Williamstown Theatre Festival Goes Audible
Response to Pandemic Challenge for 2020
By: WTF - Apr 07, 2020
Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) and Audible (Kate Navin, Artistic Producer) announced today that the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival summer season will be produced on Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks.
Forged during and in response to a fraught moment in history, this unprecedented collaboration between two industry leaders preserves the Festival season in a different format, provides continued work for the artists involved in the Festival season, and produces a body of work that will be made available for global Audible listeners to enjoy and experience. It also marks the first time that a theatrical season of work will be produced on Audible.
“This virus might get to tell us what we cannot do but it does not get to dictate what we can do,” Greenfield said. “The voices of these artists will be heard. Through this alliance with Audible, we keep artists and the generative artistic process centered and steady through this unspeakably difficult moment when public gathering simply isn’t possible. Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and scientists are on the frontlines saving humanity right now; theatre makers can only continue to create work that gives the life we arrive at, on the other side of this crisis, meaning, depth, humor and beauty.”
“Powerful and transcendent, Williamstown and its artists have consistently produced some of the most memorable theater of our time,” Navin said. “Deeply dedicated to our mission of bringing more theater to more people, Audible is thrilled to collaborate with Williamstown in making an extraordinary lineup available to millions of people worldwide. The artists and these poignant works deserve to be experienced and will undoubtedly entertain and inspire audiences everywhere.”
In compliance with Massachusetts Governor Baker’s orders issued on March 23, 2020, combined with the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated measures at the Federal, State, and local level, Williamstown Theatre Festival is unable to proceed with the theatre season in Williamstown. Williamstown Theatre Festival will be in touch with WTF Bundle buyers and donors about their options and how they can access the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival Season on Audible.
With extraordinary performances and new voices, Audible Theater unleashes the artistic creativity of playwrights worldwide to deliver language-driven storytelling and inspire captivating performances on stage and in audio. Audible’s Broadway credits include John Leguizamo’s Tony-nominated Latin History for Morons and Simon Stephens’ and Nick Payne’s Sea Wall/A Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge. Off-Broadway, Audible’s productions include David Cale’s Lucille Lortel-winning Harry Clarke starring Billy Crudup, Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys starring Carey Mulligan and Patti Smith: Words and Music. In 2017, Audible launched a $5 million Emerging Playwrights Fund that identifies and invests in emerging playwrights, making their works available to listeners globally. Recently produced commissions include the audio release of Madhuri Shekar’s Evil Eye and Lauren Gunderson’s The Half-Life of Marie Curie.
Visit www.Audible.com/Theater for more information about Audible Theater’s programming.
Further information about the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival Season on Audible, including casting and audio release dates will be announced at a later date. For more information about Williamstown Theatre Festival, please visit www.wtfestival.org. For more information about Audible, please visit www.audible.com.
ABOUT THE 2020 WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL SEASON
A Streetcar Named Desire
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Bobby Cannavale, Carla Gugino, Audra McDonald
Following his 2019 production of A Raisin in the Sun, celebrated as “an absorbing, watershed revival,” by The New York Times, Robert O’Hara returns to Williamstown Theatre Festival to direct this Tennessee Williams masterpiece. With Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois alongside Carla Gugino as Stella and Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale as Stanley, O’Hara takes a fresh and visceral look at the emotionally charged relationship between these two iconic sisters. Haunted by her past, Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and Stanley in New Orleans, where she wrestles with the nature of her sister’s husband, her sister’s denial, and her own unraveling mind.
Cult of Love
By Leslye Headland
Directed by Trip Cullman
With Dylan Baker, Kate Burton, Michael Esper, Paige Gilbert, Rebecca Henderson, Chris Lowell, Taylor Schilling, Miriam Silverman
Ginny (Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Kate Burton) and Bill Dahl raised their family with love, music, and Jesus. Every Christmas they welcome home their adult children with carols, figgy pudding, and a vat of Manhattans. But the holiday sours when their devout daughter Diana (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Taylor Schilling) unsettles her secular siblings (Michael Esper and Rebecca Henderson) with her evangelicalism. Trip Cullman directs this dark comedy by Leslye Headland about a family whose fierce determination to love each other may not be enough to keep them together.
By Anna Ziegler
Directed by Susan Stroman
With Anna Chlumsky
In 1951, chemist Rosalind Franklin works relentlessly in her King’s College London lab, closing in on a major discovery that could unlock the mysteries of the DNA molecule. Undermined by her colleague Maurice Wilkins, she struggles to compete with rival team Watson and Crick as pressure intensifies to produce results. Following a critically acclaimed run in London, Anna Ziegler’s play is brought to life in a new production directed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, honoring the monumental contribution of one scientist with two X chromosomes whom history nearly left behind.
Wish You Were Here
By Sanaz Toossi
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
With Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat
Nazanin (Marjan Neshat) and her friends are on the brink of adulthood. As they prepare for a wedding, outside their living room the Iranian Revolution simmers and threatens to alter the course of their lives. Set over the course of 14 years, Sanaz Toossi’s timely world premiere play, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, shines a light on the daring potential of friendship amid the relentless aftershocks of political upheaval.
Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club
By Shakina Nayfack
Directed by Laura Savia
With Kate Bornstein, Annie Golden, Shakina Nayfack
In Shakina Nayfack’s world premiere play, a vibrant, international group of transgender women band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery. Despite the group’s warm welcome, Kina (Nayfack) prepares for her life-altering operation all alone. But a caring nurse, a wise couple (Kate Bornstein and Annie Golden), and a karaoke-loving bellhop may be exactly who she needs to ignite her truest sense of self. WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia directs this spirited comedy about one woman who tests the bonds of an unlikely sisterhood.
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
Book by Daniel Goldstein
Music & Lyrics by Dawn Landes
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure
Tori aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. As a child, she raised her younger brother Lamar, defending him against discrimination and neighborhood bullies. Now, with nothing but her body and a hand-built boat, she squares off with her own tormentor: the ocean. Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, this uplifting world premiere musical, directed by Tyne Rafaeli with a book by Daniel Goldstein and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, interrogates and reveals the resilience, fear, and ambition inside one individual undeterred by the odds.
By Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Directed by Whitney White
Lydia and Henry’s dinner guests are about to arrive when Henry’s spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and, before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she’s going to commit to a future with Henry. Directed by Whitney White, Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere comedy marches into the muddy intersection of romantic entanglement, identity, pride, and survival.