“Wonderful theatre. . . full of humor, heart, and imagination. . . with highly inventive writing.”
In 2013, theatre 167 presented its world premiere of THE JACKSON HEIGHTS TRILOGY at 777 Theatre in midtown Manhattan. Click here to see the official trilogy video:
The trilogy, which ran in rotating repertory for over 30 performances in a 4 week limited engagement, featured 37 actors in 93 multicultural roles–and was #1 on NYTheatre.com’s Hot List the week it opened.
The Jackson Heights Trilogy is:
167 Tongues (Queens premiere 2010, 2nd production 2011)
by Jenny Lyn Bader, Meny Beriro, Alvin Eng, Steven Fechter, Jennifer Gibbs, Les Hunter, Anna Kushner, Rehana Mirza, Suzanne Sheptock, and Stefanie Zadravec. Conceived and directed by Ari Laura Kreith.
An Irish ghost befriends a troubled Latina girl, a Dominican manicurist wonders whether her Jewish-Chinese boyfriend will propose before she is deported by the INS, and a Rwandan night nurse attempts to understand the 167 distinct languages spoken in the local Emergency Room.
You Are Now the Owner of ThIs Suitcase (Queens premiere 2011)
by Mando Alvarado, Jenny Lyn Bader, Barbara Cassidy, Les Hunter, Joy Tomasko, Gary Winter, and Stefanie Zadravec. Conceived and directed by Ari Laura Kreith.
A contemporary magic realist story for all ages. Inspired by folk tales collected on the streets of Jackson Heights — tales hailing from Burma, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Korea, Latin America, Mexico, Pakistan, Persia, Thailand, and beyond.
Jackson Heights 3AM (Queens premiere 2012, transferred/played 2 venues)
by Jenny Lyn Bader, J.Stephen Brantley, Ed Cardona Jr., Les Hunter, Tom Miller, Melisa Tien, and Joy Tomasko. Conceived and directed by Ari Laura Kreith.
A Bangladeshi cab driver working the night shift yearns for a woman who rises at dawn to bake bread but does not speak her language. A closeted policeman from Long Island comes into town for a date. Car dispatchers, sex workers, drag queens, gamblers, and insomniacs collide in the colorful world of Jackson Heights after hours.
THE JACKSON HEIGHTS TRILOGY starred Varin Ayala, Farah Bala, Cynthia Bastidas, Denise Bessette, J.Stephen Brantley, Arlene Chico-Lugo, Ross DeGraw, Jyotsna du Ciel, Nick Fehlinger, Marcelino Feliciano, Samuel T. Gaines, Nicholas Gorham, Andrew Guilarte, Israel Gutierrez, Taylor Hess, Kevin Hoffman, Scott Janes, Brandon Johnson, Russell Jordan, Maribel Martinez, Neal Mayer, Kenneth Maharaj, Nina Mehta, Sorely Muentes-Méndez Jenny Mercein, Anthony Merchant, Dashiell Morss, Elodie Morss, Sergey Nagorny, Flor De Liz Perez, Orlando Rios, Alicia Sable, Claudia Schneider, Indika Senanayake, Lipica Shah, Gen Parton Shin, Fulvia Vergel, Moses Villarama, and Nela Wagman; dramaturgy and dialect coaching by Angie Sohlberg; with a production team that includes Abbey Bay (stage manager), Ross DeGraw (technical director), James McSweeney (set design), Michelle Leibrock (costumes), Diana Duecker (lighting) Katie Hong (sound), Max Ward (projection design) Zooey Barry (props), and Michael Wilson Morgan (puppets).
Just scroll down to read about past projects, including the individual premieres of the plays in the trilogy in Queens…
How We Are Connected: Caribbean
A theatrical adventure fusing family lore, cultural mythology, human migrations and scientific revelations… A group of actors, musicians, and dancers ask and answer questions about their heritage as they explore our collective journey from the fertile crescent to the Caribbean Basin.
The Theatre 167 creative team was commissioned to invent a show inspired by National Geographic’s Genographic Project, mapping 50,000 years of human migration history. National Geographic donated a number of ancestral DNA testing kits. Ari Laura Kreith, Jenny Lyn Bader, and J.Stephen Brantley worked with a cast of 13 extraordinary actors, dancers and musicians of Caribbean descent that explored the artists’ personal histories and DNA results. The resulting piece, commissioned and produced by the New International Coalition for Diverse Artists, spans over 50,000 years of human history and fused theatre, music and dance in a moving exploration of human identity.
“a skillful interweaving of dramatic performance, song and dance to show very intimately how these men and women, their families, and even a few historical figures, have struggled over the years with questions of identity and belonging…cast members transport us to their ancestral homes through remembrance and song, and they allow us to experience some of the political and personal back story of the region. We get to sample its music, its food, its spiritual traditions, its bloody history of struggle and oppression, as well as the uplifting narrative of the generations who persevered and overcame those struggles, whether while remaining there, or by finding a new home here in the US.” — Carib News
The development of this piece was supported by a space grant from the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. It featured and was developed with Goussy Celestin, Marie Davis, Marcelino Feliciano, Lena-Marie Gilbert, Maribel Martinez, Greer Morrison, Sorely Muentes-Mendez, Luis Paulino, Vanessa Rodriguez, Edney Romeo, Stephanie Shipp, Ricarrdo Valentine, Petol Weekes.
How We Are Connected: Caribbean premiered in October 2012 at the Museo del Barrio and at the Brooklyn Museum.
Theatre 167 did developmental work on plays including a new work by Robert Landy.
JACKSON HEIGHTS, 3AM
A sheer delight from beginning to end. This unusual work adroitly captures the frenetic energy of a neighborhood often called the crossroads of the world… Jackson Heights 3AM proves to be a quintessentially American story.
January 13 – February 5, 2012
A world premiere inspired by interviews, fantasies and late-night adventures in the most culturally diverse neighborhood in the world.
Thank you to everyone who came to see JACKSON HEIGHTS 3AM at P.S. 69 and Queens Theatre. We at Theatre 167 are thrilled that the show was a PBS/Channel 13 Top 5 Pick of the Week. Read more about it in the Daily News! See a rave review in Theatermania… and check out an interview with Founding Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith. You can also scroll down for more and watch this space for further updates.
Conceived and directed by Ari Laura Kreith
Written by Jenny Lyn Bader, J. Stephen Brantley, Ed Cardona Jr., Les Hunter, Tom Miller, Melisa Tien and Joy Tomasko
A Bangladeshi cab driver working the midnight shift yearns for an Ecuadorian woman who rises at dawn to bake bread, but does not speak her language. A closeted policeman from Long Island comes to Jackson Heights for a date. At Club Atlantis, a drag pageant contestant has a run-in with one of her fans, while farther down Roosevelt Avenue a Russian immigrant discovers that redemption comes in the strangest ways. A rookie cop tries his best to do right by everyone, a beloved dog mysteriously disappears, and in Elmhurst Hospital a heartbroken ER doctor helps her patients fulfill their deepest dreams. Car dispatchers, sex workers, drag queens, E.R. doctors, gamblers, and insomniacs collide in the colorful world of Jackson Heights after hours.
Starring Roberto Araujo, Varin Ayala*, Farah Bala*, Cynthia Bastidas, Rajesh Bose*, J. Stephen Brantley*, Arlene Chico-Lugo, Ross DeGraw*, Nick Fehlinger, Marcelino Feliciano, Andrew Guilarte*, Kevin Hoffman, John P. Keller*, Alex Kip*, Ephraim Lopez*, Neal Mayer*, Nina Mehta*, Sergey Nagorny, Flor De Liz Perez*, Indika Senanayake* and Josie Whittlesey*!
Stage Manager–Sean McCain*; Lighting Design–Kimberly Dowd; Costume Design–Georgie Landy; Projection Design–Andrew Lazarow; Sound Design–Ben Rodman; Set Design–Michael Wilson Morgan
Seven playwrights explored the most culturally diverse neighborhood in the world from 10pm-4am — its brightest lights and loneliest corners — in dance clubs, all-night bakeries, sex shops, laundromats, side streets, and alleyways. They ate arepas prepared by the “sainted arepa lady” and, two blocks away, saw the homeless fed by the local hero a.k.a. “Angel of Queens” under the elevated trains. They interviewed numbers-players, sex trafficking experts, bartenders, cops, and cross dressers. They were invited to dance, to gamble, and to watch an undercover police operation. And they were invited to let their imaginations run dark, funny, sexy, and very very late…
This event is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Queens Council on the Arts.
Why do you fight for the things you believe in?
Photo by Joel Webber
June 20, 2011
The first public reading of How I Was Radicalized
a new pop/rock musical
You Are Now The Owner Of This Suitcase
March 11 – April 3, 2011
Conceived and directed by Ari Laura Kreith
Dramaturgy by Angie Balsamo
Starring Patricia Becker, Rajesh Bose*, Kim Carlson*, Arlene Chico-Lugo, Kathleen Choe*, Bernardo Cubria*, Ross DeGraw*, Oscar Fabela, Samuel T. Gaines*, John P. Keller*, Stephanie LaVardera, Waldo Mayo*, Emma Ramos (*member AEA)
Production Stage Manager: Sean McCain
Line Producer: Antonia Fairchild
Production Designer: Michael Wilson Morgan
Lighting Design by Nicole Pearce
Read about 167 Tongues in the New York Times and American Theatre Magazine
Capturing the Vitality of Jackson Heights and Putting It on Stage
by Fernanda Santos, New York Times, May 4, 2010
What made Jackson Heights unique, in Ms. Kreith’s view, was that it had none of the ethnic dividers she had encountered elsewhere, “no bubbles isolating one community from the next,” she said.