This was my third time visiting the Humana Festiva in Louisville, Kentucky, and the place is so hospitable and generous that they really make you feel a part of their community, no matter how many miles you’ve traveled or how long you happen to be there for.
Still, it was a thrill to run into so many familiar East Coast theater faces in Louisville this year. As usual, there were loads of actors and directors whose work I’ve seen at Long Wharf, Yale Rep and elsewhere. (This year’s crop includes Mike Donohue, Alex Moggridge, Triney Sandoval, Marjorie Johnson, Bruce McKenzie, Ramiz Monsef, Sharon Washington and of course Les Waters.)
Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts.
This week, AT travels! Again! Associate editor Diep Tran grabbed playwright Rolin Jones at the 2015 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky. and made him talk to her about his new musical These Paper Bullets (his Shakespeare and Beatles mashup cowritten with Billie Joe Armstrong, and playing next season at the Atlantic Theatre Company and the Geffen Playhouse). He also gives the details on his new theatre company New Neighborhood, financed by 20th Century Fox! In Rolin’s words, “This is going to be a sexy podcast.”
Then, Diep, senior editor Rob Weinert-Kendt and managing editor Suzy Evans talk about playwrights who quit playwriting. how long a work should be considered new and what plays might win the 2015 Pulitzer next week.
Late one night last year at New Haven’s Anchor bar, playwright and TV writer Rolin Jones and his theater pals, jazzed by the excitement they were having with the “These Paper Bullets!” production at Yale Rep, and liberated by alcohol, started to talk about the kind of theater company they’d like to create.
It would be new, different — unique. It would include cool artists scattered all over the country. The company wouldn’t be stuck in one building or even one geographical place. Productions would be entertaining, fun, inventive. The new theater company might even own a racehorse — and maybe the Anchor bar, too.
A deal under the 20th Century Fox TV banner is oiling the wheels for a souped-up new theater company, in an unusual pact that could become a new model for producing live theatrical entertainment in a variety of venues.
Playwright and TV writer-producer Rolin Jones (“Weeds,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Boardwalk Empire”) inked a two-year pact in January with 20th TV to develop projects for network and cable under the shingle New Neighborhood.