Wednesday, February 07, 2018 | By | Blog, WP News | Comment

The Critics Love [PORTO]!


New Yorker


The setting of Kate Benson’s piece is a “serious” neighborhood bar, the kind with Edison lamps, a tin ceiling, foie gras, and a preposterously arrogant bartender (Noel Joseph Allain). The protagonist (Julia Sirna-Frest) is referred to as Porto, and she really doesn’t mean to drink alone there as often as she does. We learn all this—and much else, including a detailed recipe for sausage—by way of an invisible, omniscient, and wonderfully effective and immersive narrator (voiced beautifully by Benson), who offers a sharp-witted portrait of a woman paralyzed on her bar stool by book-fuelled ethical concerns. It all culminates in an uproarious imagined debate between Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir over how Porto should treat her one-night stand the morning after…[read original]

New York Times

‘[Porto]’ Features a Bar Regular Looking for Love


The Edison lights are a tipoff, glowing amber above the L-shaped, dark-wood bar. Also the foie gras sausage on the menu, and the snacks for nibbling: fried chickpeas, jerky popcorn. And no, that is not jerky as in beef.

“Venison,” the waiter says. “Duh.”

This neighborhood spot, in gentrifying Brooklyn, is “a boushy bar,” the unseen narrator tells us in Kate Benson’s stealthily ferocious, comfortingly hopeful, very funny new play, “[Porto].” The term “boushy” is a portmanteau, related to “bougie.”

Its ridiculous pretensions notwithstanding, the place is a kind of refuge for Porto (Julia Sirna-Frest), who would really like to be leading a healthier life in a slimmer body: less indulgence, more moderation.

But the warmly lit bar promises company and conversation. And the main voice in Porto’s head — a.k.a. the narrator (Ms. Benson), who wields a godlike influence — makes a compelling argument involving the actress Lillie Langtry, who, in the early 1900s, sued Keens Steakhouse to force it to admit women. “So really,” the narrator says. “You sitting alone at the bar: A feminist act. Do it.” Porto does…[continue reading]

New York Magazine

[PORTO] Gets the Urban Millennial Woman Exactly

By Sara Holdren

I am a Brooklyn-dwelling, 30-something white woman sitting in a hip Brooklyn coffee shop to write about a play about a Brooklyn-dwelling, 30-something white woman that takes place in a hip Brooklyn bar. It gets worse. I just ate avocado toast.

If you’re put off by the above, I don’t blame you. (And honestly, the toast was only okay; I know, I know, I should just make it at home.) You might be feeling like I was as I walked into Kate Benson’s [PORTO] at the Women’s Project, a play that bills itself as “an upside-down romantic comedy” about a regular in a “serious” bar — “a staple of a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood.” I admit to squirming slightly as I took my seat: It all felt a touch solipsistic. But you — and I — would be wrong to let our doubts win the day. [PORTO] sneaks up on you: For all its hyper-self-awareness, it’s ultimately a play about learning to look out rather than always, always in. It’s a smart, surprising ode to the modern woman’s anxious, circuitous quest for simultaneous self-actualization, pleasure, and perhaps even love — an examination of the conditioning we receive, the ways in which we wake up to it (or don’t), and what we decide to do about it…[continue reading]

Time Out New York

By Helen Shaw

Playwright Kate Benson and director Lee Sunday Evans, who scored in 2015 with the sports-infused American-family spectacle A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, reteam for this feel-weird comedy that exposes the underbelly of meet-cute romance. Benson likes to play with metanarration, and here she provides stage directions in a voiceover that sometimes seems audible to the characters. While presenting as adorable, the show also forces us to feel revulsion at our basic pleasures, whether that means bacon or sex or company. After a festival run last year, the piece now returns for a full encore engagement…[continue reading]


An Enticing Voice Emerges from the Darkness in [PORTO]

By Zachary Stewart

Boushy, we learn in the opening moments of Kate Benson’s [PORTO], is a hybrid of the words “bourgeois” and “douchey,” and it describes any number of bars in recently gentrified American cities. They are to Bushwick (where the play originated a year ago) what churches are to Rome — ubiquitous and, to the foodie faithful, sacred. Of course, there are plenty of boushy bars on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where [PORTO] is making its triumphant return in an enhanced production by WP Theater and the Bushwick Starr, in association with New Georges. You might even enjoy a pre-theater drink at one before viewing this comedy that dissects its audience with uncomfortable and uproarious precision…[continue reading]

Monday, December 11, 2017 | By | Blog, WP News | Comment

How One Off-Broadway Theatre Ensures The Future is Female

Artistic director Lisa McNulty has refocused the mission of New York City’s WP Theater.

Lisa McNulty, Artistic Director of the Women’s Project Theater Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Lisa McNulty still owns a hoodie that was given to her by WP Theater’s founder Julia Miles in 1999, emblazoned with “21 Years of Making Work by Women!” At the time, McNulty was the institution’s literary manager, her first paying job in the theatre. After running the literary department, she left, only to return a few years later as the company’s associate artistic director. After leaving once more to work as a producer on and Off-Broadway, in 2014 McNulty was back again—this time as artistic director.

“It seems kind of crazy that my entire professional career has surrounded this institution for 20 years,” says McNulty, who is now leading WP into its 40th anniversary season. “WP’s mission, what this institution is trying to do, has shaped me as a person of the theatre.”

Though the organization has undergone a recent name change—from Women’s Project Theater to simply WP—its mission has remained constant: develop, produce, and promote the work of women artists (and now female-identifying and trans artists) at every stage in their careers.

McNulty says the name change was not so much a rebranding as a way to indicate a new phase for the institution. She realized that theatregoers had preconceived notions about what type of work a “women’s theatre” might produce—something she is determined to dismantle through more eclectic and diverse programming. A look at WP’s 2018 season, with its mix of dance, new work, revivals, and both early-career and established artists, is a shining example. In addition to the annual Pipeline Festival, WP presents PORTO from Obie-winning playwright Kate Benson and directed by Susan Stroman Directing Award winner Lee Sunday Evans—both women on the rise.

“By presenting as broad a spectrum of work and human beings as possible,” says McNulty, “I’m trying to combat the idea that a theatre which supports women is one thing.”

McNulty says that the most important thing she does at WP, however, is the Lab, the theatre’s two-year residency for early-career playwrights, directors, and producers. In an attempt to combat the idea there aren’t enough women theatremakers, the initiative culminates in a biannual festival of new works showcasing their talent. The program also prioritizes community. “Beyond introducing those artists to the field, I’m graduating a cohort of 15 folks who become each other’s primary collaborators,” says McNulty.

As McNulty reflects on her time at WP, as well as a tumultuous political year, she can’t help but feel proud of the theatre’s enduring mission. “It’s exciting to be leading an institution that has a mission that is beyond just making important work,” she says. “To focus on providing space for artists who don’t get space elsewhere feels really important me—and it feels particularly important right now.”


Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | By | WP News, WP News | Comment

Skylar Astin, Krysta Rodriguez, and More to Star in Theresa Rebeck’s “What We’re Up Against” Off-Broadway

Adrienne Campbell-Holt is set to direct Rebeck’s dark comedy of gender politics this fall.

Krysta Rodriguez (Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

WP Theater has teamed up with Segal NYC Productions to present the Off-Broadway premiere of What We’re Up Against by Pulitzer Prize nomineeTheresa Rebeck (MauritiusSeminar, NBC’s Smash).

Adrienne Campbell-Holt (Dry Land, Empathitrax) will direct a cast lead by Teen Choice Award winner Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Spring Awakening), Jim Parrack (True Blood, Of Mice and Men), and Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening, Trial & Error, Quantico).

Skylar Astin (Eugene Gologursky / Getty Images)

The four-week limited engagement will kick off October 28, with an opening night set for November 8. The play will run through November 26 at WP Theater (2162 Broadway).

Further casting will be announced at a later date.

Written by Rebeck in 1992, What We’re Up Against premiered in San Francisco nearly 20 years later and has since gone on to have acclaimed regional productions. The play is set in a small architecture firm, where new recruit Eliza is struggling to get a foothold; it is billed as a “darkly funny and all-too-relevant comedy of gender politics.”

“We’re delighted to have this ferocious and sharp play at WP this fall,” says Lisa McNulty, producing artistic director at WP Theater. “Theresa’s words are just as potent and relevant now as they were when the play is set, and we couldn’t be prouder to work with her and WP Lab alumni Adrienne, giving new life to this story.”

“Now more than ever it is vitally important for stories of women to be told, and it is particularly exciting to share What We’re Up Against, which is filled with Theresa’s extraordinary warmth, passion and humor,” added Jenna Segal of Segal NYC Productions. “I’m so pleased to be teaming up with WP Theater on this incredibly important piece of theater and to continue this crucial dialogue.”

The production will feature scenic design by Drama Desk Award nominee Narelle Sissons (All My Sons, How I Learned to Drive), costume design by Lortel Award nominee Tilly Grimes (Small Mouth Sounds), lighting design by Grant Yeager (Now. Here. This), and sound design by Lortel Award winner M.L. Dogg (Oh, Hello on Broadway; Here Lies Love). Casting is by Kelly Gillespie, C.S.A.

Tickets for What We’re Up Against are now on sale via, or by calling (212) 765-1706.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 | By | WP News, WP News | Comment

We’re so pleased to support the work of this influential human!


The Most Influential People in Dance Today: Monica Bill Barnes

“When it feels like everything’s already been done, Monica Bill Barnes still pushes boundaries. Her hit collaboration with “This American Life” host Ira Glass mixed dance with radio-style storytelling, and her Happy Hour series embraced the idea of an office-party-meets-karaoke-meets-dance experience. And although plenty of choreographers are setting site-specific work in museums these days, Barnes takes it a few steps further—and leads her audience through an aerobic workout in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

Read the original article HERE

Check out Monica’s upcoming show at WP Theater ONE NIGHT ONLY (running as long as we can)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | By | WP News, WP News | Comment

Congratulations on Your Tony Wins!

Congratulations to two members of the WP creative family for their big Tony wins last night! Rebecca Taichman (Best Direction of a Play, Indecent) and Mimi Lien (Best Scenic Design of a Musical, The Great Comet of 1812). These rock stars previously collaborated on WP’s 2011 Milk Like Sugar, a co-production with Playwrights Horizons, by Kirsten Greenidge, and we couldn’t be any prouder.

While we celebrate, let’s take a moment to note that, of the 73 people credited as writers on shows currently on Broadway, only 7 of those artists are women. Shout out to those seven women on making art for change on the Great White Way, but there is still a long way to go.

Let’s celebrate these powerful ladies, and don’t forget to join us in our upcoming season to make some noise for women in theater!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 | By | Blog, WP News | Comment

Debra Messing Acceptance Speech

“Storytelling can change lives.” -Debra Messing
Listen to what more Debra, one of two honorees, had to say  about the importance of storytelling at the 2017 Gala held on March 27th.

Monday, January 23, 2017 | By | Blog, WP News, Sundown | Comment

Playbill News: Cast Announced for “Sundown, Yellow Moon”!

Lilli Cooper and Anne L. Nathan (© David Gordon)

The world premiere of the night-time play with songs, SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON casting and creative teams have been announced on Playbill! You don’t want to miss the real, honest, funny and sad play about seeing old faces with new eyes, and the liminal space between loss and letting go.

“The cast includes Eboni Booth (Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.), Lilli Cooper (The Spongebob Musical), Peter Friedman (Synecdoche, New YorkThe Savages), Greg Keller (Our Mother’s Brief Affair), Anne L. Nathan (It Shoulda Been You), Michael Pemberton (Veep), and JD Taylor….” Click here for more information!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | By | Blog, WP News, Stuffed | Comment

WATCH STUFFED TV! A video series of all things STUFFED…

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 | By | Blog, WP News, 2016-2017 Season | Comment

Get to Know WP Theater! #WPTheater

WATCH WP’s new institutional video and JOIN US in 2016-17!

Learn more about the new season here and click the below to become a 2016-17 Season Subscriber. Please call 212-765-1706 or e-mail for more information.



Thursday, June 30, 2016 | By | Blog, WP News | Comment


WP Theater’s 2016 fiscal year ends at 11:59pm TODAY!

Help Keep Women in Their Place! DONATE TODAY➠

Thursday, December 17, 2015 | By | Blog, 2015-2016 Season, Ironbound, WP News | Comment


For your listening pleasure, Team WP Theater put together a sing along, snap your fingers, swaying playlist of classic holiday songs. Click above, listen, and enjoy the holiday season and new year with these tunes by your side.

“IRONBOUND is…The first KNOCKOUT of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival” – The Washington Post

Thursday, November 19, 2015 | By | Blog, 2015-2016 Season, WP News | Comment

WP Theater honored by the KILROYS


To celebrate just a few of the theaters achieving playwright parity on American stages this season, the Kilroys surprised 13 theaters around the country on Thursday, November 19, 2015 with cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans* writers. Stealthy playwright allies delivered the cakes, which feature the names of playwrights the theater or festival is producing this season. Pizza and beer were delivered to industry leaders at yours truly, WP THEATER, for “feeding artistic ambitions for nearly four decades!” #CakeDrop

Monday, September 14, 2015 | By | Blog, 2015-2016 Season, WP News | Comment

WP Theater at Theatermania’s BLOCK PARTY!


WP Theater at Theatermania's BLOCK PARTY

Check out pictures from yesterday’s fun-filled TheaterMania BLOCK PARTY on 3rd Avenue. WP Theater, Lincoln Center, Signature Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Company, and many more joined the festivities!