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A Taste of Perfect Arrangement

With less than two weeks left of performances, get a glimpse at what The New York Times is calling “clever canapé of a comedy.”

The Primary Stages production of Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement is running now through November 6, 2015 at The Duke on 42nd Street. Visit our website to learn more and get tickets.

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Perfect Arrangement Production Photos

The Primary Stages production of Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement is running now through November 6, 2015 at The Duke on 42nd Street. Visit our website to learn more and get tickets. (Photos by James Leynse.)

Perfect Arrangement’s Picture-Perfect Costumes

Costuming is all about storytelling. Great costumes visually tell the story of a character’s journey throughout the play. We’re thrilled to share these gorgeous renderings of Jennifer Caprio’s designs for Perfect Arrangement. 

MILLIE

NORMA

BOB

JIM

BARBARA

TED

KITTY

Perfect Arrangement runs September 29- November 6, 2015 at The Duke on 42nd Street. Visit our website to learn more and get tickets.

Casting Announced for Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement

We are thrilled to announce the complete cast for Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne, the second show in our current season. Meet the talented actors who will be joining the Primary Stages family this September:

JULIA COFFEY: Off-Broadway: London Wall (Drama Desk Nomination), The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd (Drama League Nomination) (The Mint Theater). Regional: Arcadia, Maple & Vine, Once in a Lifetime (A.C.T.); Tales from Hollywood (The Guthrie); The Merchant of Venice, The Beaux Stratagem (The Shakespeare Theatre, DC); As You Like It, (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Training: Florida State University; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

ROBERT ELI’s television credits include “Blindspot”, “House of Cards”, “Elementary”, “Odd Mom Out”, “Hostages” and “Fringe”. Stage credits include Tartuffe (Roundabout), Saturn Returns  (Lincoln Center) and the World Premiere of The Pretty Trap as well as Williamstown, Westport Country Playhouse, Long Wharf, The Old Globe and Hartford Stage. Juilliard graduate.

MIKAELA FEELY-LEHMANN Broadway: Cyrano de Bergerac (Roundabout Theatre Company) Off- Broadway/Other: Stay (Rattlestick), 10×25The New York Idea (Atlantic Theater Company), The Cloud (HERE Arts), L(y)re (ArsNova ANTfest), West Lethargy (59E59/Edinburgh Fringe/FringeNYC), Unrequited (Public Theater Shakespeare Lab). Regional: The Children’s Hour (Rep Stage) Training: B.F.A NYU Tisch (Atlantic/Stonestreet), Public Theater Shakespeare Lab Alum.

CHRISTOPHER J. HANKE most recently starred in the hit one-man comedy Buyer & Cellar in New York and Toronto, to rave reviews.  Before that he ate the scenery as Bud Frump in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed… Other Broadway credits include:  Rent (Mark), Cry-Baby (Baldwin) and In My Life (JT)  Additionally, Hanke played Tommy Boatwright in director George C. Wolfe’s Tony® Award-winning production of The Normal Heart at Arena Stage in DC and starred as Claude in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair in NYC. Television:  Christopher plays Devon on the new comedy series Odd Mom Out on BRAVO; was series regular Ryan Abbot on the CBS medical drama Three Rivers; had a recurring role of Stuart on HBOs Big Love; and has guest starred on Nashville, Major Crimes, The Client List, and Brothers & Sisters.  Hanke also studies & performs improv with the UCB Theatre in LA/NY in hopes to make people laugh.

KELLY MCANDREW: recent NY credits include: Men On Boats (Clubbed Thumb), Abundance (TACT), Almost, Maine (Transport Group) and Good Television (Atlantic Theatre Company).  Broadway: Maggie the Cat, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Off-Broadway:  Still Life (MCC), The Cataract (The Women’s Project), Book of Days (Signature Theatre).  TV: “Orange is the New Black”, “Smash,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Gossip Girl.” Film: When the Moon Was Twice as Big (filming), Appropriate Behavior (Sundance 2014), In the Family (2011 SPIRIT nomination), Everybody’s Fine. Member: TACT. Training: UMKC.

KEVIN O’ROURKE. Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Spoils of War, Alone Together. New York/Regional: MTC, The Public, Second Stage, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout, Primary Stages, Arena, Centerstage, Long Wharf, Yale Rep, Williamstown and Lincoln Center. Film: The Aviator, Vice Versa, Turbulence, Freeheld (upcoming). TV: “Remember Wenn” (SAG nom.), “Law & Order,” “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods,” “Elementary,” “Veep,” “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire” (SAG Award, Ensemble), “Outsiders” (upcoming).

JENNIFER VAN DYCK: Recent collaborations: playwrights Sarah Schulman, Sinan Unel, Charles Busch; directors Melia Bensussen, Melinda Lopez, Carl Andress. Broadway: Hedda Gabler, Dancing at Lughnasa, Two Shakespearean Actors, The Secret Rapture. Off Broadway: The Castle, Judith of BethuliaThe Divine Sister, The Third Story. Film/TV: “The Blacklist”, “Royal Pains”, “Elementary”, Person of Interest, Michael Clayton, Across the Universe.

Perfect Arrangement runs September 29- November 6, 2015 at The Duke on 42nd Street. Visit our website to learn more and get tickets.

ESPA Drills Retreat 2015: A Poem of Reflection

On July 9-12, 2015 we brought the four writers selected for the ESPA Drills 2015 play development program on a retreat to Dorset, Vermont. This annual retreat is a chance for our newly-selected playwrights to get away from the busy city for a few days and concentrate entirely on writing and rewriting their plays.

Upon returning from the retreat, writer Karina Richardson reflected upon her experience and shared with us this poem:


drills retreat daydreaming
back at my daily life desk, i find myself dreaming of my drills retreat desk.
here, the city surrounds and swarms me with concrete and deadlines
there, in a cabin nestled in green, i didn’t have to look to feel all that earth-nature-animal energy cocooning me
here, i add, subtract, deal in money and time and the way things should go
there, i drifted, shaped, dealt in ideas upon ideas and the different ways in which my heart could find its way out of my pen
and now i’m back and can’t deny it
so every morning when i sit to write
happily, i seek to fill my everyday-here pockets with sprinkles of magic-there


The ESPA Drills program culminates with a public reading series. This year, the readings take place on August 24 and 25 at The Duke on 42nd Street. The plays presented will be:

DannyKrisDonnaVeronica
by Lawrence Dial
August 24 at 5:00pm

Graduation Day
by Emily Daly
August 24 at 8:00pm

Round She Goes
by Karina Richardson
August 25 at 12:00pm

This Sweet Affliction
by Blake Hackler
August 25 at 3:00pm

Please visit the ESPA Drills page of our website for more information about the ESPA Drills program and to RSVP to attend any of these readings.

Deborah Zoe Laufer on identity, genetic inheritance, cultural sensitivity, storytelling about science, and Informed Consent

Interview by Rich Kelley

What inspired you to write Informed Consent?

One of the great things about being a playwright is that I can write about whatever I want to read about. It’s an excuse to do a ton of research that I wouldn’t usually give myself the time to do. I’ve wanted to learn more about the genome, so I crowd-sourced Facebook for ideas/articles that might be the jumping off point for my next play.

A friend sent me the New York Times article about the court case between the Havasupai Native Americans, who live on the floor of the Grand Canyon, and Arizona State University. I learned subsequently that it was a landmark case concerning informed consent, and has changed the laws about what needs to be specified in consent forms for scientific research on human subjects. But what fascinated me at first was the clash of cultures, and the intersection of science and religion. And learning more about the genome, I realized questions of identity are much more complicated than we once thought.

Informed Consent began its life as part of the EST/Sloan Project, an initiative between the Sloan Foundation and the Ensemble Studio Theatre to fund new plays about science, and is being produced by Primary Stages this August. Can you share with us how this process worked and how the play changed along the way?

I wrote a proposal for a Sloan commission as soon as I read the article. My play End Days had been produced at EST through the EST/Sloan Project. It’s remarkable, the work they do – every arts project concerning science and technology that I go to for research, (I’m a huge fan of Radiolab, for one), – has been funded by the Sloan. My friend, Sean Daniels, who was then at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, took a first draft to their literary department and they asked to produce it. EST, generously, gave their okay, so it started out at Geva and Cleveland Playhouse (a co-producer). It was wonderful to have a chance to work on it out of town with Sean. It’s morphed a lot since then – I cut around fifteen minutes and strengthened the Native American story. And then Primary Stages signed on to co-produce with EST at The Duke on 42nd Street later this year.

What kind of research did you do to write the play?

This play required research in so many areas. I still kind of marvel that I actually stopped researching and wrote the thing. I read dozens of articles and books about the Havasupai, genomic science, the history of informed consent, race, and early onset Alzheimer’s.

The EST/Sloan Project sent me to visit the reservation – I stayed at the Havasupai Lodge in the Grand Canyon and visited the clinic where the blood was collected. I think getting to see firsthand what their circumstances are was the most powerful research I did. They have the third highest rate of diabetes in the world, and most of their food is shipped in. It was 117 degrees when I was there, and to keep anything fresh other than big blocks of cheese and processed foods would have been prohibitively expensive. When their reservation was decreased in size from millions of acres to thousands, their water access was restricted, so farming and hunting became nearly impossible. Learning just what they have to contend with was crucial in my rewrites.

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