New York nonprofit Manhattan Theater Club has slated two new plays for its 2016-17 Off Broadway season, scheduling runs for Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” and the world premiere of Sarah Jones’ “Buy/Sell/Date.”
The addition of works by Nguyen and Jones (pictured above) comes as the theater industry overall has put a greater emphasis on issues of diversity, multiculturalism and gender parity. Both writers are longtime presences in New York theater, with Nguyen earning attention for his troupe Vampire Cowboys and a string of shows including “She Kills Monsters,” and Jones’s solo outing “Bridge and Tunnel” running on Broadway in 2006 after a successful Off Broadway run.
MTC found itself at the center of a controversy earlier this year when observers noted that no work by a female playwright had been scheduled for the theater’s 2015-16 season. Soon thereafter, however, the company announced an already-in-the-works addition to the slate, Penelope Skinner’s “The Ruins of Civilization.”
Nguyen’s play “Vietgone” remixes pop culture and his parents’ real-life backstory to chronicle a romance between Vietnamese refugees in a Middle American relocation camp. The play recently finished up a run at South Coast Repertory directed by May Adrales, who’ll also helm the MTC staging.
A solo show in the vein of “Bridge and Tunnel,” Jones’ latest, “Sell/Buy/Date,” will see the writer-actor-activist portray a wide array of characters affected by the commercial sex industry, based on interviews and research into the subject. Carolyn Cantor directs.
“Vietgone” begins previews Oct. 4, 2016 ahead of an Oct. 25 opening at the larger of MTC’s two Off Broadway spaces, City Center Stage I. “Sell/Buy/Date” starts previews Sept. 27 prior to an Oct. 18 opening at City Center Stage II.