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The Drama League Expands DirectorFest

The Drama League has announced the expansion of its annual DirectorFest into a multi-week New York City event centered around the art of contemporary stage directing.

Scheduled to take place Jan. 13-22, the 34th DirectorFest will include five fully staged productions, conversations with notable directors, and an evening showcase of new musicals, staged readings, discussion panels, book signings, and workshops.

Scattered across locations throughout Manhattan, the festival’s two-week program features rarely seen plays by David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”) and Enda Walsh (“Once: The Musical”). Other highlights include Alex Rubin’s new play “Group,” which features Tony nominee Jenn Colella in a staged reading directed by Ilana Ransom Toeplit, and new works by Gabrielle Reisman, Alejandro Ricaño, and more, directed by the 2017 Drama League Directors Project Fellows: Laura Brandel, Bonnie Gabel, Matt Dickson, Flordelino Lagundino, and Rebecca Martinez.

Additionally, the festival will present UpClose, a series of conversations with American contemporary directors such as Anne Bogart (“Dead Man’s Cell Phone”), Anne Kauffman (“Mary Jane”), Damon Kiely (“Oklahoma!”), Robert O’Hara (“Bootycandy”), Kimberly Senior (“Disgraced”), and George C. Wolfe (“Shuffle Along”). Venues include The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, The Drama League Theater Center, and The Drama Book Shop.

Executive artistic director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks said: “Having supported American theatre directors for over 30 years, The Drama League has far too often heard the question, ‘What does a director really do?’  Finally, the time has come to answer that question,” he continued. “By foregrounding the director’s art, it’s our hope that we can amplify DirectorFest into a national conversation about the state of the art form.”

“Through nearly two dozen performances and events this January, DirectorFest will ask audiences to explore the craft of directing,” added associate producer Travis LeMont Ballenger, “celebrating master directors at the top of their field alongside the brightest rising directors in the country.”

Pictured: Clockwise from left, Directors Flordelino Lagundino, Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, Matt Dickson, Bonnie Gabel, Laura Brandel, and Rebecca Martinez (seated).

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