Robert LuPone and Bernard Telsey founded Manhattan Class Company Theater (MCC) in 1986 to introduce new theatrical voices to New York audiences. The Off-Broadway company uses readings, labs and workshops to develop new plays by emerging writers; presents a three-play season committed to these new works; and brings theater to public school students with its education program
As a small theater, MCC takes risks in investigating the issues and morality of our time. Some of the company’s biggest successes were rejected by other theaters in Manhattan. Among these are Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone, which was later made into a feature-length film; Margaret Edson’s Wit; Marsha Norman’s Trudy Blue; and Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat.
The company has earned a variety of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for its production of Wit (1999). This play, Edson’s first, was transferred to a Broadway theater for a long commercial run and was made into an Emmy-winning HBO film. The New York premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and starring Academy Award-winner Anna Paquin, was featured on Time Magazine’s Top Ten Theater Events of 2001.
For information about MCC’s current season, please click here.
The Youth Company is split into two distinct groups: the Acting Lab and the Playwriting Lab. Acting Lab students meet every Tuesday with professional director Stephen DiMenna to develop skills in voice, movement, monologue and dialogue. The year culminates with the annual spring production of UnCensored.
Playwriting Lab students meet every Monday with professional playwright Lucy Thurber to develop skills in dramatic writing. In the fall, students collaboratively write a play which is performed by Acting Lab members in February. In the spring, students write individual short plays, the best of which are produced by professional actors and directors in August during The FreshPlay Festival.
Veteran Youth Company members also have the opportunity to work with distinguished professionals in master classes, in which the highest tier of theater experts impart their wisdom, experience and skills to YC members. Past master class leaders include actor Kristen Johnston (Scarcity, Third Rock From the Sun), actor Barrett Foa (Avenue Q, Drunken City), writer/actor Hunter Bell (Title of Show) and director Jeremy Dobrish (Spain).
The Classroom Partnership Program pairs company teaching artists with high school teachers to develop effective methods of reaching curriculum objectives by way of theater-based lessons.