Hartford Stage - Brand:NEW 2008

Hartford Stage Announces Lineup for

Brand:NEW 2008


10th Annual Festival of New Work Takes Place November 6 – 11;

Edward Albee and Kate Mulgrew to Co-chair 10/10/10 Anniversary Fundraiser


October 21, 2008/Hartford, CT . . . A Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and a famed stage and screen star will both participate in Hartford Stage’s, 2008 Brand:NEW Fall Festival of New Work.  This year, Edward Albee and Kate Mulgrew will lend their distinctive talents to the festival lineup.  The Tony Award-winning theatre continues its commitment to developing the next generation of great plays and playwrights by presenting the 10th annual festival November 6 - 11.  Building on the success of previous years’ events, the festival will feature readings of distinctive new works by Quiara Alegria Hudes, Christopher Shinn, Michael Elyanow, Daniel Beaty, Regina Taylor, Craig Wright, and Elizabeth Egloff.  This season’s Brand:NEW also introduces Quiara Alegria Hudes (In the Heights) as the 2008-2009 Aetna American Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage.  Other festival events include a lively panel discussion with playwrights Beaty, Egloff, Elyanow, Taylor, and Wright, and an evening of short plays by the winners of Write On!, Hartford Stage’s 8th annual teenage playwriting competition.  Presenting Sponsor for Brand:NEW is The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation; Supporting Sponsor is Adams & Knight.


The centerpiece of this year’s festival is 10/10/10, a 10th anniversary fundraising event on Monday, November 10.  Award-winning playwright Edward Albee and stage and screen star Kate Mulgrew (Tea at Five) are the Honorary Chairs of the evening.  Ten playwrights have been commissioned to each write a ten-minute play, all of which will be read at a star-studded performance on the Hartford Stage MainStage.  The readings will be preceded by an elegant “cocktails and cuisine” party featuring food from recently opened Hartford restaurants, and will be followed by an exclusive champagne reception with participating actors and playwrights.  Playwrights whose work will be performed at 10/10/10 are Edward Albee, Luis Alfaro, Daniel Beaty, Michael Elyanow, Eve Ensler, Horton Foote, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Eduardo Machado, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Theresa Rebeck.


Hartford Stage Associate Artistic Director and Brand:NEW Festival Producer Jeremy B. Cohen comments, “After the record-breaking success of last year’s Brand:NEW festival, we’re thrilled to present these powerfully moving, deliciously funny, and thought-provoking plays from a wealth of today's most innovative, diverse, and exciting playwrights.  By seeking out the next generation of great plays from both established writers and playwrights who are bursting onto the scene, we’re continuing to pave the way for Hartford to step forward as a major center for the development of new theatrical writing.  Given the enormity of the talent involved throughout the festival, Brand:NEW audiences will experience the thrill of getting in on the ground level of what will surely become major new theatrical works on the national scene.”


Schedule of Events for Brand:NEW 2008


Thursday, November 6 • 7:30 p.m.

Rehearsal Studios, 942 Main Street


Elliot, a soldiers fugue

By Quiara Alegria Hudes

Directed by Hana Sharif


Lance Corporal Elliot Ortiz is back from Iraq with a Purple Heart pinned to his chest, anointed a hometown hero.  As he comes to terms with his experience, his struggle unites him in profound ways with his Puerto Rican family as father, mother and grandfather reveal their own journeys through three wars.


Friday, November 7 • 7:30 p.m.

Rehearsal Studios, 942 Main Street


now or later

By Christopher Shinn

Directed by Maxwell Williams


It’s the evening of the election, and things are looking rosy for the Democratic Party. Watching the results flood in are the likely President-elect, his wife, advisors and son John Jr.  But now, news is leaking on the internet that John Jr. is gay, threatening to throw the election.  Wethersfield native Christopher Shinn’s new play debates public vs. private lives, free speech, principles and sexuality in a timely examination of today’s political climate.



Saturday, November 8 • 10:00 a.m.

Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street


the children


By Michael Elyanow

Directed by Leah C. Gardiner

Puppet consultant is Bart Roccoburten in conjunction with the UCONN MFA Puppetry Arts Program


Past and present collide when the children of Medea are accidentally transported from Greek antiquity to the sleepy town of present-day Athens, Maine.  A brilliant spectacle combining live theatre and puppetry, high tragedy and broad comedy, proving the path to the underworld is paved with the secrets families keep best.



Saturday, November 8 • 2:00 p.m.

Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street


breath and imagination:  the story of roland hayes

By Daniel Beaty

Directed by Jeremy B. Cohen

Performed by Daniel Beaty and Kecia Lewis


He was the son of slaves, but born with a pure tenor voice that took him from plantation to palace.  He lived between worlds where one day he sang for the crowned heads of Europe, and another was beaten for sitting in the “whites only” section of a shoe store.  Hear the inspirational story of black equality pioneer Roland Hays as performed by Daniel Beaty – one of the most exciting new voices in the American theatre.



Saturday, November 8 • 4:30 p.m.

Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street



By Regina Taylor

Directed by Timothy Douglass


By the writer of Crowns, a new play about love, loss and coming to terms with family and the past.  Iris has ended her marriage and returned to her mother’s home to confront conflicted memories of her childhood.  Joy and sadness abound in this heartwarming new play about living life to its very fullest.



Sunday, November 9 • 10:00 a.m.

Rehearsal Studios, 942 Main Street


Playwrights’ Panel

With Daniel Beaty, Elizabeth Egloff, Michael Elyanow, Regina Taylor, and Craig Wright


A lively discussion with playwrights taking part in this year’s Brand:NEW Festival.  Meet the writers and learn about Hartford Stage’s exciting new play development process.



Sunday, November 9 • 2:00 p.m.

Rehearsal Studios, 942Main Street


mistakes were made

By Craig Wright

Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg


A day in the office life of N. Felix Artifex, an entrepreneur who redefines micromanagement.  His working environment is less than ideal – high-stressed, barely in control . . . and it leads to breathtakingly unexpected when ‘all of God’s children’ don’t play nice.  A comic and poignant tour-de-force about what happens when a formidable force attempts to balance his voracious appetite for creation with his quest for atonement.



Sunday, November 9 • 7:30 p.m.

Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street


the ether dome

By Elizabeth Egloff

Directed by Michael Wilson


Horace Wells, a young dentist practicing in 1840’s Hartford, was on the verge of fame.  His experiments using nitrous oxide and ether as anesthesia promise to change medical practice forever, and bring him vast wealth and international acclaim.  Instead, the theft of his patent and a downward spiral into madness and tragedy.  Commissioned as part of the Hartford Heritage Project, The Ether Dome is based on the true story that inspired the gothic novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


Special Event!

Monday, November 10 • 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street



Ten ten-minute plays by Edward Albee, Luis Alfaro, Daniel Beaty, Michael Elyanow, Eve Ensler, Horton Foote, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Eduardo Machado, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Theresa Rebeck


We’re celebrating ten years of Brand:NEW by throwing a party and inviting ten of our favorite playwrights!  Enjoy cocktails and cuisine from “brand new” Hartford restaurants, followed by a performance of ten short plays by ten extraordinary writers.  Afterwards, playwrights, cast members and directors will celebrate with the audience at a champagne reception.



Tuesday, November 11 • 7:00 p.m.

Rehearsal Studios, 942 Main Street




Join the winners of our teen playwriting competition as they see professional actors bring their scripts to life during this inspiring evening.




New play development at Hartford Stage is supported by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and Hartford Stage’s Producers on the Edge. Write On! is supported by the Sovereign Bank Foundation and the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, as recommended by David & Linda Glickstein.  The American Voices Fellowship is sponsored by Aetna.  Hartford Stage is supported by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. 


Key Dates and Information

  • Brand:NEW takes place November 6 - 11
  • Readings will be held at Hartford Stage’s Rehearsal Studios at 942 Main Street (The Richardson Building/Marriott Residence Inn), or on the theatre’s MainStage at 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford. 
  • Passes good for admission to all Brand:NEW events (except 10/10/10) are $30 ($25 for subscribers).  Admission to individual readings is $5, except The Story of Roland Hayes and The Ether Dome, which are each $10; admission to the Playwrights’ Panel, Write On!, and Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue is free, but tickets are required and can be reserved by calling the box office at 860-527-5151.  All readings offer general seating.
  • Admission to the 10/10/10 fundraiser, including the pre-show cocktail party, the ten-minute play readings, and post-show reception is $100.
  • For reservations, directions, or more information, call the Hartford Stage Box Office at (860) 527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.