What Defines a Home: Announcing our 2018/19 Season


A note from Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director:

For the past few seasons, the Primary Stages family has been exploring what it means to be a true home for our artists and our patrons. At the same time, the very question of where and what we each call ‘home’ has become a front-and-center debate, locally and abroad. What defines a home? Where do we feel most at home? We hope our new season will answer some of those questions.

Three One-Act Plays written by A.R. Gurney
Directed by David Saint
Join us as we bid farewell to a beloved member of the Primary Stages family and one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century with FINAL FOLLIES, a uniquely curated selection of three one-act plays by master writer A.R. Gurney. The plays specifically chosen for this special engagement include: The Love Course, an observation of the culminating meeting of an undergraduate romantic literature course, co-taught by two of academia’s most eccentric professors; The Rape of Bunny Stuntz, an enigmatic story of an overburdened woman anxiously trying to keep her personal life from the throes of chaos while leading a rowdy community meeting; and the titular Final Folliesthe last chapter in Gurney’s oeuvre of short plays examining WASP life in America, about a forlorn Manhattanite searching for the key to adulthood in the most truly, and literally, adult place imaginable. (September-October 2018)

Written by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Theresa Rebeck, one of the country’s most acclaimed and widely-produced playwrights, returns to Primary Stages with the gripping new family drama, DOWNSTAIRS. This thrilling production will star real-life siblings Tyne and Tim Daly, who will be appearing together for the first time on the New York stage. In Downstairs, Teddy is a bit lost and has found himself staying in his older sister Irene’s unfinished basement, which has infuriated her husband Gerry (played by John Procaccino). As Irene and Teddy struggle with this less-than-ideal living arrangement, they quickly find themselves grappling with the burden of their family’s troublesome history. While trying to mend the past, the pair unearths a foreboding danger threatening to break the perilously thin bonds holding them together. (November-December 2018)

Written by Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Morgan Gould
Proudly developed during award-winning playwright Leah Nanako Winkler’s tenure as part of the Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, GOD SAID THIS is a provocative and surprisingly funny new drama about five Kentuckians facing mortality in very different ways. With her mom undergoing chemotherapy, Hiro, a NYC transplant, returns home to Kentucky after years away, struggling to let go of the demons she inherited. Sophie, her born-again Christian sister, confronts her faith while tackling inevitable adversity. James, their recovering alcoholic father, wants to repair his fractured relationship with his daughters. And John, an old classmate and thirty-something single dad, worries about leaving a lasting legacy for his only son. Wry and bittersweet, GOD SAID THIS is a portrait of five Godless and God-loving people finding that their struggles bring them together in unexpected ways. GOD SAID THIS will have its world premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in February 2018. (January-February 2019)

Written by Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Directed by Sarna Lapine
In the spring, Primary Stages will welcome back Kate Hamill, playwright and star of our hit production of Pride and Prejudice, with her fresh new take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of love and duty, LITTLE WOMEN. Jo March doesn’t want to be like other girls; in fact, she’s not even sure that she wants to be a girl. Jo is ambitious, rough around the edges, headstrong, and yearns for a future she can’t yet articulate. As the nation is torn apart by civil war, Jo and her sisters struggle with what it means to grow up. Gender roles, political beliefs, poverty, and even love itself threaten to break family ties, as the March sisters try to reconcile their identities with society’s demands. How do you stay true to yourself when the world wants you to become a perfect little woman? (May-June 2019)

Join the family and discover your Off-Broadway home: Subscribe to our 2018/19 season.


A world in flux: Jen Caprio’s costume design for A Walk With Mr. Heifetz

Primary Stages audiences will remember Jen Caprio’s costume designs for Daniel’s Husband, Perfect Arrangement, and In Transit (which earned her a 2011 Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Costume Design). In James Inverne’s A Walk With Mr. Heifetz, Caprio uses texture and color to evoke the often fraught intersection of personal and cultural identity.

Caprio did all of her sketches for our production using an iPad Pro and her notes alongside each drawing offer an insightful glimpse into her creative process.

Jascha HeifetzYehuda Sharett Act 1Yehuda Sharett Act 2Moshe SharettViolinist

The Primary Stages production of A Walk With Mr. Heifetz runs through March 4 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and additional information, please visit our website.

Who was Jascha Heifetz?


Born: February 2, 1901 in Vilnius, Lithuania (then part of the Russian Empire)
Died: December 10, 1987 in Los Angeles, California

Jascha Heifetz is considered by many to be the greatest violinist of all time. Heifetz’s father was a local violin instructor and noticed his son’s potential from a very young age, purchasing a small violin to teach basic techniques when Jascha was barely two years old. At five, Heifetz enrolled in a local music school and began taking formal lessons. A child virtuoso, he made his public debut at seven in the nearby city of Kaunas and, at nine, entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study with the famed Hungarian violinist and pedagogue, Leopold Auer. Auer reportedly wrote to a German manager, “He is only eleven years old, but I assure you that this boy is already a great violinist… In all my fifty years of violin teaching, I have never known such precocity.”

Life in and beyond the concert hall

“If you provoke a jealous God by playing with such superhuman perfection, you will die young. I earnestly advise you to play something badly every night before going to bed, instead of saying your prayers. No mortal should presume to play so faultlessly.”

— George Bernard Shaw, in a letter following Heifetz’s London debut (1920)

Playwright George Bernard Shaw’s tongue-in-cheek warning went, thankfully, unheeded. Over the course of his career, Heifetz toured internationally and throughout the United States (where his family settled after leaving Russia in 1917, shortly after which he made his Carnegie Hall debut at 16). He also performed in a number of benefit concerts and served extensively with the USO during WWII.

In addition to being an incomparable violinist, Heifetz was also a gifted pianist and composer; he expanded the violin repertoire through transcriptions and arrangements of works by other artists. (A close friend of George Gershwin’s, his transcriptions of the latter’s piano preludes and selections from Porgy and Bess are some of the most beloved to this day). Not to be outdone by the gravity of his existing accolades, he also wrote several popular songs under the pseudonym Jim Hoyl, one of which was recorded by Bing Crosby.  

A lasting legacy


“Jascha Heifetz” by James Charles Jr. House; Woodmere Art Museum

“The goals he set still remain, and for violinists today it’s rather depressing that they may never really be attained again.”

— Itzhak Perlman, from The Guardian

Over the course of his lifetime, Heifetz made hundreds of recordings with Decca Records and RCA Victor; he was one of the first musicians to amass a following via recordings before he appeared in person on any one of his worldwide tours.

Jascha Heifetz taught at the University of Southern California from 1962 until 1983, where several of his masterclasses were filmed and broadcast on television. In 1972, a shoulder injury put an end to his public career, but his bow arm remained unaffected and he continued performing privately until his death in 1987.  

Performances of the Primary Stages production of A Walk With Mr. Heifetz start January 31 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and additional information, please visit our website.

Meet the cast of A Walk With Mr. Heifetz

The third show of our 2017/2018 season, A Walk With Mr. Heifetz by James Inverne, is fast approaching! Meet our four featured players who will be bringing this serendipitous historical meeting to life.

Yuval Boim headshot

Yuval Boim (Yehuda Sharett). New York: New Group, HERE, Ma-Yi, Culture Project, NYTW, Public, Playwrights Realm, and others. Regional: Shakespeare Theatre (Helen Hayes Award), George Street, Huntington, Premier Stages. Film/TV: That Awkward MomentNorman, “Bull,” “Blue Bloods,” “Red Oaks,” “Believe,” “Law and Order: SVU.” Writing: D.I.Y. (Duplass Brothers grant), Sexcurity (Cleveland Public Theatre). Training: London International School of Performing Arts (MFA), Boston University (BFA). Actors Center company member.

Adam Greene

Adam Green (Jascha Heifetz) New York: Signature, Red Bull, Pearl, Second Stage Uptown, Playwrights Realm, 59E59, many others. Regional: Affiliated Artist with Shakespeare Theatre of DC (two Helen Hayes nominations), McCarter Theatre, Hartford Stage (CT Critics Circle nom.), Barrington Stage, Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, many others. TV: “The Good Wife,” “Madame Secretary,” “Billions.” Training: NYU, MFA; Harvard, BA in English. 

Mariella Haubs

Mariella Haubs (Violinist) has performed all over Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to refugee camps in Europe. Glamour Magazine named her a Top 10 College Woman of 2014. Mariella holds a BM and MM from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. 

Erik Lochtefeld

Erik Lochtefeld (Moshe Sharett) Broadway: Misery, Metamorphoses. Off-Broadway: Napoli, Brooklyn (Roundabout), The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons), A Funny Thing… of NYC (MCC), Stupid F***ing Bird (The Pearl), Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova), Powerhouse (New Ohio), Row After Row (Women’s Project), Tamar of the River (Prospect Theatre), Melancholy Play (13P), February House (Public Theater). TV/Film: “Madame Secretary,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Law & Order”. www.eriklochtefeld.com

Performances of the Primary Stages production of A Walk With Mr. Heifetz start January 31 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and additional information, please visit our website.

Six Reasons to Choose Fordham/Primary Stages for your MFA in Playwriting

Built on the collaborative strength of two New York City theater organizations, the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA program in playwriting offers emerging writers the opportunity to develop and produce original work under the guidance of respected industry professionals.
Here are six things that make this program special:

1. Advantages of a professional environment

You’ll have the opportunity to work directly with industry professionals, like Primary Stages Founder Casey Childs.

2. Investment in students as artists and professionals

Our students leave our classes knowing not just how to write a great play, but also how to manage the business of making a living as a writer.

3. Individual attention from professors

With only two writers accepted each year, you’ll benefit from personal attention throughout the program.

4. Opportunities for artistic growth

Fordham’s theater program has a successful history of artist training.

5. Real world experience in New York City’s theater industry

Your two-year program culminates in a public production of a full-length play at an Off-Broadway theater venue.

6. Support of Artistic vision

Primary Stages has been supporting, nurturing, and sharing the art of new American playwriting for over 30 years.
Think our MFA program might be a good fit for you? Learn more here.

From the desk of Mrs. Bennet

Greetings from the Bennet family! We have had quite the eventful year. As the year draws to a close, I wanted to share with you some of the many blessings bestowed upon the Bennet bunch over these last twelve months. (Avert your gaze now if you have lapsed in following our family affairs—spoilers ahead!)

Bennet family newsletter

Spend your holidays with the Bennets this year! The Primary Stages production of Pride and Prejudice runs through January 6, 2018. Visit our website for tickets and more info.

A Day for Jane: experience New York City in true Austen fashion

Jane Austen is one of the preeminent writers of the Regency Era. While Britain was in the throes of its distinctive phases in architecture, literature, and fashion, New York City in the 1800s was undergoing its own boom as an economic and cultural center. The soot and gambling dens are best left to history, but in a city as storied as ours, you don’t have to look very far to experience the more rosy aspects of Austen’s day.

Bosie Tea Parlor

Photo by Giles Ashford

“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.” – Mansfield Park

What better way to start your day than with a finely-brewed cuppa and a selection of delicate pastries and savory delights? Let the bustle of the city pass you by as you imagine yourself in an English country sitting room (or entertaining the advances of a potential suitor).  

  • Bosie Tea Parlor: A stone’s throw away from the Cherry Lane Theatre on Morton Street is Bosie Tea Parlor. With over 100 curated loose leaf teas by tea master Kiley Holliday (who also holds the distinction for being the youngest tea sommelier in the U.S.) and pastries from third generation French pâtissier Damien Herrgott, Bosie’s quiet elegance is ideal for all your tea service needs. (An even lovelier touch? The check is given to you tucked into a classic novel).
  • Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon: Where else can you sup on petits fours while lounging on brocade couches? Seating at this Victorian parlor tucked in Gramercy Park is limited, so be sure to make a reservation if you’re interested in their luxurious pre-fixe afternoon tea.
  • Tea & Sympathy: Bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and sticky toffee pudding? Check. At the West Village’s Tea & Sympathy, you can have your traditional, hearty British fare alongside tiered trays of Victoria sponge cake and scones with clotted cream, all washed down with a pot of Earl Grey (and dozens of other choices).
The Morgan Library

The Morgan Library & Museum

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” – Northanger Abbey

In Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bingley quips that Elizabeth Bennet “is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.” She meant it as a slight, but what better way to honor Austen’s long list of learned women than by immersing yourself in one of the greatest pleasures in the world?  

  • The Morgan Library & Museum: In 2009, the Morgan Library & Museum honored the life and legacy of Jane Austen with an expansive exhibition of over 100 of her works, from manuscripts to personal letters. Selections from the exhibition can still be viewed online, but if you’re ever near Grand Central or Penn Station, you’ll be hard put to find a more awe-inspiring space for literature and art lovers.  
Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” – Mansfield Park

Tea and literature is all well and good, but one of the greatest luxuries we have in our oversaturated lives today is time to do absolutely nothing. Leave your screens behind for a few hours and relish in a quiet walk to air out your thoughts.

  • Conservatory Garden: In the northeast corner of Central Park is this six acre formal garden, which is divided into smaller Italian, French, and English gardens (where Kate Hamill’s photos—see above—for our production of Pride and Prejudice were taken). A designated Quiet Zone, let the hubbub of the city melt away as you while away an afternoon surrounded by woodland plants, seasonal blooms, and decorative fountains.
  • Frelinghuysen Arboretum: If you’re itching to take a day trip, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ is a serene (and free!) escape from the city. Meander through the immaculate English-style grounds of the 127 acre arboretum and don’t forget to take a breather by the main house and its sloping Great Lawn, which wouldn’t be out of place in a sumptuous period film.
Thomas Wilson (1816)

Illustration by Thomas Wilson, from his how-to-waltz book (London, 1816)

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” – Pride and Prejudice

The ballroom wasn’t exactly the site of good first impressions for Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, but that doesn’t have to be your case! Conclude your perfectly Austenian day by stepping and skipping your night away in the most elegant fashion.  

  • Country Dance New York: You can sip a cup of tea and imagine yourself in an Austen novel, or you can join Country Dance New York every Tuesday in the West Village for an evening of the kind of social dancing Jane Austen herself would have enjoyed. Lessons are provided, newcomers are welcome, and it’s tradition to switch partners for each dance, so there’s no pressure to find a companion to bring with you (but the more the merrier!).
The Cast of Primary Stages' 2017 Production of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

The 2017 production of Pride and Prejudice at Primary Stages. Photographed by James Leynse.

“One cannot have too large a party.” – Emma

Sated with scones and feeling fancy-free, what better way to wind down your evening than by celebrating Jane’s most beloved story with the quick-changing and sharp-tongued antics of our Bennets, de Bourghs, et al. in Kate Hamill’s playful new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Performances of the Primary Stages production of Pride and Prejudice run through January 6 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and additional information, please visit our website.