Primary Stages

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.

Look who attended Gala 2015!

The annual Primary Stages Gala is our opportunity to honor leading members of the theater community. This year, we were proud to honor Tony and Grammy award-winning composer and lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman at the Primary Stages 2015 Annual Gala at 583 Park Avenue.

The event featured musical numbers from Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and the TV show “Smash” and performances and tributes from Obie winner Bridget Everett, Ana Gasteyer, Annie Golden, Jackie Hoffman, Tony winner Nathan Lane, Caissie Levy, Tony winner Billy Porter, Tony winner Marc Shaiman, Aaron Tveit.

Photos by Stavros Panopulos, Hechler Photographers.

Thank you so much to everyone who made our 2015 Gala a huge success! For more information about supporting Primary Stages, please visit our website.

Catching up with Kelly Hutchinson

Kelly Hutchinson

Lives of the Saints is a collection of six short plays by David Ives. If you could pick one of these worlds to live in, which would you choose and why?

If I could pick a world to live in I honestly think it would be the 1950s land of Soap Opera mostly because I would get to wear awesome clothes and tiny pill box hats.

In one of the short plays, you play a woman with a doppelganger. If you had your own double in real life, what kind of trouble would you get into together?

If I had a doppleganger I would probably just have my double do all of the logistics of running my life – you know, paying bills, doing taxes, returning emails, while I lie cave like in my bed watching horrible trash television (I’m looking at you “Vanderpump Rules”!)

Primary Stages - Lives of the Saints

(from left) ARNIE BURTON, RICK HOLMES, KELLY HUTCHINSON, and LIV ROOTH in Lives of the Saints. (c) 2015 James Leynse Primary Stages production of Lives of the Saints by David Ives, directed by John Rando at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street.

In another of the plays, a man meets another iteration of himself where he chose another path in life. If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing with your life?

Well, I’m a writer as well so I’d probably be doing that. OR I would be a detective. But without the dangerous parts. I’d like to be a female Hercule Poirot. Sailing on French cruise ships while pointing fingers at would be poisoners. That would be the life!

You’re married to fellow Lives of the Saints cast member Rick Holmes. What’s the best advice you can give husband and wife teams who work together?

We just feel really lucky cuz we goof around, talking in accents and wearing wigs at home, and now we get to do it in front of people. Also, always make sure to stay out of his light.

There are six short plays in Lives of the Saints. Describe the evening in six words.

Friendship. Love. Second Chance. Faith. Wigs.

See Kelly in Lives of the Saints, playing now through March 27, 2015 at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street. Tickets can be purchased online at or at, by phone at 646-223-3010, or at the box office.

Meet Sharon Washington

Get to know actor Sharon Washington, who plays Eva in the Primary Stages production of Billy Porter’s While I Yet Live.

S. EPATHA MERKERSON and SHARON WASHINGTON in While I Yet Live. (c) 2014 James Leynse Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live by Billy Porter, directed by Sheryl Kaller at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street.

S. EPATHA MERKERSON and SHARON WASHINGTON in While I Yet Live. (c) 2014 James Leynse Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live by Billy Porter, directed by Sheryl Kaller at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street.

Tell us a little about your character, Eva.

I’ve based my character Eva’s relationship with Maxine (played by S. Epatha Merkerson) on the relationship between my mom and her sister, my Aunt Millie. Even though Eva and Maxine are not sisters, the dynamic is similar.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Cooking two turkeys so everyone gets to have their favorite part. And even though I never really liked the taste, I loved the look on the table of the glazed ham covered with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in the center. There was a prop ham made for this production that we had in rehearsal. It looked exactly like that but got cut during tech week. I miss it. I’m hoping to take it home as a souvenir.


A Chat with Sheria Irving

Get to know actor Sheria Irving, who plays Tonya in the Primary Stages production of Billy Porter’s While I Yet Live.

SHERIA IRVING in While I Yet Live. (c) 2014 James Leynse Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live by Billy Porter, directed by Sheryl Kaller at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street.

SHERIA IRVING in While I Yet Live. (c) 2014 James Leynse. Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live by Billy Porter, directed by Sheryl Kaller at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street.

Tell us a little about your character, Tonya.

In While I Yet Live, Tonya is the unrestricted raconteur. She’s the only player that fosters a relationship with the audience, with whom she divulges her truth and takes on a trip down memory lane. Tonya’s memories aren’t all pleasant and become weapons that constantly assault, enrage, disappoint and empower her throughout the life of the play. She’s like so many of us trying to reconcile the past in order to press forward to our future.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Since my undergraduate years at Florida State University, my dearest friends and I have created our own thanksgiving tradition. Each year I make my special slow-baked turkey and gather with my best buddies to share what we are thankful for, eat, drink and laugh the day away.

How did you approach the play and your character? Were there any surprising discoveries about your character during the rehearsal process?

What surprised me most about working on Tonya was how similar her religious upbringing is to my own. Like Tonya, I was raised never to question God. Tonya’s family believe in God and the Bible unequivocally, which leaves no room for her to explore her own beliefs. Tonya, however, decides to make room and as she matures develops her own understanding of the world and determines her relationship with God on her own terms.

Performances run through October 31st at The Duke on 42nd Street.  To order tickets online, click here.  Or you can call the box office at (646) 223-3010.


We caught up with Wig and Hair Designers Rob Greene and J. Jared Janas on their process and inspiration behind some of their designs for While I Yet Live.

WIYL Wig Design 2

Jared Janas and Rob Greene fit Kevyn Morrow for a beard wig.

We got some great pictures of you measuring cast members for their wigs. What is that process like?

The process of measuring an actor’s head for a wig involves only a few simple items; a heavy duty clear plastic bag, heavy clear tape, a Sharpie and a measuring tape.

After the actor’s hair has been prepped as it would be for the actual performance, the plastic bag is placed on the head and held down by the actor.  The clear tape is then used to tape the bag so that it forms to the actor’s head.  The actor’s hairline is then traced onto the bag, and finally multiple measurements are taken.  Once the bag is removed from the actor’s head, it is in the shape of the head, and combined with the measurements, the mold can been used to stuff out a block (a canvas head) so that it is the exact shape and size of the performer’s head. A wig can now be built or fit for that specific person on that block.

WIYL Wig Design 1

Tell us a little bit about how you went about designing the wigs for this show?

To begin designing this show, first we read the script. This is one of the few scripts we’ve read that has so many specific wig notes in the actual script – not just in the line notes, but in the actual dialog as well. In some sense, [Playwright] Billy Porter made our jobs a little easier by being so specific.


Meet the Cast of Poor Behavior

On  Thursday, July 17th, the cast of Poor Behavior met the press.  The actors and director had the opportunity to be interviewed about their experience working on the show, and hearing their responses made us even more excited to see them perform!  Poor Behavior begins previews on July 29th, and we can’t wait for this wonderful cast to start their run at The Duke on 42nd Street.

The Cast and Director of Theresa Rebeck's Poor Behavior

Jeff Biehl, Evan Cabnet, Brian Avers, Heidi Armbruster and Katie Kreisler.

Andrew Leynse, Casey Childs, Elliot Fox Logo

Primary Stages Artistic Director Andrew Leynse, Founder and Executive Producer Casey Childs, and Managing Director Elliot Fox

Evan Cabnet logo

Evan Cabnet

Heidi Armbrusterlogo

Heidi Armbruster

Jeff Biehl logo

Jeff Biehl

Brian Avers Logo

Brian Avers

Katie Kreisler

Katie Kreisler

Photos by Erin Resnick

Tickets to Poor Behavior are on sale now!  To order, click here!