Monday, August 1, 2011


                          Behind the scenes 
              BURNING with Thomas Bradshaw

Dear Friends,

For years, I have thought that The New Group is the most exciting and daring theater in New York . Their revival of Hurlyburly in 2005 made me realize that raw, uncompromising material can be produced at a major theater, and be produced well. Shows like that and Avenue Q inspired me to be steadfast in examining subjects that aren't being explored elsewhere in the theater.

Too many plays fail to inspire any response in audiences. Many plays simply regurgitate whatever it is that a particular audience wants to hear, and so fail to move any societal debate beyond where it already is. If I have a goal with my writing, it’s to challenge social norms, and to provoke audiences to question their deep-seeded beliefs about the world.

Theater is not and should not be viewed as a simple, self-congratulatory form of entertainment. It can slap us awake with its audacity and rivet us with its electricity. A play can explode in our minds so that all else is wiped clean, and what is left is the experience. The debates on the sidewalk outside are not about coffee or tea; questions are raised, taboo discussions are being had. This happens because people are presented with art that shakes their foundations.

If theater is to be a forum wherein social and political forces collide, then risk-taking needs to be supported – and The New Group is the perfect place for this. The New Group has been providing support for the most unique and innovative artists for years, and I already can feel the reason: they have offered such rich guidance in helping me to bring Burning to completion. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with them.


Fall 2011
World Premiere
Thomas Bradshaw

Directed by Scott Elliott
Burning is the Off-Broadway debut of downtown phenomenon and Guggenheim Award-winner Thomas Bradshaw. In intersecting stories spanning two eras, a contemporary Black painter who hides his race goes to Germany for a show, only to find that the gallery owner has misinterpreted his work. And in the '80s a homeless teenager comes to New York to become an actor and is taken in by two gay men, who are themselves producing a new play. Titillating, taboo-testing and psychosexually insightful, this epic tale of ambition and self-invention bursts open the conceits of the worlds of art and theatre.

Winter 2012
World Premiere

Erika Sheffer

Directed by Scott Elliott

Spring 2012
World Premiere

David Rabe

Directed by Jo Bonney

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