Kathleen Chalfant in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking Staged in Intimate Spaces Across New York City, OCT 19–NOV 20
First New York Revival of Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Directed by Colette Robert, FEB 21–APR 1
Keen Company, a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theater creating stories that celebrate the complexities of hope and the joys of connection, is pleased to announce details for its upcoming 2022-2023 season. Anchored by two must-see revivals, not produced in New York since their premieres, Keen’s 23rd season, featuring two of America’s greatest writers, explores how individuals move forward after life-altering change.
The season, running September 12, 2022–April 1, 2023, includes a site-specific production of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking starring Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Kathleen Chalfant and directed by Keen’s Jonathan Silverstein in living rooms and community spaces across New York City along with Crumbs from the Table of Joy by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, directed by Colette Robert and presented with production support by Rosalind Productions.
“Keen Company’s 23rd season features two plays by legendary female artists that beautifully explore hard-earned hope,” said Keen Company’s Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein. “Beginning in October, I am honored to be reuniting with Kathleen Chalfant, who was last seen on the Keen stage in A Walk in the Woods giving an enthralling Drama Desk-nominated performance. Kathy and I have been dreaming of working on Joan Didion’s masterful play, The Year of Magical Thinking, for quite some time. We are excited to be exploring this story of surviving unimaginable events, presenting it intimately and non-traditionally in living rooms and community spaces throughout New York. In February, Keen is thrilled to welcome Colette Robert to direct the first New York revival of Lynn Nottage’s beautiful play, Crumbs from the Table of Joy. I have long been a fan of this early work of Lynn’s, centering on one family navigating changing personal and societal circumstances in 1950’s New York.”
Keen’s Company’s 2022-2023 season officially begins on Monday, September 12 with Keen’s 23rd Annual Benefit Gala. The event will be an in-person celebration at Manhattan Penthouse on Fifth Avenue including an open bar, a sit-down dinner, and an evening of show-stopping performances. Details will be announced at a later date.
Next up, The Year of Magical Thinking starring Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Kathleen Chalfant in a one-woman tour de force performance. Adapted from the best-selling memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking recounts Joan Didion’s journey of loss, perseverance, and ultimately hope, using her signature wit to draw an intimate portrait of the resilience of the human heart. As directed by Jonathan Silverstein, the unique theatrical event will be brought directly to the people, staged in non-traditional theater spaces including living rooms, libraries, and other community spaces throughout New York City.
Performances of The Year of Magical Thinking will take place from October 19 through November 20, 2022. Complete details including locations, performance schedule, accessible performances, and opening night will be announced soon. The play has not been staged in New York since its premiere on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in 2007.
Looking ahead to 2023, Keen Company is proud to produce the first New York revival of Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage, directed by Colette Robert and presented with production support by Rosalind Productions. Set against the shifting social politics of the 1950s, this funny, insightful play follows 17-year-old Ernestine Crump as she adjusts to life after the passing of her beloved mother. In search of spiritual answers, Ernestine’s father relocates the family from Pensacola to Brooklyn where the Crumps must navigate a changing family dynamic, an unwelcoming neighborhood, and a shifting set of American ideals.
Performances of Crumbs from the Table of Joy will take place from February 21 through April 1, 2023, with an opening night set for Wednesday, March 8, at Theatre Row in Theatre Five.
Continuing this season, the 2022 Keen Playwrights Lab, running January–December 2022, includes Kristoffer Diaz, Sarah Schulman, and Anna Ziegler. Over the course of a year, each playwright will develop a new full-length play inspired by Keen’s mission. The program will culminate in a public sharing in January 2023.
The Keen Teens program will continue in Season 23 with a Festival of New Work taking place in May 2023. Keen Company is the only professional theater actively creating new work for high school students. Since its launch in 2007, Keen Teens has served over 450 NYC teens and commissioned over 45 new plays which are currently being performed around the world.
In January 2022, Keen began the process of commissioning and developing a new intimate musical by Adam Gwon. Keen collaborated with Gwon on its 2018 revival of Ordinary Days (2019 Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Musical) and will now reunite with him for the first full-length musical commission in the company’s history. Readings and workshops will take place through to January 2024, with support from The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Please visit www.keencompany.org for more information on Keen Company’s 23rd season.
About the Artists
In a career spanning more than five decades, Kathleen Chalfant’s performances on stage, screen, and television have garnered her praise and acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Perhaps best known for her shattering portrayal of Vivian Bearing, a scholar battling cancer, in Wit, she received the Obie, the Drama Desk, the Lucille Lortel, the Outer Critics Circle, the Ovation, Connecticut Critics Circle, the Garland, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for her work. BROADWAY: Angels in America (Tony and Drama Desk nom.), Racing Demon, Dance With Me. OFF-BROADWAY: A Woman of the World, Wit (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Connecticut Critics Circle, Obie Awards), For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, A Walk in the Woods (Drama Desk nom.), Tales from Red Vienna, Miss Ovington & Dr. Dubois, Talking Heads(Obie Award), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination), Henry V (Callaway Award).
Born in California and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Joan Didion (1934-2021) spent her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. Winner of the 2005 National Book Award, The Year of Magical Thinking is one of 13 books by Joan Didion. Her other books include Play It As It Lays, Democracy, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami, and Political Fictions. With her husband, John Gregory Dunne, she wrote the screenplays for such pictures as The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, True Confessions with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand, and Up Close & Personal with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford. She was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which awarded her its 2005 Gold Medal in nonfiction. She also received the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal, the 1999 Columbia Journalism Award, and the 2002 George Polk Book Award. She contributed to various periodicals, most frequently The New York Review of Books.
Lynn Nottage was most recently nominated for a Tony Award for the book for MJ, the Michael Jackson musical. Plays include Sweat (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Evening Standard Award; Tony, Drama Desk award nominations); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, New York Drama Critics Circle, DD, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel, Obie, and Audelco awards for Best Play); Floyd’s (Guthrie); Mlima’s Tale (The Public); By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, DD nom); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award; DD, Lortel award noms); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers; and POOF!; as well as the book for the musical adaption of The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic). TV: “She’s Gotta Have It” (writer/producer). PEN/Laura Pels Master Dramatist Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship, Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton. Associate professor at Columbia. Member of the Dramatists Guild.
Colette Robert is a Los Angeles native currently based in New York. Recent directing credits include Egress (Salt Lake Acting Company), Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination: Nine Solo Plays (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Stew (Page 73, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Native Son (PlayMakers Rep), On the Exhale (Chester Theatre Company, Berkshire Theater Award, Best Solo Performance), Behind the Sheet (EST, New York Times Critic’s Pick), Mary’s Wedding (Chester Theatre Company), The Mountaintop (Chester Theatre Company), and When Last We Flew (Diversionary Theatre and FringeNYC, GLAAD Media Award). She was the Associate Director for the Broadway revival of Caroline, or Change. Robert is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a New Georges affiliated artist, and an adjunct lecturer at NYU. Alumnus of the Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and The Civilians R&D Group. She was previously an Audrey Resident and Jam Co-Leader at New Georges, a Van Lier Directing Fellow at The Public, and The Drama League’s 2018 Beatrice Terry Director in Residence.
Jonathan Silverstein’s work as Keen Company Artistic Director: This Space Between Us, Hear/Now: LIVE!, 1993, Molly Sweeney, Ordinary Days, Later Life, Lonely Planet, When It’s You, Tick, Tick…Boom!, Travels With My Aunt, John & Jen,Middle of the Night, The Film Society, The Old Boy, Marry Me a Little. Also with Keen: Lemon Sky, The Dining Room (Drama Desk Award: Outstanding Ensemble), I Never Sang For My Father, Tea and Sympathy, and The Hasty Heart. Selected Off-Broadway: The Temperamentals (Drama Desk Award: Outstanding Ensemble), Red Herring (FringeNYC; Outstanding Direction Award), Blueprint (Summer Play Festival), and The Train Play (Clubbed Thumb). Regional: Buck’s County, Huntington, Old Globe, Cleveland Play House, Merrimack Rep, Dorset Theatre Festival, Cape Rep Theatre. Alumnus, The Drama League Directors Project. MFA, UCSD. Member, SDC.
About Keen Company
Keen Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway company creating theater that connects. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we celebrate the complexities of hope and the joys of the human condition. Keen also fosters mid-career playwrights through our Keen Playwrights Lab and mentors students from all five boroughs of NYC through our Keen Teens education program. In everything we do, Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments. www.keencompany.org
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