The Champion starts 10.11

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World Premiere of Nina Simone Drama

THE CHAMPION

Takes the stage October 11-November 5

Single tickets and subscriptions are now on sale

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — October 3, 2017 — On October 11, a world premiere drama based on untold true events in the life of Nina Simone will begin performances at TheatreSquared. Written by Brooklyn-based playwright Amy Evans, whose extensive one-on-one interviews with Simone’s former bandmates supplied the storyline and inspiration for the play, The Champion is the story of one high-stakes night in a small-town diner in North Carolina. Al Schackman, Simone’s bandleader and 40-year collaborator, will attend the official opening night performance on October 13 and join in on guitar for an intimate concert post-show performance with the actor Joy Jones, who portrays Simone. Six weekly performances are scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, October 11-November 5, with single tickets now on sale at theatre2.org or (479) 443-5600. Season packages are also on sale, with five-play packages ranging from $79-194.

The Champion takes place in 1962, with Nina and her band holed up from a snowstorm in a small-town diner somewhere in North Carolina. As tempers flare and secrets surface, it seems the waitress at this small-town diner may soon bear witness to life-changing events. Suddenly, the door swings open, and the famous outsiders discover they’re truly in unfriendly territory. This sharply drawn, exciting new play intimately captures a cultural icon and the turbulent era during which she rose to fame. 

“It’s thrilling to premiere this incisive, compelling new drama here in Northwest Arkansas—the very first of the many times this remarkable true story will be seen on the American stage,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “Nina Simone was larger than life, a trailblazer. They called her ‘the High Priestess of Soul’ because of the spell she cast through her music and sheer, inescapable presence. But on this rare night, she’s intimate and vulnerable, bottled up with her closest collaborators in a hole-in-the-wall diner. Like Nina, as you’ll soon see, Amy Evans is a storyteller of uncommon talent.”

T2’s production is directed by Reginald L. Douglas, artistic producer of City Theatre in Pittsburgh, who also directed the play when it was under development as part of the 2016 Arkansas New Play Festival. The cast includes Joy Jones as Nina Simone, along with Austin Ashford (All the Way), Cary Hite (Peter and the Starcatcher), Grant Hockenbrough, Bryce Kemph (Amadeus, Superior Donuts, among many), Curtis Longfellow, and Britney Walker-Merritte (Intimate Apparel).

The creative team for The Champion includes scenic designer Michael Riha, lighting designer Jorge Arroyo, costume designer Ruby Kemph, sound designer Sinan Zafar, properties master Brodie Jasch, and production stage manager Shannon Jones. 

TheatreSquared’s production is made possible in part with support from show sponsors Sandy Edwards, Peter and Anne Leer, Steve and Linda Nelson, and Amp Sign & Banner.

Performance Schedule

Performances are scheduled October 11–November 5, 2017, Wednesdays through Sundays at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios (505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville, AR).

Monday, Tuesday: No Performances
Wednesday–Friday: 7:30pm
Saturday: 2:00pm; 7:30pm
Sunday: 2:00pm

The first Friday performance (10/13) will include a $15 add-on concert by Joy Jones, performing songs by Nina Simone while accompanied by Nina Simone’s longtime bandleader, Al Schackman, and a jazz trio. The second Friday performance (10/20) will also feature a special add-on concert performance for just $10, featuring Joy Jones and a jazz trio led by Jacob Hertzog. To reserve tickets for these add-on performances, call 443-5600.

The Champion contains occasional adult language and is recommended for ages 13+. The running time is 80 minutes with no intermission.  

Ticket & Subscription Info

Tickets range from $17-$48 and are available at (479) 443-5600 or online at theatre2.org.

Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $5 tickets and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. For more, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.

Subscription packages for TheatreSquared's 2017/18 Season are also on sale. Subscription options include five-play packages starting at $79 and four-play packages starting at $67. Limited tickets are also available to T2’s Opening Night Series on the first Friday of each production, which includes a catered reception and a champagne toast, as well as the Preview Saver Series on the first Wednesday and Thursday of each production. Subscriptions can be reserved by calling (479) 571-2785 or by visiting theatre2.org/subscribe.

Opportunities to Engage

The world premiere run of The Champion includes these free, public opportunities to meet the playwright and featured artists at Fayetteville Public Library:

Sat., Oct. 7, 2pm: Free masterclass with playwright Amy Evans at Fayetteville Public Library, supported by the Arkansas Arts Council (register at faylib.org)

Thurs., Oct. 12, 6pm: Amy Evans, Reginald L. Douglas, and Al Schackman will be featured in a free Artists Forum moderated by Kyle Kellams of Ozarks at Large in the Walker Community Room, and recorded for broadcast on KUAF 91.3fm 

About T2

TheatreSquared is Northwest Arkansas’ professional regional theatre, offering an intimate live theatre experience for 40,000 patrons each year in its 175-seat space and in schools throughout the state. TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation’s ten most promising emerging theatres. TheatreSquared has experienced remarkable growth in recent seasons, expanding its audience tenfold in the past five years. The theatre recently broke ground on a new 50,000 square-foot facility to be completed in mid-2019, and launched the $34 million Our Next Stage Campaign to support construction and a sustainable transition. Designs and campaign information are online at ournextstage.org

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Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 12 is provided by The Walton Family Foundation, Inc.; the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts; the Walker Charitable Foundation; the Walmart Foundation; the Windgate Charitable Foundation; and by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Champion is made possible in part by show sponsors Sandy Edwards, Amp Sign & Banner, Peter and Anne Leer and Steve and Linda Nelson.

Major marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 12 is provided by Experience Fayetteville, , the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Flyer, Cox Communications, KNWA, CitiScapes, KUAF, and MailCo USA.

T2 Announces Leadership Hire, Major Grant

T2 Announces Leadership Hire, 
Major Three-Year Grant

Joanna Sheehan Bell, 
Director of Programs for the American Theatre Wing, to serve as T2 Director of Marketing & Communications

$1.8MM grant from Walton Family Foundation will support expansion and transition

Joanna Sheehan Bell

Joanna Sheehan Bell

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — September 25, 2017 — TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller and Artistic Director Robert Ford today announced a significant addition to the fast-growing theatre's leadership team with the hiring of Director of Marketing & Communications Joanna Sheehan Bell. Bell is the outgoing Director of Programs for the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, where she oversaw programs ranging from grants, awards, professional development initiatives, Emmy-nominated media productions, and national partnerships during her ten-year tenure with the New York-based organization. She begins work at Northwest Arkansas's professional theatre on October 4. 

"It's a privilege to join an organization creating such high-quality work in the middle of the country," said Bell. "T2 is emerging as a national player in the industry, and I'm excited to help tell the company's story, raise its profile and lead its audience and outreach expansion during its transition to a state-of-the-art cultural facility. I'm amazed at the vibrancy of the arts scene in this remarkable area, and my family and I are looking forward to calling Northwest Arkansas home."

The new leadership position is made possible in part by a crucial commitment from the Walton Family Foundation, which recently approved a major, $1.8 million, three-year grant to help ensure a sustainable expansion during TheatreSquared's transition to its permanent home. 

"As we continue construction and the $34 million Our Next Stage Campaign, engaging a truly regional audience and securing multi-year support for our core programs is more crucial than ever," said Miller. "We're so excited to welcome Joanna to our leadership team, and we are profoundly grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for supporting T2's sustainable growth during this major transition. It's an exciting time for the arts in Northwest Arkansas."

Ticket & Subscription Info

Tickets are currently on sale for TheatreSquared's upcoming world premiere of The Champion, based on an untold chapter in the life of Nina Simone, ranging from $17-$48 at (479) 443-5600 or online at theatre2.org. Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $5 tickets and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. For more, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.  

Subscription packages for TheatreSquared's 2017/18 Season are also on sale. Subscription options include five-play packages starting at $79 and four-play packages starting at $67. Series options include Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Limited tickets are also available to T2’s Opening Night Series on the first Friday of each production, which includes a catered reception and a champagne toast, as well as the Preview Saver Series on the first Wednesday and Thursday of each production. Subscriptions can be reserved by calling (479) 571-2785 or by visiting theatre2.org/subscribe

Fun home takes the stage Aug. 23

2015 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical

FUN HOME

Takes the stage August 23-September 17

Single tickets and subscriptions are now on sale

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — August 9, 2017 — Season 12 at TheatreSquared (T2) begins this month with the critically acclaimed recent Broadway hit, the five-time 2015 Tony Award-winner Fun Home. This “beautiful heartbreaker of a musical” (New York Times), with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, is based on the bestselling graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, and traces her childhood memories growing up playing with her brothers around satin-lined caskets in the Bechdel Funeral Home. Six weekly performances are scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, August 23-September 17, with single tickets now on sale at theatre2.org or (479) 443-5600. Season packages are also on sale, with six-play packages starting at just $89. 

“Before there was Hamilton, there was Fun Home,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “It was Broadway's hottest ticket, and it raised the bar for the modern musical. It’s a six-time Best Musical Award winner, but it’s also one of the best works of theatre—period—that we've encountered in our twelve years as a company. We are proud to be one of the first national theatres to acquire the rights to independently recreate it, a coup for Northwest Arkansas.” 

After her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison Bechdel dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood and coming-of-age story at the Bechdel Funeral Home. Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, cathartic, and wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. 

T2’s production is directed by associate artistic director Amy Herzberg, who directed One Man Two Guvnors, Amadeus, Next to Normal, Good People, and many more audience favorites at T2. Mountain View native and Broadway veteran Rob Sutton is returning to the area to appear as Alison's father, and Rita Harvey, who played Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, will play her mother. The cast also features Christiana Cole, Christina D. Eskridge, Fayetteville native Halley Mayo (Sundown Town), Max Meyers, Alexander Margulis, Nikolai Margulis, and Autumn Rae Shannon. 

The lead creative team includes music director Jason Burrow, scenic and lighting designer Shawn Irish, costume designer Ruby Kemph, sound designer Michael Prieto, properties master Brodie Jasch, and production stage manager Shannon Jones. 

The New York production, which originated at the Public Theatre before its Broadway run, received universal critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “a rare beauty, extraordinary and heart-gripping. Fun Home finds a shining clarity that lights up the night.” The Chicago Tribune called Fun Home “exquisite. An emotional powerhouse that never lets you out of its embrace for a moment. No wonder the audience sprang as one from its seats at the ending.” And New York Magazine called it “something of a miracle.” 

TheatreSquared’s production is made possible in part with support from lead show sponsors Joel and Lynn Carver, George and Rosemary Faucette, and Margaret and Dick Rutherford, and from show sponsors Ellis and Kay Melton.

Performance Schedule

Performances are scheduled August 23–September 17, 2017, Wednesdays through Sundays at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios (505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville, AR).

Monday, Tuesday: No Performances
Wednesday–Friday: 7:30pm
Saturday: 2:00pm; 7:30pm
Sunday: 2:00pm
An added Sunday evening performance is scheduled for September 17 at 7:00pm. 

Fun Home contains adult language and mature themes and is recommended for ages 13+, with parental guidance advised. The running time is 100 minutes.  

Ticket & Subscription Info

Tickets range from $17-$48 and are available at (479) 443-5600 or online at theatre2.org. Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $5 tickets and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. For more, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.  

Subscription packages for TheatreSquared's 2017/18 Season are also on sale. Subscription options include six-play packages starting at $89, five-play packages starting at $79, and four-play packages starting at $67. Series options include Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Limited tickets are also available to T2’s Opening Night Series on the first Friday of each production, which includes a catered reception and a champagne toast, as well as the Preview Saver Series on the first Wednesday and Thursday of each production. Subscriptions can be reserved by calling (479) 571-2785 or by visiting theatre2.org/subscribe

T2 Launches Our Next Stage Campaign

TheatreSquared Launches

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OUR NEXT STAGE

$34 million campaign will fund construction of a permanent home for professional theatre in Northwest Arkansas and establish the TheatreSquared Trust

Construction Groundbreaking & Campaign Announcement: 
June 23, 2017, 4pm

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — June 7, 2017 — TheatreSquared (T2) Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller today announced that, on June 23 at 4pm, the company will break ground on the region’s first dedicated, permanent home for professional theatre and publicly launch the Our Next Stage Campaign, a $34 million effort to fully fund construction and establish an artistic, operating and education reserve. Construction on the region’s new 50,000 square-foot, two-venue facility, designed by international design award recipients Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue, will begin immediately and continue through 2019. T2 staff and artists will be joined at the groundbreaking ceremony by a committee of Northwest Arkansas civic leaders, who will carry the campaign forward in its public phase, along with a documentary film crew from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The ceremony will be held at 477 W. Spring St., the future site of the new facility. 

“It’s a thrilling moment for Northwest Arkansas,” said Miller. “In this architecturally significant yet intimately scaled new theatre center, millions of Arkansans will experience remarkable performances by exceptional artists. Beginning June 23, we’ll work to bring the community together in a public campaign to achieve our $34 million goal and guarantee the future of this vision.”

“With this new cultural landmark, we are proud to strengthen our region’s reputation as a national destination for the arts and for singular live performances,” said Ford. “On June 23, we’ll break ground and invite our community to join us in a campaign to ensure the next 100 years of remarkable live theatre in Northwest Arkansas.”

The public phase of the Our Next Stage Campaign will be led by a committee of volunteer civic leaders, including Ted & Leslie Belden, Kirk Thompson & Brett Burch, Joel & Lynn Carver, Carolyn & Nick Cole, Denise & Hershey Garner, Susan & Orville Hall, Greg & Hannah Lee, Scott & Shizuko Price, Margaret & Dick Rutherford, Judy & Bill Schwab, Todd & Shelley Simmons, Tod Yeslow & Jackie Telfair, and Jenifer Tucker.

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TheatreSquared’s new home will unite two state-of-the-art theatres, the company’s first dedicated rehearsal space, staff offices, education and community space, on-site design and building workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, outdoor public spaces at three levels, and an open-all-day café/bar, all at 477 W. Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville.

"I’m proud to say that this is one of the most intimate, yet immersive theatre spaces Charcoalblue has yet designed," said senior project manager Clem Abercrombie. Charcoalblue, lead consultant and theatre designer for T2’s new facility, has been hailed as one the most innovative players in the international performing arts design field. Their portfolio ranges from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Stirling Award-winning Everyman Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, and U.S. companies Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Baltimore Center Stage. The firm is leading theatre design for The Perelman @WTC, the new, REX-designed performing arts building at the World Trade Center site. 

Marvel Architects’ previous collaboration with Charcoalblue for the New York theatre company St. Ann’s Warehouse recently won the 2017 AIA Institute Honor Award, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture. Architect Jonathan Marvel began his career under Richard Meier, working on the Getty Museum and the High Museum; today, he leads a team at New York-based Marvel Architects that has won more than 60 national and international design awards. 

Arkansas-based construction firm Baldwin & Shell will construct the facility. The company’s many projects include the new Spring Street Parking Deck and the renovated the Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center at the University of Arkansas. 

Plans for Northwest Arkansas’s permanent regional theatre began to take form in 2015, when a special community task force unanimously recommended launching an exploratory process toward building a new home for TheatreSquared. That fall, T2 won a prestigious Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and was selected as an inaugural participant in the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. The program provides financial support to develop space for public purposes, with funds earmarked for all phases of design work. 

In 2016, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100-year lease on a downtown site directly across from the theatre's current venue at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios. The site is steps from Dickson Street; blocks from the Fayetteville Public Library, the downtown Square, and the University of Arkansas campus; and across the street from a new 250-space parking garage. In 2017, Mayor Lioneld Jordan and the Fayetteville City Council responded to a pacesetting $12.5 million commitment from the Walton Family Foundation with a $3.1 million commitment toward the project, followed by a leadership $3 million commitment from the Fayetteville A&P Commission. 

The current fundraising total, inclusive of these lead commitments, will be announced at the campaign kickoff and groundbreaking on June 23. Press and TheatreSquared patrons are invited to join for the ceremony at 4pm, with a reception to follow. 

TheatreSquared has launched a detailed website with design images, backstory, and process galleries at ournextstage.org.

2017 Arkansas New Play Festival starts June 16

TheatreSquared Unveils Lineup for

The 2017 Arkansas
New Play Festival

Two-weekend, two-city festival to feature five new plays, free events, and local craft beer
At TheatreSquared and Crystal Bridges
June 16 - 25, 2017

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — May 23, 2017 — TheatreSquared (T2) Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller today unveiled the lineup of brand new plays to be featured at the ninth annual Arkansas New Play Festival, the state’s flagship showcase for new American stage plays with performances at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville and at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. New works on tap include The Furies, by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour; Comet Town, by Rick Ehrstin; Visible from Four States, by Barbara Hammond; We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War, by Mona Mansour; and Transatlantic, by John Walch. Special presentations will include the annual Young Playwrights Showcase, featuring 10-minute youth plays and Follow Me @Tio Sam by the NWA Latin/x Youth Theatre Project, and (I)sland T(rap), a new one-man “rap Odyssey” by Austin Ashford. 

Editors and staff from the Dramatists Guild, the national association of professional playwrights, will fly to NWA to present a free, experimental live “publication” of their monthly magazine, The Dramatist, with playwright interviews and other features on June 24. A documentary film crew from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, will also attend. Performances will be held June 16–25, 2017, in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and in the Studio Theatre at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios in Fayetteville. A limited number of all-access, two-weekend passes are available for $50 ($45 early bird rate until May 31), as well as single tickets ($5-15) for each event, at arknewplayfest.com or (479) 443-5600. Passes also grant access to an artists’ reception on June 22 at 6:30pm catered by Whole Foods.

“This 50-artist, two-weekend festival is our region’s rare opportunity to see—and shape—the next great American play,” said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller. “With fifteen performances and events in Fayetteville and Bentonville, the Festival is an embarrassment of riches for theatre lovers and a chance for every community member to have a glimpse of a usually closed-loop creative process.” 

“Crystal Bridges collaborates with TheatreSquared in support of living American artists sharing the intimate and often messy process of creation with the community,” said Crystal Bridges Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Rod Bigelow. “The Arkansas New Play Festival is broadly becoming recognized as a prestigious, highly effective laboratory for some of the best established and emerging playwrights on the national scene today.” 

Patrons attending the second weekend of performances in Fayetteville can celebrate the craft of playwriting with a free craft beer in hand. To close out the Festival, TheatreSquared will feature a complimentary selection of on-tap new releases from the fast-growing local Northwest Arkansas beer scene before the show and during post-show conversations with the playwright, director and cast. 

The 2017 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by a $25,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. “The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as TheatreSquared, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.” 

Additional key support for the Festival comes from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Happy Hollow Fund of the Fayetteville Area Community Foundation, and Barbara Shadden, in memory of Harry Shadden. 

FESTIVAL LINEUP 

Unless otherwise noted, all performances are presented in rehearsed staged reading format with a professional cast. 

The Furies
by Lisa D'Amour
In her latest play-in-progress, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour (Detroit) serves up a rollicking, off-the-rails examination of the precarious state of current-day social mores. Over lunch in a Manhattan bistro, friends Allie and Amanda find themselves revealing secrets that threaten to upend not only their friendship, but how they live as women in the world. Adult language and themes. 

     - Saturday, June 17, 2pm, Crystal Bridges
     - Sunday, June 25, 2pm, TheatreSquared  

Visible from Four States
by Barbara Hammond
Ike—as sharp-witted as he is iconoclastic—owns the highest hilltop in Mason County. The phone company wants it for a cell tower. The local pastor envisions a landmark cross. In the meantime, Ike's buddy Daniel, state prison warden, wrestles with his own moral dilemma as an execution date approaches. Playwright Barbara Hammond deftly weaves the familiar into the profoundly new in this brilliant and compelling script. 

     - Friday, June 16, 5:30pm, Crystal Bridges
     - Sunday, June 25, 4:30pm, TheatreSquared 

Transatlantic 
by John Walch
In an epic-scale comedy that spans two continents—and two centuries—the true story of the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable spins brilliantly into a tale of unexpected romance. When Meg, a customer service fixer for the Habañero's restaurant chain, discovers an ancient message in Morse code, she launches into a wild, woolly journey back to the birth of global communications in distant County Kerry, Ireland, with her cheeky techno-geek son in tow. An earlier draft of Transatlantic was featured at the 2015 Arkansas New Play Festival as What God Hath Wrought. 

STAGED READING
     - Friday, June 16, 7:30pm, Crystal Bridges
WORKSHOP PERFORMANCES
     - Thursday, June 22, 7:30pm, TheatreSquared
     - Friday, June 23, 7:30pm, TheatreSquared 

Comet Town 
by Rick Ehrstin
In this darkly funny play-in-progress, middle-aged mortgage banker Doug Kerry must break in yet another homecare provider for his father, who suffers from dementia (or does he?), while he juggles the demands of work and his teenaged daughter Lily, who’s headed for Harvard (or is she?). An incisive, humorous look at our prevailing national anxieties. Adult language. 

     - Saturday, June 17, 4:30pm, Crystal Bridges
     - Saturday, June 24, 7:30pm, TheatreSquared 

We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War 
by Mona Mansour
A woman and her nephew, while trying to navigate the currents of the Pacific, dip into the even more treacherous waters of identity, family and allegiance. Mona Mansour, visiting T2 under the Dramatists Guild Fund's Traveling Masters Program, shares a staged reading of her latest script. Previously developed through the Middle East America Initiative at The Lark in New York City, in partnership with Golden Thread Productions and Silk Road Rising. 

     - Saturday, June 24, 3:30pm, TheatreSquared 

(I)sland T(rap) 
by Austin Ashford
Join Austin Ashford on this reverse, one-person Odyssey. Black Ulysses sets off on a mythic voyage from his own island to discover his true artistic home—where his raps can effortlessly flow. With the aid of a wise old lobster and a ukulele, his epic journey takes him through the straits of self-doubt and self-worth as he seeks, through poetry and song, to find and reveal his authentic self. 

     - Sunday, June 18, 4:30pm at TheatreSquared

The Dramatist LIVE 
The Dramatists Guild of America, the national professional association of playwrights, has chosen the Arkansas New Play Festival for the first “live magazine” presentation of their monthly publication, The Dramatist. Regular magazine features will be “published” live before our festival audience, including an engaging roundtable conversation with playwrights. Join us for an exclusive in-person pilot of what is sure to become an annual highlight for this premiere national publication. Free admission. 

       - Saturday, June 24, 1pm, TheatreSquared 

Young Playwright Showcase 
Featuring Follow Me @TioSam
by the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project

TheatreSquared is proud to present, for the seventh year, the Arkansas Young Playwright Showcase. This year, T2 will feature two ten-minute student works as well as an encore performance of Follow Me @TioSam, a devised theatre piece that was prompted by the writings of the Stitches Group from Springdale, Arkansas. The play, written by Ashley Edwards, was created from these initial writings and rehearsals with the cast under the direction of Michael Landman. The Latin/x Youth Theatre Project promotes literacy, performing art, and other projects that focus on giving a voice to the Latin American community in Northwest Arkansas. The initial performances were made possible by contributions and support from the Walton Family Foundation, University of Arkansas Brown Chair of Literacy, Arts Center of the Ozarks, and Northwest Arkansas Community College. Free admission. 

Sunday, June 18, 2pm (T2) 
 

Featuring Noah Arrindell, Samuel Lopez, Damian Dena, Martin Garay, Daniel Gomez, Emily McCormick, Audrey Romero, Coco Vasquez, Savannah Vaughn, M. Sativa Vela, and Ever Villabalobos

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE 

Friday, June 16

5:30pm: Visible from Four States (Crystal Bridges) 

7:30pm: Transatlantic (Crystal Bridges) 

 

Saturday, June 17 

2pm: The Furies (Crystal Bridges) 

4:30pm: Comet Town (Crystal Bridges) 

 

Sunday, June 18 

2pm: Young Playwrights Showcase (T2) Featuring Follow Me@Tio Sam 

4:30pm: (I)sland T(rap) (T2) 

 

Thursday, June 22 

6:30pm: Company & Passholders Reception (T2) 

7:30pm: Transatlantic (T2) 

 

Friday, June 23 

7:30pm: Transatlantic (T2) 

 

Saturday, June 24 

1pm: The Dramatist LIVE (T2) 

3:30pm: We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War (T2) 

7:30pm: Comet Town (T2) 

 

Sunday, June 25 

2pm: The Furies (T2) 

4:30pm: Visible from Four States (T2) 

TICKET & PASS INFORMATION 

Tickets are $10 (readings), $15 (workshops), or free (Young Playwrights Showcase and Dramatist LIVE), with all access passes granting admission to 15 events available for $50 ($45 early bird price until May 31). Tickets are available at (479) 443-5600 or online at arknewplayfest.com

Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $5 tickets to any New Play Festival performance or $25 New Play Passes. For more, visit theatre2.org/lights-up

The Dingdong starts May 10

Hijinx and hilarity abound in

THE DINGDONG

(or, How the French Kiss)

Adapted by Mark Shanahan from Georges Feydeau’s Le Dindon

On stage May 10 - June 4, 2017

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — May 2, 2017 — A fresh adaptation of a classic French farce—with a script developed in Northwest Arkansas before its Off-Broadway premiere last spring—begins a monthlong, madcap production at TheatreSquared next week. In Mark Shanahan’s The Dingdong, adapted from Georges Feydeau’s Le Dindon, audiences will dive headfirst into the comic misadventures of one night spent in two Parisian hotels. Lucy and Vatelin, a mostly faithful couple, are each tempted by sly suitors and femmes fatales, but soon learn how opening the wrong door in the dark of night can lead to mayhem, laughter, and some unlikely revelations about the secret to a happy marriage. Playwright Mark Shanahan, a frequent T2 collaborator, directed Peter and the Starcatcher and Around the World in 80 Days for T2. Morgan Hicks, whose past comic hits for T2 include Murder for Two, Noises Off, and Boeing-Boeing, directs The Dingdong. Performances are scheduled for May 10–June 4, 2017, with tickets ($15-$45) available at theatre2.org or (479) 443-5600.

“Here’s a French export that’s fizzier than Champagne,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “The Dingdong walks a theatrical tightrope—balancing slapstick, wordplay, and beaucoup theatrical tricks with genuine humanity and romance. And of course, there are delightful surprises behind every closed door.”

The cast for The Dingdong includes Greg Jackson, who covered the roles of the many-(dis)membered D’Ysquith family on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; Jordan Haynes, who appeared in Noises Off and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at T2 and worked as an actor and improviser for The Second City Works; Rebecca Rivas, who appeared in T2’s Reason’s to Be Pretty; Bruce Warren, who appeared in Peter and the Starcatcher and Around the World in 80 Days at T2; and Shannon Leigh Webber, who appeared in T2’s 4,000 Miles.

The lead creative team includes scenic designer Shawn Irish, costume designer Patricia Martin, lighting designer David Stoughton, sound designer Will Eubanks, assistant costume designer Ruby Kemph, properties master Brodie Jasch, and production stage manager David A. Loranca.

Director Morgan Hicks previously directed Murder for Two, Noises Off, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, Boeing Boeing, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),The Mystery of Irma Vep, and Fully Committed for T2, along with the Arkansas Schools Tour productions of The History Show and The Poe Show. She serves as T2’s director of education and program development, and previously served as general manager of Writer’s Theatre in Chicago and company manager of BareStage. She holds a BFA in acting from Arkansas State University, an MA in performance studies from Missouri State University, an MFA in directing from the University of Arkansas, and studied political theatre at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Playwright Mark Shanahan’s directing work has been seen at The Alley Theatre, The Westport Country Playhouse, The Fulton Opera House, Merrimack Rep, Florida Rep, The Cape Playhouse, The Weston Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Penguin Rep, The Hangar Theatre, and many more. As an actor, he has performed On and Off Broadway (The 39 Steps, Tryst, Checkers) and at numerous regional theaters including the Kennedy Center, The Denver Center, The Alley, Hartford Theatreworks, The Westport Country Playhouse and others. The Dingdong was workshopped at the 2015 Arkansas New Play Festival before opening Off-Broadway at The Pearl Theatre in New York City and making its regional premiere at Florida Repertory Theatre, both in 2016. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MA from Fordham University, where he also teaches.

TheatreSquared’s production is made possible in part with support from show sponsors Susan & Orville Hall and Roger Collins.