The Writer’s Room, a new development effort underwritten by veteran off-Broadway and Broadway nonprofit company Manhattan Theatre Club (which presented two of last season’s Tony contenders for Best Play) and off-off-Broadway group Ars Nova (which had a major hit with the musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812) will launch By The Water, its first show, in November at MTC’s Studio At Stage II, its smaller theater at New York’s City Center.
The Sharyn Rothstein play, to be staged by Hal Brooks, is set in Staten Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. A couple is trying to put their lives back together after the storm has destroyed their home and community and their returning sons make some startling discoveries. The drama is slated to begin performances on November 4 and open two weeks later. It was commissioned by The Writer’s Room.
Both MTC and Ars Nova already have their own developmental arms. The Writer’s Room collaboration is designed to encourage the development of new plays and musicals, presented at affordable prices; all tickets to the initial run of By The Water will be $30. That puts the initiative in the same club as Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3 and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Roundabout Underground — projects that collectively have produced several of the most provocative works in recent seasons, including Choir Boy (MTC), Disgraced (LCT3), with Aasif Mandvi, and Bad Jews (Roundabout Underground).