TONY® AWARD WINNER LISA KRON TO BE SPECIAL GUEST AT
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL LAUNCH PARTY
AT NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
MORE THAN 50 WORLD-PREMIERE WORKS BY FEMALE PLAYWRIGHTS
TO BE PRODUCED BY THEATERS IN GREATER D.C. AREA
(Washington, D.C.) Tony® Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron will be a featured guest and participant at the launch party of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival on September 8 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The invitation-only event kicks off the beginning of the Festival, an unprecedented collaboration among professional theater companies that includes the presentation of more than 50 world-premiere productions of work by female playwrights, taking place this September and October in the nation’s capital region. The launch party features a creative conversation between Kron and National Public Radio’s Special Correspondent Susan Stamberg focused on gender parity in the arts in the Museum’s Performance Hall, followed by a celebratory party and toast to officially declare the start of the Festival.
Lisa Kron has been writing and performing theater since coming to New York from Michigan in 1984. Her work has been widely produced in New York, regionally, and internationally. She recently won two 2015 Tony® Awards (Best Book and Best Score) for the musical Fun Home, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Kron was one of the original resident playwrights of the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. As an actor, her professional career began in 1983 when Michael Kahn (currently the artistic director of Shakespeare Theatre Company) chose her as member of the ANTA Company.
In addition to the launch at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, there will be eight ancillary events sponsored by The Washington Post. These workshops and discussions will feature participation from local and national playwrights such as Kathleen Akerley, Sheila Callaghan, Jennie Berman Eng, Allison Engel, Margaret Engel, Yaël Farber, Caleen Sinette Jennings, Julia Jordan, Clare Lizzimore, Mary Hall Surface, and Karen Zacarías, as well as performers such as Tracy Lynn Olivera and Nova Payton, directors, artistic leaders, and collaborators. These Festival-sponsored events will cover a variety of topics, including the local playwriting landscape, women in musical theater, gender parity, playwrights as hybrid artists, female leaders in the entertainment industry, feminist theater, training for women in stage combat, and the historical silencing of women’s voices.
Additional free readings, concerts, and panel discussions will be offered by various Festival participants, including Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Tonic Theatre, Imagination Stage, Guillotine Theatre, Venus Theatre, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The Festival will be marked by two industry weekends—October 2-4 and October 23-25, 2015—to share the work with theater colleagues from around the country.
Festival-related events are free, but reservations are required. To reserve event tickets and for up-to-date Festival information, including details and ticket purchase information for all of the world-premiere productions being produced by participating theater companies, please visit womensvoicestheaterfestival.org. All venues will handle their own ticket reservations for their respective productions.
A Festival Pass promotional code is available, and will provide a discount of up to 50% on single tickets, based on offers from each participating theater for Festival productions and events.
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival is designed to highlight both the scope of plays being written by women and the range of professional theater being produced in and around the area. Molly Smith, Paul R. Tetreault, Ryan Rilette, Michael Kahn, Eric Schaeffer, David Muse and Howard Shalwitz—the artistic directors of Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company—generated the concept of the Festival as a way of crafting a response to one of the most pressing issues facing the field: the fact that far fewer female writers’ plays receive full productions on American stages than those of their male counterparts. According to a recently completed study by the Dramatists Guild of America, only 22% of 2,508 contemporary productions presented by nonprofit theaters nationwide from 2011 to 2014 were written by women.
In a joint statement the originating artistic directors shared the following:
“We believe the Women’s Voices Theater Festival will be the largest collaboration of theater companies working simultaneously to produce original works by female writers in history. The scope of the project—and the speed with which theaters signed on to participate when we first started shaping it in the fall of 2013—is a testament to the desire so many have to hear more women’s voices represented in theater. This massive undertaking, through the productions and supporting events, is ultimately a celebration of the female voice.”
The First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama serves as Honorary Chair of the Festival. In addition to the First Lady, the Honorary Committee for the Women’s Voices Theater Festival includes Jane Alexander, Karen Allen, Paula Marie Black, Lydia Diamond, Heidi Lennard Dupler, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Zelda Fichandler, Katori Hall, Marg Helgenberger, Beth Henley, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, Quiara Hudes, Allison Janney, Téa Leoni, Marsha Mason, Audra McDonald, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, Anika Noni Rose, Sarah Ruhl, Julie Taymor, Kathleen Turner, Paula Vogel, and Mare Winningham. Jojo Ruf and Nan Barnett serve as coordinating producers for the event.
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival is generously supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Paula Marie Black, Heidi and Mitch Dupler, Prince Charitable Trusts, Arlene and Robert Kogod, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Andrew R. Ammerman in memory of Josephine Ammerman, Lois England/The England Family, and The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, as well as media sponsors L2 Interactive, Culture Capital, The Washington Post, WTOP and WUSA9.
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival is an unprecedented two-month effort dedicated to highlighting the scope of plays being written by women and the range of professional theater being produced in the nation’s capital region. The Festival will feature more than 50 fully produced new works by female playwrights, all performed in the nation’s capital region, during the fall of 2015, along with dozens of special events, panels, workshops and readings focused on gender parity and the issues of women in the theater, the arts and the workplace in the U.S. and the world today. womensvoicestheaterfestival.org