Playwrights Horizons has announced six titles for its 2018-2019 Off-Broadway season, which will launch in late August with the New York premiere of I Was Most Alive With You, the latest play from Tony Award-nominated Prelude to a Kiss and Light in the Piazza writer Craig Lucas.
Inspired by the biblical book of Job, I Was Most Alive With You tells the story of a Deaf gay man, played by award-winning Tribes and Spring Awakening actor Russell Harvard, whose entire existence is threatened when he is faced with a series of unexpected tests.
Performed simultaneously in English and ASL by two casts, the play had its world premiere at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston last summer with Harvard in the central role and Lucas directing.
Russell and Lucas will reunite for the New York premiere, which begins performances August 31. The cast will also feature Tony Award nominee Lois Smith, Marianna Bassham, Tad Cooley, Lisa Emery, and Gameela Wright, with a shadow cast of Deaf actors simultaneously performing in American Sign Language: Beth Applebaum, Seth Gore, Dickie Hearts, Amelia Hensley, Anthony Natale, and Alexandria Wailes. Sabrina Dennison serves as director of artistic Sign Language. Tyne Rafaeli will co-direct with Lucas.
The season will also include the world premiere of Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play. The satire about a group of “woke” teaching artists who attempt to put on a school pageant that accurately depicts the legacy of genocide and colonial expansion behind the American holiday, will begin performances in October under the direction of Hand to God Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel.
Following will be the New York premiere of Heather Raffo’s Noura, which will begin performances in November under the direction of Joanna Settle. Raffo stars in the title role of her play that challenges notions of modern marriage and motherhood through a portrait of Iraqi immigrants living in New York. Inspired by Ibsen's A Doll's House, Noura is a co-production with Washington, D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, where it is currently playing its world-premiere run.
Tony nominee Liesl Tommy will direct the world premiere of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Mufucka in February 2019. Playwright Tori Sampson makes her professional debut with the riff on a West African fable that questions beauty standards in contemporary African and American cultures.
In April 2019, playwright-actor Halley Feiffer (I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard) will star in her latest play, The Pain of My Belligerence, about a brilliant 20-something journalist whose ambition is slowly eroded over the course of an eight-year relationship with a married man.
The season will conclude in May 2019 with the world-premiere musical A Strange Loop, written by composer-lyricist-book writer Michael R. Jackson. The concept musical about a black, gay writer who works as a theatre usher for a long-running Broadway show while writing his own original musical was originally developed at Musical Theatre Factory, one of Playwrights Horizons’ Resident Companies. Stephen Brackett will direct. A Strange Loop is produced in association with Page 73 Productions.