Public Theater Announces Season With Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Sturridge, Bob Dylan Musical

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A new musical featuring the songs of Bob Dylan and productions starring Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge will be among the 2018-19 offerings of Off Broadway’s Public Theater.

The West End hit Girl From the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson and featuring music from Dylan’s songbook, will make its North American premiere in September, with an American cast. (The photo above was taken at the Old Vic Theatre in London last July).

Also in September, Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid makes its New York premiere starring Glenn Close as the mother of Joan of Arc.

Gyllenhaal and Sturridge also are set to appear in a double bill of solo shows beginning in January. Sturridge will perform Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall, a monologue “about love and the human need to know the unknowable,” while Gyllenhaal stars in Nick Payne’s A Life, “a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most.” The one-acts, performed under the combined title Sea Wall/A Life, will be directed by Carrie Cracknell.

Oskar Eustis, the Public’s artistic director, and Patrick Willingham, executive director, announced the season’s line-up today (see the complete roster below). 

The new season also will include new work by Patricia Ione Lloyd, Hansol Jung and Jordan E. Cooper, Suzan-Lori Parks, Tim Blake Nelson, and Luis Alfaro.

“This is a season of spectacular, ambitious projects, highlighted by a burst of young playwrights,” said Eustis. “Patricia Ione Lloyd, Hansol Jung, and Jordan E. Cooper will be making their Public Theater mainstage debuts. Public Master Writer Chair Suzan-Lori Parks has written a brilliant and disturbing reflection on our current state of race relations, White Noise; masters Jane Anderson, Luis Alfaro, Conor McPherson, and Bob Dylan are working at the height of their powers; and actors Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Sturridge will light up Astor Place.”

Here is the line-up:


North American Premiere
Written and Directed by Conor McPherson
Music and Lyrics by Bob Dylan
September 11 – November 4, 2018

Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out run at London’s Old Vic and a West End transfer, the astonishing new show from Olivier Award winner and Tony Award nominee Conor McPherson and music icon Bob Dylan will make its North American premiere at The Public with an American cast. Dylan’s inimitable songbook is authentically transformed into this achingly beautiful story of a down-on-its-luck community on the brink of change in Dylan’s hometown, Duluth, Minnesota, in 1934.

New York Premiere
Written by Jane Anderson
Directed by Matthew Penn
Featuring Glenn Close
September 25 – November 18, 2018

Six-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Tony and Emmy Award winner Glenn Close returns to The Public in a breathtaking new play by Emmy winner Jane Anderson. MOTHER OF THE MAID tells the story of Joan of Arc’s mother (Glenn Close), a sensible, hard-working, God-fearing peasant woman whose faith is upended as she deals with the baffling journey of her odd and extraordinary daughter. Emmy nominee Matthew Penn directs this deeply moving drama about the glories and challenges of raising an exceptional child.

World Premiere
Written by Patricia Ione Lloyd
Directed by Jo Bonney
October 23 – December 2, 2018
Developed in residence as the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater

From The Public’s Emerging Writers Group alum and 2017-18 Tow Playwright-in-Residence Patricia Ione Lloyd and Obie Award-winning director Jo Bonney comes a stunning, genre-bending new drama about the haunting of a black family in America. In the aftermath of a messy divorce and a daughter coming out as queer, Deborah is trying to keep things normal at home. But as black people continue to be killed beyond their four walls, the outside finds its way in, blurring the lines between family dynamics, politics, and the spirit world.

New York Premiere
Written by Hansol Jung
Directed by Leigh Silverman
October 30 – December 9, 2018
A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse

After its initial run in The Public’s Public Studio, Hansol Jung’s fascinating and unforgettable new play WILD GOOSE DREAMS returns in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically acclaimed run last season. Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman directs this strikingly original play with music about two people, from two cultures, forced to choose between family and freedom.

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jenny Koons
Sit-down run at The Public Theater: October 29 – November 18, 2018
Following a three-week tour in the five boroughs

This fall, a classic New York City block party becomes the enchanted setting where fairies work their mischief in Shakespeare’s beloved play A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Acclaimed director Jenny Koons takes you to the royal wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, where a celebratory play is being rehearsed.

15th Edition
January 3-13, 2019
Full UTR line-up to be announced in the fall.

By Manual Cinema

Two hundred years ago, 18-year-old Mary Shelley conceived a ghost story about birth, creation, and abandonment that would become the world’s first science-fiction masterpiece. Internationally renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley’s biography to create a full-length, unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation.

New York Premiere
Written by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne, respectively
Directed by Carrie Cracknell
Featuring Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal, respectively
January 26 – March 24, 2019

Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge make their Public Theater debuts in an unforgettable and incredibly intimate evening of theater. Sturridge, in his third collaboration with Tony and Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens, performs SEA WALL, an astonishing monologue about love and the human need to know the unknowable. Gyllenhaal continues his artistic collaboration with Olivier Award-nominated playwright Nick Payne in A LIFE, a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most. Directed by Carrie Cracknell, this heart-filled exploration of the beauty of life and the meaning of love, SEA WALL / A LIFE is an evening of dramatic storytelling at its best.

World Premiere
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Oskar Eustis
February 19 – March 31, 2019

Following her critically acclaimed trilogy Father Comes Home From The Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and The Public’s Master Writer Chair Suzan-Lori Parks returns with a world premiere play about race, friendship, and our rapidly unraveling social contract. Long-time friends and lovers Leo, Misha, Ralph, and Dawn are educated, progressive, cosmopolitan, and woke. But when a racially motivated incident with the cops leaves Leo shaken, he decides extreme measures must be taken for self-preservation. The Public’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis directs this fierce new drama about what happens when the unspoken and the unspeakable come head-to-head.

World Premiere
Written by Jordan E. Cooper
Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
March 12 – April 21, 2019

AIN’T NO MO’, first seen in The Public’s Public Studio, is a vibrant satirical odyssey portraying the great exodus of black Americans out of a country plagued with injustice. In a kaleidoscope of scenes of the moments before, during, and after this outrageous departure, Jordan E. Cooper’s masterful new work explores the value of black lives in a country hurtling away from the promise of a black president. Stevie Walker-Webb directs this wildly imaginative and emotionally charged play.

World Premiere
Written by Tim Blake Nelson
Directed by Doug Hughes
April 2 – May 19, 2019
In collaboration with the Onassis Cultural Center NY, with support of Onassis Foundation USA

SOCRATES is a witty and endlessly fascinating new drama about a complicated man who changed how the world thought. This powerful new play by actor, director, and writer Tim Blake Nelson is an intellectual thrill ride from the philosopher’s growing prominence in democratic Athens through the military and social upheavals that led to one of the most infamous executions in Western history. Tony Award winner Doug Hughes directs SOCRATES, a timely and timeless new work that serves as a passionate tribute to the man who continues to inspire us to question authority and defend freedom of belief.

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Lucas Caleb Rooney
Sit-down run at The Public Theater: April 29 – May 19, 2019
Following a three-week tour in the five boroughs

Magic and mayhem continue their wicked work in THE TEMPEST, directed by Obie Award winner Lucas Caleb Rooney. When a storm shipwrecks King Alonso and his royal entourage on the island home of Prospero and his daughter Miranda, secrets and suspicions lead to drunken distrust and murderous plots. But love plays games with revenge, and the stuff of nightmares becomes the stuff of dreams in this magical comedy about the human heart, lost at sea.

New York Premiere
Written by Luis Alfaro
Directed by Chay Yew
July 2 – August 11, 2019

MacArthur Genius Award-winning playwright Luis Alfaro returns with the New York premiere of his stirring drama about love, immigration, and sacrifice, inspired by the Ancient Greek story of Medea. Helmed by Chay Yew, this play masterfully combines ancient storytelling with the most pressing issues facing our country today, following a young Mexican mother who gives up everything to bring her son to America, only to find America demands even more.


The Public presents OTHELLO (May 29-June 24), directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; and TWELFTH NIGHT (July 17-August 19), a reimagining of the 2016 Public Works production, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub and directed by Oskar Eustis and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

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