Tectonic Theater Project, the 30-year-old company behind international stage successes “Gross Indecency” and “The Laramie Project,” has unveiled an upcoming slate of projects including a New York run for the well-received play “Here There Are Blueberries,” a new touring production of “Laramie Project” with a trans and non-binary cast, a Broadway-targeted solo show for drag performer Sasha Velour, a new play by Bess Wohl and the company’s first Spanish-language play.
Tectonic, which also co-presented the “Seven Deadly Sins” storefront theater event in New York in 2021, has traditionally partnered with other producing organizations to get their work to the stage, but company leadership now expects to take more of a lead role in producing.
“We knew were good at developing work and then partnering, but now we have all these projects in the pipeline and the possibility of producing them ourselves is something that’s very enticing,” said Tectonic artistic director Moisés Kaufman, the Venezuela-born writer-director who co-founded the New York-based company with Jeffrey LaHoste in 1991.
The development of new work, which usually involves researching and devising new pieces from the ground up, is one of three major components of Tectonic’s overall activities. The company also focuses on sustaining its produced and touring work (with organizational demands varying depending on each show’s life cycle) and on the education activities of the Moment Work Institute, a training program for Tectonic’s method of telling stage stories using the full potential of theater as an medium.
Kaufman and Tectonic executive director Matt Joslyn said the move toward self-producing was spurred both by the gathering momentum of the company’s slate of current projects as well as by the strong support of Tectonic’s current board of directors, led by film producer and financier John Hadity.
The projects lined up for future production are:
- “Here There Are Blueberries,” a play by Kaufman and Amanda Gronich first seen in a well-received premiere production earlier this year at La Jolla Playhouse. Piecing together the backstory of an album of photos from the Auschwitz concentration camp, the play has drawn interest in future productions with New York theaters as well as regional and international institutions.
- A solo show co-created and performed by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Velour about the history of drag, aiming for a Broadway run.
- A new production of “The Laramie Project,” the 2000 docudrama about the murder of Matthew Shepard, with a cast comprised of trans and non-binary actors and geared toward touring.
- An executive producing role on “The Connector,” a new musical by Jason Robert Brown, Jonathan Marc Sherman and director Daisy Prince, about a young writer and the conflict between artistic integrity and the drive to succeed.
- “Zephyr,” a play by LaHoste about an enigmatic New Orleans woman and her relationship with a talking parrot. Tectonic is currently in talks for a production at a university in the next year.
- “Las Aventuras de Juan Planchard,” a new Spanish-language play by Kaufman, based on a Venezuelan bestseller about a corrupt government official and described by Kaufman as “part Tarantino and part telenovela.” Kaufman said the production would aim to premiere in the U.S. in a Spanish-language production with English supertitles.
- A commission for a full-length adaptation of “Lust,” the one-act by Wohl about a pole dancer’s inner monologue that was a standout segment of “Seven Deadly Sins.”
- “Treatment and Data,” about the history of AIDS activist group ACT UP, which is being explored either for stage or a possible TV series.
Unlike other longstanding New York not-for-profit theaters such as the Public or New York Theatre Workshop, Tectonic currently has no permanent offices and only three full-time employees, with the company’s ranks filled out by contract workers depending on the needs of each project. Tectonic’s 2023 operating budget is $1.3 million.
“The fact that we don’t have a set institutional structure means that we can be nimble,” Joslyn said. “We can resource each project with the very specific needs of that project.”
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