Off-Broadway News: MCC Theater Launches Casting Search for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Artists for Upcoming NYC Premiere of the Play “Charm”

December 21, 2016 | LGBT, News, Off-Broadway | Tags:
Off-Broadway News: Casting Search for "Charm" at MCC Theater Set to Open Its 2017-2018 Season
By Philip Dawkins
Directed by Will Davis

MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) announces today a casting search for transgender and gender non-conforming performers as it prepares for the newly announced first show of its 2017-18 Season: the NYC premiere of Charm, a play by Chicago-based, Jefferson Award-winning playwright Philip Dawkins to be directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Will Davis, a transgender artist.  Charm will officially open MCC’s 2017-18 Season in Fall 2017, and will be performed at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street).  Complete dates and additional info will be announced at a later date.

If you’d like to be considered but expect to be unavailable for upcoming New York open calls in early 2017, please email your NAME, CURRENT LOCATION, PICTURE, PHONE NUMBER and EMAIL to telseyplayscasting@gmail.com. Full info and casting breakdown can be viewed at http://www.telseyandco.com/charm.

“MCC has been dedicated to provoking conversations for more than three decades. It’s more important than ever that the stories we tell represent the rich diversity of voices in our country.” said MCC Theater Co-Artistic Director Will Cantler.  “We have looked forward to doing this remarkable play about the real life issues surrounding gender identity, poverty, and prejudice since discovering it during its celebrated run in Chicago in 2015. With Will Davis on board to direct our production we are thrilled to now bring this story to New York audiences under his direction and guidance. Together we are committed to engage as many transgender and gender non-conforming artists as possible on this production.”

In Charm, Mama Darleena Andrews, a 67 year old, African-American transgender woman, takes it upon herself to teach an etiquette class at Chicago’s LGBTQ community center.  The idealistic teachings of Emily Post clash with the very real life challenges of identity, poverty and prejudice faced by the center’s students. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Center on Halsted, this new play asks – how do we lift each other up when the world wants to tear us down?

Philip Dawkins (he/him/his) is a Chicago playwright whose plays have been produced all over the country and the world. His critically acclaimed works include The Homosexuals (About Face Theatre), Le Switch (About Face Theater, The Jungle), and Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), all of which were nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work; and Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre) and Charm (Northlight Theater), both of which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work. This fall, he performed the world premiere of his solo play, The Happiest Place on Earth at the Greenhouse Theater Center (co-production with Sideshow Theatre Company). Look for his musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches (with composer, David Mallamud) at Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis this winter. Philip is an ensemble playwright at Victory Gardens Theater, as well as an artistic associate at Sideshow Theatre and About Face Theatre. Philip teaches playwriting at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, his alma mater, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program for writers with disabilities. His plays, including his plays for young performers, are available through Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatic Publishing.

Will Davis is a trans-identified director and choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work and old plays in new ways. He is also the newly appointed artistic director of American Theater Company (ATC). Recent projects include: Evita, re-imagined for the Olney Theatre Center, Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus for Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks and Playwrights Horizons; DUAT by Daniel Alexander Jones for Soho Rep; Orange Julius by Basil Kreimendahl; Mike Iveson’s Sorry Robot for PS122’s COIL Festival; and two productions of Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker for Mixed Blood Theater and the Olney Theatre Center, for which he won a Helen Hayes award for outstanding direction. Davis has developed, directed and performed his work with New York Theatre Workshop, Clubbed Thumb, the New Museum, the Olney Theatre Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Playwright’s Realm, the Fusebox Festival, New Harmony Project, the Orchard Project, the Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, Performance Studies International at Stanford University, and the Kennedy Center. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship and the BAX (Brooklyn Art Exchange) artist in residence program. He holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from DePaul University and an MFA in Directing from UT Austin.

Support for this production is provided in part by the Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation.

MCC Theater broke ground on its first permanent home— a two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue—on March 22, 2016. Set to open in 2018, the space will unite MCC’s diverse roster of programs under one roof for the first time in the company’s three-decade history. The new facility will also allow MCC to expand its programming and establish it as a cultural anchor within the Clinton neighborhood. The $35 million project is funded by a public-private partnership between the Theater and the City of New York, with $30 million raised to-date.

About MCC Theater

MCC is one of New York’s leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Founded in 1986 as a collective of artists leading peer-based classes to support their own development as actors, writers and directors, the tenets of collaboration, education, and community are at the core of MCC Theater’s programming. One of the only theaters in the country led continuously by its founders, Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler, MCC fulfills its mission through the production of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals that challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues, and robust playwright development and education initiatives that foster the next generation of theater artists and students.

Plays and musicals developed by the company have gone on to stagings around the globe. Notable productions over the course of the company’s 30-year history include Robert Askins’ Hand to God, nominated for five Tony Awards and transferred to London’s West End; Sharr White’s The Other Place, starring Laurie Metcalf; The Submission by Jeff Talbot, winner of the inaugural Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for new American plays; Bryony Lavery’s Frozen, a 2004 Tony nominee for Best play and winner for Brian F. O’Byrne’s performance; Wit by Margaret Edson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1999; the classic cult musical Carrie, which has gone on to international productions since the Theater’s extensive redevelopment work and staging in 2012, the first in more than two decades; and ten plays by Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute, including Fat Pig; reasons to be pretty, a 2009 Tony nominee for Best Play; Reasons to Be Happy; and All The Ways To Say I Love You . Blake West joined the company in 2006 as Executive Director. MCC will open its first permanent home in 2018 in Manhattan’s Clinton neighborhood, unifying the company’s activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming. The Theater is currently in the midst of a $35 million campaign to support its expansion and growing artistic operations, with $30 million raised to-date.