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Kitchen Theatre Company announced its 2017-2018 season Thursday. This is the first season for incoming Producing Artistic Director, M. Bevin O'Gara, who will be joining longtime Managing Director, Stephen Nunley. Kitchen Theatre Company is known for its intimate 99-seat space, now owned by the theatre, and for the bold, intimate, engaging work it has produced for over 25 years. The 27th season will include seven plays aimed at starting "important conversations," presented from September to June.

"The Kitchen's 2017-2018 season will consist of thought provoking, humorous and heart-warming work that pulls into focus the connections we all share as human beings," says Kitchen Theatre Company's new Producing Artistic Director M. Bevin O'Gara. "The artists we are assembling include some Kitchen Theatre Company favorites while also bringing new talent from New York, Boston and beyond to the table as we look toward a new and exciting future. But as always, the Kitchen will leave audiences with something to talk about on the way home."

SMART PEOPLE by Lydia Diamond: Variety calls our season opener "...a sexy, serious, and very, very funny modern-day comedy of manners. Four intellectuals - a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain's response to race - search for love, acceptance and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data. But as each of them learns about the study, more questions arise about the dangers of how we talk about race. Previews September 3, 5 and 6, opening night is September 10 and the play runs through September 24. For ages 14+.

"Deciding to do this play and having Summer L. Williams direct was one of the first thoughts that made me feel like an Artistic Director. Lydia's sharp intellect and biting humor have always drawn me in. Summer and Lydia are incredible collaborators, and bringing them to Ithaca is going to be explosive." - M Bevin O'Gara

"I am so excited to be back in the room working on another Lydia Diamond play. She is so tremendously gifted, and her work is always challenging, humorous and piercing. It's been a great joys of my life to know her; she's a sister and artist whom I fully admire. The opportunity to be reunited in Ithaca is thrilling. I'm honored to be at the helm of this project, working with both old friends and new, telling this incredibly profound and funny story," says director of SMART PEOPLE Summer L. Williams
BRAHMAN/I: A ONE HIJRA STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW by Aditi Brenna Kapil: Meet "B," an intersex comedian trying to explain and reconcile their identity through stories of high school antics, feats of the gods and Galileo Galilei. Sharp, heartbreaking and downright hilarious. Previews October 8, 10 and 11, Opening Night is October 12 and the play runs through October 29. For ages 14+.

Playwright Aditi Brennan Kapil says, "I'm so excited that director Bevin O'Gara and the fearless, hilarious, generally badass Aila Peck are teaming up again on 'Brahman/i, a one-hijra stand-up comedy show.' Their Boston production is still one of my favorites of a play I've written!"

EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan MacMillan: When all seems lost, what is there to live for? This delightful and tender one-man experience illuminates truths about depression and how we can help each other overcome these struggles. This show also reunites Kitchen favorites Karl Gregory, as the Narrator, and Wendy Dann, who is set to direct. Previews November 11, 12, 14 and 15, Opening Night is November 16 and the play runs through December 10. For ages 14+.

"I'm really excited to figure this play out with Wendy. We are going to have to find a new way to rehearse this play, as its structure is challenging. I can't wait to crack it!", Karl Gregory, actor in EVERY BRILLIANT THING.

IRONBOUND by Martyna Majok: Polish Immigrant Darja struggles to make ends meet and keep herself moving forward. In this vivid and richly drawn story, Darja stumbles through three presidential administrations and as many relationships, ultimately deciding how hard she's willing to fight for what she loves most. Previews are January 21, 23 and 24, Opening Night is January 25 and the play runs through February 4. For ages 14+.

"I feel so privileged for this to be the first new show I'll be directing in Ithaca," says director M. Bevin O'Gara, "I was immediately drawn to Darja, her struggles, and her questions about her own value. You will be as moved by Darja's perseverance as you are by her vulnerability."

BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield: In Pulitzer Prize nominee Tanya Barfield's mesmerizing play, we watch Erica and Vicky fall both into and out of love as life simply happens to and around them. Bright Half Life is an honest portrayal of the enduring power of love against the relentless forward motion of time. Deeply felt and utterly relatable. Previews March 4, 6 & 7, Opening Night is March 8 and the play runs though March 18. For ages 14+.

"Change happens. And change can be hard. I was so happy when Bevin asked me to be part of the changing of the "artistic guard" at KTC. KTC has always been more than a theatre - it is a community. Bevin has given me a great play to direct in Season 2017-18 in BRIGHT HALF LIFE. If change is difficult, so are relationships. BRIGHT HALF LIFE explores the changing dynamics within a relationship. The beginning. The adjustments. The discoveries. I look forward to sharing the "ins" and "outs" and "roundabouts" in Barfield's adroit and funny play," says director Sara Lampert Hoover.

BRAWLER by Walt McGough: For this production, Kitchen Theatre Company will be collaborating with the Boston Playwrights Theatre to expand upon how the Kitchen develops new works. Premiering first in Boston, then coming to Ithaca for further development, this modern telling of Ajax set in a hockey locker room takes a look at modern heroics and what our athletes must sacrifice in their fight to stay on top. It's rough, it's tough, and it's also deeply human. Previews April 8, 10 and 11, Opening Night is April 12 and the play runs through April 22. For ages 14+.

"I wrote BRAWLER as a lifelong fan of hockey (go Pens!), who has in recent years found it harder and harder to look past the toll that it and games like it exact on the men who play. My goal was to use the theatre as a venue for conversation, and thanks to Bevin, Kitchen Theatre and Boston Playwrights, that conversation will play out in front of two different audiences, in two different cities, both of which have a deep and abiding love of the game," says playwright Walt McGough.

MATT AND BEN by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers: In this delightful and exuberant piece, arriving just in time for summer, see Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as struggling young writers trying to write their first screenplay when fate intervenes and a script falls from the sky. What will they do? This gender-bending Off Broadway hit examines questions of friendship, celebrity and what it really takes to get ahead. Previews May 27, 29 and 30, 2018, Opening Night is May 31 and the play runs through June 10. For ages 14+.

"MATT AND BEN is pure fun, exactly the right way to usher in the summer," says M. Bevin O'Gara. "Through the frame of friendship and the allure of fame we get to see characters we think we know in a new light, and in this case we get to see them portrayed in a different gender entirely. And I love ending the season with a story about the success of collaboration since that is the essence of good theatre."