In my first season as Artistic Director, I’m celebrating Rattlestick’s 29-year legacy of artist-centered, ambitious new work and preparing for an exciting transformation of our beloved home on Waverly Place.
On stage, we’ll welcome legendary playwright and performer Dael Orlandersmith with her powerful new solo show Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance. Dael is a veteran of the Rattlestick stage where she premiered her acclaimed plays Horsedreams and Until the Flood. In conversation with Dante’s Divine Comedy, this piece follows a character named Virgil who takes us on a gripping journey to look death in the eye. Dael’s work shines in its humanity, and her latest work promises to be a breathtaking feat of performance.
After Dael’s show, we’ll pause programming on Waverly Place while we transform our beloved theater into a fully accessible redesigned performance space to accommodate visionary, immersive productions and events. I cannot wait to welcome you to our new theater!
Throughout the season, Rattlestick will offer development support to our next generation of daring theater artists including our Terrence McNally New Works and Van Lier New Voices Fellows as well as a first look at work in process showings by our commissioned artists, our Mellon Playwright in Residence, and our Directing Fellow.
In the spring, we’ll present a reimagined Global Forms Theater Festival, which will be guest-curated and feature the work of notable immigrant theatermakers as well as workshops and a conversation series with our global Rattlestick community.
This season and our long-awaited renovation project are the result of the superb leadership of my predecessor Daniella Topol, and I’m grateful to plant new seeds in such fertile ground.
Rattlestick thrives because of its community of artists, supporters, and audiences. At its core, Rattlestick is about making work by and for the community. I am thrilled to continue Rattlestick’s commitment to artistic excellence and service to the field.
On the Stage
Latin for breath, “Spiritus” is often used figuratively to mean spirit. In Dael Orlandersmith’s new solo show Spiritus/Virgil's Dance, the word takes on a metaphorical meaning for a soul on a quest. In conversation with Dante’s Divine Comedy, we meet Virgil in the middle of an ordinary life. With their father’s passing, Virgil reframes death and finds the extraordinary they’ve been searching for.
In February 2024, Rattlestick is thrilled to welcome back Dael Orlandersmith (Until the Flood, NYTimes Critics’ Pick) with her latest piece that “Shines in its humanity. A special, human kind of satisfaction which we might not have realized we needed—but which we truly need nonetheless.” - BroadwayWorld. This production is being produced in partnership with Merrimack Repertory Theater.
Terrence McNally New Works Incubator
Terrence McNally was an integral part of the Rattlestick community from the very beginning, and the value he placed on ambitious and innovative new play-making remains at the core and ethos of the company. Created in partnership with the Terrence McNally Foundation and Tom Kirdahy Productions, the McNally New Works Incubator fosters the development of emerging playwrights by offering critical financial support, personalized mentorship, and workshop presentations. The inaugural fellows are Molly Herron Bicks, HyoJeong Choi, and Haygen-Brice Walker.
Van Lier New Voices Fellowship
The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship provides pivotal support to two playwrights of color under 30 by encouraging experimentation and providing a foundational artistic home as the fellows navigate the early stages of their careers. This year’s incoming fellows, AriDy Nox and a.k. payne, are powerful inventive writers with real vision for what the future of the form could be. The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship is funded by New York Community Trust and the Jerome Foundation.
Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence
More than a standard fellowship, this residency was conceived as an intervention into the traditional relationships between artists and institutions, to reimagine what institutions might look like when an artist’s voice is at the core. Playwright Basil Kreimendahl returns for another three year cycle as the Rattlestick playwright in residence. This residency is made possible by the support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This fellowship is a one-year program that provides early career directors institutional support to develop and build their professional networks. This season we welcome Jacob Basri to Rattlestick where he will be mentored by the Artistic Director and provided time and space to build his own project over the course of the year. The Rattlestick Directing Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of Sonja Berggren and Patrick Seaver.
Rattlestick is launching a new artist salon series, First Tuesdays. On the first Tuesday of each month, we’ll partner with a local bar in our West Village community to host an intimate evening of cocktails and conversation featuring Rattlestick-affiliated artists and friends. The best part? The first round is on us.
We’re thrilled to offer this exclusive membership perk to strengthen the relationship between our West Village community, audiences and patrons, and Rattlestick artists and alumni. Our fall First Tuesdays lineup will feature artist talks and performances from Emmy Award-winning actor and producer John Leguizamo (Latin History for Morons) and hit indie band Chicano Batman, Drama Desk Award-winning actor Michael Urie (Buyer & Cellar), Obie Award winner Arturo Luìs Soria (Ni Mi Madre), and more. First Tuesdays is made possible by the Victor and Clara C. Battin Foundation.
*Due to limited capacity, First Tuesdays is not open to the general public. Members will be invited to at least one First Tuesday event during the season.
Development of new work comes in many forms. At Rattlestick we tailor the development process to the work and to the artist. From full play readings to movement workshops to site-specific explorations, our goal is to bring our resources to the artist and let them create, draft, and discover their work on their own terms. In keeping with the spirit of community, the Lab brings our fellows and commissioned artists together with directors, actors, and other artists for collaborations and invited sharings.
In 2020, Rattlestick and New York Theatre Salon formed the Global Forms Theater Festival, designed to meet urgent, specific needs of immigrant artists during the pandemic. Celebrating its fifth year, Global Forms produces work by immigrant artists and provides important production opportunities that support the process of applying for artist visas. The festival showcases the work of artists who are often underrepresented on New York stages and serves as an essential hub for the community. Global Forms is made possible by the Ford Foundation and New York State Council on the Arts.