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Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:49

The Public Theater Announces 2011-12 Season



2011-2012 SEASON

Mike Daisey, David Henry Hwang, Richard Nelson,
Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Return To The Public With New Work


Sam Waterston To Play King Lear
Karin Coonrod To Direct Love’s Labor’s Lost
Jay O. Sanders To Play Titus Andronicus

Downtown Season Also Includes
World Premiere by Best-Selling Author Nathan Englander
Gob Squad's Kitchen Returns for Limited Engagement
New Musical by Gabriel Kahane and Seth Bockley
Public Theater Continues $55 Membership Campaign
Public LAB Celebrates Fifth Anniversary Season
All Tickets Still $15

April 26, 2011 – Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis announced the line-up today for The Public’s 2011-2012 Season. The 56th Season will feature new works by Mike Daisey, Nathan Englander, David Henry Hwang, Richard Nelson, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, as well as the premiere of FEBRUARY HOUSE, a new musical by Gabriel Kahane and Seth Bockley that is the first commission of The Public’s Musical Theater Initiative.

Shakespeare abounds at The Public this fall.  After his lauded performance as Polonius in Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park in 2008, Sam Waterston returns to play King Lear, directed by James Macdonald. Following the success of this season’s Timon of Athens, Public LAB SHAKESPEARE will continue with LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST, directed by Karin Coonrod, and TITUS ANDRONICUS, featuring Jay O. Sanders as Titus and directed by Michael Sexton.

Next year at The Public, we are going to have an explosion of Shakespeare activity that is going to demonstrate the breadth and quality of the work that we can do with the greatest writer in the English language,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “We also believe that The Public must be part of the ongoing civic dialogue, that we should talk about the big issues of our time, and that theater has something to bring to that conversation that can't be gotten in any other way."

September will see the world premiere of Richard Nelson’s SWEET AND SAD in Public LAB. The second in a series of plays about the Apple family and the immediate and ever-changing state of the nation, the original cast from last season’s That Hopey Changey Thing will reunite for this world premiere Public LAB production: Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, and J. Smith-Cameron.

Mike Daisey returns in October with his latest show, THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS, hailed by The Washington Post as “hands-down Daisey’s most effective performance yet.” Daisey’s long-time collaborator Jean-Michele Gregory directs this hilarious and harrowing tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design.

GOB SQUAD’S KITCHEN (You’ve Never Had It So Good), a hit at the 2011 Under the Radar Festival, will kick off 2012 with a limited three week run at The Public Theater in January.  

In February, best-selling author Nathan Englander adapts his warm and deeply moving new play, THE TWENTY-SEVENTH MAN, from his acclaimed short story of the same name. Barry Edelstein helms this world premiere.

Public LAB will present a new musical by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, THE TOTAL BENT, directed by Joanna Settle, also in February. The creators of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange will develop their latest musical about a black gospel prodigy and a white music producer who meet in a recording studio just south of the Twilight Zone.

Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang returns next season with his latest play, CHINGLISH, directed by Yellow Face director Leigh Silverman.  CHINGLISH is a funny, sexy portrait of our Pacific Century that reveals what gets lost -- and found -- in translation.

FEBRUARY HOUSE, the first commission of The Public’s Musical Theater Initiative, will premiere in May/June 2012, with music and lyrics by Gabriel Kahane and book by Seth Bockley. Directed by Davis McCallum, this powerful and funny new musical set in Brooklyn in the 1940s is inspired by true events and features a cast of characters that includes novelist Carson McCullers, composer Benjamin Britten, poet W.H. Auden, and the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee.

The Public Theater will continue offering Anniversary Memberships for an annual $55 (tax-deductible) donation, which entitles patrons to purchase significantly discounted tickets to shows and events throughout the year.  Single tickets for the 2011-2012 Season will go on sale later this summer.


New York Premiere
Created and Performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory

October 11 – November 13, 2011

Following the success of The Last Cargo Cult, Mike Daisey turns his razor-sharp wit to America’s most mysterious technology icon in this hilarious and harrowing tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design. He illuminates how the CEO of Apple and his obsessions shape our lives, while sharing stories of his own travel to China to investigate the factories where millions toil to make iPhones and iPods. Daisey’s dangerous journey shines a light on our love affair with our devices and the human cost of creating them. The New York Times has hailed Mike Daisey as “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation.”

By William Shakespeare
Directed by James Macdonald
Featuring Sam Waterston as King Lear

October 18 – November 20, 2011

In no other play is Shakespeare’s tragic vision more terrifyingly clear-- and nowhere in his canon does he dramatize more powerfully or humanely that only kindness and love are potent enough to counter mankind’s darkest impulses. When King Lear divides his kingdom among his three daughters, he sets in motion a cascade of violence that sweeps the civilized world to the brink of chaos, and Lear to the edge of madness. 

GOB SQUAD’S KITCHEN (You've Never Had It So Good) 

Devised and Performed by Gob Squad

January 19February 5, 2012

It's 1965 and everything is just about to happen. The German/British collective Gob Squad invites you to take the hand of the King of Pop himself, Andy Warhol, and take a trip back to the underground cinemas of New York City, back to where it all began. GOB SQUAD’S KITCHEN reconstructs Warhol's films in the quest to illuminate the past for a new generation, reflecting on the nature of authenticity, the here and now, and the hidden depths beneath the shiny surfaces of modern life. GOB SQUAD’S KITCHEN was a hit at The Public’s 2011 Under the Radar Festival.

World Premiere

By Nathan Englander
Directed by Barry Edelstein

February 21 – March 25, 2012

Best-selling author Nathan Englander (For the Relief of Unbearable Urges) adapts this warm and deeply moving new play from his acclaimed short story of the same name. 

A Soviet prison, 1952.  Stalin’s secret police have rounded up 26 writers, the giants of Yiddish literature in Russia.  As judgment looms, a twenty-seventh suddenly appears: Pinchas Pelovits, unpublished and unknown.  Baffled by his arrest, he and his cellmates wrestle with the mysteries of party loyalty and politics, culture and identity, and with what it means to write in troubled times. When they discover why the twenty-seventh man is among them, the writers come to realize that even in the face of tyranny, stories still have the power to transcend. 

World Premiere

Music and Lyrics by Gabriel Kahane
Book by Seth Bockley
Directed by Davis McCallum

May/June 2012

Visionary and flamboyant editor George Davis transforms a dilapidated Brooklyn boarding house into a bohemian commune for the leading lights of 1940s New York. Residents include novelist Carson McCullers, composer Benjamin Britten, poet W.H. Auden, and the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee. The luminaries of 7 Middagh Street form a tumultuous and remarkable makeshift family, and search for love, inspiration, and refuge from the looming war in Europe. Inspired by true events, this powerful and funny new musical marks the first commission of The Public’s Musical Theater Initiative. FEBRUARY HOUSE will be developed this summer at New York Stage and Film.

New York Premiere
By David Henry Hwang
Directed by Leigh Silverman

2011-2012 Season

Nowadays, everyone wants to do business with China.  Daniel, a Midwestern American businessman, travels to the provincial capital of Guiyang in the hope of landing a contract for his family firm, only to learn how much he doesn't understand.  His translators are unreliable, his consultant may be a fraud, and he is captivated by Xu, a government official who may be trying to help him-- at least that's what he thinks she's saying.  A funny, sexy portrait of our Pacific Century from the author of the Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, CHINGLISHreveals what gets lost -- and found -- in translation.CHINGLISH is presentedin association with Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and The Goodman Theatre.


Celebrating its Fifth Anniversary Season, Public LAB provides thrilling opportunities for both audiences and artists. Audiences gain access to more of the theater they love from The Public -- both Shakespeare and new work-- at the affordable price of only $15, and artists, both emerging and established, gain a new platform to further develop their work on stage and in performance.  With scaled-down productions (shorter rehearsal periods and smaller budgets), Public LAB allows audiences and artists to experience extraordinary theater together.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that underwrites this unique program, all tickets for Public LAB and Public LAB SHAKESPEARE are $15. 

In its first four years, Public LAB has produced a diverse range of work by emerging and established playwrights, including Mom, How Did You Meet The Beatles? by Adrienne Kennedy; The Poor Itch by John Belluso; Paris Commune by Steven Cosson and Michael Friedman; The Fever Chart by Naomi Wallace; The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson; Penalties and Interest by Rebecca Cohen; Sweet Storm by Scott Hudson; Philip Roth in Khartoum by David Bar Katz; Tales of an Urban Indian by Darrell Dennis; Knives and Other Sharp Objects by Raúl Castillo; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman; Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 8 & 9) by Suzan-Lori Parks; Juan and John by Roger Guenveur Smith; Neighbors by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; That Hopey Changey Thing by Richard Nelson; the introduction of Public LAB SHAKESPEARE with Richard Thomas in Timon of Athens; Urge for Going by Mona Mansour; and Knickerbocker by Jonathan Marc Sherman.

World Premiere


Written and Directed by Richard Nelson

Featuring Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders

and J. Smith-Cameron

September 6 – September 25; Opening Night: September 11, 2011

Last season in That Hopey Changey Thing, Richard Nelson (Conversations in Tusculum, James Joyce’s The Dead) introduced Public LAB audiences to the liberal Apple family of Rhinebeck, New York, as they gathered for dinner on Election Night, 2010.  Now, in SWEET AND SAD, Nelson continues the story of the Apples over Sunday lunch on September 11, 2011. His second in a series of plays about the immediate present and the ever-changing state of the nation, SWEET AND SAD explores what the Apple family has lost since the attacks, and what they remember.


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Karin Coonrod

October 18 – November 6, 2011

The King of France and his three best buds swear off romance and withdraw into their studies…until four girls show up.  As the young couples stumble their way toward love, the others in their circle-- a pedantic school master, a Spanish dandy, a streetwise con-man, and a cop with a few screws loose-- work through their own mad dilemmas.  In the end, the real world intrudes and brings everyone back to earth, but not even a cold winter blast manages to chill the warmth of this beguiling play.


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Michael Sexton

Featuring Jay O. Sanders as Titus

November 29 – December 18, 2011

Titus is Rome’s greatest general and the head of a noble Roman family.  When his armies vanquish the Goths, their defeated queen unleashes a fury that rocks Titus’s city, devastates his children, and shatters his sense of self.  The cycle of revenge is shocking, bloody, and all-encompassing, but expressed through poetry and theatricality as vivid, energized, and thrilling as anything in Shakespeare’s later works.

World Premiere


Book and Lyrics by Stew

Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald

Directed by Joanna Settle

February 14 – March 4, 2012

Stew and Heidi Rodewald, creators of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange, team up with director Joanna Settle and return to The Public with a new musical about a black gospel prodigy from down South and a white music producer from South London who meet in a recording studio just south of the Twilight Zone, as they both desperately seek their own versions of transcendence, salvation, and a hit record.  Divine inspiration, fantastical visions, and one legendary music-producer father frame this electrifying new musical about the complicated space between the sacred and the profane. THE TOTAL BENT is a co-commission with Berkeley Repertory Theatre.


The acclaimed UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL will return for its eighth year (January 4-15, 2012), showcasing cutting-edge theater from around the world.

THE PUBLIC FORUM will launch a second season of high-profile lectures, debates, and conversations that connect the plays in The Public’s season to the issues of the day.

NEW WORK NOW!, a popular festival of readings featuring new work from emerging and established artists, returns to The Public this fall.  

Serving more than 100,000 audience members annually, JOE’S PUB presents more than 800 performances a year at The Public Theater. Since its debut in 1998, Joe’s Pub has quickly become one of New York City's most celebrated and in demand showcase venues for live music and performance. It is open seven days a week, regularly hosting as many as three shows a day. Dinner and drink service is available during every performance. Joe’s Pub will be on hiatus from July 2 to October 1, 2011 for renovation and expansion.

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“GOING PUBLIC” CAPITAL CAMPAIGN. The ongoing construction of The Public Theater, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012, will revitalize the historic Astor Library building and strengthen the organization for years to come. The plans, designed by Ennead Architects, include an expanded and refurbished lobby (which allows for the lobby’s capacity to increase 170%); an exterior entrance staircase with two ADA-accessible ramps and a glass canopy; a complete restoration of the theater’s historic brownstone façade; a complete upgrade of the theater’s heating, ventilation, and air condition systems; an increase in restroom facilities by 350%; an expanded and centrally located box office; a new mezzanine level; a new lounge space; improved and expanded food and beverage service; a greatly expanded Joe’s Pub kitchen; the incorporation of energy-efficient technology; and improved street visibility including six new poster boxes and exterior lighting.

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes, Interim Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater’s productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 151 Obies, 41 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls…; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Well; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice.


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The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for

The Public Theater’s year-round activities.

The Public’s 2011-2012 downtown season is made possible with the generous support of both The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and The Ian Madover and Arielle Tepper Madover Family Foundation. 

Time Warner is the Supporting Sponsor of The Public’s 2011-2012 season.

 Bank of America is the proud Season Sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park.

Major support for The Public Theater is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, the Susan Stein Shiva Foundation, the George T. Delacorte Fund at the New York Community Trust—Fund for Performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and by Warren Spector and Margaret Whitton.

Additional generous support is provided by the

Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Shen Family Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

New York Magazine is the official print and online sponsor of The Public Theater’s 2011-2012 downtown season.

Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Art; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Special thanks to Continental Airlines, the official airline of The Public Theater.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 14:54

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