwrights, composers, and other generative artists from across the career spectrum. Each commission also includes at least one writing residency at the Festival. The 2018 commission recipients are Aziza Barnes, John Michael LaChiusa, Max Posner and Sharyn Rothstein. The Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program is made possible by generous support from James & Virginia Giddens, The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, and Andrew Martin-Weber.
2018 L. ARNOLD WEISSBERGER NEW PLAY AWARD
Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury is the 2018 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award recipient. Selling Kabul was read at WTF on August 10, 2018 as a part of the Fridays@3 reading series. Khoury will also receive the $10,000 Jay Harris Commission to write a new play.
Williamstown Theatre Festival administers the L. Arnold Weissberger Award on behalf of the Anna L. Weissberger Foundation. Named for the noted theatrical attorney and avid theatre supporter L. Arnold Weissberger, the award recognizes excellence in playwriting. The recipient of the award receives a $10,000 grant, and the winning script receives a reading produced by Williamstown Theatre Festival during the following season, as well as optional publication by Samuel French, Inc. The playwright whose work is honored also receives the Jay Harris Commission in the amount of $10,000 to write a new play. Each year, theatres, agents, and playwriting programs across the country are invited to nominate scripts. Finalists are then chosen by Festival artistic staff and read blindly by a select panel of industry judges.
Diana Oh joined us at the Festival as the 2018 Williamstown Theatre Festival Playwright-in-Residence.
The Playwright-in-Residence is both an artist and a member of the artistic staff, who works and lives at the Festival for the duration of the summer. They contribute not only by writing new work that will be potentially seen on stages inside and outside of the Festival, but also by creating program dramaturgy for playbills and moderating lawn talks and post-show talkbacks.
READINGS AND RESIDENCIES
More than two dozen artists had residencies at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018, including Jocelyn Bioh, MaYaa Boateng, Salty Brine, Halley Feiffer, Tom Fontana, Michael R. Jackson, Candis Jones, Meghan Kennedy, Sylvia Khoury, Basil Kreimendahl, Michael John LaChiusa, Justin Levine, Donald Margulies, Danny Mefford, Marsha Norman, PigPen Theatre Company, Max Posner, Abby Rosebrock, Sharyn Rothstein, Zoe Sarnak, Benjamin Scheuer, Leigh Silverman, Cody Owen Stine, Michael Thurber, and Bess Wohl. Artists-in-Residence were given time and space to write, access to collaborators including Festival actors and members of our Professional Training Program, and administrative support.
Williamstown Theatre Festival also supported the development of new work through twenty-five private readings and workshops in New York City in the spring, fall, and winter of 2018.
Our summer reading series Fridays@3 presented readings of seven in-process works to audiences in Williamstown, free of charge.
In July of 2015, Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield charged Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia and Obie Award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber with creating a multi-year initiative that would build meaningful relationships with our neighbors in the Berkshires. The resulting program, COMMUNITY WORKS, invites the people of Western Massachusetts to be a part of the Festival’s creative process – not just as audience members, but on stage! Now in year four, COMMUNITY WORKS brings together participants from diverse economic and social backgrounds and makes the Festival more accessible than ever. These diverse constituencies are connected with professional theatre artists and with each other through workshops, rehearsals, and a professional-caliber family-friendly production on the Main Stage at the Festival, presented free of charge for more than 2,000 locals.
Thank you to our generous COMMUNITY WORKS sponsors:
This project has been supported by a grant from the Fund for Williamstown, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
This program is supported in part by Ellen J. Bernstein, Steve & Andrea Ryan, MountainOne, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and grants from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire and the Pittsfield Cultural Council, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Ben Ahlers (Actor, The Closet and The Member of the Wedding) is currently amidst filming the recurring role of Liam Kelly in NBC’s new drama, “The Village,” premiering in spring 2019.
Saheem Ali (Director, Dangerous House) is working on Passage by Chris Chen in March at Soho Rep.
Ella Andrew (Development & Special Events Assistant) is currently the Marketing and Communications Fellow at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.
Natali Arco (Master Electrician) recently accepted a position as the Lighting Director at Samsung 837, a virtual reality studio and concert venue in New York.
Kelly AuCoin (Actor, Fridays@3) is currently shooting the fourth season of Showtime’s “Billions.”
Jessie Baldinger (Scenic Design Intern) is studying abroad in Prague, learning and growing so much, and will return to Northwestern in January to finish her senior year studying scene design and art history.
Matt Barnes (Production Manager) is working full-time at Bungalow Scenic Studios in the Project Management department.
Justin Beets (Lighting Intern) is in their second year of grad school at the University of California San Diego and is planning on getting abs.
Henry Blazer (Assistant Scenic Designer) is working as an art PA on the FX TV series “Fosse/Verdon”, about the life and work of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.
Jody Bogner (Production Management Intern) is currently a second year stage manager at UNCSA working on Next To Normal as the Assistant Stage Manager.
Joshua Boone (Actor, Artney Jackson) recently wrapped filming on the indie film “Premature” and is now starring opposite Bryan Cranston, Tony Goldwyn, and Tatiana Maslany in Network on Broadway.
Carolyn Brown (Company Photographer) recently accepted a position as the standing production photographer for the UMass Amherst Theatre Department and has been photographing for The Freedom Trail Foundation in Boston.
Isabella Byrd (Lighting Designer, Artney Jackson and The Member of the Wedding) just opened The Thanksgiving Play at Playwrights Horizons. She has upcoming designs at ACT in San Francisco (Seascape with Pam MacKinnon), The New Group/Vineyard (Jeremy O.Harris’ Daddy), and at MTC (Continuity by Bess Wohl (WTF Commissioned Artist), directed by Rachel Chavkin (Director, Lempicka)).
Sammi Cannold (Associate Director, Lempicka) is directing Endlings by Celine Song at the American Repertory Theater and was recently named one of Forbes Magazine‘s “30 Under 30” in Hollywood & Entertainment.
Christopher Cassarino (Teacher, Professional Training Program) can be seen as Dr. Edward Nottingham in the new NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam,” and as Agent Jones in the 5th season of the CBS series “NCIS: New Orleans”.
Rachel Chavkin (Director, Lempicka) is directing a developmental workshop of Lempicka this month following its run at WTF this past summer. She’s then off to London to direct Arthur Miller’s The American Clock at the Old Vic and then back to the states to direct Bess Wohl’s Continuity at Manhattan Theatre Club.
David Cromer (Director, The Sound Inside) can be seen acting in The Waverly Gallery on Broadway and is preparing both Next To Normal at Writers Theatre and the national tour of The Band’s Visit.
Christopher Czyz (House Manager), when not house managing for the New School, can be seen on the 7 train performing his daily one man show “Your Axe Body Spray Choice Was A Mistake.”
Maya Davis (Professional Training Program Associate) is in residence at Playwrights Horizons for the 2018-2019 season as a Directing Fellow. She is the Assistant Director on four productions: The Thanksgiving Play, Noura, If Pretty Hurts…, and A Strange Loop, written by Michael R. Jackson (Residency Artist).
Amanda Fallon (Lighting Intern) is starting her first year of graduate school at Boston University and excited to be working on two fall operas and two spring musicals.
Tom Fontana (Playwright, Fridays@3) is working on the new Showtime TV series “City on a Hill” with Gary Levine (WTF Trustee).
Travis Fontenot (Apprentice Coordinator) is now the Executive Director of the Dixie Center for the Arts in Ruston, LA.
Tavi Gevinson (Actor, The Member of the Wedding) is finishing the run of Days of Rage, a new play by Steven Levenson and directed by Trip Cullman (Director, Fridays@3), at Second Stage.
Carina Goebelbecker (Apprentice) spent the fall performing and touring France with the New York City Players’ production Paradiso.
Ellen Goldberg (Resident Stage Manager, The Closet and Dangerous House) is the Assistant Stage Manager on the first national tour of Anastasia.
Zoë Golub-Sass (Directing Intern) is currently directing Lisa Kron’s 2.5 Minute Ride at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY.
Victoria Gruenberg (Directing Intern) has directed this fall’s 24 Hour Plays, assistant directed the 24 Hour Musicals on Broadway, and is now assisting on a new actor-musician musical called The Hello Girls at 59E59.
William Haltiwanger (Box Office Manager) recently accepted a position at The Roster Agency, representing actors in TV, Film, and Theatre across the country and overseas.
Andrew Hartman (Company Manager) is currently the Assistant Company Manager for Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway, starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl.
Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer, Seared and Dangerous House) opened The Lifespan of a Fact on Broadway and Wild Goose Dreams at The Public. She also won a Henry Hewes Award for her design of Today is My Birthday.
Will Hochman (Actor, The Sound Inside) is one of the leads in an upcoming indie film directed by and starring John Leguizamo.
Michael R. Jackson (Residency Artist) will see the world premiere of his musical A Strange Loop at Playwrights Horizons in the spring of 2019.
Ammie Jergenson (Apprentice) is the Interim Program Assistant of the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center and a new member of the Echo Theater Company’s National Young Playwrights in Residence Program.
Sonia Joffe (Apprentice) is spending the fall semester at the National Music Theatre Institute (NMTI) at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. She will be graduating college in the spring.
Jane Kaczmarek (Actor, Fridays@3) is working with Anne Kauffman on The Year to Come, a new Lindsey Ferrentino play, at La Jolla Playhouse.
Raja Feather Kelly (Choreographer, Lempicka) is the first choreographer to receive the SDCF Breakout Award!
Kris Kukul (Music Director, Fridays@3) is currently Orchestrator and Music Supervisor for the Broadway-bound Beetlejuice: The Musical at The National Theatre in Washington DC. Next up is Grace McLean’s In The Green for Lincoln Center Theatre.
Michelle J. Li (Costume Design Intern) is wrapping up her BFA costume design education from Carnegie Mellon University.
Donald Margulies (Playwright, Fridays@3) has his new play Long Lost, a 2018 Friday @ 3 staged reading, premiering at Manhattan Theatre Club in the spring.
Micaela Martinez (Apprentice) is finishing her last year at UC San Diego and will be playing Emily in UCSD’s production of Our Town in collaboration with the La Jolla Playhouse.
Tyler Metteer (Shop Operations Supervisor) recently moved to Washington, D.C. where he is setting himself up as a freelance carpenter/technician (as soon as he can find an affordable place to live…).
Jack Mitchell (Music Director, Taiga in the Berkshires) is a songwriter & the vocal arranger/director for “The Story Pirates” Podcast from Gimlet Media. He recently music directed Stagedream at Playwrights Downtown, written by Lee Overtree (Director, Taiga in the Berkshires) and Jenny Rachel Weiner (Playwright, Damsels).
Claire Murphy (Stage Management Intern) worked as a PA on both the Broadway-bound Tootsie and the national tour of Elf: The Musical.
Aliyah Nissim (Stage Management Intern) is working at Pixar Animation Studios.
Kate Odulukwe (Apprentice) released her debut EP “Melanin and Melancholy” and is performing songs from the EP all over New York City!
Sam Pinson (Apprentice) is currently directing Hand To God as part of the University of Oklahoma’s fall season.
Baxter Pitt (Journeyman Electrician) recently relocated to NYC where they now work as a freelance projection + lighting designer. Their work will be seen in Twin Size Beds at The Public’s Under The Radar festival this January!
Lucy Powis (Literary Assistant) is working in the Programming department of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and as a freelance dramaturg and producer.
Jenn Rapp (Choreographer, Taiga in the Berkshires) is Associate Director for Illusionists on Broadway. She choreographed the world premiere musical Mary & Max at Theatre Calgary and the new Disney a cappella group, D Cappella, on a 2019 tour.
Kate Reinlib (Associate Props Supervisor) is now the full-time Associate Props Master for Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, CA.
Cody Renard Richard (Stage Manager, Lempicka) just closed the Atlantic Theater Company’s production of Fireflies, directed by Saheem Ali (Director, Dangerous House), and is currently working on the developmental lab of Lempicka. He will be the Production Stage Manager for Lin Manuel Miranda & Tommy Kail’s Off-Broadway production of Freestyle Love Supreme in the spring.
Charlie Romano (Music Assistant, Fridays@3) has written a new, original musical about Robert Johnson that is being produced this spring at Yale.
Liv Rooth (Actor, The Member of the Wedding) is appearing on Broadway in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a new play by Aaron Sorkin.
Deborah Rush (Actor, Fridays@3) just closed A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies at Primary Stages and the Emily Dickinson/Jane Ira Bloom Jazz Show in November at Rizzoli’s. She is filming for the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” in January.
Colton Ryan (Actor, Fridays@3) is currently in the sold-out Public Theater run of Conor McPherson and Bob Dylan’s Girl from the North Country.
Rory Schall (Carpenter) is an overhire carpenter at The Public Theater and other places throughout NYC.
Benjamin Scheuer (WTF Commissioned Artist) has written a children’s book Hibernate With Me, illustrated by his wife Jemima Williams, which will be published in February by Simon and Schuster; Atlantic Records will release his original song of the same title.
Aliza Schneider (Production Management Intern) has been selected for the student build team on the United States Exhibit for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. She will take part in the fabrication, operational, and technical elements relating to the exhibit which will be displayed at this year’s USITT Conference, ahead of accompanying the project to Prague.
David Shocket (Assistant Lighting Designer) has been designing and assisting lighting for off- and off off-Broadway shows. He has also been teaching lighting at high schools and universities in the Northeast.
Jen Silverman (Playwright, Dangerous House) had plays produced at MCC (Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties), Steppenwolf (The Roommate) and Writers Theatre in Chicago (Witch); her book The Island Dwellers was released by Random House.
Ryan Spahn (Actor, Fridays@3) worked on the feature Shirley opposite Elizabeth Moss, the TV show “The Blacklist,” and is currently starring in Daniel’s Husband at the Westside Theatre.
Amanda Spooner (Stage Manager, Fridays@3) is a Professor of Stage Management at Ithaca College, was elected to AEA council and the board of the SMA, and is an ambassador for PAAL. She is also running Tandem, a peer-to-peer education program.
Nathaniel Stampley (Actor, Lempicka) will make his Second Stage Theater debut in the world premiere of Superhero, a musical with the book by John Logan, music and lyrics by Tom Kitt, and directed by Jason Moore, beginning in January.
Nic Steffes (Stage Management Intern) is currently working as a Production Assistant for Network on Broadway.
Chris Stevens (Social Media Intern) started his first year as an MFA-student in Acting at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco.
Gage Tarlton’s (Apprentice) play Just Like Now, workshopped with the Apprentice Company at Williamstown, received its world premiere with the Kenan Theatre Company in Chapel Hill last month!
Alexandra Templer (Actor, Lempicka) just wrapped the Netflix series “Central Park Five,” directed by Ava Duvernay.
Michael Toth (Carpenter) is studying at SUNY New Paltz, where he is both the Lead Carpenter and Technical Director of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
Rachel Tucker (Actor, Lempicka) is playing Capital Beverly Bass and Annette in both the West End and Dublin companies of Come From Away starting this month.
James Anthony Tyler’s (Playwright, Artney Jackson) play Some Old Black Man, which had a sold-out run at 59E59 in February, is set to debut in Los Angeles in early 2019.
Dane Urban (Resident Stage Manager, The Sound Inside and The Member of the Wedding) took a vacation to Disney & Key West before working for The New School of Drama as PSM for their BFA production of Marisol.
Ollie Ward (Sound Intern) is President of a major conference within a record label in Central Pennsylvania; the theme for this year’s conference is “Women in the Industries”!
Emma Whittum (Assistant House Manager) has been finishing up her senior year at Muhlenberg College, keeping busy with dancing, choreographing, stage managing, learning and having lots of fun!
Charity Wicks (Music Director, Lempicka) has been at The Public Theater all fall Music Supervising Wild Goose Dreams.
Samira Wiley (Actor, Dangerous House) won an Emmy Award for Best Drama Guest Actress for her role in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Theron Wineinger (Assistant Scenic Designer) moved to New York City in August and currently works as an Assistant Scenic Designer at Alexander Dodge Design.
Williamstown Theatre Festival is now accepting applications for our prestigious training programs and seasonal staff for the 2019 Festival. WTF’s Professional Training Program provides invaluable on-the-job learning opportunities for performers, directors, writers, designers, technicians, and administrators. If you know someone who’s considering a career in the theatre, a summer in Williamstown in the best place to start. Every season, more than 200 early career actors, directors, designers, technicians, and administrators come to WTF for what is frequently the most challenging and rewarding summer of their lives.
Williamstown Theatre Festival is committed to telling diverse stories and to fostering an inclusive environment both onstage and off. For all of our educational, professional, and artistic positions, WTF actively seeks talented artists and administrators from all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. In addition, the Festival – in conjunction with the Kennedy Center’s Rosemary Kennedy Internship Initiative – offers scholarships for interns between the ages of 18-22 with disabilities.
If you missed the 2018 Company Lip Dub, CLICK BELOW to see it again!
A huge shout-out to the Williamstown Theatre Festival Guild! The Festival Guild is a local volunteer organization that works to foster a closer relationship between members of the WTF company and the Williamstown community. Now with more than 50 active members, the Guild makes company meals, promotes the Festival in the community, and provides local knowledge and assistance to the artists, technicians, staff, and their families, creating fun, engaging, and memorable experiences for all.
We could not do what we do without the WTF Guild! If you’d like to learn more about how you can participate, please contact Emily Bourguignon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fun continues in 2019! Please join us on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 583 Park Avenue, for the Williamstown Theatre Festival Gala in New York City, “An Evening with Audra McDonald”, as we celebrate the Festival and honor Board Chairman Matt Harris for his visionary leadership.
Festivities will include cocktails, dinner, appearances by Festival artists, and an evening of performance by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner and two-time Festival star, Audra McDonald. All proceeds from the event will support the art, artists, and programs of Williamstown Theatre Festival.
THE 2018 SEASON
TAIGA IN THE BERKSHIRES
MAJOR SEASON SUPPORT
Herbert A. Allen
Elizabeth & Scott Delman
James & Virginia Giddens
Perry & Marty Granoff
Jessica & Matt Harris
Joan & Jim Hunter
Kristen Johanson & Tom Green
Jeff Johnson & Hy Conrad
Valerie & George Kennedy
Barbara & Don McLucas
James & Chrystina Parks
Annie & Nick Pell
Hon. Susan Phillips Read
Olivia Howard Sabine
Caren Pasquale Seckler & Michael Seckler
& Two Anonymous Donors
BUSINESS MEMBERS & PARTNERS
The Williamstown Theatre Festival expresses our enormous gratitude to Williams College, our host and partner for 64 summers. We are deeply grateful to all the Williams College faculty & staff who support our work with grace and generosity.
By Phone: 413.458.3200
By Email: email@example.com
By Snail Mail: PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267