SECOND STAGE THEATRE Announces Two New York Premiere Productions For Its Upcoming 37th Season; INVISIBLE THREAD A NEW MUSICAL Written by MATT GOULD and GRIFFIN MATTHEWS, Directed by Tony Award Winner DIANE PAULUS; SMART PEOPLE Written By LYDIA R. DIAMOND, Directed by Tony Award Winner KENNY LEON

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Announces Two New York Premiere Productions

For Its Upcoming 37th Season





Directed by Tony Award Winner DIANE PAULUS





Directed by Tony Award Winner KENNY LEON



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May 7, 2015 — Second Stage Theatre (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Casey Reitz, Executive Director) has announced two New York Premiere productions for its upcoming 37th season.  The season will kick off in fall 2015 with the New York Premiere production of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews’ new musical, INVISIBLE THREAD (previously titled Witness Uganda), in association with American Repertory Theater, directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland, Pippin).  The season will continue in early 2016 with the New York premiere of Lydia R. Diamond’s (Stick Fly) critically acclaimed play, SMART PEOPLE, directed by Tony Award Winner Kenny Leon (Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, Stick Fly). Two additional productions remain to be announced.


“The writers behind our first two productions of next season embrace a unique and refreshing perspective on the American experience.  I am so impressed by Matt and Griffin’s exceptional new musical and am very much looking forward to introducing these important writers and their uplifting new work to New York,” says Second Stage Artistic Director Carole Rothman.  “And I know our audiences will embrace Smart People, the incredibly perceptive new play by Lydia Diamond, a writer I’ve been wanting to work with for years.  And it is an honor to have Diane Paulus and Kenny Leon, two of the finest directors working in this country, joining us for the season.”


Second Stage Theatre Company is currently presenting the world premiere of Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, directed by Leigh Silverman and starring Thomas Sadoski and Amanda Seyfried at the Tony Kiser Theatre, officially opening on May 19.  Second Stage Theatre Uptown is also presenting the World Premiere of Emily Schwend’s The Other Thing, directed by Lucie Tiberghein, beginning previews May 12 and opening May 21st at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre.


For subscription information, please call the Second Stage Box Office at 212-246-4422 or visit the company’s website,  All productions are staged at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre, 305 West 43rd Street (just west of Eighth Avenue).


More detailed information on these two upcoming Second Stage productions is below:



New York Premiere in association with American Repertory Theater

By Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews

Directed by Diane Paulus

Fall 2015


When Griffin, a young man from New York City, volunteers for a project in Uganda, he finds himself on a journey that will change his life forever. Inspired by a true story, this rousing new musical exposes the challenges confronted by American aid workers and the complex realities of trying to change the world.


INVISIBLE THREAD, previously titled Witness Uganda, had its world premiere at American Repertory Theatre in February 2014.


MATT GOULD is the co-writer of the two-time Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical, Invisible Thread. He is working on new musical commissions including Lempicka for Yale Rep, The Family Project for Center Theatre Group, and A Cantata for the Japanese non-profit, Ashinaga, with Tony Award winner John Caird. Matt’s additional credits include Twilight in Manchego, the Jonathan Larson Award-winning musical directed by Tony Award winner Billy Porter; writing and directing Free Style for LA’s Reprise Theatre Company; and translating, adapting and directing Romeo and Juliet in Pulaar in Mauritania, West Africa. He has also composed and arranged music for Grammy winner Desmond Child, Terrence McNally, Vanessa Williams, and for Playwrights Horizons, Denison University, and Boston University. Matt is the co-director of UgandaProject.


GRIFFIN MATTHEWS graduated with a B.F.A. in musical theater from Carnegie Mellon University, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a writer, director, actor, and philanthropist splitting his time between New York and Los Angeles. Griffin co-wrote and directed numerous staged readings of Invisible Thread, winning two Richard Rodgers Awards, Harold Adamson Award, and Dean Kay Award, and directed several readings of the new musical Lempicka for Yale Rep and New Dramatists. As a writer, Griffin has been commissioned by Center Theatre Group to write The Family Project, a new musical about the ever-changing face of the American family. Acting credits include Best of Both Worlds Off-Broadway as well as 1776 at Paper Mill Playhouse; Don’t Bother MeI Can’t Cope at Ford’s Theatre; and Once On This Island at Round House Theatre. Television credits include the NBC Pilot “Happy Valley,” “The Carrie Diaries,” “The Mentalist,” “Suburgatory,” “Weeds,” “90210,” “Law and Order: LA,” “Cashmere Mafia,” and  “Numb3rs.” He founded UgandaProject in 2005.


DIANE PAULUS is the Artistic Director of the A.R.T. at Harvard University and was selected for the 2014 TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Paulus is the 2013 recipient of the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical (Pippin). Credits at the A.R.T. include Finding Neverland (currently on Broadway); Invisible Thread, recipient of the 2012 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater; Pippin, which is currently on national tour, played on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre, and was the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, adapted by Suzan Lori-Parks and Deidre Murray and 2012 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical; Prometheus Bound, a new musical inspired by Aeschylus’s ancient Greek tragedy, written by Tony Award winner Steven Sater with music composed by Grammy Award winner Serj Tankian; Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera, finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music; The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Best of Both Worlds, a soulful re-envisioning of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale with book and lyrics by Randy Weiner and music by Diedre Murray; and Johnny Baseball, a musical about the Red Sox created by Robert Reale, Willie Reale, and Richard Dresser. Her other recent work includes Amaluna, Cirque du Soleil’s newest creation which had its world premiere in Montreal in April 2012 and went on tour in the US; and The Public Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival  of HAIR on Broadway and London’s West End. As an opera director, her credits include The Magic Flute, Il mondo della luna, Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, and the Monteverdi trilogy L’incoronazione di Poppea, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and Orfeo. Diane is a Professor of the Practice in Theater in Harvard University’s English Department. Diane was named one of Boston Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Bostonians” in 2012 and was awarded the 2012 Founders Award for Excellence in Directing from the Drama League. Recently, Diane was selected as one of Variety’s “Trailblazing Women in Entertainment for 2014” and Boston Magazine’s “50 Thought Leaders of 2014” and was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in New York” by the New York Daily News.




New York Premiere

By Lydia R. Diamond

Directed by Kenny Leon

Winter 2016


The quest for love, achievement and identity is universal, but what role does race play in the story of our lives? On the eve of Obama’s first election, four Harvard intellectuals find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics in this provocative and funny new play by Lydia R. Diamond.


LYDIA R. DIAMOND’s plays include Smart People (The Huntington Theatre, received an IRNE Nomination for Best New Play), Stick Fly (premiered at Congo Square Theatre, was on Broadway at The Cort Theatre, and received an Outer Circle Critics Nomination for Best Play [Broadway], as well as an IRNE Award, LA Critics Circle Award, LA Garland, LA Weekly Theatre Award, Black Theatre Alliance Award, Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination, and was a Susan S. Blackburn finalist), Voyeurs de Venus (premiered at Chicago Dramatists and received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work and a Black Theater Alliance Award), The Bluest Eye (premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre and transferred to Off-Broadway’s Vic Theatre.  Received a Black Arts Alliance Image Award and an American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award), The Gift Horse (premiered at the Goodman Theatre and received Theodore Ward and Kesselring Prizes), and Harriet Jacobs (premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre).  Other producing theatres include Arena Stage, Company One, Congo Square, Everyman Theatre Company, Freedom Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Huntington, Jubilee Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Long Wharf, Lorraine Hansberry, McCarter Theatre Co., MPAACT, New Vic (Off Broadway), Playmakers Rep, Plowshares Theatre Co., Steppenwolf, TrueColors, and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Commissions include Arena Stage, Center Stage, Steppenwolf, McCarter, Huntington, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville/Victory Gardens, Humana, Boston University, and The Roundabout. Ms. Diamond was an ’05/’06 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, an ’07 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, an 06/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, a 2012/’13 Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard,  a ’12 Sallie B. Goodman McCarter Fellow, an ’12 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, is a Playwright Emerita at Chicago Dramatists, has an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Pine Manor College, and served on faculty at Boston University (’05-’12).


KENNY LEON is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His work on the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival, and August Wilson’s Fences garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival. Other Broadway credits include The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun with Sean P. Diddy Combs, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golf, and the 2014 premiere of Holler if You Hear Me, a new musical created using the music of Tupac Shakur. Leon’s recent film work includes “In My Dreams” for Hallmark Hall of Fame, “The Watsons go to Birmingham” for Walden Media and Hallmark, and the Sony and Lifetime TV adaptation of “Steel Magnolias”. Leon is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York. Other directorial credits include Alicia Keys World Tour, Toni Morrison’s opera, “Margaret Garner”, the world premiere of Flashdance The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center.  He has directed in England, and extensively throughout the US, including Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group and New York’s Public Theater.  Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities.  He is currently serving as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.


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Founded in 1979 under the leadership of Artistic Director Carole Rothman, SECOND STAGE THEATRE produces a diverse range of premieres and new interpretations of America’s best contemporary theatre, including Peter and Jerry by Edward Albee; The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry; The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane; The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown; The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety by Kristoffer Diaz; Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin; A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller; Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo; Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis; Coastal Disturbances by Tina Howe; Water by the Spoonful and The Happiest Song lays Last by Quiara Alegria Hudes; Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants by Ricky Jay; Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey; This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan; Some Men by Terrence McNally; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage; eurydice by Sarah Ruhl; Everyday Rapture by Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott; Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith; Saturday Night by Stephen Sondheim; Crowns by Regina Taylor; Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein; Trust by Paul Weitz; Spoils of War by Michael Weller; Jar the Floor by Cheryl L. West; Jitney by August Wilson; Serenading Louie by Lanford Wilson; and Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman.


The company has produced three Pulitzer Prize winning plays – Between Riverside and Crazy (2015), Water by the Spoonful (2012), and Next to Normal (2010) – and its productions have received over 130 awards, including the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Orchestrations, and Best Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley) for Next to Normal, the 2007 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed), 2005 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin, …Spelling Bee) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler, …Spelling Bee), 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play (Mary Zimmerman for Metamorphoses), the 2002 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, 27 Obie Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Clarence Derwent Awards, 12 Drama Desk Awards, nine Theatre World Awards, 14 Lucille Lortel Awards, two NY Drama Critics Circle Awards and 15 AUDELCO Awards.


In 1999, Second Stage Theatre opened The Tony Kiser Theatre, its state-of-the-art, 296-seat theatre, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.  In 2002, Second Stage launched “Second Stage Theatre Uptown” series to showcase the work of up and coming artists at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre.  The Theatre supports artists through several programs that include residencies, fellowships and commissions, and engages students and community members through education and outreach programs.




In 2015 Second Stage Theatre purchased the historic Helen Hayes Theatre, located at 240 W. 44th Street.  With this new home, Second Stage will be the only theatre company on Broadway dedicated exclusively to the development and presentation of contemporary American theatrical productions.  The company will continue to lease and operate their original theatres on the city’s Upper West Side and in Midtown Manhattan.  Second Stage Theatre has enlisted David Rockwell and The Rockwell Group to make renovations and updates to the 103 year old landmark building. They will begin renovations on the theatre in 2016 and plans for its first Broadway production to be staged in the Hayes during the 2017-18 season.


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