(PRINCETON, NJ) — McCarter Theater announced that bulrush by Elisa Davis was added to the 2022-23 season. You play what was a Pulitzer Prize for Drama Finalist in 2007, is being produced by the McCarter Theater Center on the Main Stage of the Roger S. Berlind Theater May 6-28, 2023. Nicole A. Watson will direct production.
bulrushwas a recently broken “streaming” hit that garnered widespread attention at the height of the pandemic when Tony-nominated (Indecent how I learned to drive) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (journey) Paula Vogel created the popular digital theater series BARD AT THE GATE, now co-curated by Ms. Vogel and Ms. Watson in association with McCarter.
bulrush Set in 1955 in Redwood Country north of San Francisco, a mixed-race girl grows up in a predominantly white town whose residents flavor their language with the historic dialect of Boontling. Found floating in a basket on the river as a toddler, Bulrusher is an orphan with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel close to those who think they know her best: the taciturn schoolteacher who adopts her the madam who runs her brothel like a stranger with a fierce discipline, the lumberjack with a passion for horses and women, and the guitar-wielding boy who has it in for Brusher’s heart. Just when she thought her world might be closing in on her, she discovers a whole new sense of self when a black girl comes to town from Alabama.
Passionate, lyrical and humorous, the coming-of-age tale had its world premiere in NYC at Urban Stages in 2006 and has since gone on to be produced at Shotgun Players, Pillsbury House and the Intiman Theatre, among others. bulrush was a perfect match for BARD AT THE GATE, created by Ms. Vogel to provide a platform for overlooked and underappreciated new American theater that emerged as the new dawn of digital theater as the pandemic stalled live productions for almost two years .
To date, BARD AT THE GATE has presented eight new works that might otherwise have perished on unproduced script stacks if Frau Vogel and BARD hadn’t pushed for it. The series has highlighted a diverse offering of plays that represent voices in the American theater canon such as women, BIPOC, LGBTQ and disabled performers. As a matter of fact, bulrush is one of several productions to receive major productions – in theatres, live and in person – following their debut on digital streams: Last breath by Split Britches, coming soon to La MaMa; Fat ham, currently at the Public Theater; and Lessons in Survival: 1971 at the Vineyard Theater.
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BARD AT THE GATE continues to produce and stream readings of powerful plays – curated by Paula Vogel, Nicole A. Watson and the BARD Advisory Council, which is made up of leaders in the theater industry; and pieces filmed and edited by Jared Mezzocchi.
“I’m excited to be directing bulrush and share Eisa’s artistry with the McCarter audience. I have long admired Eisa’s work as a writer and performer, and this play is a happy, refreshing, and powerful story for viewers of all ages. I love that it shows a young woman of color who, even in the midst of uncertainty, is confident in following her own heart and her dreams. – Nicole A. Watson (Director, bulrush; McCarter Associate Artistic Director; BARD AT THE GATE, co-curator.)
“As playwright Eisa Davis says, ‘bulrush has a timeless, vintage quality that speaks to the current moment – amid an urgent call for equality and repair – a movement that has endured for centuries. This track is at the heart of what BARD at the Gate is all about, and it underscores the special nature of McCarter’s partnership with Paula Vogel. We couldn’t be more excited to produce this piece on our main stage and share it with the audience.” – Sarah Rasmussen (Artistic Director of McCarter)
Tickets are available now at www.mccarter.org.
Produced by special arrangement with Cody Lassen & Larry Hirschhorn.
McCarter is an independent, not-for-profit performing arts center located between New York City and Philadelphia — and on the Princeton University campus — McCarter is a multidisciplinary creative and intellectual center that offers theater, music, dance, spoken word, and educational programs for all ages that engage in conversation encourages connection and collaboration in our communities. We lead with our values of justice and joy, and we seek beauty in belonging. Celebrated for developing new works and winner of the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, world premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Tony, Best Play), Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays, Emily Mann’s Having Our Say . Acclaimed artists who have performed at McCarter include: Alvin Ailey, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, David Sedaris, The Moth, Terence Blanchard, Rosanne Cash, Lake Street Dive, Shawn Colvin and more. McCarter connects with the community year-round with digital programs, on-site classes and in-school residencies. McCarter and Princeton University share a long history of unique partnerships and creative collaborations.