THE UNEXPECTED PLAY FESTIVAL Returns to Theatrical Outfit, January 14-15, 2019

Buckle Up for Round 2!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.”  — T.S. Elliot

Welcome back to Theatrical Outfit’s festival of play readings, The UnexpectedPlay Festival. Witness top notch talent bring characters and plots to vivid life as three new or newish scripts not only stir the soul but maybe even unsettle it. Think of it as TO Stage 2 – unpredictable and exciting fare that stretches The Outfit aesthetic in either content or form. Preview tomorrow’s hit play today. This back-by-popular-demand programming runs January 14-152019 continuing Theatrical Outfit’s 2018-2019 Season of Beauty.  


IF I FORGET – January 14 at 12pm
by Steven Levenson
directed by Mira Hirsch, TO Director of Education
featuring Andrew Benator, Lane Carlock, Brian Kurlander, Clayton Landey, Jennifer Levison, Cara Mantella, and Jordan Patrick

Just before September 11, 2001. Tenleytown, Washington, D.C. Liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters for their father’s seventy-fifth birthday. Each deeply invested in their own version of family history, the siblings clash over everything from Michael’s controversial scholarly work to the mounting pressures of caring for an ailing parent. As secrets and resentments surface, the three negotiate how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning.

GERSHWIN’S AMERICA – January 14 at 7:30pm
by Alpin Hong and Adam Koplan
in partnership with Flying Carpet Theatre Company
directed by Adam Koplan
starring Alpin Hong

George Gershwin (1898-1937), “America’s Composer,” synthesized jazz, classical music, opera, and ragtime into his unique style. Pianist Alpin Hong has played Gershwin’s music since his days as a young piano prodigy, but only truly unlocked his hailed Gershwin interpretations by wrestling with the intersections between his personal journey and Gershwin’s. Weaving Gershwin’s life story with his own through anecdotes and autobiographical recollections about his unique American-ness, Hong delivers world-class interpretations of some of our country’s most beloved songs in this tale about music, being a second-generation immigrant, and what it means to be American.

BELLWETHER – January 15 at 7:30pm
by Steve Yockey
directed by Clifton Guterman, TO Associate Artistic Director
featuring Marlon Burnley, Kate Donadio, Suehyla El-Attar, Kathleen Wattis Kettrey, Eliana Marianes, Stacey Melich, Rachel Mewbron, Tamil Periasamy, Diany Rodriguez, and Joe Sykes 

The present. America. Bellwether is a nice, quiet, safe place to live. Bad things just don’t happen here. Until, that is, six-year-old Amy Draft goes missing from her bedroom. As theinvestigation progresses, speculation in the media and the neighborhood rapidly focuses on Amy’s parents, Alan and Jackie Draft. But the young girl’s disappearance is not what it seems and is only a glimpse of what lurks just below the community’s perfect, suburban surface.

Titles, personnel, and performers subject to change. 

Performances: January 14, 2019 at 12:00pm (If I Forget) and 7:30pm (Gershwin’s America) and January 15, 2019 at 7:30pm (Bellwether). Tickets are $10 per individual reading or $25 for a three-reading package. TO six-play season subscribers receive one free ticket to one reading of their choice. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 678.528.1500

Immediately following each reading, TO staff members will moderate a discussion with the creative teams of the festival – actors, directors, writers – and facilitate questions from the audience.  

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: Funding for this program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Major support is provided by the City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Additional support from: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB Radio, Georgia Council for the Arts, Turner Broadcasting, Publix Super Markets Charities, Macy’s, Kilpatrick Townsend, TheShubert Foundation, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

ABOUT OUR VENUE: Theatrical Outfit utilizes a Loop Listening System, making The Balzer Theater at Herren’s the first theater in the state of Georgia to incorporate this technology. Attendees with T-coil hearing aids may participate automatically, and others needing enhancement may obtain system-compatible headsets from our lobby Box Office.

ABOUT THEATRICAL OUTFIT: Atlanta’s second-oldest continuously-operating professional theatre company was founded in 1976 and has been led by Artistic Director Tom Key since fall 1995. Key led the company through the creation of its award-winning downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, the first U.S. theater to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Balzer Theater is also the historical site of Herren’s, the first restaurant in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate in 1962; its first African American patrons, Dr. Lee and Delores Shelton, remain Theatrical Outfit patrons. Key’s programming of classics, regional and world premieres, and musicals tell soul-stirring stories, with themes that explore diversity, equality, ethnicity, race, and religion; and often feature the best writers of the American South, including Ernest Gaines, Lauren Gunderson, Horton Foote, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Janece Shaffer, Sherry Shephard-Massat, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, and Tennessee Williams. After ten years of capital investment, T.O. is in new territory. Having retired its mortgage, the staff, trustees, and artists have launched a new 2018-2020 Strategic Plan designed to produce great art, diversify and grow our audience, increase revenue and reserves, develop artists who contribute to the dramatic canon, and maintain an effective organization. In September of 2018, Theatrical Outfit welcomed Gretchen E. Butler as Managing Director.

OUR VISION: A compassionate, joyful, and just community.  
OUR MISSION: Produce world-class theatre that starts the conversations that matter.                     

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