LouisvilleKY’s famous festival announces new line-up of plays


Louisville, KY – Actors Theatre of Louisville Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Kevin E. Moore are very proud to announce the lineup for the 41st Humana Festival of New American Plays. A cultural highlight for theatregoers, artists and industry professionals across the country, the Humana Festival runs March 1 through April 9, 2017.

This year’s Festival program will feature six world premieres, including (in order of opening):

I Now Pronounce by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
We’re Gonna Be Okay by Basil Kreimendahl
Cry it Out by Molly Smith Metzler
Recent Alien Abductions by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield by Jeff Augustin,
Sarah DeLappe, Claire Kiechel, and Ramiz Monsef
Airness by Chelsea Marcantel

In addition, a bill of three ten-minute plays will also premiere as part of the scheduled lineup. Ten-minute plays and playwrights will be announced in February, 2017. For more information on individual full-length plays, see below.

Actors Theatre logo

“The Humana Festival of New American Plays is a leading force in today’s theatre. Our writers explore and define the world that we all share,” said Les Waters. “I am very proud that Actors Theatre’s passion and dedication to artistic risk and courage provides a space for these voices to be heard.”

“I’m thrilled to join Les Waters and the fantastic team at Actors Theatre in announcing what will be my first Humana Festival as Managing Director. I first attended the festival as a guest in 2010 and loved every aspect,” said Kevin E. Moore. “The Humana Festival has long been a vital part of the American theatre landscape. Our partnership with the Humana Foundation is unparalleled, and their nearly four-decade-long commitment ensures that theatre continues to thrive in this country and around the globe. The 2016 Festival was attended by more than 34,000, with visitors from 41 states and 65 colleges and universities represented in the audience. By investing in the future of American theatre, Actors Theatre makes a significant impact not only on the national theatre canon, but on the local economic prosperity of Louisville.”

For more than four decades, Actors Theatre of Louisville has been the driving force in new play development, introducing 450 plays into the American theatre’s repertoire and representing the work of more than 370 playwrights. The internationally acclaimed Humana Festival is recognized as a crucial incubator for new work, and a launching pad for myriad subsequent productions around the country and the world. Plays recently commissioned and produced by Actors Theatre have been seen by audiences far and wide. Lucas Hnath’s The Christians, which premiered in the 2014 Humana Festival under the direction of Les Waters, recently was recognized on American Theatre magazine’s list of “The Top 10 Most-Produced Plays of the 2016-2017 Season.” The 2015 Humana Festival premiered The Glory of the World by Charles Mee, which had a successful transfer to BAM in New York this past January, and Dot by Colman Domingo, whose production at the Vineyard Theatre this past February was a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Additionally, Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday went on to a run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre with Les Waters again as director, following an exciting premiere in the 2016 Humana Festival.

This year’s lineup of plays will be performed in rotating repertory in three theatres located in Actors Theatre’s downtown Louisville complex: the 633-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, 318-seat Bingham Theatre, and 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre. The 2017 Humana Festival schedule also offers a weekend of enrichment events for college students, and features special weekends for theatre professionals and theatre lovers, which include networking opportunities, discussions, and parties—making Louisville the place to be in the American theatre this spring. A full list of the weekend package opportunities is included in the listings section below.

Weekend packages and single tickets for the 2017 Humana Festival of New American Plays will go on sale to the public beginning Wednesday, November 16. Actors Theatre’s Season Ticket Holders can access single tickets and package add-ons during a special pre-sale on Tuesday, November 15. For more information, please visit ActorsTheatre.org or call our Box Office at 502.584.1205. For Festival Ticket Package reservations, please call502.561.3344 or visit ActorsTheatre.org.

Actors Theatre celebrates the 41st Humana Festival with underwriter the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Editor: The involvement of the Humana Foundation in the Humana Festival of New American Plays is very important to us. We would greatly appreciate inclusion of its participation in your coverage. The Humana Festival represents the largest and longest-running active partnership between a corporation and a theatre in the United States.
Detailed information about each of the plays in the 41st Humana Festival of New American Plays follows:

I Now Pronounce
by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
directed by Stephen Brackett

March 1 – April 9, 2017
in the Bingham Theatre

After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into an increasingly strange evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is they’re celebrating. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amuck, the bridal party members are more preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both.

Tasha Gordon-Solmon’s plays have been developed and produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville (2016 Humana Festival Ten-Minute Plays, The Professional Training Company’sThe Tens ), Clubbed Thumb, Ars Nova, the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, Dixon Place, New Georges, INTAR Theatre, and The Flea Theater. She is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship, a lyricist in the BMI Workshop, a member of the Project Y Playwrights Group, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, and an alumna of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group and Ars Nova’s Play Group. As a director, Gordon-Solmon has worked at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Tank, The Brick, Columbia University, Studio Tisch, the New York Fringe Festival, and The Fire This Time Festival. She received her M.F.A. in dramatic writing at New York University and is a proud 52nd Street Project volunteer.

I Now Pronounce was developed at the Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, June 2016.
We’re Gonna Be Okay
by Basil Kreimendahl
directed by Lisa Peterson

March 7 – April 9, 2017
in the Pamela Brown Auditorium
Part of the Brown-Forman Series

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, two average American families build a slapdash bomb shelter on their shared property line. With nuclear warfare looming, they wonder: is it the end? The end of baseball…and table manners…and macramé? But as they fret about the fall of civilization, they start to worry that something more personal is at stake. A slyly hilarious, compassionate look at anxiety in America, We’re Gonna Be Okay is about finding the courage to face who we are—and who we want to be.

Basil Kreimendahl is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Their plays have won several awards, including the Rella Lossy Playwright Award and a National Science Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Kreimendahl has been commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions program, and by Actors Theatre of Louisville for Remix 38 (2014 Humana Festival). Their play Orange Juliuswas developed at the 2012 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and will have its New York premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, in a co-production with P73. Kreimendahl’s plays have also been produced or developed by New York Theatre Workshop, American Theater Company, Victory Gardens Theater, The Lark, La Jolla Playhouse, and Labyrinth Theater Company. They have been a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow and McKnight Fellow, won an Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and will be a visiting writer at Williams College in 2017. Kreimendahl’s work has been published by Dramatic Publishing and HowlRound. They received their M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 2013.

We’re Gonna Be Okay was developed with support from the Playwrights’ Center’s Jerome Fellowship Program, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cry it Out
by Molly Smith Metzler
directed by Davis McCallum
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

March 10 – April 9, 2017
in the Bingham Theatre

Cooped up on maternity leave and starved for conversation, Jessie invites her funny and forthright neighbor Lina, also a new mom, for coffee on the patio between their duplexes. Despite their vastly different finances, they become fast friends during naptimes—while someone watches from the mansion on the cliff overlooking Jessie’s yard. This comedy with dark edges takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.

Molly Smith Metzler’s plays include Elemeno Pea, The May Queen, Carve, Training Wisteria and Close Up Space (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist). At Actors Theatre:Elemeno Pea (2011 Humana Festival). Regional Theatre: South Coast Repertory, the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Chautauqua Theater Company, Geva Theatre Center, and City Theatre Company, among others. Off-Broadway: Manhattan Theatre Club. Awards include the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center National Student Playwriting Award, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s David Mark Cohen Award, and the Mark Twain Comedy Prize. Metzler is an alum of Ars Nova’s Play Group and the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages. She is currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Repertory. Television: Codes of Conduct (HBO); Casual (Hulu); Orange Is the New Black(Netflix). Metzler was educated at State University of New York Geneseo, Boston University, New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts, and The Juilliard School.
Recent Alien Abductions
by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
directed by Les Waters

March 17 – April 9, 2017
in the Pamela Brown Auditorium
Part of the Brown-Forman Series

Álvaro is searching for a lost episode of The X-Files that he swears has been mysteriously altered since its original broadcast, but nobody believes him. Could the missing episode be proof of a larger conspiracy? Years later, when a friend arrives in Puerto Rico hoping to preserve Álvaro’s stories, she must face the family from whom he vanished long ago. A darkly compelling tale about the danger of having no one to trust—and how families, and nations, keep circling the places that haunt them.

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ plays include Bird in the Hand at Fulcrum Theater and New Theatre (New York Times Critics’ Pick); Blind Mouth Singing at The National Asian American Theatre Company and Teatro Vista (New York Times Critics’ Pick); andSleepwalkers at the Alliance Theatre and Area Stage (Carbonell Award for Best New Work). Awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York Foundation for the Arts (three years); Helen Merrill Playwriting Award; Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship at Princeton University; and the Robert Chesley Award. His plays are published by Playscripts, Dramatic Publishing and TDR/The Drama Review. Cortiñas is the founder of Fulcrum Theater, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumnus of New Dramatists, and Playwright-in-Residence at Bard College.

Recent Alien Abductions was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by The New York State Council on the Arts.
by Chelsea Marcantel
directed by Meredith McDonough

March 24 – April 9, 2017
in the Victor Jory Theatre

When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend; it’s about finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. Will Nina be able to let go and set herself free onstage? Following her mission to shred or be shredded, Airness is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us.

Chelsea Marcantel is a New York City-based writer, director, and collaborator. Reared by Cajuns in southwest Louisiana, she has lived and made theatre among the tribes of the Midwest, Appalachia, and the Mid-Atlantic, where she completed a Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Marcantel’s plays includeEverything is Wonderful, Airness, Ladyish, Devour, Tiny Houses, and The White Girl’s Guide to Joining ISIS. She is extremely interested in humans as small-group primates, and what happens when the value systems of our chosen groups cease to serve us. Marcantel reads a lot of books, watches a lot of documentaries, and listens to a lot of podcasts. She is an avid self-producer and an enthusiastic member of The Dramatists Guild. More information can be found at ChelseaMarcantel.com.
The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield
by Jeff Augustin, Sarah DeLappe, Claire Kiechel, and Ramiz Monsef
directed by Eric Hoff
performed by the actors of the 2016-2017 Professional Training Company
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

March 24 – April 9, 2017
in the Bingham Theatre

The mysterious demise of a Kentucky inventor—and other stories of visionaries from the Bluegrass State—inspire a play that explores the nature of innovation and the myths we tell about it. Writing for the twenty actors in this season’s Professional Training Company, four playwrights boldly celebrate unsung dreamers, unlikely breakthroughs, and the beauty (and occasional hilarity) of failure.

Jeff Augustin’s play Cry Old Kingdom premiered at the 2013 Humana Festival, and he was a co-author of That High Lonesome Sound, part of the 2015 Humana Festival. His other plays include Little Children Dream of God at Roundabout Underground, and The Last Tiger in Haiti at La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Augustin was the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Horizons and the inaugural Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Roundabout Theatre Company. He is an alumnus of the New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship; the Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop at The Lark; and The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Augustin is currently under commission from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He received his B.A. from Boston College and his M.F.A. from the University of California San Diego.

Sarah DeLappe’s play The Wolves premiered Off-Broadway at The Playwrights Realm, following an engagement at New York Stage and Film, and development at Clubbed Thumb and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. The Wolves received the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award, and was a finalist for the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Yale Drama Series Prize. DeLappe is the Page One Playwright for The Playwrights Realm and was a resident artist at the Sitka Fellows Program and SPACE on Ryder Farm. An alumna of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group and the New Georges Audrey Residency, she is currently a member of Ars Nova’s Play Group and a Resident Playwright at LCT3. She is currently in the M.F.A. Playwriting program at Brooklyn College.

Claire Kiechel’s plays include Pilgrims (upcoming production at The Gift Theatre in Chicago, The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week 2016, The Kilroys’ The List 2016); Lulu Is Hungry with composer Avi Amon at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest 2016; and Some Dark Places of the Earth at The New School for Drama. Her work has been presented or developed by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Colt Coeur, Hangar Theatre, Naked Angels, the Orchard Project, and Pipeline Theatre Company. Kiechel is a current member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s group Youngblood, an alumna of The Civilians’ 2015-16 R&D Group, and a 2016 recipient of South Coast Repertory’s Elizabeth George Emerging Writers Commission. She received her B.A. from Amherst College and her M.F.A. from The New School for Drama.

Ramiz Monsef is honored to be back at Actors Theatre. Monsef is the co-author of the musical The Unfortunates, which was produced at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. His newest play, 3 Farids, will be part of The Bushwick Starr Reading Series in Brooklyn this March. Monsef is an actor as well, and has appeared at theatres across the country, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and seven seasons at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, as well as Geffen Playhouse, The Kirk Douglas Theatre, Second Stage, Culture Project, and New York Theatre Workshop. He has appeared on television in Law & Order, Training Day, and The Watchlist on Comedy Central.

The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield is supported in part by The Roy Cockrum Foundation.

About the Professional Training Company
Formerly known as the Apprentice/Intern Company, the Professional Training Company is one of the nation’s oldest pre-professional training programs—a full-immersion program focused on practical, experiential training and designed to help young artists transition from an academic degree to a real-world career.

Now in its 45th year, and functioning as a theatre company with its own season, the Professional Training Company is a national leader in alternative theatre training. Its alumni are working on staff and onstage in leading theatres across the country, including Playwrights Horizons, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, the Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and are often invited back home to Actors Theatre (last season, nearly 60 alumni worked at Actors Theatre in some capacity). Additionally, Acting Apprentice alumni regularly appear on screen (How to Get Away with Murder, Gotham, The Americans, Elementary, Person of Interest, Master of None, Broad City, Orange Is the New Black, and many more).

Press Openings

I Now Pronounce by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

We’re Gonna Be Okay by Basil Kreimendahl
Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Cry it Out by Molly Smith Metzler
Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Recent Alien Abductions by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield by Jeff Augustin, Sarah DeLappe,
Claire Kiechel, and Ramiz Monsef
Friday, March 24, 2017 at 11 p.m.

Airness by Chelsea Marcantel
Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 7 p.m.

The Ten-Minute Plays
Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 9 p.m.

Humana Festival Kickoff
Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Join Actors Theatre for a fun celebration to bring in the Festival with much-deserved fanfare! This event is free, but ticketed.

College Days Keynote Address: Naomi Iizuka
Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
Renowned playwright (and five-time Humana Festival alumna) Naomi Iizuka shares wisdom with the next generation of theatre artists in this College Days Weekend keynote speech. Iizuka heads the graduate playwriting program at the University of California San Diego, and she’s the acclaimed author of numerous plays, including Polaroid Stories, 36 Views, Language of Angels, Skin, Anon(ymous), At the Vanishing Point, Good Kids, and many others.

Artist’s Insight: Taylor Mac
Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 10 a.m.
“Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them,” says The New York Times of the astonishing artist whose epic durational concert, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, stirred awe and admiration this season. The award-winning Mac—a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer—joins the Humana Festival for this lively talk.

Ovation Celebration
Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 10 p.m.
Join us at this FREE, casual gathering, where you’ll meet local theatre enthusiasts and welcome the theatre industry’s finest.

Finding the Players: Casting Directors and New Work
Friday, April 7, 2017 at 1 p.m.
This discussion, co-sponsored by Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Casting Society of America (CSA), explores the crucial behind-the-scenes work of casting professionals as they collaborate with playwrights, directors, and producers to match artists with new plays. CSA is the premier organization for casting directors in film, television, theatre and new media.

Encore Bash
Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 10 p.m.
Come and help us celebrate the closing weekend of the Humana Festival! An evening of food, drink and entertainment throughout Actors Theatre’s lobbies, the Bash is an opportunity for patrons, producers, artists, critics, Actors alumni and more to send off this memorable season in style!

Festival Ticket Packages are available for the following weekends, enabling you to see a variety of Humana Festival plays and access special events: March 17 – 19, March 24 – 26, March 31 – April 2, and April 6 – 9*, 2017. Unique packages are available for theatre professionals, new play enthusiasts, and college students and professors.

Actors Theatre’s Season Ticket Holders can access single tickets and package add-ons during a special pre-sale on Tuesday, November 15.

Single ticket prices start at $25, and tickets will be on sale beginning November 16. For more information or to purchase Humana Festival weekend packages, visitActorsTheatre.org or call 502.584.1205.

*Please note that The Ten-Minute Plays are running April 8 & 9 only.
The Humana Festival of New American Plays
The Humana Festival is an internationally acclaimed event that has introduced 450 plays into the American and international theatre’s general repertoire, including three Pulitzer Prize winners—The Gin Game by D. L. Coburn, Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, andDinner with Friends by Donald Margulies—as well as Marsha Norman’s Getting Out, John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God, Charles Mee’s Big Love and The Glory of the World, Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories and At the Vanishing Point, Jane Martin’s Anton in Show Business, Rinne Groff’s The Ruby Sunrise, Theresa Rebeck’s The Scene, Gina Gionfriddo’sAfter Ashley and Becky Shaw, UNIVERSES’ Ameriville, Rude Mechs’ The Method Gun, Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine, Will Eno’s Gnit, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Sarah Ruhl’s For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday, and Lucas Hnath’s Death Tax and The Christians. More than 400 Humana Festival plays have been published in anthologies and individual acting editions, making Actors Theatre a visible and vital force in the development of new plays.

The Humana Festival is the premier event of its kind in the nation, drawing theatre lovers, journalists, and film and stage producers from around the world. About 34,000 patrons attend the six weeks of plays and associated events, including students from more than 60 colleges and universities. The Festival culminates in two industry weekends, which bring together a collection of amazing new plays with one-of-a-kind panels, cocktail parties, discussions and networking events. It is the perfect opportunity to see new work, make new connections, and support the creation of new American theatre.
About Actors Theatre of Louisville
Les Waters, Artistic Director
Kevin E. Moore, Managing Director

Now in its 53rd Season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, is the flagship arts organization in the Louisville community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Kevin E. Moore, Actors Theatre serves to unlock human potential, build community, and enrich quality of life by engaging people in theatre that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.

Actors Theatre presents almost 350 performances annually and delivers a broad range of programming, including classics and contemporary work through the Brown-Forman Series, holiday plays, a series of free theatrical events produced by the Professional Training Company, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays—the premier new play festival in the nation, which has introduced 450 plays into the American theatre repertoire over the past 40 years. In addition, Actors Theatre provides more than 15,000 arts experiences each year to students across the region through its Education Department, and boasts one of the nation’s most prestigious continuing pre-professional resident training companies, now in its 45th year.

Over the past half-century, Actors Theatre has also emerged as one of America’s most consistently innovative professional theatre companies, with an annual attendance of 140,000. Actors Theatre has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre, including a Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre has toured to 29 cities and 15 countries worldwide, totaling more than 1,400 appearances internationally. Currently, there are more than 50 published books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in circulation—including anthologies of Humana Festival plays, volumes of ten-minute plays and monologues, and essays, scripts and lectures from the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Numerous plays first produced at Actors Theatre have also been published as individual acting editions, and have been printed in many other anthologies, magazines and journals—making an enduring contribution to American dramatic literature.