POWERHOUSE 2019 | IN RESIDENCE
book by Jason Katims
music by Tom Kitt
lyrics by Marcy Heisler
In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Orthodox synagogues flank artisanal boutiques, peyois stand off against pierced navels, the Hassidic community cannot look at the secular. In Williamsburg, pious Devorah comes to life when she meets Tyler: the non-religious, romantic, musician hipster representation of everything she’s been taught to reject—and everything she can’t help but long for. In their first-time musical collaboration, Emmy Award-winner Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights") and Tony Award-winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) explore two opposing communities forced into conflict and what decades of hate can do to those at the center.
by Janet Grillo & Robert Burke Warren
FOUNDERS' AWARD RECIPIENT
Keelay Gipson is an Activist, Teaching Artist, and award-winning Playwright whose plays include imagine sisyphus happy (Finalist; Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference; P73 Summer Residency at Yale University), #NewSlaves (Finalist; Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwright Conference), CRH, or the placenta play (Semi- Finalist; The O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost, Or How to Just Be, What I Tell You in the Dark (Premiere Stages Finalist), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friederich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Lambda Literary). He is the recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship (2016-2018) at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73, Dramatist Guild Foundation and Playwrights Realm. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York and the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York. His work has been seen/developed at the Wild Project, Poetic Theater Productions, HERE Arts Center, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, Pace University, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, The University of Houston, The National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. Represented by Abrams Artists Agency.
DRAMATISTS GUILD FOUNDATION FELLOW
Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk feminist poet-playwright, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a 2019 New Harmony Project Writer-in-Residence, a 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellow and a 2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist. Erika is a 2019-2020 member of ArsNova Play Group and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie-winning Youngblood collective. Select stage plays include: ocean’s lip/ heaven’s shore, took/tied; hung/split, shadow/land and cullud wattah (Public Theater). In addition to this water tetralogy, Erika is currently developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including [hieroglyph], focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned man-made disaster.
LEO SHULL MUSICAL THEATER DIRECTING FELLOW
Ben Randle recently relocated from San Francisco and was a 2017-18 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow. Previous, he was the first Artistic Associate at New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco. World Premieres include Plover by Ryan Fogarty, 2018 Samuel French Festival; Salome, Dance for Me, an original glam rock musical he conceived and directed by trixxie carr, with Robert Mollicone from SF Opera, NCTC; Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman, NCTC; warplay and Into the Clear Blue Sky by JC Lee; Show Me Yours, an original musical revue by New Musical Theatre of San Francisco. Regional premieres include Sons of the Prophet, The Submission; other credits include Sweeney Todd, Ray of Light Theatre (BATCC Nom, Best Director); Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Douglas Morrison Theatre. Ben has worked at California Shakespeare Theater, Aurora Theatre, ZSpace, and West Edge Opera. B.A. from San Francisco State University; Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab 2010.
DASHA EPSTEIN FELLOW
Nell Bailey is a British actor and producer currently working in New York City. Having recently graduated from Barnard College where she received the Kenneth James Prize for Outstanding Artistic and Intellectual Achievement, her most recent work includes Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Dir. Colette Roberts), Colony Collapse (Dir. Lisa Rothe), and Romeo and Juliet (Dir. Asya Sagnek). Nell is a founding member of Bad Debt Collective, which is developing its first production of Play 26 for the Fall. She is an intern in NYC for Killer films, and a production associate for Early Day Films in the UK. Nell has trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and is a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.
DASHA EPSTEIN FELLOW
Louisa Melcher is a playwright from Los Angeles, California. She is a rising senior and John Jay Scholar at Columbia University, where she is studying Theatre and working on a thesis in Playwriting. Her most recent play, Martin Van Ruin, won the Joseph Milton Fee, Jr. Playwriting Award. In 2017, she had the honor of having a short play presented in a reading at Barnard’s Sulzberger Parlor. In 2018, she co-wrote her first full-length musical, The XMAS Factor, which was performed at Columbia’s Roone Arledge Auditorium in December. Outside of playwriting, Louisa is an accomplished ballet dancer and a classically trained actor. She is a recent alumna of the British American Drama Academy.