Ken Wolf and Roma Pierro-Wolf in DAD AND THE DOG
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Carving your path as a new playwright can be overwhelming no matter where you live, but I have found it can be particularly overwhelming in New York City. There are multitudes of opportunities to present your work, and determining which one is the best fit can be a daunting task.
Upon completing the script for Mrs. Schrodinger’s Cat and hosting some informal table-reads at my apartment, I toiled with what my next step would be. I wanted it to be something that would really help my play to grow. I had worked on the script for almost two years, and I felt it deserved a little TLC getting on its feet for the first time. I wanted a safe and nurturing space for the play to take its first steps. A festival with ultra-tight transitions between shows and heavy restrictions on design components didn’t feel like the right place for that to happen. My play had never been performed before, and to try to fit it into such a regimented scheme would be limiting to the process of development I was seeking. Simply put, my young play just wasn’t ready for something like that yet. Thus, I was thrilled to discover Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Play Development Series.
To begin with, Ken Wolf and his staff were by my side every step of the way, encouraging me and providing solutions from the get-go to the challenges my play presented. From technical suggestions to script consultations, I felt that they were members of my team and that the actual development of my play was their top priority. And Ken was beyond accommodating—any question or need I had was always addressed quickly and with care.
In addition, Manhattan Rep’s location amongst the big theatres on 42nd Street was a source of pride for me as I invited friends and family to come to my show, and the cleanliness of the theatre itself meant I never had to give any disclaimers to anyone before they arrived.
On the nights of our performances, a full staff took care of tickets, programs, and ushering, so my team and I could concentrate solely on our show with a sense of relaxation. At the end of each performance, we were even able to have a meet-and-greet in the theatre with our audience. No one was rushing us out for the next group to come in and set up (as there was no “next group”), so we really felt that the space was ours and that our event was special.
Without a doubt, I would highly recommend Manhattan Rep to any new playwright or writer developing a new work. Your play will be supported, developed, and promoted by people who know what it’s like to be a playwright in NYC. I could not be happier with my experience in the Spring Play Development Series and would do it again ten times over! Many, many thanks to Ken Wolf and everyone at Manhattan Rep for such a rewarding experience!
Tasha Partee - Playwright/Director/Producer - Mrs. Schrodinger's Cat
When my play "Encanta" was selected for Manhattan Rep's Premiere Play Development Program, I pretty much only expected free performance space and not much help beyond that. The reality was wonderfully different. With less than 6 weeks to go from casting the play and hiring crew, I managed to put together a production that fully realized my vision for the play and did some things that I hadn't expected but that were absolutely wonderful. Ken was present for everything--and I do mean everything--that I had questions about or help with. Without his patience and guidance, I would have made some expensive and embarrassing mistakes for my show. And when my show went up, he was there in the audience laughing and cheering like all the other people who had come to see the show. Having someone on the staff who is as excited about your show as you are means a lot, and it takes so much of the stress out of the production process. It made putting on a play what it should be: memorable, exciting, and fun.
Shawn C. Harris - Playwright/Producer - ENCANTA
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What a whirlwind experience it has been for me and Double "I" at Manhattan Rep. I feel I've learned and grown so much. I can't thank you enough for choosing my play for your Fall Play Development program and working with me so diligently and kindly in the development process. Double "I" was so enthusiastically received I see this production as a giant step forward in my playwriting life. So once again many thanks for your incomparable assistance.
Elizabeth Fein - Playwright/Producer
The experience at The Manhattan Repertory Theatre was brilliant! I wrote a play 23 years ago and I always dreamed that I would one day see it produced. The play depicts the voice of a dead mother who cannot cross over to the 'other side' because she cannot find the remains of her son who was killed in Vietnam. The fact that our country has been at war for the past thirteen years ignited my desire to get an anti-war message out there and so I exhumed the play, revised it and sent it to Ken Wolf. Ken accepted it and he was an absolute gem to work with. His theater triggers a writer and director's imagination. It also sets boundaries for performers so that they are forced to invite the audience in their world without any hesitation. They are nearly naked in front of the them, and because of it, they are raw and passionate and vitally honest. I have gone to theater my whole life, but this experience had my signature on it from the beginning until the end. If you are a playwright and you want to explore your craft... Manhattan Repertory Theatre is the place for you. It is for the artists who have steady nerves, a lot of courage and a thirst to get better. I cannot say enough about Ken Wolf and his staff. They were like family and I hope to continue to work with all of them.
Dolores Edward - Playwright/Producer
Ken Wolf & Roma Pierro-Wolf in Dad and the Dog
For more pictures and info on this play - Click Here!
"The flow of creativity at Manhattan Rep is truly amazing. Artistic Director Ken Wolf has tapped into a vortex...From page to stage, actor to audience - we all had a very inspiring experience. It's a magical space."
Coni Ciongoli Koepfinger (2014) Playwright/Producer
"Our team for TYBALT & MERCUTIO LIVE! was very proud to be working at MRT, and it proved to be a wonderful experience. MRT is well organized, welcoming and helpful. The Guidelines document was well written and answered most all of our questions, and seeing the space, so well kept and attractive and located, clearly stated that we had found a wonderful place to work.
Our performances were all great experiences--imagine Saturday night in New York, with crowds of people unknown to us in the streets, and six floors up, we sit in a quiet room and see a writer's characters come to life in all their detail and humanity--this is the very reason and essence of theatre, and why it is so special in New York.
Sean O'Casey, the great Irish playwright, once came to Hedgerow Theatre in Pennsylvania, and shouted "Long Live Hedgerow Theatre in the hedgerows of Pennsylvania!" We are not Sean O'Casey, but we repeat his famous line--Long Live Manhattan Repertory Theatre on 42nd Street in New York! "
Walt Vail - Playwright/Producer "Tybalt and Mercutio Live!
From the New York Observer
I can’t quite explain how it happened, but last night I found myself performing in my underwear for Meryl Streep.
Well, I can explain part of it—the part thatwasn’t the direct result of the Gods of Off-Off-Broadway Theater.
My good friend Hanah Fazio wrote a play called “The Miss Woman Pageant 2013,” which was accepted into the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Spring One-Act Competition.
(Click on the link below for the rest of this amazing story!:)
MANHATTAN REP'S BLOG
by Artistic Director, Ken Wolf
We're the opposite of people."
- Tom Stoppard -
Manhattan Repertory Theatre prides itself on being a welcoming and nurturing space for independent artists, playwrights and actors alike. I was more than pleased with their professionalism, their experience, their graciousness, and their warmth during my time there.
I hope to continue our relationship in the future.
- The space; intimate and cozy
- The simple tech work so that anyone can learn
- The smooth transitions from one show to the next
- The use of space for multiple productions, i.e. the dressing area
- The flexibility with start time for shows
- The location
- The supportive staff
- Excellent and efficient communication
Tremaine A. Price, Playwright/Producer
“Every once in a while, something that seems too good to be true actually IS true. Working with the Manhattan Repertory Theatre was effortless and uncomplicated. Their constant support from the moment our play was chosen was amazing - we always felt like we were their highest priority- which is incredible given the large amount of artists they're constantly working with. In addition to the great team of people at MRT, we were given a lovely, intimate, functional space in the heart of the theater district to showcase our work. Manhattan Repertory Theatre is a diamond in the rough - a group of professional artists truly supporting other artists. Being a part of their play festival has been a dream and a blessing.”
Michael DiFrancisco, Producer/Director -
"Manhattan Rep runs the most well-organized competition I have ever experienced in New York. They are fair to the playwrights who join them, and celebrate good theater with great enthusiasm. The caliber of work that Manhattan Rep attracts is very high. I would encourage all good playwrights to give this competition a try."
Chip Bolcik - Playwright/Producer -
IN THE THIRD PERSON
WINNER OF THE $1000 cash prize
SPRING ONE ACT COMPETITION 2013
I highly recommend Manhattan Rep to any artist or company looking to develop their craft in their wonderfully clean, welcoming and intimate space. The process of working at Manhattan Rep is seemless and rewarding. The staff is always available for guidance and support and you will leave knowing that your team and your work were treated with the uptmost respect and care.
John Rotondo - Playwright/Producer
"Life beats down
and crushes the soul
and art reminds you
that you have one."
- Stella Adler -
"My experience at Manhattan Repertory Theatre has been extraordinary. Because of Ken Wolf’s unwavering support, I was able to transform my solo show into a richly layered, multi-character ensemble piece. Ken fearlessly encourages each playwright to fully engage in their work – from producing to writing to directing to performing, but he is also there every step of the way, tirelessly responding to each question, giving vital advice. Although this was an incredibly challenging undertaking, I’d remind myself of Ken’s words to me: “think of each hardship as a gift.” His open-minded approach taught me to value each challenge as an integral part of the artistic process, as part and parcel of the organic evolution of what it means to truly develop a play. I am deeply grateful to both Ken Wolf and Jennifer Pierro for their unique vision and devotion to emerging playwrights."
Anna Fishbeyn - Actor/Playwright/Producer
SEX IN MOMMYVILLE
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"I need to go where people are serious about acting."
Anthony J. Ribustello and Ken Wolf in Conversations with Dog