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2017/2018 Report

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to provide below a brief report on the artistic and organizational accomplishments of Playwrights Horizons during our 2017/2018 season.

Your generosity has enabled us to develop and produce new plays and musicals by today’s most talented American playwrights and introduce these works to audiences and the larger theater industry. Your continued support will enable Playwrights Horizons to expand all of our essential programs, including New Works Lab script development, audience outreach and discount ticket programs, theater training and education for college students and aspiring arts professionals, and services for New York City’s theater community.  

If you have any questions about this report or about Playwrights Horizons in general, please feel free to contact us through Carmen Quinones, our Administrative Assistant, at (212) 564-1235 ext 3124 or cquinones@phnyc.org.

We cannot thank you enough for your commitment to our mission and vision, and we look forward to seeing you at the theater soon.

Yours,

Tim Sanford
Artistic Director
Leslie Marcus
Managing Direct

 

 

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS
2017/18 SEASON REPORT TO OUR DONORS

During the 2017/18 season, we worked with 426 artists, introduced the new Guest Curator Program, welcomed a third resident theater company, and launched our new Digital Arts and Audience Engagement Initiative. We are pleased to share all of the activities and accomplishments of our 2017/18 season with you and are grateful for your continued support of Playwrights Horizons.

SEASON PRODUCTIONS

For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, a New York premiere by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Les Waters, looked at a group of adult siblings dealing with the grief of losing a parent and the pull of their youth. The play featured a performance by renowned actor Kathleen Chalfant.

The Treasurer, a world premiere by Max Posner, directed by David Cromer, featured Peter Friedman and Deanna Dunagan in a story about a man who reluctantly takes over handling the finances for his difficult mother, and in the process, faces his own mortality. The Treasurer received four Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Play.

Mankind, a world premiere written and directed by Robert O’Hara, showed us a future world in which women no longer exist, men can get pregnant, and a new religion forms upon the birth of a baby girl.

This Flat Earth, a world premiere by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Rebecca Taichman, in which two teenagers face the realities of a new world following a school shooting.

Dance Nation, a world premiere by Clare Barron, directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans, looked at the pressures and power among a group of pre-teen dancers aiming for a national competition. Our production of Dance Nation extended for five weeks (almost double its original run); the play will next go on to a production at the Almeida Theatre in London.

Log Cabin, a world premiere by Jordan Harrison and directed by Pam MacKinnon, followed a group of gay friends who struggle with their own identities as their friend transitions from female to male.

Miles for Mary was this season’s Redux Series play, through which we remount a play that received a brief run in New York and give it a longer run and greater visibility. This play by The Mad Ones, a collaborative troupe, was directed by Lila Neugebauer and first staged at the Bushwick Starr in 2016. Miles for Mary received four Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Play, and Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Director of a Play.

BUILDING AND SERVING AUDIENCES

Our 2017/18 season productions were seen by 61,547 people, including 6,000 subscribers, members, Flexpass holders, and Patrons. Students and adults age 35 and under purchased more than 6,000 tickets through memberships, rush tickets, and group sales. Online and on-site activities enhanced the audience experience of each new play, including videos (63 posted this season with nearly 900,000 total views); Production Bulletins for each show with essays from our Artistic Director, the playwright, and our Literary staff; and content posted on our social media pages (38,000 Facebook likes, 37,000 Twitter followers, and 5,400 Instagram likes). We also continued our Perspectives on Playwriting series, a selection of workshops and master classes taught by guest playwrights.

As part of a new Digital Arts and Audience Engagement Initiative, we hired a Digital Content Producer this season. Among the pieces created were a 360-degree video of a scene from Miles for Mary and a short video about the current state of gun violence in the US, which we played in the lobby following performances of This Flat Earth and paired with take-away literature provided by Everytown for Gun Safety.

NEW WORKS LAB

During the 2017/18 season, Playwrights Horizons continued to play a critical role in developing new plays and musicals through a series of programs called the New Works Lab:

We developed 30 new plays in 35 readings, more than any other season. Play readings included works resulting from Playwrights Horizons commissions and the development of two plays in our upcoming 2018/19 season. Three readings were a part of SuperLab, a collaboration with our Resident Company Clubbed Thumb, and four musicals were developed this season.

We continued to seek out new voices and welcome diverse writers to develop their work in the New Works Lab. Of the 38 New Works Lab writers this season, 18 were women and 12 were people of color, and 18 received their first New Works Lab reading this year. Several of these artists participated in our new Guest Curator Program, which welcomes an artist of color to program and curate two weeks of New Works Lab programming. Our first Guest Curator was playwright A. Rey Pamatmat, who scheduled eight play readings.
Playwrights remains one of the only major theaters in the country that accepts unsolicited scripts. All scripts are reviewed, and every writer receives a personal response. This season we received 987 scripts and scores.

During our 2017/18 season, we awarded six commissions to a diverse group of writers, plus an additional twelve artist commissions to create audio plays as part of our new digital arts and audience engagement initiatives supported by a three-year grant from the Scherman Foundation’s Rosin Fund.

This season, SPACE on Ryder Farm joined our Resident Company Program. Along with Clubbed Thumb and Musical Theater Factory, SPACE receives free office and rehearsal space at Playwrights Downtown, and frequently collaborates with the Playwrights Horizons Theater School.

EDUCATING THE NEXT GENERATION

During the 2017/18 season, the Playwrights Horizons Theater School provided theater training to 199 undergraduate students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Our Theatrical Fellowship Program trained 16 young people for arts and arts administration careers this season. Several 2017/18 season fellows have already gone on to their next positions at prestigious institutions including the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

SERVING THE ARTS COMMUNITY

Ticket Central provided 88 small and mid-sized arts organizations in New York City and beyond with access to high-quality, low-cost box office services. During the 2017/18 season, Ticket Central sold more than 270,000 tickets to our clients’ productions. At Playwrights Downtown (440 Lafayette Street), we rented 15 rehearsal spaces and two theaters to more than 1,000 groups, including more than 150 non-profit groups who received reduced rates.

ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In 2015, we launched The Campaign for Playwrights Horizons to raise $15 million for renovations at our two facilities, a building reserve fund, and an artistic capitalization fund. By the end of the 2017/18 season, we raised $10 million towards our goal.

Playwrights welcomed five new Board members this season: Alex Levy (Founder and President of A.H. Levy & Co.), Erin Laber (Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers), Vinnie O’Toole (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Horizon Media), and Pauline Oudin and Scott Slobodnyak (Co-Chairs of our Generation PH program for younger donors).

Thank you again for your support of Playwrights Horizons. Our success would not be possible without your generosity. We look forward to seeing you at Playwrights Horizons this season.