Photo provided by Keen Company.
Keen Company, a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theater creating stories that celebrate the complexities of hope and the joys of connection, is pleased to announce details for its upcoming 2023-2024 season, which includes new partnerships with Long Wharf Theater, Working Theater, and The Drama League.
Keen Company’s 24th season is filled with new partnerships and refocused programming. Keen’s critically acclaimed, sold-out, site specific production of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking starring Kathleen Chalfant will travel to living rooms and community spaces in New Haven, CT, in partnership with Long Wharf Theater. In March and April 2024, Keen Company and Working Theater will co-produce the world premiere of Kia Corthron’s Fish in a production directed by Adrienne D. Williams. In May 2024, Keen Company will begin a collaboration with The Drama League and present Cell by Cassandra Medley with direction by Nadia Guevara and Poof! by Lynn Nottage with direction by Ibi Owolabi as part of the newly expanded DirectorFest.
“I am proud to announce Keen Company’s 24th Season, and launch a year of opportunities,” said Keen Company’s Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein. “We are collaborating with three incredible organizations this season – Long Wharf Theater, Working Theater, and The Drama League – giving Keen an opportunity to welcome new patrons and broaden our impact. Our new work initiatives, which empower Keen to expand its mission, continue to grow and include Fish by Kia Corthorn, which was originally conceived in our Keen Playwrights Lab, three new commissions through our Keen Teens program, and our continued development of a new musical by Adam Gwon. This season, we also focus on the future, from the examination of the educational system in Fish and our innovative educational program Keen Teens, to DirectorFest where we spotlight two brilliant emerging directors. In everything we do, Keen Company is finding new ways to connect, and we are thrilled this season provides so many new opportunities.”
Keen’s Company’s 2023-2024 season kicks off on Monday, October 16 with Keen’s 24th Annual Benefit Gala which honors legendary actress and passionate advocate Kathleen Chalfant, the beloved star of three Keen Company productions. The sit-down dinner at Manhattan Penthouse (80 Fifth Avenue) will feature an open bar, thrilling auction winnings, and an evening of extraordinary performances and backstage stories.
Next up, Keen Company is proud to partner with Long Wharf Theatre to bring its acclaimed 2022 production of The Year of Magical Thinking to New Haven, CT as part of Long Wharf’s 2023-2024 season. Running November 8–December 3, 2023, this innovative site-specific production of Joan Didion’s deeply personal memoir stars Obie and Drama Desk Award-winner actress Kathleen Chalfant and is conceived and directed by Keen Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein. As in Keen’s celebrated 2022 revival, Long Wharf’s The Year of Magical Thinking will be staged in living rooms and community spaces. Long Wharf’s commitment to taking theater out of the company’s former home and into the community matches Keen’s core ethos of connection. This partnership is over two decades in the making, as Keen’s 2001 production of The Good Thief which was mounted in the company’s very first season also moved to the Long Wharf after its New York City run.
On February 12, 2024, Keen Company will present a one-night only benefit concert of Glory Days by Nick Blaemire and James Gardiner with a star-studded cast directed by Jonathan Silverstein. This cult-favorite musical premiered at Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway in 2008 and has since been performed all over the world. Keen patrons will remember composer Nick Blaemire from his star turn as Jonathan Larson in Keen’s 2016 production of Tick, Tick… BOOM! Glory Days is a coming-of-age rock musical about friends searching for understanding and validation as they face the consequences of growing up. The Washington Post called it “fresh and vivacious…real and surprisingly moving.” Tickets on sale soon.
Further ahead in 2024, Keen Company and Working Theater will co-produce the world premiere of Fish by Kia Corthron and directed by Adrienne D. Williams. Through the interconnected stories of one vibrant high school senior and her extraordinary educator, Fish thoughtfully explores the challenges facing the New York City school system and celebrates the powerful bond between teacher and student. Performances of Fish will take place from March 19–April 20, 2024, at Theatre Row in Theatre Five. Kia Corthron was part of the Keen Playwrights Lab in 2018, during which time Fish was originally developed. Tickets are on sale now and available at a variety of price points.
In a new collaboration with The Drama League, Keen Company will bring DirectorFest to the Off-Broadway stage. Featuring Drama League Directing Fellows, DirectorFest has been a showcase for rising talent in the industry for years. With Keen’s leadership, emerging directors will have more resources and support. Running May 2–11, 2024 at Theatre Row in Theatre Two, DirectorFest 2024 will feature Cell by Cassandra Medley, directed by Nadia Guevara, along with Poof! by Lynn Nottage, directed by Ibi Owolabi. Keen is thrilled to welcome playwright Lynn Nottage back to the Keen Company stage after producing the first New York revival of her play Crumbs from the Table of Joy this past spring. Tickets are all $40.00 and are on sale now.
The Keen Teens program will continue in Season 24 with world premiere one-acts by Dennis A. Allen II, Laura Neill, and Jesús Valles taking place May 17–19, 2024, at Theatre Row in Theatre Five. Keen Company is the only professional theater actively creating new work for high school students. Since its launch in 2007, Keen Teens has served over 450 NYC teens and commissioned over 45 new plays which are currently being performed around the world. Tickets are all $20.00 and are on sale now.
In January 2022, Keen began the process of commissioning and developing a new intimate musical by Adam Gwon. Keen collaborated with Gwon on its 2018 revival of Ordinary Days (2019 Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Musical) and will now reunite with him for the first full-length musical commission in the company’s history. Readings and workshops will take place through to January 2024 with a possible mainstage production mounted as part of Keen Company’s 25th Anniversary Season running 2024-2025. The new musical commission is partially being supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Shen Family Foundation’s Musical Theater Composers Initiative.
Keen Company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Zachariah Ezer as its new Director of New Work. Ezer is charged with reimagining Keen’s model of supporting mid-career playwrights and will lead Keen’s new work initiatives. Over the past decade, Keen has welcomed 27 playwrights into the Keen Playwrights Lab. However, the needs of playwrights have changed over the years. Keen is currently refocusing its resources and will shift the Playwrights Lab away from its current format to a new model that better serve the needs of mid-career playwrights.
Please visit www.keencompany.org for more information on Keen Company’s 24th season.