The Drama League Directors Project's New Directors/New Works Program presents an invitation-only reading of A Letter from Bataan an award-winning new play by Neal J. Freeman. 2010 Tony Award-nominee Maria Dizzia* (Bway: In The Next Room, 2010 Tony Nomination) and David Patrick Kelly* (Bway: Festen, Uncle Vanya, Twelfth Night) will lead a cast of eight including William Connell* (Bway: The Coast of Utopia), Daniel Damiano, Karen Tsen Lee*, Welker White*, Stephen Tyrone Williams* (Current: Gem of the Ocean, Hartford Stage), and Damian Young* (Bway: All My Sons). The staged reading will be held at The Siti Company Studio Space, 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 510 on Monday, May 16th at 7pm. *Member, Actors' Equity Association.
Through a pastiche of authentic letters, articles, personal interviews, film, and music, A Letter from Bataan traces the journey of Captain George E. Porter from the small town of St. Joseph, Missouri through to the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941 during World War II and ultimately to George's death as a Japanese prisoner of war in 1944. It tells the story of a charismatic young man sent off to fight for his country and the agonizing months and years that passed while his family waited for word of his whereabouts and survival.?A Letter from Bataan chronicles a side of the war rarely seen in popular culture and simultaneously provides a microcosmic view of war itself and its devastating effects on a soldier's family. Ultimately, the play is a meditation on how we tell our stories and the remembrances we leave behind.
Workshopped by writer/director Neal J. Freeman at the 2010 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, A Letter from Bataan is the recipient of a 2010 seed grant from The Drama League Directors Project. A Letter from Bataan has been developed with the support of the Brooklyn College Department of Theater and the assistance of dramaturg Morgan Jenness.
Playwright/Director Neal J. Freeman is a New York-based theater artist and a graduate of Cornell University (Honors Directing, 1997). From 1997-2004, Neal worked in Baltimore as a director, writer, and performer, serving as an assistant to directors Irene Lewis, George Faison, and David Schweizer at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE and appearing in Lewis' productions of Mary Stuart and Sweeney Todd. Since moving to NYC in 2004, Neal has directed for The Gallery Players, Sonnet Repertory, Cornell University, Epic Theater Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, Naked Angels, and Engine37. Neal's puppet adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set in a world of consumerism run amok, entitled Fatboy Romeo, had a sold-out run at the Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival. He has worked on projects and readings at such venues as 45 Bleecker, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Kasser Theatre at Montclair, New World Stages, The Century Center, New York Theatre Workshop, BAM, St. Ann's Warehouse, Angel Orensanz, and The Lucille Lortel. Neal received his MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College. He currently serves as Executive Director of The Gallery Players in Brooklyn.
The Drama League New Director/New Works Program is designed to support the development of new theatre works infused with the distinctive artistic vision of committed theatre directors and their artistic collaborators. The program provides each selected artistic team with the opportunity to workshop new material without the outside pressure of producers and critics. Each project is provided with a stipend for production expenses and rehearsal and presentation space. Another key component of the program is the assistance of a professional mentor - a distinguished master writer, director, designer or dramaturg who provides counsel and guidance and helps the artistic team discover the full potential of their material. Since 1992, NDNW has supported the development of 48 new projects. NDNW scripts have been published by Dramatic Publishing Company and Yale Theatre magazine, and 15 projects have gone on to full productions at theatres including HERE, the Ontological, The New Harmony Project, Prospect Theatre and 3LD Art & Technology Center. Honors include NY Fringe Festival Best Drama for Girl Under Grain by Karen Hartman, directed by Jean Randich, First Prize in UC Santa Barbara's Stage International Script Competition for Frequency Hopping by writer/director Elyse Singer, and two Drama Desk Award nominations for the musical The Pursuit Of Persephone by Cara Reichel & Peter Mills.
The casting director for A Letter from Bataan is Anne Teutschel.
The run time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.