If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka  image 1
If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka  image 2

Leah C. Gardiner

Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Born Bad, Generations (Soho Rep.); The Ruins of Civilization (MTC); Wit (Union Square Theater); The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Atlantic); Fidelis (The Public); Pitbulls (Rattlestick); Bulrusher (Urban Stages); Dead Are My People (NYTW/Noor). Select Regional: Sheepdog, Blue Door (South Coast Repertory); Bread (WaterTower Theatre); Antony and Cleopatra, Othello (Houston Shakespeare Festival); The Normal Heart (ACT); Notes From the Field (Baltimore Center Stage/Berkeley Rep); Fences (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Alliance Theatre); Sucker Punch (Studio Theatre, DC). Leah has directed in both London and Japan and has acted as herself in the feature film Little Men. Obie Award for Born Bad. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

(Updated Feb 2019)


Raja Feather Kelly

Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Funnyhouse of a NegroThe Death of The Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Everybody (Signature); Fairview, The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (Soho Rep.); The House That Will Not Stand, Hurricane Diane (NYTW); Fireflies (Atlantic); The Good Swimmer (BAM). Regional: Lempicka (Williamstown). Awards: New York Live Arts 2019/20 Randjelovi/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist, Breakout Award from SDCF, Dance Magazine’s Harkness Promise Award (2018), Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography (2016), Princess Grace Award (2017, 2018). Raja is the artistic director of New Brooklyn Theatre, and founder of the feath3r theory, which merged in 2018.

(Updated Feb 2019)



First Rehearsal Photos: If Pretty Hurts...

The race to achieve impossible beauty standards begins a journey of mythic proportions in Tori Sampson's explosive 'If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka.' Go inside the first day of rehearsal to meet the cast and creatives!


The American Voice: Theater of the Neo-Soul

In 1998, 15 years before Beyoncé released her song “Pretty Hurts,” Lauryn Hill dropped her legendary record ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.’ ... And on a road in Raleigh, tucked into the backseat of her mother’s peach Volvo on the way to school, nine-year-old Tori Sampson was listening. (Lizzie Stern, Literary Manager)


Backstory: Run Me My Language

Think of words you may deem part of pop culture, words that seem to sprout up on social media, take over your newsfeeds, and then fade out of existence. Think “bae,” “bruh,” “bless.” If someone asked you where these words originated, where would you say? (Divinia Shorter, Literary Fellow)