Playwrights Horizons announces 2019-2020 season

The 2019-2020 season will showcase world premieres by Jaclyn Backhaus, Will Arbery, and Jeremy O. Harris, as well as New York premieres by Lucas Hnath, Sylvia Khoury and Daniel Goldstein & Michael Friedman. 

Michael Friedman, Trip Cullman & Daniel Goldstein

Playwrights Horizons has announced six new productions for the company's 2019-2020 Off-Broadway season, including three world premieres and three New York premieres to be staged at the Mainstage Theater and Peter Jay Sharp Theater at the Playwrights Horizons complex on 42nd Street. The productions will be presented in the following season order:

From August 23, 2019, the season kicks off at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater with Jaclyn Backhaus' word premiere comedy Wives, directed by Margot Bordelon.

Synopsis: "From the brawny castles of 16th Century France, to the rugged plains of 1960s Idaho, to the strapping fortresses of 1920s India, all hail the remarkable stories of Great Men! — and their whiney, witchy, vapid, vengeful, jealous wives. In this kaleidoscopic, time-hopping comedy, Jaclyn Backhaus pushes past patriarchal cliché to reach an ecstatic breakthrough, untethering stories and history — and language itself — from the visions made by men."

Wives is a Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman Emerging Playwright Commission.

The second production of the season will be the world premiere of Heroes of the Fourth Turning, written by Will Arbery and and directed by Danya Taymor, which is expected to begin performances at the Mainstage Theater on September 13, 2019.

Synopsis: "It’s nearing midnight in Wyoming, where four young conservatives have gathered at a backyard after-party. They’ve returned home to toast their mentor Gina, newly inducted as president of a tiny Catholic college. But as their reunion spirals into spiritual chaos and clashing generational politics, it becomes less a celebration than a vicious fight to be understood. On a chilly night in the middle of America, Will Arbery’s haunting play offers grace and disarming clarity, speaking to the heart of a country at war with itself."

Next up at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater will be the New York premiere of Lucas Hnath's The Thin Place, directed by Les Waters, which begins performances on November 22, 2019.

Synopsis: "Everyone who ever died is still here, just in a different part of here. Linda can communicate with them. And if you believe, she can make you hear them, too — in the thin place, the fragile boundary between our world and the other one. With acuity and relentless curiosity, Lucas Hnath’s play transforms the theater into an intimate séance, crafting an unnerving testament to the power of the mind, which has a mind of its own."

From February 14, 2020 at the Mainstage Theater, Playwrights Horizons presents the only musical of its 2019-2020 season with the New York premiere of Unknown Soldier, directed by Trip Cullman, which features music & lyrics by Michael Friedman and a book & lyrics by Daniel Goldstein.

Synopsis: "Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of an anonymous soldier, tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman’s sweeping, elegiac musical about a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. Spanning three generations, Unknown Soldier unravels a delicate tangle of family lore, as Ellen chases the extraordinary story that unlocks her history — and charts her future."

The season continues at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater with the New York premiere of Selling Kabul, written by Sylvia Khoury and directed by Tyne Rafaeli, which will begin performances on March 27, 2020.

Synopsis: "Taroon once served as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Now the Americans — and their promises of safety — have withdrawn, and he spends his days in hiding, a target of the increasingly powerful Taliban. On the eve of his son’s birth, Taroon must remain in his sister’s apartment or risk his life to see his child. With shattering precision, Sylvia Khoury’s thriller tracks the human cost of immigration policy, and the overlooked legacy of America’s longest, and ongoing, war."

Selling Kabul is presented by Playwrights Horizons in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival.

And finally, to conclude the season at the Mainstage Theater, the world premiere of A Boy’s Company Presents: “Tell Me If I’m Hurting You”, written by Jeremy O. Harris, is set to begin performances on May 15, 2020.

Synopsis: "Vinny meets Baby Boy, setting in motion an erotic dream-journey that begins with a rush of passion — and ends, inevitably, soaked in blood. In this gilded, hyperqueer revenge fantasy from the transgressive Jeremy O. Harris, a young man dances headlong into this downward spiral, finding the intractable unity of love and violence. Riffing on Jacobean tragedy with a lush, rococo palette, A Boy’s Company Presents: “Tell Me If I’m Hurting You” is a pageant of self-destruction and renewal, a technicolor ballet pitched against the anguish of a broken heart."

Like Wives, the world premiere of A Boy’s Company Presents: “Tell Me If I’m Hurting You” is also a Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman Emerging Playwright Commission.

Additional information, including dates, casting, and creative team information for all six productions will be announced in the coming months.

(Photo courtesy of Playwrights Horizons)