Roundabout Theatre’s Off-Broadway Season Adds Three Shows From Female Playwrights

Mackenzie Nichols

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Roundabout Theatre Company, led by artistic director and CEO Todd Haimes, announced Tuesday that three female-written plays will be added to the 2020-2021 Off-Broadway season.

Sanaz Toossi’s “English” will make its world premiere in fall of 2020, while Lindsey Ferrentino’s “The Year to Come” and Anna Ziegler’s “The Wanderers” will make their New York debuts in fall of 2020 and winter of 2021, respectively. All of the plays tackle original American stories and issues and will run at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre in midtown Manhattan.

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“The development of new plays has become a core part of Roundabout’s mission, and in the 2020-21 season, we’re featuring three wildly varied looks at life in America today,” Haimes said in a statement. “I can’t wait for audiences to hear what these three women have to say.”

Toossi’s play “English” follows four adult students who share a classroom in Iran to study for the test of English as a foreign language in attempts to earn their fluency in the language. As the students persevere through their education, they hope that learning English will change their lives. Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright who also wrote “Wish You Were Here.”

“The Year to Come” is set in a backyard swimming pool and follows an American family celebrating New Year’s Eve. The members hope their conversations will be cordial, but their perspectives inevitably clash, just as they have done year-after-year. The play unfolds backwards in time, recalling the same night from 2018 to 2000. Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and her other works include “Amy and the Orphans” and “This Flat Earth.” She is also a screenwriter, and will make her feature film debut with “Not Fade Away” starring Emily Blunt.

“The Wanderers” centers on Orthodox Jewish newlyweds named Esther and Schmuli, who are bound tightly to the laws of the Torah. Another couple, the high-profile Abe — a secular Jew — and Julia, are romantically intertwined, despite both being married to other people. Ultimately, the play looks at the challenges and intricacies of modern relationships. Ziegler has previously written “Actually,” “Photograph 51,” “Boy” and “The Last Match,” among other plays.

“English,” will premiere at the Roundabout Underground while “The Year to Come” and “The Wanderers” will be held in the the Laura Pels Theatre, all located within the the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center. Justin Martin will direct “The Year to Come” and Barry Edelstein will helm “The Wanderers.”

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