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Wednesday, 27 April 2011 15:34

Jonathan Blitstein's SQUEALER, Directed by Daniel Talbott, Set for Theater for the New City May 5







Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) has announced that it will present the world premiere of Squealer, written by Jonathan Blitstein and directed by Daniel Talbott, opening Thursday, May 5, at 8pm at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.  Squealer is the inaugural production of the new theater company Lesser America and this production is the first in the company’s residence at Theater For the New City.

Set in Wauketawnee Lake, USA against the backdrop of recession in the heartland, Squealer follows an ambitious pork farmer who falls in love with the teenage daughter of his old high school flame and believes she’s his ticket out.  When he can't get what he wants, things get bloody.  A full-on taste of America's poverty-soaked obsession with consumerism and our unquenchable thirst for more, whether it's meat, or love, or both.

The production features Nick Lawson and Sarah Lemp (Adam Rapp’s Hallway Trilogy, Ghosts in the Cottonwoods, and The Amoralists’ Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side), Laura Ramadei, Daniel Abeles, Nate Miller (all from Keep Your Baggage With You), and Jamie Law.

Mr. Blitstein’s first play, Keep Your Baggage With You (at all times), also directed by Mr. Talbott, premiered last year at Theater for the New City, played an extended run, and received raves notices:

“To find a play about twentysomethings that features recognizable characters is a rare                 commodity.  To find an Off-Off-Broadway play about recognizable twentysomethings that involves a surplus of talent is the Holy Grail of adventurous theatergoing.  Unlikely though it may be, that Holy Grail is now at Theater for the New City, being performed under the title Keep Your Baggage With You (at all times).”

                                                                                                    --Mark Peikert, New York Press

“Thrillingly austere and provocatively perplexing.”

                                                                                                    --Brandon Voss, The Advocate

“Blitstein's writing recalls Neil LaBute's both in its directness and its exploration of male insecurity and panic. The conversation feels sharp and true, especially as directed here by Talbott with a split-second timing that feels entirely organic, like something you'd overhear or be part of yourself in a bar or restaurant. The talk is sexually frank, the way intimate friends sometimes really do talk, which makes it feel from the audience like serious eavesdropping.”

                                                                                                    --Martin Denton,


                                                                                                     --Dan Bacalzo, TheaterMania

“All of the people involved in this look at the mutability of relationships, including director Daniel Talbott, playwright Jonathan Blitstein, and an able cast, clearly know what they are doing.  Blitstein has a genuine gift for authentic dialogue."

                                                                                                    --Doug Strassler, Show Business Weekly

Jonathan Blitstein is an emerging playwright from Illinois, whose debut play Keep Your Baggage With You (at all times) at Theater For the New City kicked off a collaboration with director Daniel Talbott in 2010, and helped spawn the fledgling company Lesser America.  Jonathan’s projects as an indie filmmaker have screened at international festivals, in theaters, and on television.  He began his career as an actor, singer and dancer in Apple Tree Theater’s youth program.  A BFA graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, his award-winning debut independent film Let Them Chirp Awhile was completed on a shoe-string budget in 18 days, with the support of Kodak.  The script was recently made available in the permanent collection of the Margaret Herrick Library at AMPAS.  Jonathan studied acting and playwriting at NYU, The Second City, The Piven Theater, LAByrinth, and Primary Stages.  He is a founding member of Lesser America, a member of the Rising Phoenix Repertory (for which he will write a play for the CINO NIGHTS series in Spring 2012), and is an associate artist with the LoNyLa Project.  Squealer is his second world premiere produced in New York City, his first with the new company Lesser America.

Daniel Talbott’s most recent work as an actor includes the Theatre for One project in Times Square and around NYC, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis), Master Builder (Irish Rep), Rocket City (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Tartuffe (McCarter Theatre/Yale Rep), Marat/Sade (Classical Theatre of Harlem) and the feature films Pretty Bird and Dreaming American, and "The Big C" on Showtime. Recent directing work includes Keep Your Baggage With You (at all times) (Theater for the New City). His play Slipping was produced at Rattlestick with Piece by Piece Productions (named one of the top 10 plays of 2009 by The Advocate), premiered in Chicago at The Side Project, was part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and was published this year by Dramatists Play Service. He received a 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for directing, a Drama-Logue Award, two Dean Goodman Choice Awards and a Judy Award for acting, and was also named one of the 15 People of the Year 2006 by  He is a member of MCC Theater’s Playwrights’ Coalition, of last year’s 24Seven Lab, and of TOSOS. He is a graduate of Juilliard and of Solano College Theatre’s ATP, and teaches at the Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). He is one of the literary managers of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the artistic director of Rising Phoenix Rep (recipient of the 2007 NYIT Caffe Cino Fellowship Award).

Theater For the New City(TNC) is a Pulitzer Prize winning community cultural center that is known for both its quality artistic work and unique widespread community service. One of New York’s most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 30-40 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights. Many influential theater artists of the last quarter century have found TNC’s Resident Theater Program instrumental to their careers, among them Sam Shepard, Moises Kaufman, Richard Foreman, Charles Busch, Maria Irene Fornes, Miguel Piñero, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Vin Diesel, Oscar Nuñez, Laurence Holder, Romulus Linney and Academy Award Winners Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody. TNC also presents plays by multi-ethnic/multi-disciplinary theater companies who have no permanent home. Among the well-known companies that have been presented by TNC are Mabou Mines, the Living Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and COBU, the Japanese women's drumming and dance group. TNC also produced the Yangtze Repertory Company’s 1997 production of BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, which was the only play by Gao Xingjian ever produced in America before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. TNC seeks to develop theater audiences and inspire future theater artists from the often-overlooked low-income minority communities of New York City by producing minority writers from around the world and by bringing the community into theater and theater into the community through its many free Festivals. TNC productions have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and over 42 OBIE Awards for excellence in every theatrical discipline.TNC is also the only Theatrical Organization to have won the Mayor's Stop The Violence award.  For more information about Theater for the New City, visit or; or to follow on Twitter,

Founded by Jonathan Blitstein, Daniel Abeles, Laura Ramadei, and Nate Miller, Lesser America is pop theater—an ensemble of renegade artists dedicated to smart, quality entertainment that puts the audience first, fulfilling the promise of affordable, accessible theater for the 21st century.  Squealer is its inaugural production.  For more information about Lesser America, visit; or to follow on Twitter,

Squealer plays at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, May 21 on the following schedule Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday 3pm.  Tickets are $15 (with a $10 student ticket) and may be purchased at  For more information about Squealer and Lesser America, visit or

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Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 14:50