Drama Desk and Obie Award-Winning

Keen Company

Continues Its 21st Season:


A Season of Audio Theater


Up Next:

Digging in the Dark

by Pearl Cleage (Blues For An Alabama Sky)

Directed by Taylor Reynolds

 Starring Rachel Christopher, Russell G. Jones, and Janelle McDermoth

 Beginning  Friday February 26th at 7pm EST

Available FREE on Your Favorite Podcast Apps or visit www.keencompany.org


Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein today announced the World Premiere of a newly commissioned audio play by acclaimed playwright Pearl Cleage: Digging in the Dark takes listeners to a moonless night on a wooded estate outside Atlanta, where a woman awaits her scheming brother’s arrival. He’s coming to claim a valuable family heirloom, but she is determined to settle an old score before sunrise.

The FREE audio play  will launch  Friday February 26th at 7pm EST on your favorite podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more: search “Keen Company Hear/Now” wherever you listen!

Digging in the Dark will be directed by Taylor Reynolds, and star Rachel Christopher (What to Send Up When it Goes Down – Public Theater/Woolly Mammoth/American Repertory Theater), Russell G. Jones (OBIE Award winner and Outer Critics Circle nominated for Ruined – Manhattan Theatre Club), and Janelle McDermoth (We’re Gonna Die – Second Stage), with sound design by Fan Zhang.

“I am utterly thrilled that we are on the brink of debuting Pearl Cleage’s first ever radio play. When we thought of commissioning writers for our season, one of the first names that came to mind was Pearl’s. Her resonant work shows the full complexity of humanity, in its best and worst moments, as we all struggle to survive. It was such a pleasure working with her to bring Blues to New York City and we are blessed to have her back again.  Her passion for audio drama is evident throughout this mysterious and beautiful audio play.  Director Taylor Reynolds has done a tremendous job bringing this piece to life with a gifted cast and sound designer, Fan Zhang,” said Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein.

Keen was proud to present the New York premiere of Cleage’s celebrated play Blues for An Alabama Sky in the spring of 2020. “I’ve never seen a Keen show that failed to satisfy, and this is one of their very best,” said Terry Teachout in Wall Street Journal “Blues for an Alabama Sky is one of the most satisfying dramas onstage in New York right now,” declared Theatermania. “Keen Company has once again delivered a special gem to Off-Broadway,” said Manhattan Digest

Pearl Cleage, an award-winning playwright, bestselling novelist, published poet and popular newspaper columnist, has earned praise from critics and from her peers for her passionate writing across several genres. An incredibly multifaceted talent, Cleage offers a fresh perspective on the universal themes of cultural enrichment, social identity and the power of love. Cleage writes with the rhythms of Black life as her muse and focuses on the experiences of love, sex, and female empowerment which she sees as vital to the African-American community. As The New York Times said “Cleage writes with amazing grace and killer instinct.” Cleage has a way with both character and language. Widely regarded for her collection of plays, her play Flyin’ West was the most produced new play in the country in 1994 and has enjoyed multiple productions every year since its world premiere. She is also the author of many best-selling books, including What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, Seen It All and Done the Rest and Just Wanna Testify. Most recently, Cleage published her memoir, Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies Lessons and Love Affairs, giving readers an insight into her world and personal journey. An important advocate for women, Pearl’s work speaks to women from all walks of life. Her poem, “We Speak Your Names,” co-authored with husband, Zaron W. Burnett, Jr., provided the centerpiece of Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Weekend honoring 25 extraordinary African American women. Cleage’s 1990 collection of essays and performance pieces Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Truth, is a classic among those working to end violence against women. Mad at Miles has been adapted for the stage and is frequently performed around the country.

Taylor Reynolds is a New York-based director from Chicago and one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of OBIE-winning The Movement Theatre Company. She has worked as a director, assistant, and collaborator with companies including Clubbed Thumb, Page 73, Baltimore Center Stage, Signature Theatre Company, Ars Nova, MCC, and The 24 Hour Plays. Selected directing credits: Tambo & Bones (upcoming at Playwrights Horizons/CTG), Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally (Baltimore Center Stage/Playwrights Realm), Tough (AADA), Plano (Clubbed Thumb, Drama Desk nomination for Best Director), Songs About Trains (Radical Evolution), Allond(r)a (New Georges Audrey Residency), Think Before You Holla (creator/deviser). She is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2017-2018 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab alum, and member of SDC. BFA, Carnegie Mellon University. www.iamtaylorreynolds.com

Digging in the Dark is part of Keen Company’s innovative 21st Season. Hear/Now: A Season of Audio Theater is reimagining the classic radio drama with a season of five world premiere audio plays from a multifaceted group of Off-Broadway playwrights. Hear/Nowdebuted 1993 by finkle in the fall and continues through June 2021, featuring the world premiere of new audio plays by Pearl Cleage, Kate Cortesi, James Anthony Tyler, and musical team Melissa Li and Kit Yan. Patrons can expect a season of unique pieces of audio theater – each will be intimate, engrossing, fully-produced shows that will feel just as satisfying as a great night at the theater!

All audio plays are released completely FREE for patrons on Keen Company’s website as well as through popular podcast platforms. Those who chose to support Keen Company can purchase a season membership and receive early access to all episodes as well as exclusive perks. Membership options start at just $1 a month and bonus content, including talkbacks with playwrights and artists, panels with experts, behind the scenes interviews, digital programs, opening night premiere parties, and more.

Look for Hear/Now on popular podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and TuneIn. Full transcripts will also be available for deaf and hard of hearing patrons. More information on membership packages as well as an audio season teaser are available at keencompany.org.

Keen Company’s 21st year will reimagine the classic radio drama with a season of five world premiere audio plays from a multifaceted group of modern playwrights. Hear/Now continues Keen’s mission to be an Off-Broadway home for new work.  Hear/Now welcomes patrons into a theater of their imagination and digital programming that will allow for continued conversations and connection.

Keen Company is an award-winning Off-Broadway theater creating story-driven work that provokes identification, reflection, and emotional connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, the company tells stories about the decisive moments that change us. Keen also runs a developmental new work initiative for mid-career playwrights and a unique educational outreach program for teens in all five boroughs of NYC.

For more information on Digging in the Dark or any of Keen’s programs, visit KeenCompany.org.

Rachel Christopher.

New York credits include Bad News! with Joanne Akalaitis at NYU Skirball, King Phillip, Clubbed Thumb; What To Send Up When It Goes Down, UTR-The Public/The Movement Theatre Company; Minor Character, UTR-Public Theater; Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise, The Play Company; At the Table, Fault Line Theatre; TV/film: Girl on the Train, The Upside, “Billions,” “Madame Secretary,” “Blindspot,” “Instinct,” “Elementary.”  Regional: An Iliad (Long Wharf Theatre); What To Send Up When It Goes Down (Woolly Mammoth/A.R.T./ TMTC); Intimate Apparel (Shakespeare & Co); The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); Detroit ’67 (PlayMakers Repertory);  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); Disgraced (Rep Theatre St. Louis); All’s Well That Ends Well (Bread Loaf); Susan Johnston, The Heidi Chronicles (Trinity Rep); Sonia, Crime and Punishment (Trinity Rep); Alma, Yellowman (Trinity Rep); Zero Cost House, Pig Iron.

Russell G. Jones 

Russell is an AUDELCO, OBIE and SAG Award-winning actor. Most recently he was a series regular on CBS’s “Tommy” opposite Edie Falco. A fixture on New York City stages since the ‘90s, Russell is proud to have originated roles in Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, Suzan-Lori Parks’s Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3, Tanya Barfield’s The Call, Fernanda Coppel’s King Liz and two by Stephen Adly Guirgis: Our Lady of 121st Street and In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. Some film highlights include Motherless Brooklyn, Detroit, Side Effects, Traffic and Robert Patton Spruill’s Squeeze. Recent TV includes “Bull,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Last OG,” “Godless,” and “The Americans.” He is the founder and Chief of Pedagogy at BLIND SPOT EXPERIENCE a campaign that facilitates cross cultural dialogue and critical thinking by providing context and tools for perceiving racial inequity. Www.russellgjones.com

Janelle McDermoth

Janelle is a multi-platform creator from The Bronx, New York and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Broadway: A Bronx Tale. Off Broadway: We’re Gonna Die (Lortel nomination, Antonyo nomination, Outer Critics Circle Honor), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente, Soul Doctor. TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Blue Bloods,” “Blindspot,” “High Maintenance.” She can be seen in the upcoming Netflix film, To All The Boys: Always and Forever and continues to record original music combining the poetics that compel her, the hip hop that raised her, and her penchant for the aforementioned theatrics.@janellemcdrmth

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