Writer Tawni O’Dell will take the stage in her piece When It Happens to You, a play billed as a “theatrical memoir” based on her own experiences grappling with sexual assault’s impact on survivors and their loved ones. Performances will run October 2 through November 10 at Off-Broadway’s Sheen Center for Thought and Culture.
The world premiere is directed by co-conceiver and Tony nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
The cast will also include E. Clayton Cornelious, Connor Lawrence, and Kelly Swint. The staging features sets by Rob Bissinger and Anita LaScala, lighting by Daisey Long, and costumes by David Woolard.
O’Dell’s additional works include the novels Back Roads, which she recently adapted for the screen, as well as Coal Run and Sister Mine.
"The first time I held my daughter after she was born I made a silent promise to her I would always protect her," says O'Dell.
"Then came a night in our future when that promise was shattered. I couldn't protect her from the man who stalked her through the streets of her beloved New York City, broke into her home, and assaulted her," O'Dell explains. "During the next few years, her life fell apart and so did my own as I tried to help her deal with the fallout from this awful crime. As a way to help make sense of what we were going through, I did what writers do: I wrote about it… Rape touches just about every one of us. More women are sexually assaulted in this country than are affected by heart disease and breast cancer combined. To say it is an epidemic is not hyperbole."
Opening night is set for October 13.