Second Stage Uptown Series Will Include New York Premieres of American Hero and Mala Hierba
By Michael Gioia
The New York premieres of Bess Wohl's American Hero, directed by Leigh Silverman (Chinglish, Well, Violet), and Tanya Saracho's Mala Hierba, directed by Jerry Ruiz, will be presented as part of the Second Stage Theatre's 12th annual Uptown Series this summer.
Both plays will be presented at the company's uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre (on Broadway at 76th Street). American Hero will run May 13-June 8, with an opening night set for May 22, and Mala Hierba will run July 14-Aug. 10, with an opening night set for July 24.
Here's how Wohl's American Hero is billed: "At a toasted subs franchise in the local mall, three up and coming 'sandwich artists' — a teenager, a single mom, and a downsized refugee from corporate banking—are perfecting the mustard to cheese ratio according to the company manual. But when their shot at the American dream is interrupted by a series of strange events, they become unlikely allies in a post-recession world. American Hero is a supersized dark comedy about life, liberty and the pursuit of sandwiches."
Playwright Wohl's plays have been produced or developed at theatres around the country, including The Williamstown Theatre Festival, People's Light and Theatre Company, Center Theatre Group, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, The Pioneer Theatre, Hartford Stage BrandNew Festival, The Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Northlight Theater, TheaterWorks New Works Fesitval, The Geffen Playhouse, The Vineyard Arts Project, Ojai Playwright's Conference, the Cape Cod Theatre Project and the New York International Fringe Festival (award for Best Overall Production).
Here's how Saracho's Mala Hierba, directed by Ruiz (Basilica for Rattlestick Playwright's Theater, Philip Goes Forth for the Mint Theater Company), is described: "Liliana has a sparkle few can deny and no one can resist. The trophy wife of a border magnate living in Texas, she's seemingly impeccable. But beneath that polished exterior lies a fierce determination to survive at any cost. When Liliana's true desires break the surface, she’ll have to decide between the value of obligation versus the price of freedom."
Playright, actor, theatre director and television writer Saracho currently writes for HBO's "Looking" and "Girls." Her works have been produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Her plays include The Tenth Muse, Song for the Disappeared, Enfrascada, El Nogalar (inspired by The Cherry Orchard), an adaptation of The House on Mango Street for Steppenwolf, Our Lady of the Underpass, Kita y Fernanda and Quita Mitos.
Created as a program to help develop and provide exposure for the voices of a new generation of theatre artists, Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series (Christopher Burney, curator and associate artistic director), seeks to "develop the skills of emerging playwrights, to provide early-career artists with the support of a major artistic institution, and to create new plays for the American Theatre. Each show has a limited rehearsal period, as well as a streamlined budget." Second Stage Theatre is under the artistic direction of Carole Rothman.
Tickets for both shows, priced $25, can be purchased by calling (212) 246-4422 or online at 2ST.com.
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