Plays Available for Production
Pat Launer, NPR: Every
piece of theater should be like this 'Knife in the Heart' --
a brilliant collaborative effort that forces us to examine who and
what we are."
Anne-Marie Welsh, San Diego
(Her plays) lead, as the best art does, not to explanation
or outrage, but to contemplation."
Toby Zinman, Variety: Susan
Yankowitz's "Night Sky" is a rare thing: a play with a
It is also ABOUT the mind as universe, where language is internal
astronomy. It shows us that more than hearts can be broken.
GUN opens with a mother's nightmare about the
future of her newborn son. In a series of biting, fragmented scenes
that move backwards and forwards in time, her nightmare comes true.The
play was inspired by the escalating acts of violence in our country
-- mass school shootings, assassinations, serial killings - carried
out usually by young white men from middle-class families. Again
and again, we ask why? Where does responsibility lie? What leads
a loved child like Donald to commit a horrific, senseless murder?
Like the killers shocked mother and father, GUN careens from
one perspective to another in a search for understanding.
A collaboration with six other passionate female
playwrights - Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol
K. Mack, Ruth Margraff and Anna Deavere Smith SEVEN is based
on personal interviews with seven women who have triumphed over
enormous obstacles to bring about major changes in their home countries
of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala,
The lives of these women provide a portal
through which audiences will be able to experience a diversity of
cultures while bearing witness to the varied way in which individual
women have overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles to justice
and freedom. Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for
Global Womens Issues
The play has been widely produced in the USA and
abroad, most recently in Istanbul and Amman. For stage rights in
the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, please contact:
Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
440 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
Web site: www.dramatists.com
For non-English language productions, please contact:
The Marton Agency, Inc.
One Union Square, Suite 815
New York, NY 10003-3303
For all other rights or general questions, please
Robert A. Freedman
Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc.
1501 Broadway, Suite 2310
New York, NY 10036
(Please put "Re: SEVEN" in the subject line.)
UNDER THE SKIN
In scenes that alternate between extreme naturalism
and surrealism, a successful corporate lawyer attempts to recover
his idealism by defending a young homeless man accused of murdering
a prostitute. As he becomes gradually more obsessed with the case,
the boundaries between his life and that of his client become blurred
and he finds himself trapped between conflicting ideas of moral
and legal justice, and of personal and political responsibility.
There are no simple solutions for anyone in the world of this play.
One chord is sounded and another vibrates. The sexual hatred and
confusion at the core of the violent acts spill over into the lawyer's
domestic life, affecting not only him but his wife and daughter,
with startling results for all.
Under its former title, FOREIGN BODIES, the play
reached the semi-finals in the 2008 ONeill Playwrights Conference
and a monologue from Act I was published in the anthology, SCENES
AND MONOLOGS FROM THE BEST NEW PLAYS II, edited by Roger Ellis.
It was presented in 2007 by Vox Nova, a collaborative company in
San Diego, directed by Kirsten Brandt. (A review by Pat Launer of
this reading can be viewed on the REVIEWS
Internationally produced and acclaimed, this drama
premiered in a New York production directed by Joseph Chaikin and
starring Joan MacIntosh as an astronomer afflicted with aphasia
following an automobile accident. The play dramatizes Anna's attempts
to recover from this devastating inability to speak, and portrays
the effect her condition has on family relationships. The situation
also provides a metaphorical spring board to some intriguing speculation
on the relationship between the black holes in the cosmos and the
black holes in the mind; the poetry of unconventional language;
and the ways in which all of us struggle to communicate the thoughts
and feelings locked within our most private selves.
The play requires a cast of 3 men and 3 women,
and a unit set. (Excerpts from many critics responding to productions
in the US and abroad can be viewed on the REVIEWS
NIGHT SKY is available for regional and community
productions through Samuel French, Inc. at (212) 206-8990 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
for first class and NY rights from Robert Freedman at Robert Freedman
Dramatic Agency, 212 840-5760 or RFreedmanagent@aol.com and for
foreign licensing from Tonda Marton at email@example.com
or 212 255 1908.
PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM
Adapted from various versions of the myth, Phaedra
falls in love with her stepson, who embodies (literally) her philandering
husband in his far more tender youth. The expression of her illicit
passion, even more than the passion itself, leads to tragedy for
all three. The play was first produced at Womens Project/CSC
in NY and most recently at Sledgehammer Theatre in San Diego.
For the first scene of the play, as published
in POLYPHONY, click on this link: September 2003. (See excerpts
from <p class="maintext"> on REVIEWS
NOTE: After winning the 1999 poetic play competition
sponsored by Quarterly Review of Literature, PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM
was published in Volume 37-38 of that journal, edited by Ted and
Renee Weiss. It is also published in Divine Fire, an
anthology devoted to radical reinventions of ancient Greek dramatic
texts, edited by Caridad Svich. It can be purchased through BackStage
This ground-breaking collaboration with Joseph
Chaikin and the Open Theatre -- an investigation into mortality
-- was first produced in 1969 and then revised in 1996. Ms. Yankowitz
won the Drama Desk Award for this unusual work. The original script
can be found in The New Radical Theatre Notebook and
ordered through Applause Books, 212 595-4735 or in Types of
Drama, Plays and Contexts at www.ablongman.com/barnettod.
The updated version of the play is available in
Performing Arts Journal 57, Johns Hopkins Press, www.press.jhu.edu.
(See press on REVIEWS page.)
is adapted from Victor Hugo's play LE ROI' S'AMUSE
(which also served as the basis for Verdi's opera RIGOLETTO). The
REVENGE is a highly theatrical, expertly plotted story with classic
themes of passion and politics, betrayal among cohorts, and the
love of father and child. The play has had several readings but
there has been no production to date. Manuscripts are available
A work for the crossover territory of music-theatre
and opera, with libretto by Susan Yankowitz and music by Michael
Dellaira, CHÉRI is a musical love story in two acts based
on Colettes 1921 novel. The story takes place in the Parisian
demi-monde just before the first World War and dramatizes the doomed
love affair between Léa de Lonval, a 49 year old ex-courtesan,
and her lover of seven years, the 23 year old Chéri.
CHÉRI was presented in workshop at the
Lincoln Centers Clark Studio and at the Actors Studio in New
York. In 2006, it was a finalist for the Richard Rogers Award. Excerpts
from the piece were selected for performance by artists from Portland
Opera and Tacoma Opera as part of OPERA America's New Works Sampler.
The piece is written in a vernacular harmonic language and requires
9 singers and 4 instrumentalists.
AUDIO: LINK TO aria from opera, The Stranger,
Grief (10:24) with Rannveig Braga, mezzo, performed by the Slovak
Radio Orchestra with Joel Eric Suben, conductor
For a fuller description, please see the New York
Times article THEATER;
Where Musicals and Opera Overlap, a Hybrid Emerges - New ...
Selections from Chéri
Albany Records, August, 2009
selections recorded live from The Actors Studio workshop production;
Carlin Glynn, director
To learn more, go to www.michaeldellaira.com
and use the link to the CHÉRI website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for rights and further information.
SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT
A gospel-and-blues drama with composer Taj Mahal
and the Lafayette Inspirational Choir on the subject of the Jonestown
dream and failure, from the perspective of the people who joined
the community, is now available to interested parties in manuscript
and CD. A description of the project and some of the lyrics can
be accessed at:
A CD of excerpts from a workshop with Taj Mahal
and the Lafayette Inspirational Choir can be requested from email@example.com
WORK IN DEVELOPMENT
THE MIND-BOGGLING, TRAGICAL-COMICAL TRIAL
OF MADAME P
wherein a Pig and various 4-Legged and Winged
Creatures are Prosecuted for Theft, Murder, Bestiality and Diverse
Crimes against Humankind is a Multi-Media, Low-and-High-Tech,
Bizarrely Theatrical Bestiary based on Trials of the Middle Ages.
a fusion drama for opera/music-theater with libretto
by SY and music by Kamala Sankaram, based on the true story of a
young, illiterate peasant woman who defies feudal tradition and
becomes an international voice for human rights. After a brutal
gang-rape, she refuses to commit suicide, as her culture demands,
and instead takes her rapists to court where she wins an unexpected,
astonishing conviction the first woman in Pakistan to do
so. Mukhtar Mais remarkable story is the inspiration for THUMBPRINT,
a boundary-leaping work that embraces East and West, Hindustani
music and European opera, Indian ragas and world folk music, the
classical and the contemporary, the styles and opportunities of
both opera and music-theater.
The piece has received several devoutly-appreciated
grants, among them a MAPFUND grant, and is moving toward completion
through residencies at The Hermitage, The MacDowell Colony, and
the Watermill Center. It is being developed under the aegis of Beth
Morrison Productions, the contact for more information: Beth@BethMorrisonProductions.