Cori Thomas’s critically acclaimed raw, edgy and funny play about the many flavors of desire, New York Times Critics’ Pick When January Feels Like Summer, directed by Daniella Topol, returns Wednesday, October 1 for a month-long run presented by the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Women’s Project Theater at Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street.
When January Feels Like Summer features Debargo Sanyal (Invasion!, Damages), Dion Graham (Machinal, Lobby Hero, The Wire), Mahira Kakkar (Harper Regan, Hank and Asha), Maurice Williams (In Conflict), and newcomer Carter Redwood. Thomas’s script follows a handful of diverse Central Harlem residents as they collide during one strangely warm winter, when a feeling of change hums in the air. Through everyday encounters on the subway and in corner bodegas a pair of teenagers become unexpected heroes, an immigrant accountant embraces transformation, and two lonely souls begin to stumble toward each other.
“Any and every New Yorker knows that living here means the strange, surprising, and sometimes magical exchange between strangers,” said Ms. Topol. “Our production captures this energy as five racially and sexually diverse characters collide into and out of one another’s lives in comedic and moving ways.”
“We are thrilled to be able to work with Lisa McNulty and Women’s Project Theater to give Cori’s remarkable play the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Cori is a playwright who so suits the mission of WP and Daniella Topol has a long history there as well,” said William Carden, Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre. “When January Feels Like Summer is a funny, magical and deeply affecting story about New York City today and people discovering themselves and each other in unexpected and surprising ways.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with the incredible team at EST to bring this beautiful play back to New York audiences,” said new Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty. “We fell in love with Cori’s moving, wickedly funny and deeply human snapshot of this city we live in, brought to life in an incredibly skilled production by long-time WP alum Daniella Topol. I can’t think of a more thrilling way to begin our season.”
Cori Thomas is a playwright and actress who lives in New York City. Her plays include: When January Feels Like Summer (World Premiere City Theatre Co., Pittsburgh); Pa’s Hat (Pillsbury House Theatre, MN); My Secret Language of Wishes (Various theaters and University productions including Mixed Blood, MN); The Princess, The Breast, and, The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Ms. Thomas’s plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Theatre Lab, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Page 73, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Going To The River, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, The Black Rep (St. Louis), The New Black Fest, and Queens Theatre in the Park. She has been commissioned by South Coast Rep Theatre, EST/Sloan Foundation, NYSCA/Page 73, NYSCA/EST and Pillsbury House Theatre.
Daniella Topol – Director Daniella Topol’s world premiere productions include: Rachel Bonds’s Five Mile Lake (South Coast Rep), Jessica Dickey’s Charles Ives Take Me Home (Rattlestick Theatre) and Row after Row (Women’s Project), Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre), Catherine Treischmann’s How the World Began (South Coast Rep/Women’s Project), Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India (Magic Theatre/MaYi Theatre), Sheila Callaghan’s Lascivious Something (Women’s Project/Cherry Lane), and Dead City (New Georges) as well as the workshop production of Martyna Majok’s Ironbound (Steppenwolf First Look Series).
This production was originally presented by Ensemble Studio Theatre and Page 73 Productions.
Sets are by Jason Simms, lights by Austin R. Smith, costumes by Sydney Maresca and sound by Shane Rettig. Kate Croasdale is Production Stage Manager.
When January Feels Like Summer performs Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00pm and Mondays at 7:00pm. Matinees are Saturdays at 2:00pm and Sundays at 5:00pm. The final performance is currently scheduled for October 26.
Reserved seats are $50, general admission seats are $40 ($32.50 student/seniors). Advance general admission tickets bought before the first preview (October 1st) are $30. To order tickets call 866.811.4111or click www.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/134.
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Crafting a Career
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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