Primary Stages

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Primary Stages was founded in 1984 by Casey Childs as an Off-Broadway not-for-profit theater company dedicated to inspiring, supporting, and sharing the art of playwriting. Primary Stages operates on the strongly held belief that the future of American theater relies on nurturing playwrights and giving them the artistic support needed to create new work. In 2004, Primary Stages moved from its 99-seat home of 17 years at 354 West 45th Street to the 199-seat theater at 59E59 Theaters. In 2014, the company moved to The Duke on 42nd Street until 2016, when the Cherry Lane Theatre became the home for all Primary Stages productions.

History[edit]

For over 30 years, Primary Stages has given life to more than 130 new plays, many of them world premieres, by writers such as Horton Foote, A.R. Gurney, Tanya Saracho, Romulus Linney, Donald Margulies, Kate Hamill, Christopher Durang, Terrence McNally, Danai Gurira, Nikkole Salter, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman, Sharon Washington, Lee Blessing, and David Ives.

Primary Stages 9th season included the world premiere of All in the Timing by David Ives, the most produced play in the United States during the 1995/96 season.[1]

In 2008, Primary Stages was honored with the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, which encompasses much more than the plays produced for the stage. Primary Stages supports playwrights and develops new works through commissions, workshops, readings and two flagship programs: The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, and The Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA).

Primary Stages productions and artists have received critical acclaim, including numerous Tony, Obie, Lortel, Off-Broadway Alliance, AUDELCO, Outer Critics’ Circle, Drama League, and Drama Desk awards and nominations. Primary Stages supports playwrights and develops new works through commissions, workshops, readings, and education, access, and training programs: The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, the Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), Teenwrights, the Free Student Matinee Program, the Internship Program, TixTeen, PS35, and the newly launched Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project. Through these programs, Primary Stages advocates for their artists, helping them make important — and often transformative — connections within the theater community. [2]

Current season 2018/19[edit]

Upcoming season 2019/20[edit]

  • Untitled Sex Project written by and starring Billy Porter
  • The Confession of Lily Dare written by and starring Charles Busch
  • Peerless by Jiehae Park [4]

Education[edit]

Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group[5]

Primary Stages is host to the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, which brings together six to eight emerging playwrights each season to create new plays for the American theater. These playwrights attend weekly meetings in the fall and spring, where they bring new pages to each session and receive feedback on their works in progress. At the end of the season, Primary Stages presents the first public reading of these plays in The Dorothy Strelsin Fresh Ink Readings Series.

Since its inception, over 45 full-length plays have been written in the group, many of which have been produced by prominent local and national theaters including Long Wharf Theatre, Blue Light, South Coast Repertory, The New Group, New York Stage and Film, Cherry Lane Theatre, and Primary Stages.

2018/19 members:

  • Kevin Artigue
  • Hilary Bettis
  • Eleanor Burgess
  • Chisa Hutchinson
  • Elizabeth Irwin
  • Jon Kern
  • Matthew Minnicino
  • Erica Saleh
  • Jordan Seavey
  • Charly Evon Simpson


Past members:


Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA)[6]

The Primary Stages Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA)'s multidisciplinary classes have trained playwrights, actors, and directors in all stages of their development and from all corners of the globe. Our focus is on nurturing, advocating, and honoring emerging artists by providing them countless developmental opportunities, space to write and rehearse, and a family of collaborators. Students benefit from a kaleidoscope of perspectives and methods from our award-winning family of instructors—all working theater artists in NYC and around the country. Through building these connections and a body of work at ESPA, our playwrights have received workshops and productions, won awards, and garnered professional attention among artistic leaders across the country. Our actors and directors have built relationships that now extend far beyond our walls. Having provided a home for over 3,000 artists, ESPA has become a trailblazer in performing arts education, new play development, and collaboration within the Primary Stages and greater New York theater community.

ESPA is open to all artists, in all stages of their careers.

ESPA offers a series of intensive classes in acting, playwriting, and directing taught by industry professionals that include PS staff members along with working professionals such as: Joshua Harmon, Winter Miller, Richard Topol, Judy Gold, Rogelio Martínez, Edwin Sanchez, and Morgan Jenness. Previous faculty members include Lucy Thurber, Julia Jordan, Brooke Berman, Sarah Ruhl, Jessica Hecht, Tanya Barfield, Cusi Cram, and Judith Light. The school is run by the Primary Stages Associate Director of Education, Sarah Matteucci.

For further information and current class offerings click here.

Notable actors who have appeared with Primary Stages[edit]

Production history[edit]

Broadway Transfers[edit]

Primary Stages has seen three Broadway transfers with its productions of In Transit in 2016, Bronx Bombers in 2014, and Dividing the Estate in 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Theatre Communications Group - Top Ten Plays in American Theatre". Tcg.org. July 22, 2002. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  2. ^ https://primarystages.org/about
  3. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/theresa-rebeck-leah-nanako-winkler-tyne-daly-more-tapped-for-new-primary-stages-season
  4. ^ https://primarystages.org/shows/upcoming-season
  5. ^ https://primarystages.org/explore/writers-group
  6. ^ "Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts". Primary Stages. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "Previous Seasons". Primary Stages. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "Primary Stages Theatre Credits". Broadway World. Retrieved December 22, 2011.