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CTC Blog: Behind the Curtain

Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2017 New Play Workshop ‘Birthday Candles’ Goes to Broadway

Birthday Candles

Will Star Debra Messing and be Directed by Former CTC Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch

Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, is pleased to announce that its 2017 New Play Workshop Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle will be opening on Broadway in 2019–2020 season. Former CTC artistic director Vivienne Benesch will direct the Broadway premiere at the Roundabout Theatre Company, and the production will star Debra Messing, best known for her lead role in the NBC television series "Will & Grace."

Birthday Candles was originally commissioned by Detroit Public Theater (DPT) in the fall of 2016. In the summer of 2017, it received a workshop production at CTC, directed by Benesch. Benesch followed the production to DPT where it received a world premiere in May 2018. This is the first time DPT and CTC have partnered in this way: from DPT’s commission, to CTC’s workshop performance and back to DPT’s world premiere.

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Lucas Hnath Brings The Christians from the Church to the Stage

Lucas Hnath | Photo: Richard Perry, New York Times

The Christians, directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

In The Christians, playwright Lucas Hnath draws from personal experience and stories about embattled religious leaders to craft a portrait of a church community contending with a doctrinal crisis. In 2015, Hnath spoke to Steve Cosson, Artistic Director of the Civilians, an Off-Broadway theater company, about mining religion for performance and ensuring that the finished product eschews satire. What follows is a shortened version of that interview, which was published on the Civilians website.

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Let the Music Move You!


Music takes center stage for the first time this year at CTC. Our two mainstage shows and our traveling Shakespeare all feature live music and we are developing our first musical New Play Workshop!

  • We are thrilled to partner with the Chautauqua Choir, who will join us on stage singing heavenly hymns in Lucas Hnath’s The Christians inspiring us to feel the spirit.
  • In One Man, Two Guvnors our very own Beatles-inspired band will keep your toes tapping and the laughs coming as musical hijinks add to the farcical fun.
  • The haunting folk harmonies of our fairy trio will draw you into the magic of love in our outdoor touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; which you can see throughout the summer in Bestor Plaza or in one of our three touring locations in Jamestown, Mayville or Southern Tier Brewery.
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