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DirectorFest 2019: The 35th Annual Directors Festival Line-Up

DirectorFest 2019: The 35th Annual Directors Festival Line-Up

The Drama League (Executive Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks) has announced casting for DirectorFest 2019: The 35th Annual Directors Festival, the only festival in the United States exploring the art of contemporary stage directing. DirectorFest takes place at various locations around NYC: New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street), The Drama League Theater Center (32 Avenue of the Americas), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (31-10 Thompson Avenue, Long Island City), and Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street). Festival programming, tickets and additional details are available at, or by calling (212) 244-9494.

For its 35th year, the festival will include six fully-staged productions, a showcase evening of a new musical, discussion forums, and conversations with notable American directors.

Taking place over four weeks in venues across New York City, the festival’s highlights include a reimagined new staging of a Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little; the New York premiere of The Clitorish by Mara Nelson-Greenberg; Drunk Enough To Say I Love You? by Caryl Churchill; First Love by Charles L. Mee; Deathwatch by Jean Genet; the North American premiere of This Is NOT Hamlet, conceived by Bulgarian director Boyan Kracholov; and Whitney Whites Three Sisters, The Music, songs from a work-in-progress, adapted and directed by Whitney White

The 2018 Drama League Directors Project Fellows include Jennifer Chang, Tara Elliott, Kemar Jewel, Seonjae Kim, and Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li. Chosen from over 330 applicants nationwide, these five visionary emerging directors recently completed their year of mentorships, assistantships, training and career development as part of The Drama League Directors Project. The festival will also include the work of Drama League Next Stage Resident Whitney White and Drama League International Exchange Program Artist Boyan Kracholov.

The creative team for DirectorFest 2019 includes Diggle (Set Designer), Sabrina Bianca Guillame (Costume Designer), Lois Gordon (Lighting Designer), Mark Jablonski (Sound Designer), Claire Brady (Props Designer), Brent Shultz (Fight Director), Libby Jensen (Production Manager), Gracie Esmonde (Company Manager), with Travis LeMont Ballenger (Associate Producer), Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (Executive Artistic Director), and Sherri Eden Barber (Program Consultant). The Stage Management team includes Emily Roth (Production Stage Manager/Whitney White’s Three Sisters, The Music)) with Melanie Aponte (Deathwatch), Will Chaloner (Drunk Enough To Say I Love You), Tyler Danhaus (Marry Me A Little), Rachel Kaufman (First Love), Peter Nictakis (This is NOT Hamlet), and Yetti Steinman (The Clitorish). Casting for the festival by Harriet Bass, Michael Cassara, Stephen DeAngelis, Alan Filderman, and Cindi Rush.

The festival will also include conversations with two of America’s foremost contemporary directors, Lear DeBessonet (Good Person of Setzuan) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney), as well as A Town-Hall Conversation: The Mid-Career Director.

Ms. Chang, Ms. Elliott, Mr. Jewel, Ms. Kim, Mr. Kracholov, Mr. Li, and Ms. White join the ranks of over 350+ illustrious alumni of The Drama League Directors Project, including Tony® Award winners Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Diane Paulus (Waitress), Michael Mayer (Head Over Heels), Pam MacKinnon (The Parisian Woman), and John Rando (On The Town); and Tony® Award nominees Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Moritz von Steulpnagel (Bernhardt/Hamlet), Alex Timbers (Beetlejuice), and Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg), to name only a few.

DIRECTORFEST is made possible thanks to the generosity of our current supporters: Howard Gilman Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Riggio Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts, and Trust for Mutual Understanding. Subsidized studio space provided by the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Special thanks to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Drama League. Drama League programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Tickets Available at


Marry Me A Little
Songs by Stephen Sondheim
Conceived and Developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene
Produced Off-Broadway by Diane de Mailly in association with William B. Young
Originally Produced by The Production Company
Music Direction by John Kight
Directed and Choreographed by 2018 Leo Shull Musical Theater Directing Fellow Kemar Jewel

January 11, 2019 at 7:30pm
January 12, 2019 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm
New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street
$25 General Admission/$20 Drama League Members

The two-member cast of Marry Me A Little features Jordan Barbour as Man 1 and Jon-Michael Reese as Man 2. The Stage Manager is Tyler Danhaus. Sound Design by Mike Tracey. Casting by Stephen DeAngelis.

Featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim, the master of the modern musical, Marry Me A Little has been reimagined by director and choreographer Kemar Jewel as the story of two queer men of color, searching for love in the city that never sleeps. Two strangers, alone in their apartments on a Saturday night, reveal their secret dreams and fantasies, never knowing that they’re just one wall away from each other. With trunk songs from Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Company, and more, this new production gives voice to love rarely seen on stage.

Kemar Jewel, an international director and choreographer from Philadelphia, became an internet sensation for his video Voguing Train (2014). Kemar’s projects have garnered over six million views across social media platforms and have been featured by the Huffington Post, TIME, Fox News and in film festivals across the globe. In theatre, he recently directed Legendary for Underground Arts and Songs For Marsha at the Helen Mills Theatre. B.A., Temple University.

This production and fellowship are supported, in part, with funds from The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts. Marry Me A Little is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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