Ensemble Studio Theatre's PRINCESS OF WACO Opens Jan. 11
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by BWW News Desk
Princes of Waco, Youngblood playwright Robert Askins's deeply personal, viciously funny Texas tale of a fatherless boy learning to drink, fight and steal in a bloody, forgotten West, will be given its world premiere on the mainstage of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, when it begins previews Friday, January 8, at 7:00pm for an opening Monday, January 11, at 7:00pm. Princes of Waco is directed by Dylan McCullough and features Evan Enderle, Christine Farrell, Scott Sowers and Megan Tusing.
Developed in the Ensemble Studio Theatre's 16-year-old Youngblood program of emerging playwrights, Mr. Askins's Princes of Waco is actually the first play in a series entitled Waco Trilogy. The last play in the trilogy was presented severAl Weeks ago as part of the Horton Foote Festival in Waco.
Robert Askins is a writer and actor from Texas who knows he is writing about himself. He has blogged, "When I wrote Princes of Waco, it started with a story about my friend Polar Bear. He fell in love with a girl we called NASCAR Jamie. All these names are true. I was worried then like I am now. By the time it got to the stage, nothing of that story remained, but when my mother watched the play and saw the dead father's Rolex being bandied about she leaned over to my aunt and said, 'that's not the real one is it?'"
Mr. Askins, Texas-born (1980), has had his plays seen in Belfast, Prague, L.A. and Waco. Princes of Waco was featured last year in Youngblood's Unfiltered Festival. His play Everything is Ruthless. Everything is Cruel was read recently at the Horton Foote American Playwriting Festival. Mr. Askins has a degree in Performance from Baylor University and he has received an E.S.T./Sloan grant, and an Arch and Bruce Davis Award for Playwriting.
"I saw the play in Youngblood's Unfiltered Festival and I knew that Robert Askins has a voice that needed to be heard on our mainstage," said Ensemble Studio Theatre Artistic Director William Carden. "That voice is visceral and his characters are deep and complex, remarkable for a writer only 29-years old."
Youngblood is Ensemble Studio Theatre's collective of emerging playwrights under the age of 30. Founded in 1993, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theatre artists. Youngblood, which has its own artistic directors not much older than the playwrights, R.J. Tolan and Graeme Gillis, provides artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment that allows member playwrights to hone skills, explore craft, and hopefully make it to the main stage, as has Princes of Waco.
Scott Sowers was seen on Broadway in Inherit the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Bus Stop, as well as the National Tour of A Few Good Men. He first worked at EST in the 1991 Marathon with Hope Davis in Romulus Linney's Can-Can. Mr. Sowers has performed at HERE Arts Center, Signature Theater Company, and in over a dozen productions of the plays of Romulus Linney. In 2007, he was one of the last new members ushered in by Founding Artistic Director Curt Dempster. Mr. Sowers appeared on EST's Mainstage in Lucy, under the direction of Artistic Director William Carden, numerous MemberFests, The EST Playwrights Lab and the Southampton Writer's Conference.
Evan Enderle most recently appeared in Les Freres Corbusier's Dance Dance Revolution for Soho Think Tank. He has worked with The Flea, Williamstown Theater Festival, Playwrights Horizons, the O'Neill Festival, National Geographic, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, among others.
Megan Tusing's theatre credits include The Theory of Everything (Lake George Theatre Lab), Sine Wave Goodbye (The Paper Industry), When Is A Clock (Blue Coyote Theater Group), And The Spirit of Christmas Passed (The Brick), Stock Home (NYC Fringe), Girl Hamlet (workshop with The Actor's Studio), Happy Girl (Samuel French Festival). A few Film/TV credits include "Law & Order: SVU," "Postales," and "A Joke." Megan, whose website is www.megantusing.com, recently filmed a guest star role on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" to air in March.
Christine Farrell is an actress, playwright and director who is also a tenured professor at Sarah Lawrence College. As an actress she has appeared in television on "Law and Order," daytime soap operas and commercials. Her theater credits include roles in world premieres Off-Broadway, in modern and classical plays in regional theaters throughout the country as well as seasons at Williamstown Theater Festival and the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival. As an EST member, she directed and acted in productions in Youngblood, Octoberfest and the Marathon. Two of her plays were originally produced at EST: Mama Drama (co-authored) and The Once Attractive Woman.
Maiko Chii is designing the sets, Ji-Youn Chang, the lights, Danielle Schembre, the costumes, and Hillary Charnas, sound.
Ensemble Studio Theatre is a not-for-profit developmental theatre founded in 1972 with two primary goals: to nurture individual theatre artists and to develop new American plays. Under the guidance of the late founder Curt Dempster, the theatre's membership grew from a core of 20 artists to a flourishing community of over 500 theatre artists of the highest caliber. Among them are winners of accolades and higher awards including Pulitzer Prizes, Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Obies. E.S.T. is a lifelong artistic home for its member playwrights, directors, actors, designers, technical personnel and administrators. Each year, the Ensemble produces over 300 projects, including readings, workshops, and fully produced mainstage full-lengths.
Tickets are $18 and may be ordered at www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org or 866-811-4111.