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Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2023 Season served as a vibrant hub where playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and administrators were able to develop new work, revisit classic stories, and come closer to audiences than ever before. The 2023 Festival Stage, designed by Se Hyun Oh with lighting design by Emily Schmit, moved audience members from the typical orchestra and balcony seating of the Main Stage, right onto the stage with actors and performers. This new, uniquely created environment was home to the dazzling return of the WTF Cabaret, which spanned over three weekends, bringing some of Broadway’s best talent right to the Berkshires. The 2023 Festival Stage also hosted the Main Stage Reading Series which brought audiences up close and personal with beloved Festival actors performing new and classic plays including Hamish Linklater’s blistering backstage farce Paris, ACTORS!, Anton Chekhov’s timeless Three Sisters, and Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Pillowman. The season also included a sold-out run of the hit comedian Hasan Minhaj on the Main Stage, a benefit concert featuring Laura Benanti, four Fridays@3 new play readings at the Clark Art Institute, and workshop presentations from three groups of artists-in-residence. The Festival takes pride in presenting a rich array of thrilling and thought-provoking performances, actively contributing to the evolution of new plays in American theater. Our gratitude extends to everyone who played a part in making the 2023 Season a resounding success. Thank you!

On stage in 2023=

Award-winning comedian Hasan Minhaj kicked off the 2023 season by showcasing new material for his latest work-in-progress in Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time on the Main Stage from July 8-9. Hasan is one of the most in-demand comedians on screen and stage today, and all the shows in the limited run sold out. Earlier this year, he was the guest host of The Daily Show, and he is also the host and creator of Netflix’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning weekly comedy show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, and the Netflix comedy specials Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King and The King’s Jester. Berkshire-raised Maggie Crane revved up the audience for Hasan every night with her opening act poking fun at the region. We look forward to seeing if any of the work that Hasan developed at the Festival this summer will appear in his future specials!

For one performance only on July 16, Broadway legend and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti graced the Main Stage to share songs from her illustrious career in Laura Benanti in Concert. A long-time friend of the Festival, Laura also starred as Perdita in the WTF production of The Winter’s Tale (2001) and last performed for WTF audiences at the 2020 Gala. It was a joy to have Laura back in Williamstown to share stories and songs from her two-decade-long Broadway career.

In the 2023 Season, the WTF Cabaret returned to Williamstown for the first time since 2019! Intimate, casual, and always surprising, these exhilarating evenings featured performances by a recurring core of Eden Espinosa, Asmeret Ghebremichael, and Jon-Michael Reese, as well as guest performers Bill Irwin, Natalie Joy Johnson, Jacob Ming-Trent, Lee Wilkof, Ari Notartomaso, Kate Burton, John Cariani, Eleri Ward, and Samantha Williams (who recently appeared in Sammie and Dan as part of Williamstown’s 40th Annual Holiday Walk weekend!). Each of the three Cabaret weekends also included a hilarious host: Jeff Hiller (Weekend 1, July 20-22), Lewis Black (Weekend 2, July 27-29), and Jaye McBride (Weekend 3, August 3-5). Curated by long-time friend of the Festival, Christopher Fitzgerald, with music direction by Joel Waggoner, no two weekends were ever the same.

Running from July 21-22, the first performance of the Main Stage Reading Series was of Hamish Linklater’s Paris, ACTORS!, set in occupied Paris in 1944. In this new farce, real-life celebrity Nazi Werner Krauss is between projects. But the Party, desperate for a propaganda extravaganza in the City of Lights, has arranged a remount of his notorious Merchant of Venice produced by a French theater teeming with family secrets. Directed by Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, Paris, ACTORS! featured a cast with Gus Birney, Hamish Linklater, Jeremiah Maestas, Miriam Poe, Lily Rabe, Noah Robbins, Jay O. Sanders, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Jordan Tyson.

Up next, the Prozorov family returned to Williamstown Theatre Festival to recount their timeless and tumultuous tale of existential longing in a reading of Three Sisters featuring real-life siblings Louisa Jacobson and Mamie, Grace, and Henry Gummer. In this Chekhov classic, sisters Olga, Masha, and Irina yearn for the promise of Moscow while grappling with the tribulations of unrequited love and family drama at home. In the wake of their father’s death and a changing Russia, the women must face the reality of their choices and take responsibility for their uncertain futures. Three Sisters, which ran on the Festival Stage from July 28-29, was directed by Kristjan Thor and also featured Dylan Baker, Juliana Canfield, Edmund Donovan, Sean Finnegan, Robert Sean Leonard, Johnny Rothman, Dario Ladani Sanchez, and Jo Yang.

The final Main Stage Reading of the summer, The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh, posed the question: They say life imitates art—but what happens when that art is horror? In a totalitarian dictatorship, young author Katurian is interrogated by the authorities after a string of child murders bears a striking resemblance to his grisly short stories. The Pillowman ran August 5 and 6, was directed by Lila Neugebauer, and featured Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Michael Chernus, Erica Ito, Alison Pill, and Danny Wolohan.


From August 16–September 10, the season also included A New Brain, a Barrington Stage Company in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival. This historic production written by Berkshire-native and Williams College alum William Finn follows Gordon Schwinn, a frustrated composer for a children’s TV show, when he finds himself in the hospital. There he contemplates his life, relationships, and the meaning of music while facing medical uncertainty and hauntings by an imaginary frog from the show he’s composing for. According to The New York Times, the production “inevitably speaks to everyone…powerful…ultimately uplifting.” The production also received a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Directed by Joe Calarco, this production featured a cast with Adam Chanler-Berat, Demond Green, Andy Grotelueschen, Dorcas Leung, Darrell Purcell, Jr., Justine Horihata Rappaport, Eliseo Román, Tally Sessions, Salome B. Smith, and Mary Testa.


Artists-In-Residence and Workshops

In 2023, Williamstown Theatre Festival hosted 3 groups of artists-in-residence for a total of 5 workshop presentations. The Festival’s Artist-in-Residence Program provides administrative support, time, and space to writers and artists to develop their works-in-progress. Workshop productions included TWITCH by Liliana Padilla (they/them), directed by Jack Ferver (they/them), and produced by Breaking the Binary Theatre, founding Artistic Director, George Strus (they/them); Nightdrive’s Society, written by Skylar Fox and Simon Henriques, and directed by Skylar Fox; and A Good Day to Me Not to You (a co-production of Waterwell and Plate Spinner Productions) by Lameece Issaq, directed by Lee Sunday Evans, and produced by Rachel Sussman and Arian Moayed (keep scrolling for an exciting update about this production!). Playwrights Brysen Boyd and 2023 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama Sanaz Toossi were also in residency at the Festival this summer, as well as Laura Benanti with writing partner Miranda Ferriss Jones, working on their musical project The Precipice.

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 at the Clark Art Institute. Audiences spent afternoons up close and personal with a new play in development. This summer we produced readings of Nick and the Prizefighter (July 14) by Kamilah Bush, directed by Kristolyn Lloyd, with original music composed by Brittany Campbell, and featuring Dane DeHaan, Amber Iman, dL Sams, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson; Plunder and Lightning (July 21) by Cindy Lou Johnson, directed by Portia Krieger, and featuring Samantha Bohrer, Johanna Day, Annie Golden, Nina Grollman, and John Pankow; Chapters of a Floating Life, by Clarence Coo, directed by Jennifer Chang, featuring Grant Chang, James Chen, Leah Getz, Teresa Avia Lim, and Diana Oh; and Wipeout (August 4) by Aurora Real de Asua, directed by Maggie Burrows, and featuring Becky Ann Baker, Candy Buckley, Brett Gray, and Emily Kuroda.

L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award

Clarence Coo’s Chapters of a Floating Life was the 2023 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award winner. The reading, which took place on July 28, was directed by Jennifer Chang with a cast featuring Grant Chang, James Chen, Leah Getz, Teresa Avia Lim, and Diana Oh. The play follows two couples from China trying to make ends meet in New York City in the wake of the Second World War. One husband and wife live uptown, obsessed with a past of poetry, painting, and gardens. Another pair face the day-to-day reality of keeping a Chinatown restaurant in business. Their worlds, previously separated by class and education, converge when the two women find each other in Central Park and fall under the spell of the Chinese language

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 Concord Theatricals. The playwright also receives the Jay Harris Commission in the amount of $10,000 to write a new play. Each year, theaters, 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.

English, by Sanaz Toossi, the recipient of the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award in 2020, was awarded the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama! The Festival would like to extend a huge congratulations to Sanaz for this monumental achievement. To view other recent winners of the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award click here.


Woman is… going to Broadway! We are thrilled to share that Lempicka is headed to Broadway this March! Lempicka had its world premiere at the Festival as part of the 2018 Season. The New York Times said, “A politically tumultuous tale of blond ambition with epic sweep has arrived,” and Ben Brantley called the show, “Incandescent! An exciting new work which gives musical theater fans who’ve been wondering why they don’t write dominating parts for women anymore reason to cheer. Matt Gould’s stirring, richly polyphonic music with lyrics by Carson Kreitzer layers voices against each other like lovers between the sheets and Rachel Chavkin is a miracle worker.” We’re incredibly fortunate to have played a part in the development of this breathtaking musical. If you’re as excited as we are, be sure to check out more information and secure your tickets by clicking here!
Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, which was commissioned by the Festival in 2018, was the hottest show on Broadway this fall. The New York Times recognized Manhattan Theatre Club’s production as a Critic’s Pick as well as part of their Best Theater of 2023 list and Jesse Green called Jocelyn Bioh’s Broadway debut “a buffet of delights, full of treasurable moments.” The Festival was delighted to work with Manhattan Theatre Club and Live Theatre Network to provide Festival audiences streaming tickets to the Broadway production so that they could watch from home (plus…a portion of proceeds from those ticket sales went to support the Festival!). To learn more about the production’s success click here.

“We are forever grateful to Williamstown Theatre Festival for the remarkable, formative support you gave us this summer. The show is absolutely better because of you!” wrote Lee Sunday Evans, the director of A Good Day to Me Not To You, one of three workshop productions at the Festival last summer, which went on to open off-Broadway this fall. A Good Day to Me Not To You closed on December 16, after an extended run at the Connelly Theater. Naveen Kumar of The New York Times writes “A Good Day To Me Not To You opts for all-out vulnerability, dissecting the psyche as if the stage were an operating table.” Congratulations to Waterwell, Plate Spinner Productions, and the cast, crew, and creatives on closing! Interested in learning more? You can check out this Berkshire Eagle article about the Festival’s involvement in the production.

On December 3, Samantha Williams (Caroline, Or Change and Dear Evan Hansen) and Dan Rudin (pianist at MJ and Caroline, Or Change) brightened up our afternoons with classic songs and warm spirits in Sammie and Dan, a special, fully-booked performance at the Clark Art Institute as part of Williamstown’s 40th Annual Holiday Walk weekend. Thank you to Samantha, Dan, The Clark, and everyone who joined us as we kicked off the holiday season with this special event!


Join us at the 2024 WTF Gala, honoring Jenny Gersten for her terrific fifteen years of service to WTF! Join us for an evening of delicious food, joyous performances, and a sneak peek at the 2024 Season—including our exciting return to fully staged productions. Celebrate with the artists that you love while honoring Jenny and supporting the Festival that you love!

As we prepare to celebrate 70 years of creative excellence and cultural enrichment, we are reminded of the profound impact that the Festival has had on artists, audiences, and the American Theater at large. Your support helps to ensure that this legacy endures, as we take strides to create a Festival that can continue to thrive for another 70 years and beyond.

The 2024 Williamstown Theatre Festival Gala will take place on Monday, February 12, 2024 at City Winery in New York City. The Gala will begin with a cocktail hour with Festival artists at 6pm, followed by a dinner at 7pm, and performances beginning at 8:30pm. Click the following links to learn more or buy tickets/tables.

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

Your donation supports the Festival’s artists, programs, and productions. Our work is possible only through the steadfast commitment of donors like you. Thank you!

Click here to learn about donor benefits, including advanced access to tickets, invitations to special behind-the-scenes events, and so much more.

Click Here To Make A Donation In Support Of Williamstown Theatre Festival!

We look forward to sharing our 2024 season line-up later this winter and to seeing you next summer!


Main Stage Reading Series

Paris, ACTORS!

Three Sisters

The Pillowman

WTF Cabaret

Special Events

Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

Laura Benanti in Concert

Nick and the Prizefighter
Plunder and Lightning
Chapters of a Floating Life

Workshop Productions

Holiday Walk
Sammie and Dan


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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By Snail Mail: PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267