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Monday, 27 June 2011 10:57

Keen Company Announces Their 12th Season: LEMON SKY by Lanford Wilson & Tina Howe's PAINTING CHURCHES

Keen Company

Drama Desk and Obie Award-Winning Keen Company
Announces Their 12th Season:

Coming this Fall: LEMON SKY by Lanford Wilsondirected by Drama Desk nominee Jonathan Silverstein

And next Spring: The First NY revival of PAINTING CHURCHES by Tina Howe, directed by Drama Desk nominee Carl Forsman

The Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Keen Company (Carl Forsman, Artistic Director/Damon Chua, Executive Director) today announced that their 2011-’12 season will begin with Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky, the 1970 drama by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer ofTalley's Folly, Burn This, and Fifth of July. Keen Company seeks to honor memory of the author who Frank Rich called, “our primary heir to Tennessee Williams.” In Lemon SkyWilson recounts a personal story in autobiographical detail: his journey, at age 17, to California to live with his estranged father's second family. Clive Barnes wrote, “It has the immediacy of the way we live, and something of the smooth-spoken hysteria.” It is a portrait of this great artist as a young man, and Keen Company is proud to be bringing his singular voice back to New York.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Lemon Sky, at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues), will begin September 13th and continue through October 22nd only, with opening night set for September 27th.  Cast and designers will be announced shortly.

Spring will see the first New York revival of Tina Howe’s Painting Churches, the smash hit comedy from the author of Coastal Disturbances and Pride's Crossing.  Frank Rich wrote, “In Painting Churches, her beautifully written play, Tina Howe has dramatized an illuminating connection between life and art. Miss Howe believes that, in life, perspective can be everything: only with age and experience and luck can children finally see their parents clearly and whole, in the mature light that reveals all. The same, of course, can be true of the relationship of artists to their material. An artist often returns to the same subject again and again, and with time, the perspective keeps changing. Lucky artists eventually reach that state of wisdom or grace where their vision is complete. For the less fortunate, whether in life or art, the grand design remains stubbornly, even tragically, out of reach."  Performances will begin February 14th.

"I have a long history with Lanford Wilson's work,” said Forsman. “The first Broadway play I ever went to see was Fifth Of July. My last date with my high school sweetheart was Burn This on Broadway. I have always loved Lanford's writing, and I have long wanted to produce one of his plays. I believe his compassion is unrivaled amongst American playwrights, and I believe his work has a natural home at Keen Company. We're thrilled to be presenting Lemon Sky, his most personal play, and are grateful to his estate for permission to produce this important work. Keen Company's first tremendous leap of faith was producing Tina Howe's 42-character play Museum in our second season in 2002. I am honored to be able to bring Tina's unique and hilarious voice back to our stage. Painting Churches is such a touching portrait of our effort to understand our parents, and Keen Company is thrilled to be presenting its first New York revival. We'll endeavor to whip up enough chaos to delight Tina and her many fans.”

Keen Company continues their tradition of presenting plays that illuminate the challenge to live generously, and these two stories about children and parents will bring these themes to thrilling life. Keen believes that theater is at its most powerful when texts and productions are generous in spirit and provoke identification. Inspired by the works of early 20th Century American playwrights, Keen Company demonstrates that an earnest intent can still be sophisticated. We are unafraid of emotional candor, vulnerability, and optimism. Keen Company seeks to create a culture of artists, technicians, administrators and audiences who share a desire to invigorate the theater with productions that connect us through humor, heart and hope.

Performances for both productions will be at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) and will play Tuesday evenings at 7pm; Wednesday through Friday evenings at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; and Sunday matinees at 3pm.  Tickets will be $59.75 for each show, but a subscription package for both shows is only $60 (plus a $10 service fee). That's 50% off the single ticket price, and includes unlimited exchange privileges, invitations to Keen’s subscriber-only reading series Chestnuts, and discounted tickets to the annual benefit.  For subscriptions, which go on sale July 1st, call the Subscriber Hotline at 212/560-2185.  To purchase individual tickets, visit Telecharge.com or call 212/239-6200 or for more information, visit www.keencompany.org.