Get a glimpse of the artistic production process from Primary Stages Associate Artistic Director Michelle Bossy as she walks us through the steps of assembling a season.
Even though we recently announced our 2014/15 season, in our administrative offices on 38th Street, our minds are already on 2015/16! We are still reading plays. Lots of them. Season planning doesn’t happen the month before we announce; we do it all year long. It is an ongoing process – creating relationships, talking with playwrights, agents, directors, actors, literary managers and artistic directors; attending readings, hosting readings, and stealing away quiet office afternoons to read the plays that are in our inboxes – that sometimes takes months or years.
We approach each season thinking about the whole picture, not only which artists comprise the season, but also the form and content of their plays. This coming season, we will offer a family drama, a relationship drama-comedy, and a series of short comedic plays.
Our Artistic Director Andrew Leynse first got to know Theresa Rebeck, whose play, Poor Behavior, we’re producing as the first show of next season, when she was workshopping the piece at the New Works Festival at Perry-Mansfield in 2009. For those who may not be familiar with the festival, it is an annual event held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado that brings together professional artists in the mediums of dance, theater, and music to develop new work. (Andrew is also the Artistic Director of the festival.) We really did not know that we would come full circle with this particular play. In fact, we recently did a reading of Theresa’s play, Fever, and have read through several of her other plays… but it turned out Poor Behavior was just the right fit for the new season.
Another thing many people don’t know is that the founding members of Primary Stages were all alums of Carnegie Mellon University, including Executive Producer Casey Childs. Our upcoming season includes a new work from Billy Porter, author of the second 2014/15 show, While I Yet Live – another Carnegie Mellon alum! This past season, Billy had a tremendous success on Broadway and won the Tony Award for his fabulous performance in the musical, Kinky Boots. At Primary Stages, we’ve also been big fans of his playwriting for years and we luckily got a chance to look at this newest work at an industry reading. Sheryl Kaller, with whom we have a long-standing directing relationship, also brought this wonderful new play to our attention and the stars just aligned. We are thrilled to support this very exciting moment in Billy’s career!
The third show of our season is by David Ives. We have produced David Ives’ plays seven times in our 30 year history; he is one of our most produced and beloved playwrights here at Primary Stages. Lives of the Saints is considered to be the companion piece to All in the Timing, which Primary Stages originally produced in 1993 and revived last season. Both plays are made up of hilarious, rapid-fire short plays and Lives of the Saints will include original pieces written specifically for our production. Originally we were considering doing both All in the Timing and Lives of the Saints in the same season, but ultimately we thought it best to produce Lives of the Saints in a subsequent season. We’re very excited that director John Rando will reunite with us, just as he did for our 2013 production of All in the Timing.
– Michelle Bossy, Associate Artistic Director of Primary Stages
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