NAATCO Inaugurates The NAATCO National Partnership Project (NNPP)
with Long Wharf Theatre!

NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company) proudly announces the inaugural production for the NAATCO National Partnership Project (NNPP)Queen by Madhuri Shekar, directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar ([Veil Widow Conspiracy]) in partnership with Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven CT, from February 24th through March 21st 2021.

Long Wharf Theatre, a non-profit theatre dedicated to presenting innovative art with the community at its center, will be celebrating the inaugural season of its new Artistic Director, Jacob Padrón, who said “at Long Wharf Theatre we believe in the power of revolutionary artistic partnerships and I’m inspired by the astonishing work that NAATCO has been doing for decades to amplify the voices of Asian American theater artists. I am truly honored to partner with NAATCO in my inaugural season as we launch their groundbreaking NNPP initiative with Queen. This initiative will seed meaningful systemic change, create ripples east to west, and bring us closer to manifesting a more inclusive American theater.” Padrón’s first season features all women directors and new initiatives that deepens Long Wharf Theatre’s engagement with the New Haven community.

The recently announced NNPP is a national initiative to ingrain the inclusion of Asian American theatre artists, technicians, administrators, and community members in the American theatre. Along with LWT, the other anchor partners of the NNPP are New York Theatre Workshop, Soho Rep, and New Jersey’s Two River Theater. A new cohort of partners will be announced this fall.

In addition to partnering on the production of Queen, NAATCO and LWT will begin to plan the series of activities that further NNPP’s purposes: pre- and post-performance events that highlight Asian American speakers and panelists; outreach to Asian Americans in New Haven’s local communities to encourage their participation in LWT’s operations; and the identification of the next LWT production that will conform to one of NAATCO’s four programs.

Queen is the high-stakes drama about two best friends, a mathematician and biologist, on the cusp of stunning revelations about the disappearance of bees around the world – and they have agriculture’s most reviled bogeyman, Monsanto, in their sights. But when all the right intentions become the wrong conclusions, their friendship is put to the ultimate test. Queen is a provocative portrayal of brilliant women confronting inconvenient truths.

Madhuri Shekar was born in California, grew up in India, spent some time in Singapore and London, lived in Los Angeles, and is currently based in New York City. She recently graduated from the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Julliard, and writes on themes of love, relationships and sexuality inspired by her cross-cultural background. Shekar’s plays include Dhaba on Devon Avenue (commissioned and premiered by Victory Gardens in spring 2020), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre, San Diego Rep, developed at South Coast Rep, Juilliard, Atlantic, NY Stage and Film), Queen (Victory Gardens—2017 Jeff Award for Best New Play; APAC—NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full Length Script; Geva Theatre Center), A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players, Rasaka Theatre Company, EnActe Arts), In Love and Warcraft (Kendeda Graduate Playwriting contest winner), Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s (Alliance Theater), and Bucket of Blessings (Alliance Theater). She is also working on a new play commission about hockey culture for South Coast Rep.

Shekar is one of the first recipients of Audible’s new commissioning program for emerging playwrights. Her audio drama, Evil Eye, debuted at #5 on Audible’s bestseller list, and won a 2020 Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association for Best Original Work. In Hollywood, Shekar was a staff writer on HBO’s “The Nevers.” She is currently a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists. She has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, and dual Masters degrees in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC. She is the recipient of the 2020 Lanford Wilson Award.

Aneesha Kudtarkar is a New York-based theatre artist. She is a trained Indian Classical dancer who calls upon her background in dance to create compositionally compelling pieces of theatre that often center around underrepresented communities. Her recent directorial projects include Men on Boats (Southern Methodist University), [Veil Widow Conspiracy] (NAATCO), LOCUSTSTrouble in Mind (Yale School of Drama), The Purple Flower (Yale Cabaret), Mud (Hangar Theatre). Aneesha is an alumna of the Drama League Director’s Project and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

By Madhuri Shekar
Directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar
In partnership with NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company)
Stage II

Previews: February 24, 2021
Opening night: March 3, 2021
Closing night: March 21, 2021

NAATCO’s Artistic Producing Director Mia Katigbak shared, “To be part of Jacob Padrón’s inaugural season at Long Wharf Theatre fills me with pride and gratitude. Jacob’s steadfast and inspirational support for NAATCO’s National Partnership Project, his considerate guidance and our compatible ideals and goals make the launch of the NNPP with Long Wharf a significant event. This double inauguration and Jacob’s leadership augurs well for the future of American theatre and I am honored and exhilarated by this partnership with Long Wharf.”

For more information about the NAATCO National Partnership Project (NNPP), click HERE.

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