Cleaving unwaveringly to the cutting edge, the award-winning Echo Theater Company is bringing three galvanizing premieres from acclaimed playwrights on the forefront of American theater to L.A. audiences in 2019.
The season kicks off on March 16 with the Los Angeles premiere of 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist The Wolves, an extraordinary debut play by Sarah DeLappe.
From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, a girls’ indoor soccer team warms up, navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. Alana Dietze (Dry Land) directs Delappes’s critically acclaimed, multiple award-wining portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals. “The scary, exhilarating brightness of raw adolescence emanates from every scene of this uncannily assured first play… Critic’s Pick”— Ben Brantley. The New York Times.
(March 16 – April 21: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.; Mondays at 8 p.m.; previews begin March 13)
Opening July 13, the West Coast premiere of Pass Over is Antoinette Nwandu’s provocative mash up of Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga, a rare piece of politically charged theater by a bold new American voice.
Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner — talking smack, passing the time, and hoping that today a miracle will come. Emotional and lyrical, Pass Over crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the unquestionable human spirit of young black men who dream about a promised land they’ve yet to find.
(July 13 – Aug. 18: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.; Mondays at 8 p.m.; previews begin July 11)
Opening Sept. 7, Echo artistic director Chris Fields will helm the world premiere of Handjob by Erik Patterson (One of the Nice Ones).
When a gay writer hires a man to work as a “shirtless cleaner,” misogyny, homophobia, and racism bubble to the surface. Patterson’s darkly funny comedy explores the deepest sensitivities in our culture — with unexpected consequences.
(Sept. 7 – Oct. 20: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.; Mondays at 8 p.m.; previews begin Sept. 5)
Also in 2019, Echo will continue its search to uncover new work and “playwrights to watch” with its innovative National Young Playwrights in Residence program. This unique program pairs six diverse young writers, ages 18-25, from across the U.S. in year-long mentorships with established professional playwrights.
The 2019 National Young Playwrights are:
- Messiah Cristine, a native of Miami, FL currently living in New York City
- Ammie Jergenson from La Crescent, Minnesota and a recent graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin
- Massi(mo) Monfiletto from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who recently graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA
- David Norris, a graduating senior at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR; Viviana Prado-Núñez from San Juan, Puerto Rico, currently a junior at Columbia University
- Eliana Pipes, based in Los Angeles and New York and currently pursuing her MFA at Boston University
Each student/mentor pair will work together to create a new play; students and mentors not located in the same geographical area will collaborate via video chat and voice calls. The program will culminate at the Echo with five days of rehearsals, receptions and public staged readings of the new works they create.
Founded in 1997 and dedicated to producing new work, the Echo Theater Company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly in its 2014 Best of L.A. issue and was a recipient of a 2016 “Kilroy Cake Drop”– one of only 13 theaters in the country to be surprised by cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans writers. In the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Echo Theater Company, which has cultivated a community of top flight actors, would be my go-to place in Los Angeles for symbiotic ensemble acting… Artistic directors of theaters of all sizes would be wise to follow the [lead] of the Echo’s Chris Fields, who [is] building audience communities eager for the challenge of path-breaking plays.” KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes stated, “It’s time to start paying attention to the Echo Theater Company… What’s made these choices pay off is the acting and casting has been superb. The company has made bold choices and backed them up.”
All performances take place at Atwater Village Theatre, located at 3269 Castitas Ave. in Los Angeles.