Ted Sod, Roundabout’s Education Dramaturg, sat down with Roundabout Underground producer Robyn Goodman to discuss Suicide, Incorporated and her work with the Underground.
Ted Sod: Will you explain the genesis of Roundabout Underground and your involvement?
Robyn Goodman: It starts back when I got involved as an artistic consultant. When Roundabout was creating the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre off -Broadway, Todd came to me and asked if I would come work on the new plays that were going to be produced there. I wanted to, but I had a full time job as a producer on Broadway; so I offered to be a consultant who would find plays for Todd. It has developed into a much larger job now. There was a point at which he did a play by a young playwright and the critics were harsh and he was very upset about that. He thought maybe the Pels stage was too big a space for these young playwrights. I gave him a play entitled Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam and I told him we should do it in the Pels and he agreed that it was good, but he was reluctant to do it in that space. He thought the writer was young and he would get the show produced elsewhere. I said “I don’t want to do this play somewhere else, I want to do this play here because I think it’s very special.” He called me back and said “I’ve always wanted a black box theatre and there’s a space underneath the Pels that I think we could turn into a black box just for young emerging writers like Stephen.” I went and looked at the space and I said “let’s give it a mission statement; let’s say writers that haven’t had a major production in New York, let’s say we’re giving them all the Roundabout resources in this small 65 seat space and I bet you the critics will understand what it is.” And that’s how it started. We did Speech and Debate and hired Jason Moore to direct the first show. It was reviewed beautifully and it was quite a success and it launched the idea. Now we’re on our 6th play.
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2011-2012 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Ordinary Days, Roundabout Underground, Sons of the Prophet, Suicide, Incorporated, The Language of Trees, Tigers Be Still, Upstage