Past Productions

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Created by the documentary theatre troupe The Civilians, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY is a provocative new play with music about the expansion of the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs. While conducting interviews with people involved with or affected by the mega-church movement, scandal broke about New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard and shook the entire city. THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY is a fascinating and timely look at faith and how it affects the American landscape.


Awards

Nominations
Lucille Lortel Award – Outstanding Musical
Drama League Award – Distinguished Production of a Musical
Drama Desk Award – Steven Crosson and Jim Lewis, Outstanding Book of a Musical
Henry Hewes Design Award – Neil Patel, Scenic Design
Henry Hewes Design Award – David Weiner, Lighting Design

This Beautiful City

February 3 - March 15, 2009

In co-production with Center Theater Group
Created by The Civilians
Written by Steven Cosson & Jim Lewis
Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Steven Cosson
With Emily Ackerman, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Brad Heberlee, Brandon Miller, Stephen Plunkett, Alison Weller
Created by the documentary theatre troupe The Civilians, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY is a provocative new play with music about the expansion of the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs. While conducting interviews with people involved with or affected by the mega-church movement, scandal broke about New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard and shook the entire city. THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY is a fascinating and timely look at faith and how it affects the American landscape.

Awards

Nominations
Lucille Lortel Award - Outstanding Musical
Drama League Award - Distinguished Production of a Musical
Drama Desk Award - Steven Crosson and Jim Lewis, Outstanding Book of a Musical
Henry Hewes Design Award - Neil Patel, Scenic Design
Henry Hewes Design Award - David Weiner, Lighting Design

Emily Ackerman

(Young Woman “God’s Grace,” T-girl Christian) Emily has been an Associate Artist with The Civilians since 2006. With The Civilians: This Beautiful City, Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre, Cast Album, Actors Theatre of Louisville). Other credits: Well (as Lisa Kron, Arena Stage), The Constant Wife (American Conservatory Theatre & Seattle Repertory Theatre), Ghosts (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Seagull, Twelfth Night, Love’s Labours Lost, The Skin of our Teeth, Romeo & Juliet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Medea (California Shakespeare Theater), Clean Alternatives (59E59th Street/Edinburgh Festival), The People’s Temple (Perseverance Theatre), St. Joan, The Entertainer, The Weir (Aurora Theatre Company), Fugitive Kind, Candida (Marin Theatre Company), and the world premiere of Kissing the Witch (Magic Theatre). Film: Happily Even After and Rise of the Dead. She is also the co-author of Re-Entry (with KJ Sanchez), commissioned and produced by Two River Theater Company.

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Steve Cosson

(Co-Writer/Director) Founder of The Civilians. With the company: the long-running hit Gone Missing, (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, Brooklyn at Eye Level, Paris Commune and Canard, Canard, Goose?. Productions at The Public Theater, Barrow Street Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, ART, Gate Theatre and Soho Theatre in London, Edinburgh Fringe (Fringe First Award), HBO Comedy Festival and many others. Directed and developed many new plays: Neal Bell’s Shadow of Himself, Mat Smart’s 13th of Paris, Tommy Smith’s Air Conditioning, Anne Washburn’s Communist Dracula Pageant, world-premiere of Peter Morris’ Square Root of Minus One; U.S. premiere of Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life, U.S. premiere of Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love, also The Time of Your Life, Serious Money, The Importance of Being Earnest and Guys and Dolls. He’s been a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, a MacDowell Fellow, and Resident Director at New Dramatists. Obie Award for The Civilians.

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Michael Friedman

(Music and Lyrics) Vineyard: God’s Ear, Fully Committed. Founding Associate Artist of The Civilians: (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, Paris Commune, Gone Missing, Brooklyn at Eye Level, and Canard, Canard, Goose?. Also, music and lyrics for Saved, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, In the Bubble, The Brand New Kid, and The Blue Demon. Off-Broadway: New York Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, Roundabout Theatre Co., Second Stage, Soho Rep, Theater for a New Audience, Signature, and The Acting Company. Regional: Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Humana Festival, ART, Berkeley Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and many others. Dramaturg: A Raisin in the Sun. Artistic Associate: New York Theatre Workshop; MacDowell fellowship; Princeton University Hodder Fellowship. 2007 Obie Award for sustained excellence.

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Brad Heberlee

(New Life Associate Pastor, Fairness and Equality Worker) Off-Broadway/New York: The Thugs (Soho Rep), (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch (The Civilians), The Last Sunday In June (Century Center), Man Is Man (Prospect Theatre Company). Regional: This Beautiful City (Humana/Center Theatre Group), The Sweetest Swing In Baseball (Denver Center Theatre Company), I Am My Own Wife and David Copperfi eld (Weston Playhouse), 36 Views (Huntington Theatre), Hay Fever (Baltimore Center Stage), Serious Money (Yale Rep), Amadeus (Syracuse Stage/Virginia Stage), The Foreigner (Milwaukee Rep), A Christmas Carol (McCarter), Candida and Measure for Measure (Sacramento Theatre Company), The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice (Idaho Shakespeare Festival). Brad is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

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Rebecca Naomi Jones

(Fay) Broadway: Passing Strange. Off-Broadway: Passing Strange (Public Theater); How Love is Spelt (Playwrights Horizons-SPF). Tours/Regional: Caroline, or Change (OBC Tour); Little Shop of Horrors (1st Nat'l Tour); Rent (Both US Nat'l and 10th Anniversary Tours); Funked Up Fairy Tales (Sundance); Wig Out! (Sundance); Passing Strange (Berkeley Rep). Films: Miracle at St. Anna; Passing Strange (both directed by Spike Lee). Vocalist for Deetown Entertainment. Songs in Alvin and The Chipmunks; Gossip Girl; Sydney White; Fools Gold. B.F.A. in Drama, North Carolina School of the Arts.

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Jim Lewis

(Co-Writer) Broadway: Tony and Drama Desk nominations “Best Book for a Musical” for Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Also Broadway Dangerous Games and Off-Broadway Tango Apaisionado (both w/ Graciela Daniele). Opera/Dance: Librettos for Ballet Hispanico’s Nightclub, Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles, Paul Dresher’s The Tyrant and Bill T. Jones’ Chapel/Chapter. Translations: Ionesco’s The Chairs, and Ibsen’s Lady From The Sea. Production Dramaturg: PastFORWARD w/ Mikhail Baryshnikov, House Arrest w/ Anna Deavere Smith, Lincoln Center’s Woza Afrika Festival, Granville Barker’s Waste and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (both w/ Bartlett Sher), and Bill T. Jones’ Still/Here (BAM 2003). Program Director: produced opening season of The American Center in Paris. Resident Dramaturg: The Guthrie, Second Stage, and INTAR. Currently: Fela!, a new musical w/ Bill T. Jones which moves to Broadway in 2009.

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Brandon Miller

(Alt Writer, Military Religious Freedom Activist, RHOP Leader) New York/Off-Broadway: Deathbed (Apparition), Armed and Naked in America (Naked Angels), The Attic and Arabian Night (The Play Company), Hannah & Martin (Epic Theatre Center). International: (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch with The Civilians (Edinburgh Fringe/London’s Soho Theatre), The Green Violin (SPBA, St. Petersburg, Russia). Regional: The Glass Menagerie, Blur and An Ideal Husband (Dallas Theater Center), Family Stories: Belgrade (Market Theater). Feature Film: Adam and Steve. Graduate of Yale Drama School.

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Stephen Plunkett

(TAG Pastor, Priest, Marcus Haggard) Off- Broadway: Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre), Jump! (Kirk), Realism (Kirk). Other NY: The Horton Foote Project (78th Street Theatre Lab), Glimpses of the Moon (Algonquin Oak Room)—in which you can currently see Stephen every Monday night! Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Studio, Center Theatre Group, Huntington and The New Harmony Project. TV: Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Stephen is an Associate Artist of The Civilians and a graduate of The University of Evansville. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting.

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Alison Weller

(Fairness and Equality Leader, RHOP Member) Broadway: Coram Boy. Off-Broadway: Gone Missing (Barrow St. Theatre), Aphrodisiac (PS 122). As an Associate Artist with The Civilians: original collaborator on Gone Missing and This Beautiful City, also The Ladies (Chashama) and The Modern World Project with Anne Kauffman. Other NY: The Female Terrorist Project (The Committee), Out From Under It and Blue Lila Rising (New Georges). Regional: Pride and Prejudice (Portland Center Stage), The Cherry Orchard and This Beautiful City (Center Theatre Group), Lyric Stage, ATL, WHAT, and several seasons at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. Film: Marc and Tom, Little Match Boy. Co-creator of Damian Baldet’s Pugilist. BA: Harvard. MFA: UCSD.

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The Civilians

(Creator) is an Obie and Edinburgh Fringe First-winning company founded by Artistic Director Steven Cosson. Works are developed from creative investigations into real life and produced internationally. Canard, Canard, Goose?, Gone Missing, The Ladies, (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, This Beautiful City and Paris Commune have appeared at theaters including ART, Barrow Street, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Public Theatre, London’s Soho Theatre and many others. Current investigative projects include Brooklyn at Eye Level, The Great Immensity, and Escaping the Modern World.

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The cast of THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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The cast of THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Marsha Stephanie Blake, Stephen Plunkett, and Brad Heberlee in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Brandon Miller in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Emily Ackerman, Brandon Miller, Allison Weller, and Brad Heberlee in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Emily Ackerman and Allison Weller in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Brad Heberlee and Stephen Plunkett in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg
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Marsha Stephanie Blake in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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The cast of THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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The cast of THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, and Stephen Plunkett in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Brad Heberlee, Stephen Plunkett, and Emily Ackerman in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Stephen Plunkett, Brad Heberlee, and Emily Ackerman in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Marsha Stephanie Blake and Allison Weller in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Allison Weller and Brad Heberlee in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, and and Stephen Plunkett in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Allison Weller in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Emily Ackerman and Stephen Plunkett in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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Stephen Plunkett, Emily Ackerman, and Brad Heberlee in THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
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THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY Review Quotes

“WICKED SMART! REMARKABLE!

Laughter turns to slack-jawed astonishment.”

-Marilyn Stasio, Variety

“AN ENGAGING, INQUISITIVE AND MOVING WORK OF THEATRE!”

-Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

"Praise the Lord and pass the tape recorder!

A LIVELY DOCUDRAMA WITH A GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT!"

-Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

"ENTERTAINING, THOUGHTFUL AND MOVING!

The Civilians hit the jackpot!"

-Frank Scheck, NY Post

"AN ENLIGHTENING AND MOVING

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