ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2024-25 SEASON
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 01:14 pm EDT 06/20/24

ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE
ANNOUNCES
2024-25 SEASON

TWO NEW PLAYS
COMMISSIONED AND DEVELOPED
THROUGH THE EST/SLOAN PROJECT

FRANKLINLAND
A New Comedy Written By Lloyd Suh
Directed by Chika Ike
October 9-November 3

HAVE YOU MET JANE GOODALL
AND HER MOTHER?
A New Comedy Written By Michael Walek
Directed by Linsay Firman
March 2025


(New York, NY – June 20, 2024) Ensemble Studio Theatre (Estefanía Fadul and Graeme Gillis, Co-Artistic Directors) announced its 2024-25 Season today, which will include two new comedies by alumni of the theatre’s Youngblood Playwrights Program, commissioned and developed through the EST/Sloan Project. This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the partnership between EST and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

EST’s 56th season will open in October with the New York premiere of FRANKLINLAND, a new comedy written by EST Member and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lloyd Suh, and directed by Chika Ike. FRANKLINLAND will run October 9 to November 3 at EST’s long-time home on West 52nd Street. Tickets will be on sale in August.

Franklinland is a story of growing up as the only son of Benjamin Franklin: the greatest scientific mind in the world, inventor of the lightning rod and the urinary catheter and the glass harmonica and bifocal glasses and, oh yeah, in his spare time the United States of America.

In March 2025, the Spring Mainstage production will be the world premiere of the comedy HAVE YOU MET JANE GOODALL AND HER MOTHER? written by Michael Walek and directed by the Program Director of the EST/Sloan Project and EST Member Linsay Firman.

The Tanzanian government allowed Jane Goodall to study chimpanzees in the wild under one condition - she must bring a chaperone. So, Jane invited her mother.

“We are delighted to celebrate 25 years of this landmark partnership with Ensemble Studio Theatre,
which has helped make the science play an integral part of the theater canon,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Sloan Foundation. “This pioneering collaboration has resulted in the commissioning, development and production of over 300 plays, including two brilliant and witty plays in the 2024-2025 season. We are grateful to EST’s tremendous and dedicated pool of talent, its resourcefulness and indefatigable energy, and its willingness to experiment and take risks as one of America’s leading developmental theater companies.”

Now in its 56th year, EST has developed thousands of new American plays and has grown into a company of over 600 actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and stage managers. The 2024-2025 season will include an abundance of new play development through ongoing programs, including EST’s award-winning emerging playwrights collective Youngblood. The EST/Sloan Project will continue to support the development of plays about science and technology with its annual First Light Festival presented throughout the whole season and will award a new round of Sloan Commissions this season. In addition, EST supports its Member Artists through internal developmental programs, offering space for creative exploration.

Tickets for upcoming EST productions are $30 for general admission, $40 for reserved seating, and $25 for students/seniors. $20 early bird pricing is available through October 8. Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) is located at 545 West 52nd Street. For more information, visit www.estnyc.org.

ARTISTIC BIOS:

LLOYD SUH (Playwright) is the author of plays including The Heart Sellers, The Chinese Lady, The Far Country (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Bina’s Six Apples, American Hwangap, and others, which have been produced at the Atlantic Theater Company, Public Theater, Alliance Theatre, Huntington Theater, Milwaukee Rep, Denver Center, Magic Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, the National Asian American Theatre Company, and Ensemble Studio Theatre among others, including internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA at the Guerilla Theatre in Seoul, Korea. Awards include the Steinberg Playwright Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award, Horton Foote Prize, and Helen Merrill Award. He served as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark from 2011-20. A resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, he was elected in 2016 to the Dramatists Guild Council and serves as a Professor of the Practice at Princeton University.

CHIKA IKE (Director) is a Brooklyn-based theatre director who is passionate about epic stories. Most recently, she has directed Kin (Pipeline Festival, WP Theatre), Antigone, Everybody (Atlantic School/ NYU), Orlando (Rutgers University), Kentucky, A Swell in the Ground (The Gift Theatre), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (First Floor Theatre), as well as the world premiere of Franklinland with Jackalope Theatre. She has also developed work with The Public, Rattlestick Theatre, Playwright’s Realm, Faultline Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Victory Gardens among others. She served as a resident director for Hamilton (Phillip Tour) and an associate director for the recent revival of Death of a Salesman and Hadestown (1st National Tour, Walter Kerr). Drama League Fellowship, SDCF Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Bret C. Harte Directing Fellowship, Victory Garden’s Directors Initiative and the WP Directors Lab.

MICHAEL WALEK (Playwright). Michael is a playwright based in New York City. His first play The Bookstore, will premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company July 2024.

LINSAY FIRMAN (Director) is the Director of Play Development at EST, and Director of the EST/Sloan Project. At EST, she has directed the world premiere of plays by Lucas Hnath and Anna Ziegler, as well as EST Marathon plays by Rachel Bonds, Garrett M. Brown, Darcy Fowler, and Jose Rivera. Other productions at The Hangar Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre, Chester Theatre, Theatre Row and chashama. Linsay began working in new play development as the Associate Director of Soho Rep, where she was a founder and chair of Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab. Alumna of the Women's Project Director's Lab, the New Dramatists’ Resident Director Program and multiple programs at the Lark. M.F.A. from CalArts.

ABOUT ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE:

The EST/Sloan Project (Linsay Firman, Program Director), a pioneering collaboration between the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is designed to stimulate artists to create credible and compelling new theatrical works that explore the worlds of science, technology, and economics and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in popular culture. Since its inception in 1998, the EST/Sloan Project has commissioned, developed, and produced over 300 staged plays involving over 1,000 playwrights, actors, choreographers, composers, and theatre companies nationwide. Recent notable plays include Las Borinqueñas by Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Smart by Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, what you are now by Sam Chanse, Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Simpson, Isaac's Eye by Lucas Hnath, Fast Company by Carla Ching, and Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a New York–based, philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that makes grants research in science, technology, and economics; quality and diversity of scientific institutions; and public engagement with science. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities. The Foundation has an active theater program and commissions about 20 science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the National Theatre in London, while supporting select productions across the country and abroad. The Foundation’s pioneering theater program began with a 1997 grant to Ensemble Studio Theatre for Arthur Giron’s play about the Wright Brothers, Flight, and has helped usher in the science play as a regular part of the theater canon, making Sloan a coveted commission for any playwright engaging with a science and technology theme or character. Beginning with such renowned science plays as David Auburn’s Proof, Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, and Alan Alda’s QED, recent grants from Sloan’s Theater Program have supported Nelson Diaz-Marcano’s Las Borinqueñas, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton's Smart, Mark Rylance’s Dr. Semmelweis, Anchuli Felicia King’s Golden Shield, Sam Chanse’s what you are now, Charly Evon Simpson’s Behind the Sheet, Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, Chiara Atik’s Bump, Nick Payne’s Constellations, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, and Bess Wohl’s Continuity. The Foundation has also supported a 32-play radio series through L.A. Theatre Works. For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit www.sloan.org or follow the Foundation at @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.

Ensemble Studio Theatre (Estefanía Fadul and Graeme Gillis, Co-Artistic Directors) is a Hell’s Kitchen-based, Off-Broadway theatre focused on the development of new work and voices since its founding by Curt Dempster in 1968. For over 55 years, EST has developed thousands of new American plays and has grown into a company of over 600 actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and stage managers. EST's mission is to develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new work. A dynamic community committed to a collaborative process, EST is dedicated to inclusion across all aspects of identity and perspective, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexuality, physical or mental ability, physical or mental health, and recovery, while acknowledging and working to end systemic marginalization and oppression at all levels of its organization. EST discovers and nurtures new voices and supports artists throughout their creative lives. This extraordinary support and commitment to inclusivity are essential to yield extraordinary work.
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