2022…THAT’S A WRAP!
Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2022 Season marked our return to indoor stages for the first time since 2019! The season showcased innovative and engaging productions, including the thrilling new comedy Man of God, the evocative musical event Most Happy in Concert, the WTF-commissioned world premiere we are continuous, and the Off-Broadway hit comedy Just For Us. The season also included the benefit concert Jimmy Naughton & Friends, four Fridays@3 new play readings, Lawn Talks, Tuesday Talkbacks, the inaugural Summer Intensive Training Program, Fellowship Projects, and Artist-in-Residence workshops. The Festival is proud to be producing a wealth of exciting and thought-provoking work and contributing to the development of new plays in American theater. The Festival is grateful to everyone who helped to make the 2022 Season a success. Thank you!
The new comedy thriller, Man of God, kicked off the season with performances July 5-July 22 on the Nikos Stage. Directed by 2016 WTF Boris Sagal Fellow Maggie Burrows and written by Anna Ouyang Moench, “Man of God is a smart and thoughtful play that builds and builds, bringing its audiences along an unsettling, dark comic ride” (The New York Times). The ensemble cast of this co-production with Geffen Playhouse included Shirley Chen, Emma Galbraith, Erin Rae Li, Albert Park, Ji-young Yoo, Kristen Lee, and Helen J Shen. Click here to view production photos and the full cast and creative team.
An evocative meditation on an American musical masterpiece, Most Happy in Concert, ran from July 13 -31 on the Main Stage and invited audiences to consider anew Frank Loesser’s exquisite score for The Most Happy Fella. Conceived and directed by Daniel Fish, the director of the boldly reimagined Tony Award-winning revival of Oklahoma!, and with choreography by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Most Happy in Concert is “aurally rich and gorgeous” and “visually austere and glamorous” (The New York Times). Produced in association with the Fisher Center at Bard, Most Happy in Concert featured Tina Fabrique, Maya Lagerstam, Erin Markey, April Matthis, Mallory Portnoy, Mary Testa, Kiena Williams, Nicole Weiss, and Gwynne Wood. Click here to view production photos and the full cast and creative team.
The WTF-commissioned play we are continuous, had its world premiere August 2-14 on the Nikos Stage. A product of WTF’s Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, we are continuous was written by Harrison David Rivers (Where Storms Are Born 2016) and directed by 2020 WTF Foeller Fellow Tyler Thomas. The tender, semi-autobiographical play is “brilliantly written and deeply absorbing and a tremendous theatrical experience that represents the great quality and promise of Williamstown Theatre Festival’s long line of new and emerging work” (Broadway World). we are continuous featured Brenda Pressley, Leland Fowler, and Tom Holcomb. Click here to view production photos and the full cast and creative team.
Just For Us had an exclusive six-performance run from August 3-6 on the Main Stage. Critically acclaimed comedian Alex Edelman took a week off from the show’s multi-extended Off-Broadway run to bring the New York Times Critic’s Pick performance to Williamstown audiences. Just For Us is “belly-laugh funny! A brisk, smart provocation of a monologue” (The New York Times). Click here to view production photos and the full cast and creative team.
On August 7, two-time Tony Award winner and legendary Festival actor and director James Naughton regaled audiences with stories and songs in Jimmy Naughton & Friends. James was accompanied by special guests Greg Naughton, Keira Naughton, and Kelli O’Hara who performed songs including “Sexy Voice,” “Young At Heart,” and “Soul and Inspiration.” Proceeds from Jimmy Naughton & Friends directly benefited Williamstown Theatre Festival. Click here to view production photos and the full creative team.
In 2022, Williamstown Theatre Festival hosted nine artists-in-residence: Emma Horwitz, Eli Bolin, Rachel Shukert, Ben Holbrook, Michael R. Jackson, 600 HIGHWAYMEN (Michael Silverstone and Abigail Browde), The Talking Band (Paul Zimet, and Ellen Maddow). Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Artist-in-Residence Program provides administrative support, time, and space to writers and artists to develop their works-in-progress. This year, the Festival’s artists-in-residence had the opportunity to participate in Lawn Talks and present their work to Festival staff. The program is a valuable resource for artists, providing them with the support they need to create and develop their work.
Fridays@3 Reading Series
Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Fridays@3 Reading Series, the Festival’s renowned program for the development and discovery of new work, returned this summer with four play readings on the Nikos Stage. Audiences spent afternoons up close and personal with a play in development, read by brilliant actors! This summer we produced readings of Abortion Road Trip by Rachel Lynett, directed by Jess McLeod, and featuring Francis Benhamou, Carmen LoBue, Rami Margron, Emma Ramos, and Shayna Small; God Save the Queer by Zackary Grady, directed by Portia Krieger, and featuring Sebastian Beacon, Carol Mazhuvancheril, Talene Monahon, Laila Robins, and Robin Lord Taylor; and And Then We Were No More by Tim Blake Nelson, directed by Mark Wing-Davey, and featuring David Aaron Baker, Bree Elrod, Henry Stram, Maura Tierney, and Quincy Tyler Bernstine.
L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award
The final Fridays@3 of the 2022 Season was Mike Lew’s new play tiny father, the 2022 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award winner. The reading was directed by Moritz von Steulpnagel with a cast featuring Andy Lucien and Maureen Sebastian.
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 theater 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, theater, agents, and playwriting programs across the country are invited to nominate scripts. Finalists are then chosen by Festival artistic staff and read by a select panel of industry judges.
The inaugural Summer Intensive Training Program was designed for current undergraduate students (or learners at an equivalent stage of their training), and served a combined cohort of 10 Williams College students and 10 participants who applied through Williamstown Theatre Festival. Under the leadership of Veshonte Brown and Ann Marie Dorr, this program was created for learners interested in a holistic or generalist theater training experience and who might identify as “hyphenates,” interested in generating work through multiple theatrical disciplines (e.g. performing, directing, playwriting, design). Over the course of the summer, students took part in workshops, engaged with Festival artists, spent afternoons shadowing Festival staff, and ultimately presented a final project: The Edge of the World, a devised new work that showcased their exploration throughout the program and the insights they gained over the summer.
Nailah Harper-Malveaux was the recipient of the Bill Foeller Fellowship, which is awarded to an early-career director who is a woman and/or artist of color seeking a boost to their career. Named for the late Bill Foeller, a director who worked at the Festival in 1997, the fellowship was established by his close friends Lewis Black and Gaylen Ross. Nailah comes from Oakland, California and is a community organizer and director. Nailah worked with collaborator Kadeem Ali Harris on a devised work for this Fellowship Project.
Jean Carlo Yunén was the recipient of the 2022 The Boris Sagal Fellowship, which was established in 1987 by WTF Trustee Emeritus Marge Champion in memory of her late husband and is awarded to a director with significant experience who is making the transition to a professional career. Jean Carlo is a LA-based Dominican theater-maker and photographer. This summer, Jean Carlo Yunén directed a new play by Anna Fox called The North Star Performing Arts High School Class of 2007 Ten Year Reunion Will be Held as Scheduled with Some Slight Caveats, which featured Makeda Declet, Kaileela Hobby, William Hoeschler, Alburo Alton, and Jackson Miles.
Isabel Rodriguez was the recipient of the J. Michael Friedman fellowship, which is awarded annually in honor of the late American lyricist and composer J. Michael Friedman. The Fellowship identifies an early-career theater artist of exceptional talent, versatility, impact, and humanity who has demonstrated an artistic commitment to Williamstown Theatre Festival and invites them to make new work for a summer. The purpose is for the Fellow to create or collaborate on work deemed important and meaningful to the Fellow’s artistic and career development and to the life and culture of the Festival. Isabel is a Southern California-based Filipino-American director and theater artist and worked on a multi-part Fellowship Project that included a podcast, play reading, and a devising process at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.
Wish You Were Here by Sanaz Toossi premiered on stage at Playwrights Horizons from April 13 to June 5. Williamstown Theatre Festival produced Toossi’s historical drama as part of the 2020 WTF Season on Audible. The entire cast of Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat, Nazanin Nour, Artemis Pebdani, and Roxanna Hope Radja from the Festival reading starred in the Playwrights Horizons production, with director Gaye Taylor Upchurch back at the helm.
Selling Kabul, written by Sylvia Khoury, was selected in May as a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Before its world premiere on the Nikos Stage in 2019, Selling Kabul received the 2018 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award for the drama. The premiere was produced at Williamstown in association with Playwrights Horizons, where it was slated to open March 2020. Once theaters reopened, Selling Kabul had its New York premiere in November 2021.
Carson Kreitzer’s Broadway-bound musical Lempicka had its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse from June 14 – July 24,. The world premiere of Lempicka took place at Williamstown Theatre Festival during the 2018 Season. Rachel Chavkin and Raja Feather Kelly, who were, respectively, the director and choreographer of the Williamstown Theatre Festival production, brought their talents to San Diego. Eden Espinosa and Andrew Samonsky also returned to the cast and Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Design), Bradley King (Lighting Design), and Remy Kars (Music Supervisor) all continued their work on the creative team of the “eye-popping study of [the] enigmatic ‘baroness with a brush’” (The San Diego Union-Tribune).
Robert O’Hara‘s revival of A Raisin in the Sun had an extended run from September 27 to November 20 at The Public in NYC! Before moving to The Public, O’Hara’s 60th Anniversary production of Lorraine Hansberry‘s timeless drama kicked off the 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival season. In this partnership between WTF and The Public, Francois Battiste and Mandi Masden returned to the cast. Additionally, Clint Ramos (Scenic Design), Alex Jainchill (Lighting Design), and Elisheba Ittoop (Sound Design) from the Festival production continued their work on the creative team.
Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play that is “worth its weight in gold” (The New York Times), had its Broadway debut at Manhattan Theatre Club this fall from October 3 to November 6. After Cost of Living’s world premiere on the Nikos Stage as part of the 2016 Williamstown Theatre Festival season, Majok’s play was produced Off-Broadway and received the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. At MTC, Jo Bonney returned to direct and Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan reprised their roles from the Williamstown Theatre Festival production. The award-winning play continued to be lauded by press and audiences garnering a New York Times Critics Pick.
You can still revisit two of these plays at home by picking up a copy of The Height of Summer: New Plays from Williamstown Theatre Festival 2015-2021. This anthology includes six plays (Cost of Living, Paradise Blue, Actually, Where Storms Are Born, Selling Kabul, and Grand Horizons) that premiered or were developed at the Festival and is edited by former WTF Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield.You can purchase the anthology at the Williams Bookstore or online here!
Catch up with company members from the 2022 Williamstown Theatre Festival season! As an incubator for theater professionals, we are proud to support and nurture the growth of these talented individuals as they embark on or continue their careers in the arts.
Eliza Anastasio (Stage Manager, Most Happy in Concert) is Assistant Stage Managing Sandra at Vineyard Theatre!
Bradley Baumhover (Production Finance Associate) is in his third year of studies in the Theatre Management program at the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN, and is working as UE Theatre’s Assistant Production Manager and Co-Marketing Coordinator.
Veshonte Brown (Professional Training Program Manager) is now the Programs Manager for the IndieSpace NYC.
Samuel Egger (Associate Company Manager) is graduating from the University of the Incarnate Word this December with a BA in Theatre Arts and a Minor in Business Administration.
Emma Galbraith (Actor, Man of God) is performing this November as “Ramona” in Sheila Callaghan’s Elevada in Los Angeles, where she is continuing freelance acting, as well as her education at Occidental College.
Kerry Gibbons (Costume Supervisor) is freelancing as a designer and maker in NYC.
Nailah Harper-Malveaux (2022 Foeller Directing Fellow) just started in residency at Woolly Mammoth as their BOLD Rising Director (part of the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle) and will be directing the world premiere of Getting There by Dipika Guha at New Conservatory Theater Center this January.
Tia Harewood-Millington (Production Stage Manager, Man of God) is back out with the first National Tour of SIX: The Musical as their Assistant Stage Manager.
Adrian Hernandez (Company Manager) has started as a first year graduate student at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale in the Theatre Management Program.
Chloe Hipolito-Uribe (Marketing Assistant) has started working as the Promotions Event Assistant for iHeartRadio.
Jonathan Hogue (Marketing Assistant) is the Book & Score Writer as well as Lead Producer of Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical which opened Off-Broadway this past September, and he is currently pursuing his MFA in Theatre Management & Producing at Columbia University.
William Hoeschler (Actor, The North Star Performing Arts High School Class of 2007 Reunion…) is back in NYC assistant directing a theater performance class at the Barrow Group and playing lots of pick-up soccer.
Dack Justiz (Assistant Stage Manager, Most Happy in Concert) is the Assistant Stage Manager of a new Off-Broadway show, working with fellow WTF alum Molly Shea!
Durra Leung (Line Producer) has a workshop in December 2022 for his musical Lullabies for Motherf*ckers Vol.1 where he writes the book, music, and lyrics, and he is continuing work on a yet-to-be-announced revival of a Broadway musical with its original writers.
Beth Litwak (Covid Safety Manager) is a scout for Broadway producers, In Fine Company, and continues to work as a freelance producer and director.
Carol Mazhuvancheril (Actor, God Save the Queer) will be performing his solo show Song of Joy, which will be a co-production with the Tank Theater, as part of their spring season this upcoming January.
Adelina Marinello (Summer Intensive Participant) is thrilled to take on the role of Violet in Violet, Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center Winter Mainstage.
Elena Messinger (Audience Engagement Assistant) is graduating from Columbia University and has continued to direct theater on campus.
Jackson Miles (Photographer/Videographer) is working in Madrid as an English teacher while acting in a Shakespearean play and various film projects.
Tori Moss (Assistant Production Manager) has begun her senior year in the Musical Theatre Program at Manhattan School of Music and has an internship in the Theatre Operations department at Jujamcyn Theaters.
Alex Oleksy (Production Assistant) directed the premiere production of Pink Morph Suits by Ian Reid at The Tank NYC.
Jessie Paxton (Hair and Makeup Artist) is currently working at the St. Louis Rep on A Christmas Carol and is preparing for Grad School auditions in January!
Eddy Perez (Box Office Manager) is currently the Box Office Manager at Harlem Stage.
Kerrigan Quenemoen (Producing Assistant) has started working part time as the Grants Writer for WTF and is continuing freelance producing and acting in New York City.
Laila Robins (Actor, God Save the Queer) just celebrated the Finale Season of The Walking Dead, where she played Pamela Milton. She completed shooting The Crowded Room, playing Amanda Seyfried’s mother, and Accused, where she played Keith Caradine’s wife. She continues on The Boys and their spin-off, Varsity.
Marissa Ruben (Actor, J. Michael Friedman Fellowship Project) is in development and financing her feature film Death Death that she will direct and star in.
Molly Shea (Assistant Stage Manager, we are continuous) was the PSM of the new Civilians show The Unbelieving that played at 59E59 until November 20th.
Gwynne Wood (Actor, Most Happy in Concert) closed the first national tour of Oklahoma! at the end of October.
Max Younger (Marketing Assistant) is a Fellow with the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
Jean Carlo Yunén Aróstegui (Boris Sagal Fellow) is developing a new AR theater piece at the XR2C2 in Cannes, France this fall, and will be assisting Lisa Portes in Alexis Scheer’s new play Laughs in Spanish at the Denver Performing Arts Center in January.
Were you on the staff in 2022 and would like to be added to this list? We would love to hear from you. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with an update!
Friends of WTF gathered at City Winery on Monday, November 7 for the 2022 Gala Cabaret. Thank you to everyone who made the event possible, including the Gala Committee and Gala Sponsors; all of our Gala supporters; the Williamstown Theatre Festival Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers; the Cabaret host, Richard Kind, and performers Alex Edelman, Latoya Edwards, Christopher Fitzgerald, Amber Iman, John-Michael Lyles, Greg Naughton, James Naughton, Steven Pasquale, and Phillipa Soo; and music director Kris Kukul and the Cabaret band: Sean Driscoll, Shannon Ford, and Conrad Korsch.
The staff, artists, and theater-makers at WTF would like to offer a huge thank you to the Williamstown Theatre Festival Guild! The Guild is a local volunteer organization that works to foster a closer relationship between members of the WTF company and the Williamstown community. 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 email@example.com.
To see the impact donations have, check out this new video featuring Festival artists describing why Williamstown Theatre Festival matters to them and why they look forward to what’s to come as the Festival continues to adapt and grow.Click Here To Make A Donation In Support Of Williamstown Theatre Festival!
THE 2022 SEASON
MOST HAPPY IN CONCERT
The Williamstown Theatre Festival expresses our enormous gratitude to Williams College, our host and partner for 68 summers. We are deeply grateful to all the Williams College faculty & staff who support our work with grace and generosity.
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