“DirectorFest 2019” – Drama League Director Fellows on New York Stages

DRUNK ENOUGH TO SAY I LOVE YOU by Caryl Churchill Directed by Tara Elliott Pictured (left to right): Quentin Maré, Devin Kolluri. Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey.
THE CLITORISH by Mara Nelson Greenberg
Directed by Jennifer Chan 
Pictured: Tony Carlin
Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey

You know the Drama League, yes? Founded in 1910, the league supports theater professionals by providing production opportunities and professional development. The League, in its own words, offers “a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences.” One of the ways the League supports directors is through its annual festival featuring the work of talented, early-career directors. The League calls this event DirectorFest, and it’s been a mainstay of the organization for the last 35 years.

Directors, of course, can make or break a show. The director of one of the festival shows I saw took a rich and lyrical but complex script and moored the words to such specific and nuanced behaviors that the play developed a layer of accessibility not always apparent on the printed page. Gifted directors will always put their decisive stamp on shows without altering a line of the text or speaking any of the lines themselves.

DRUNK ENOUGH TO SAY I LOVE YOU by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Tara Elliott
Pictured: Quentin Maré
Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey.

Chosen from over 330 applicants nationwide, DirectorFest 2019 features work by Drama League Directors Project Fellows Jennifer Chang, Tara Elliott, Kemar Jewel, Seonjae Kim, and Dennis Yueh-YehLi. Next Stage Resident Whitney White and International Exchange Program Artist Boyan Kracholov round out the series. All of these artists are given the resources, mentoring and support to mount professional productions for short runs on New York stages, including the New Ohio Theatre and Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, and the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City.

THE CLITORISH by Mara Nelson-Greenberg
Directed by Jennifer Chan
Pictured (left to right):
Tony Carlin, Robin Abramson
Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey

This year’s festival runs now through January 28, and should make for not only lively, thought-provoking theater but—if past years are any judge—could very well introduce audiences to the artists who will guide their standout theatrical experiences for some time to come. DirectorFest alumni include Tony® Award winners Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Diane Paulus (Waitress), Michael Mayer (Head Over Heels), and John Rando (On The Town).

DRUNK ENOUGH TO SAY I LOVE YOU by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Tara Elliott
Pictured (left to right): Devin Kolluri, Quentin Maré
Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey

DirectorFest 2019 features six fully-staged productions, a showcase evening of a new musical, discussion forums, and talkbacks with established American directors. Though all of the festival directors may be at the beginning of their careers, you may be surprised to learn what an accomplished group they already are. These artists:  

  • Serve as head of a undergraduate acting dept. (Chang)
  • Produced a Gotham Award-winning web series (Elliot)
  • Developed social media projects with six million views (Jewel)
  • Was produced at LaMama and the Atlantic Theater Company (Kimis)
  • Will premiere work at the Pravets Mozart Festival in Bulgaria (Kracholove)
  • Developed work at New York Theatre Workshop and 59E59th Theaters (White)
  • Was produced at Theater for the New City (Yueh-Yeh Li)

In other words, though they have yet to win their Tonys®, you’re most likely in good hands.

THE CLITORISH by Mara Nelson-Greenberg
Directed by Jennifer Chan
Pictured (left to right): Tony Carlin, Robin Abramson, Aaron Costa Ganis
Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*