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NEW YORK, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is pleased to announce the publication of Speech & Debate by Stephen Karam. The play originally premiered as a workshop production at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island in the summer of 2006 before ultimately opening Off Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company in the winter of 2008. It premiered in the UK at Trafalgar Studios, Westminster in the spring of 2017.
“You might think a play that grapples with serious modern social issues—homophobia, teenage alienation, the limits of online privacy—would have no room for a warbling Abraham Lincoln doing an interpretive dance. But then you might not expect to encounter a piece of theater as ingenious and cannily plotted as Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate. It is a suspenseful tale that fuses keen-eyed civic critique with riotous and even campy humor.”
– Celia Wren, Washington Post
In this unconventional dark comedy, three misfit high school students in Salem, Oregon form a unique debate club, complete with a musical version of The Crucible, an unusual podcast, and a plot to take down their corrupt drama teacher. With his signature wit, Karam traces the cohort’s attempts to fend off the menace of encroaching adulthood with caustic humor and subversive antics.
“Hilarious…Speech & Debate’s real accomplishment is its picture of the borderland between late adolescence and adulthood, where grown-up ideas and ambition coexist with childish will and bravado…We never feel we’re being educated, just immensely entertained.”
– Caryn James, New York Times
Stephen Karam’s plays include The Humans (Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist), Sons of the Prophet (Pulitzer Prize finalist), and Speech & Debate. His adaptation of The Cherry Orchard premiered on Broadway for the Roundabout Theatre Company.
For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research, and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.