Announcing The Public Theater’s 2022-23 Season

The Public Theater

Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham announced the line-up today for The Public’s 2022-23 Season at their landmark home on 425 Lafayette Street with a broad and thrilling slate of new productions and ongoing programming. The iconic New York institution has been home to 55 years of history-making theater, and continues next season with a revival by groundbreaking American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, as well as a new musical and plays by Erika Dickerson-DespenzaRyan J. HaddadJames IjamesSuzan-Lori Parks, and Madeline Sayet. This season will also feature work with renowned theater companies TheBushwick StarrElevator Repair Service, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.“In these tumultuous times, we urgently need the voices of our artists. They alone can provide vivid, three-dimensional looks at what we are and what we might become,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “The artists who make up The Public’s season are prophetic voices, who will give us sustenance, vision, and provocation. James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry are the two classic writers who speak most presciently to the crisis of our times. Suzan-Lori Parks, James Ijames, and Erika Dickerson-Despenza are brilliant contemporary writers whose work reflects our moment beautifully. Ryan J. Haddad brilliantly explodes our ideas about disability, while Madeline Sayet examines her relationship to Shakespeare through her Mohegan identity and perspective.”Eustis continued, “Together, these artists create our 22-23 Public season, which provides striking, thrilling insight into the way we live now. In this time of dramatic difficulty and radical challenges, this season grapples with fundamental questions about our future, as a field and as a nation. Equality, justice, democracy, and freedom are all ideas which are fundamental to The Public, and which are being redefined and reimagined in America. We hope our offerings this season help move those conversations forward into a future we can all embrace, because that future will embrace all of us.”

The Public also continues its year-round engagement through its vital, mission-driven programs: Joe’s PubMobile UnitPublic WorksUnder the RadarPublic Shakespeare InitiativeEmerging Writers Group, Devised Theater Initiative, and #BARS Workshop. These programs and initiatives are the lifeblood of The Public, offering free and low-cost tickets, building community through theater, and developing the next generation of theater artists. This season will bring us an exciting Joe’s Pub lineup as well as a Vanguard Residency, New York Voices commissions, and new Joe’s Pub Working Group cohort. Mobile Unit embarks on two tours of the cityUnder the Radar returns after a year off in the 2021-2022 season, and Public Shakespeare Initiative’s Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble takes on a new Shakespearean adaptation.Continuing The Public’s mission to make great theater accessible to all, The Public’s Joseph Papp Free Performance Initiative will return for all 2022-23 productions. Free tickets to a performance of every production will be available via a digital lottery, powered by The Public’s digital partner, TodayTix.The Public Theater is committed to being a more just, more anti-racist, and more equitable organization. The Public’s leadership and staff-led cultural transformation work is guided by a plan that is built on impactful commitments and goals and the actions needed to achieve them. Learn more about The Public’s cultural transformation plan here.

The Public will require proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination by the date of attendance for access to the facility, theaters, and restaurant. Boosters are encouraged for those eligible under CDC guidelines, but not required. Approved face masks will always be required, including while watching a performance, with exceptions for attendees in Joe’s Pub and The Library at The Public, who are actively eating and drinking. For complete health and safety protocols, visit Safe At The Public. All policies are subject to change at The Public’s sole discretion and without notice. The Library at The Public serves food and drink Tuesday through Sunday, beginning at 5:00 p.m. and closing at midnight. The Library is closed on Mondays. For more information, visitpublictheater.org.Become a Partner or a Supporter of The Public Theater today at publictheater.org.

THE PUBLIC THEATER’S 2022-23 SEASON:New York Premiere
BALDWIN AND BUCKLEY AT CAMBRIDGE 
Conceived by Greig Sargeant with Elevator Repair Service
Directed by John Collins
September 24–October 16, 2022The cast of BALDWIN AND BUCKLEY AT CAMBRIDGE will feature Daphne Gaines (Lorraine Hansberry), Gavin Price (Mr. Heycock), Greig Sargeant (James Baldwin), Christopher-Rashee Stevenson (Mr. Burford), and Ben Williams (William F. Buckley, Jr.).In 1965, two of America’s intellectual giants were invited to debate whether “the American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro,” bringing into sharp focus our country’s deepest divisions. The renowned theater company Elevator Repair Service returns to The Public with BALDWIN AND BUCKLEY AT CAMBRIDGE, a profoundly relevant presentation of the legendary debate between virtuosic writer James Baldwin and father of American conservatism William F. Buckley, Jr. The production concludes with an imagined scene between Baldwin and his close friend Lorraine Hansberry, researched and written by long-time ERS company members April Matthis and Greig Sargeant. Heralded by the New York Times as “one of the city’s few truly essential theater companies,” Elevator Repair Service applies their trademark approach of verbatim textual exploration and intensive collaboration to re-create Baldwin and Buckley’s blistering dissection of race, racism, and human worth. BALDWIN AND BUCKELY AT CAMBRIDGE is conceived by Greig Sargeant and directed by ERS Founder and Artistic Director John Collins.A RAISIN IN THE SUN
By Lorraine Hansberry 
Directed by Robert O’Hara
September 27–November 6, 2022Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN comes to Astor Place this fall in Hansberry’s Public Theater debut. Directed by Tony Award nominee Robert O’Hara, this fresh look at a classic proves to be as provocative and powerful today as it was in 1959. Lena Younger has decided to use her late husband’s life insurance to move her family out of their cramped apartment on Chicago’s South Side. Her son, Walter Lee, has other ideas. This innovative new production of an American classic fearlessly interrogates the American dream in the face of racial and economic strife.New York Premiere
WHERE WE BELONG 
By Madeline Sayet
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
Produced with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company 
In Association with Folger Shakespeare Library
October 28–November 27, 2022 WHERE WE BELONG will be performed by Madeline Sayet.In 2015, Mohegan theatre-maker Madeline Sayet moved to England to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, grappling with the question of what it means to remain or leave, as the Brexit vote threatens to further disengage the UK from the wider world. Moving between nations that have failed to reckon with their ongoing roles in colonialism, she finds comfort in the journeys of her Native ancestors who had to cross the ocean in the 1700s to help her people. In this intimate and exhilarating solo piece directed by Mei Ann Teo, Sayet asks us what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world.World Premiere
PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR
By Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Niegel Smith
November 4–November 27, 2022 On March 13, 2020, as theaters shut their doors and so many of us went into lockdown, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and The Public’s Writer-in-Residence Suzan-Lori Parks picked up her pen and set out to write a play every day. What emerged is a breathtaking chronicle of our collective experience throughout the troubling days and nights that followed. Performing in the intimate Joe’s Pub, PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR is at once a personal story of one family’s daily lives, as well as a sweeping account of all we faced as a city, a nation, and a global community. Working in collaboration with Niegel Smith as director, Parks’ groundbreaking new work is brimming with humanity, bears witness to what we’ve experienced, and offers inspiration as we look ahead.UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL
January 4-22, 2023The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival 2023 will reflect the enormous changes in the field of live theater and performance since 2020. Joyous, outrageous, witty, and powerful, UTR 2023 will partner with stages across the city to highlight national and international artists bursting with innovation, provocation, and celebration.World Premiere 
THE HARDER THEY COME
Book by Suzan-Lori Parks
Including Songs by Jimmy Cliff
Based upon the film, produced and directed by Perry Henzell and co-written with Trevor Rhone
Music Supervision by Kenny Seymour
Choreography by Edgar Godineaux
Co-Directed by Sergio Trujillo
Directed by Tony Taccone
Winter 2023Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and The Public’s Writer-in-Residence Suzan-Lori Parks brings to The Public a new musical adaptation of the 1972 movie, THE HARDER THEY COME. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the breakthrough film, produced and directed by Perry Henzell and co-written with Trevor Rhone, tells the story of Ivan, a young singer who arrives in Kingston, Jamaica eager to become a star. After falling in love and cutting a record deal with a powerful music mogul, Ivan soon learns that the game is rigged, and as he becomes increasingly defiant, he finds himself in a battle that threatens not only his life, but the very fabric of Jamaican society. Featuring Jimmy Cliff’sGrammy Award-winning hits, such as “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” former Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre Tony Taccone directs this new musical, with co-direction by Tony Award winner Sergio Trujillo and choreography by Edgar Godineaux.World Premiere 
DARK DISABLED STORIES
Written by Ryan J. Haddad
Directed by Jordan Fein
Produced by The Bushwick Starr
Presented by The Public Theater  
Winter 2023Acclaimed writer and performer Ryan J. Haddad makes his off-Broadway playwriting debut with the hilarious and audacious DARK DISABLED STORIES. Haddad’s newest autobiographical play is a series of unforgiving vignettes about the strangers he encounters while navigating a city (and a world) not built for his walker and cerebral palsy. Directed by Jordan FeinDARK DISABLED STORIES probes implicit ableism and the assumptions we make about people we’ll never really know. This production will feature American Sign Language, open captions, and audio description integrated into every performance.World Premiere 
GOOD BONES
Written by James Ijames
Directed by Saheem Ali
Spring 2023After winning the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for his play Fat Ham, playwright James Ijames’ new production explores gentrification and the growing price of the American dream in his sharp and funny play, GOOD BONES. A work opportunity to revitalize the blighted neighborhood she grew up in has led Aisha and her chef husband Travis to buy and renovate a charming old house. But as everyone knows, renovation is expensive and stressful—both for buildings and the communities that surround them. Aisha’s young contractor Earl grew up in the area too, but his memories are of more than just dangerous streets and hollowed-out homes. When their purely professional relationship gives way to heated debate about who gets to stay and who has to go, Aisha is forced to reckon with the choices she’s made to get ahead and the painful, joyful, complicated ghosts that haunt her dreams…and her dream house. The Public’s Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali directs this world premiere play about community, change, and the soul of our cities.World Premiere 
SHADOW/LAND
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones
Spring 2023 Premiering as an audio play at The Public, 2021 Susan Blackburn Prize winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s SHADOW/LAND returns in Spring 2023 with a stunning live production. Magalee and her daughter Ruth are faced with the question of legacy when Ruth coaxes Magalee to sell their historic family-owned business as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin. Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. JonesSHADOW/LAND is the first installment of a 10-play cycle traversing the Katrina diaspora in an examination of the ongoing effects of disaster, evacuation, displacement, and urban renewal rippling in and beyond New Orleans.MOBILE UNIT
MOBILE UNIT is excited to hit the road again, bringing art and joy to its communities with two new tours. Kicking off in the fall, Mobile Unit will partner with Joe’s Pub for JOE’S PUB IN TRANSIT, a concert series that will visit community partners throughout New York City.In spring of 2023, The Mobile Unit will embark on a new tour with a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Conceived by director Rebecca Martinez and composer Julián Mesri, this new adaptation rigorously embraces music from all over Latin America in this tale of separation and joyous reunion. With songs in English and Spanish, this new musical adaptation brings an energetic vibe to this age-old tale of two sets of twins separated by stormy seas as they overcome a baffling case of mistaken identity—and the mayhem and hilarious confusion that follows.JOE’S PUB 
The Joe’s Pub 2022-23 Vanguard Residency will be dedicated to the memory of beloved vocal coach Barbara Maier Gustern. The artists performing in this residency will all be Gustern’s students and collaborators, beginning with Murray Hill in September and Machine Dazzle in October.The Joe’s Pub Working Group 2022-23 cohort will launch with Sita ChayLaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Olivia Harris, J. Hoard, Lama El Homaïssi, and Roshni Samlal.The New York Voices 2022-23 commissions will feature Sunny Jain: Love Force, treya lam: otherlandLiza Paul & Bahia Watson: MASHUP ting!Chris Pattishall & Vuyo Sotashe, and Daniel J. Watts & Nick Blaemire: Quixote.Additional Joe’s Pub performers will include Bridget Everett & The Tender Moments (September 26-28) and Jane Lynch & Kate Flannery: A Swingin’ Little Christmas (December 2-4). The Habibi Festival also returns this fall (October 11-15), featuring Bedouin BurgerBnat el Houariyatand Esraa WardaFiras ZreikHATNoura Mint Seymali, and Yacine Boulares’s Night in Tunisia.ONGOING PROGRAMS OF THE PUBLIC THEATER:FREE SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is one of the cornerstones of The Public Theater’s mission. Since 1962, over six million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals. This summer, The Public kicks off the 60th Anniversary Season of Free Shakespeare in the Park with the drama Richard III, directed by Tony nominee Robert O’Hara and featuring Danai Gurira in the title role (June 21-July 17). The celebration continues with the return of the Public Works musical adaptation of As You Like It, adapted by Public Theater Artist-in-Residence Shaina Taub and Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, original choreography by Tony Award winner Sonya Tayeh, and directed by Laurie Woolery (August 10-September 11).The Jerome L. Greene Foundation is the proud season sponsor of Free Shakespeare in the Park.JOE’S PUB, a program of the Public Theater, was named for Public Theater founder Joseph Papp. Since it opened in 1998, Joe’s Pub has played a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting artists at all stages of their careers with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, continuing its commitment to diversity, production values, community, and artistic freedom. In addition to one-night-only concerts and multi-night engagements, Joe’s Pub is home to the annual Habibi Festival, which hosts artists representing contemporary and traditional musics of the SWANA (Southwest Asia/North Africa) region, and The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong curation series that celebrates the career, and community, of a prolific and influential artist—including Nona Hendryx, Judy Collins, Laurie Anderson, and Barbara Maier Gustern. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe’s Pub presents over 700 shows featuring artists from all over the world and hosts over 100,000 audience members annually. Beyond public performances, Joe’s Pub also leads artist development programs like New York Voices, a commissioning program that helps musicians develop new performance projects, and Joe’s Pub Working Group, an artist-led development and collaboration cohort. Current commissioned artists include Daniel J. Watts & Nick Blaemire, Liza Paul & Bahia Watson, Sunny Jain, Vuyo Sotashe & Chris Pattishall, and treya lam. Joe’s Pub is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.PUBLIC WORKS, a major initiative of The Public Theater, aims to restore and build community by connecting people through the creation of extraordinary works of art. Public Works is animated by the idea that theater is a place of possibility, where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away. Working with partner organizations in all five boroughs, Public Works invites community members to take classes, attend performances, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. Led by Public Works Director Laurie Woolery, this initiative deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is not only for the people, but by and of the people as well. Public Works exemplifies The Public’s long-standing commitment to putting community at the core of the theater’s mission. Public Works seeks to create a space where we can not only reflect on the world as it is, but where we can propose new possibilities for what our society might be. The Public Works community partner organizations are Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn), Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education (Bronx), Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (Brooklyn), Children’s Aid (all boroughs), DreamYard (Bronx), Domestic Workers United (all boroughs), The Fortune Society (Queens), and Military Resilience Foundation (all boroughs).In its 12th year, The Public Theater’s MOBILE UNIT is a modern reimagining of Joseph Papp’s Mobile Theater. Mobile Unit reaches across economic and geographic barriers to the arts by meeting our communities where they are—staging free professional theater productions and programs in local neighborhood venues such as libraries, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and community centers across all five New York City boroughs. Mobile Unit has served thousands of audiences with critically acclaimed productions including a 2018 National tour of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat. In 2020, Mobile Unit received a Special Drama Desk Award for its program. During the pandemic, Mobile Unit launched a digital workshop inside the NYC Department of Corrections called Hip-Hop vs. Shakespeare, where participants were encouraged to write their own stories. Mobile Unit believes theater is its most powerful when it reflects and connects to the lives of our community.UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL is considered one of the premier international theater festivals focused on new work. Under the Radar is heading into its 18th edition as a core part of The Public Theater’s mission—giving a platform to voices not always heard in the American Theater. UTR supports artists from around the country and the world who are redefining the act of making theater. UTR has introduced numerous artists who are now considered leaders in the field, such as Elevator Repair Service, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Belarus Free Theatre, Guillermo Calderón, Tania El Khoury, and Lola Arias, to name a few. The festival provides a wide lens on contemporary theater: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice and pointing to the future of the art form.PUBLIC SHAKESPEARE INITIATIVE offers a wide range of programming which includes larger Public Shakespeare Presents evenings, blending incisive commentary by scholars and other thinkers with appearances by artists of all disciplines; intimate Public Shakespeare Talks, giving audiences unique insight into the artistic and intellectual processes of leading Shakespeare practitioners working in the theater; Artist Development Programs, to cultivate some of the most visionary artistic minds working on Shakespeare today; and Education Programs, specifically the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble, which The Shakespeare Society co-founded with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children over a decade ago, and which has offered hundreds of elementary and middle school students the opportunity to develop their confidence, knowledge, and creativity through the transformative experience of bringing Shakespeare’s words to life onstage in the 12 Shakespeare productions the Ensemble has presented. EMERGING WRITERS GROUP is a program that provides key support and resources for writers at the early stages of their careers. Writers are selected bi-annually and receive a two-year fellowship facilitated by The Public’s New Work Development department. EWG meets twice a month for peer feedback on plays in progress as well as special sessions that connect the group to the wider landscape of New York City theater. Writers receive stipends, the opportunity to observe rehearsals for productions at The Public, career development advice from industry professionals, and artistic and professional support from the New Work Development department and Public artistic staff. Members of the group also receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals, and other special events, as well as a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters.DEVISED THEATER INITIATIVE at The Public is one of the first of its kind in the U.S., providing support and resources to the next generation of independent artists and ensembles. Born from iconic productions like HAIRFor Colored Girls…, and A Chorus Line, The Public Theater has always been a strong supporter of the devised theater movement and has helped promote the work of prominent and emerging devised theater-makers. Through The Public’s annual Under the Radar Festival and in its season at Astor Place, innovative approaches to theater have been brought to the attention of audiences in New York and around the world.#BARS WORKSHOP is where verse and theater come together for rappers, actors, poets, performers, orators, playwrights, and song birds. Come create, learn, develop, and innovate firmly at the center. The poetry of speech is what brings it all together. If that is your sweet spot, we think you should enter. The #BARS Workshop is a lab series created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, to serve as a space for artists to investigate the intersection between contemporary verse and theater. Follow along at @barsworkshop on Instagram.

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