Shows and Events Calendar

April 9 - May 9, 2015

Tar Beach by Tammy Ryan

A World Premiere

Directed by Cheryl Katz

It is July 1977. Son of Sam is on the loose and New York City is in the midst of a brutal heat wave. Sixteen-year-old Mary Claire and her best friend Mary Frances start that day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Younger sister Reenie is searching for her lost Greek Mythology class project, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The boy crazy Marys hatch a plan to stay out all night, but an overstressed electrical grid leads to a city-wide blackout and a sudden loss of innocence.

CLICK HERE to listen to playwright Tammy Ryan discuss Tar Beach.

Cast: Heather Benton, Alanna Monte, Emmanuelle Nadeau, Bart Shatto, and Emily Verla.

Production and Design: Production and Design: Erik Lawson (Sound Design), Brian Dudkiewicz (Set Design), Oliver Wason (Lighting Design), Deborah Caney (Costume Design), Liz Cesario (Production Manager), and Dan Viola (Stage Manager).

Meet the Playwright

Tammy Ryan

Tammy Ryan

Tammy Ryan's plays have been performed across the United States at such theaters as The Alliance Theater Company, Florida Stage, Marin Theater, Dallas Children’s Theater, The Dorset Theater Festival, Stamford Theater Works and 29th Street Rep among others. In 2012 she won the Francesca Primus Prize from the American Theater Critics Association for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods, which was featured at the National New Play Networks 2009 National Showcase of New Plays and premiered at Premiere Stages and Playwrights Theater of New Jersey. Soldier’s Heart, her new play about sexual assault in the military premiered at The Rep at the Pittsburgh Playhouse last season and received its New Jersey premiere this summer at Premiere Stages. Tar Beach, named a finalist for the Terrence McNally Playwriting Award, The Source Theater Festival and a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree was included in the 2014 edition of The List compiled by The Kilroys as "one of the most excellent new plays by female-identified authors of last year" and will have its world premiere by Luna Stage in April 2015.

Ryan has received fellowships from Hambidge Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Sewanee Writers Conference and her work has been developed at the New Harmony Project and The Lark. She has twice won the National Playwriting for Youth Bonderman Award. Other honors include the American Alliance of Theater in Education’s Distinguished Play Award, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Creative Achievement Award and last year she received an Investing in Pittsburgh Artists Region Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments to support the creation of a new work: Molly's Hammer an adaption of the book Hammer of Justice about peace activist Molly Rush. She is also currently at work on the libretto for A New Kind of Fallout in collaboration with composer Gilda Lyons, commissioned by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh scheduled for production in Summerfest 2015.

Ryan's plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. Dramatic Publishing Company and Playscripts. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. For more go to: www.tammyryan.net.

Meet The Director

Cheryl Katz

Cheryl Katz

Cheryl Katz has been with Luna Stage since 2003. She served as Director of Play Development for eight years before becoming Associate Artistic Director in 2011. She was appointed Artistic Director in 2013. During her time at Luna, she has contributed to the development of over fifty new works for the stage and has directed the world premieres of The High Water Mark by Ben Clawson, Carnaval by Nikkole Salter, Mercy and The Firefly by Amy Hartman, The Fastest Woman Alive by Karen Sunde, and all three Luna productions of The Man In Room 306 by Craig Alan Edwards (1995 and 2008 in New Jersey, 2010 in New York). Prior to her position at Luna, Cheryl developed and directed new plays in the New York area and worked as a producer, administrator and special projects manager for LaMama E.T.C., Under One Roof, Electronic Arts Intermix, Arts International and The School of Hard Knocks. She has worked in script development for The Young Playwrights Festival, The O'Neill Theatre Conference and The Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Production Photos

Photo Credit: Steven Lawler

In The Press

Reviews

Meet The Cast

Heather Benton

Heather Benton

Heather Benton is a company member of the award winning international company East River Commedia (Serenade and Philosopher Fox, The Magnificent Cuckold, AutoMotive), co-founder of the Flying Sandbox, an actor-training studio of physical theatre and artist collaborator with Théâtre Trouvé. Benton has created and performed several original pieces (Living With Betty, Half Awake and Falling Through the Sky, Chasing Immortality, a Performance-Lecture) for various festivals in New York. Regional acting work includes the American Repertory Theatre's world premiere of Rinde Eckert's rock opera, Highway Ulysses- dir. Robert Woodruff, and Children of Herakles- dir. Peter Sellars, several national tours with the Montana Repertory Theatre, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Village Theatre, Sierra repertory theatre, Book It Repertory Theatre, the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis among others. She is a member of the Actors' Equity Association and received her MFA in Acting from ART/MXAT at Harvard under Robert Woodruff's artistic leadership. She is currently serving as the coordinator of the BFA Acting Program at Montclair State University where she teaches acting and movement and directs.
Alanna Monte

Alanna Monte

Alanna Monte is thrilled to be apart of her first show at Luna Stage. She attends Montclair State University as a Theatre Studies Major. Recent productions include: The Importance of Being Earnest; In The Heights; Into the Woods; Titanic. Stay Rad. @Alan_na
Emmanuelle Nadeau

Emmanuelle Nadeau

Emmanuelle Nadeau Regional Credits: "Scout" in To Kill A Mockingbird at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, 2011;Mother Hicks at Growing Stage (Principal role "Girl"); NJPAC's The Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans (Annie U.S.); 29 Hour Reading (Puck) in NJYT's musical Midnight Madness; Community Credits: CDC's Stuart Little (Stuart); Hedgehog & Feather's Secret Garden (Mary Lennox); Paper Mill Playhouse's Summer Conservatory New Voices Concert 2011, 2012, 2013; Columbia Stage's More Than One Good Way to Drown (Sivvy); Paper Mill All-Stars Outreach Program 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; Westfield H.S's production ofThe Laramie Project 2014. Emmanuelle is currently a sophomore at Westfield High School.
Bart Shatto

Bart Shatto

Bart Shatto is thrilled and grateful to be appearing at Luna Stage for the first time in this incredible play. Broadway credits include Tony-nominated "Hands on a Hardbody," "Dracula," Tony-nominated "The Civil War" and "Les Miserables" (in the iconic role of Jean Valjean). New Jersey theatre: "God of Carnage," "Barefoot in the Park - The Company. "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Les Miserable" - Surflight Theatre. Regional theatre: Actors Theatre of Louisville. Alley Theatre (Houston), Ford's Theatre, Barter Theatre. Television: Currently the voice of "Gaspard's Papa" in Disney Jr.'s "Gaspard and Lisa". Recent film: "Freedom" (with Cuba Gooding Jr.). Thanks to Cheryl for the "leap of faith" and Amy for keeping it. www.bartshatto.com
Emily Verla

Emily Verla

Emily Verla (Mary Claire): Luna Stage debut. Very excited to be originating the role of Mary Claire. Off-Broadway: As You Like It (New York Classical Theatre),The Jungle Book (Theatre East). New York: premiere workshops of Devil and the Deep (Theatre East, music by Graham Russell - Air Supply and Katie McGhie - Of Eden) and Miss Valentine (Theatre for the Heart). Regional: 42nd Street (Musical Theatre West), Into the Woods (Twin Tiers), A Little Night Music(Princeton Summer Theatre), Oliver! (Civic Light Opera SBC). Series regular on the web series Terrible Shows I Wish I Were In (The Sparrow and the Lion). Proud company member with Theatre East. BFA NYU Tisch, The Stella Adler Studio. Many thanks to Cheryl, Tammy and Danny. For Cati and Abbey. www.emilyverla.com
Tar Beach by Tammy Ryan

Upcoming Calendar

Oct. 6 - Oct. 7

Benefits and Special Events
A Very Special Benefit Event To Open Our Season

Nov. 2 - Nov. 19

Mainstage
By Laura Maria Censabella

Feb. 1 - Mar. 4

Mainstage
A World Premiere of a New Musical Commissioned by Luna Stage

Apr. 5 - May. 6

Mainstage
By Craig Alan Edwards