HYPE MAN

The Flea premieres a new hip hop play by Idris Giidwin as part of its 2018-2019 Color Brave season.
November 10 – December 10 at The Flea

Buy tickets HERE.

The Flea Theater presents the New York premiere of HYPE MAN: a break beat play, written by Idris Goodwin and directed by Kristan Seemel and Flea Artistic Director Niegel Smith. Previews begin on Saturday, November 10 with its opening night slated for Thursday, November 20.

In HYPE MAN: a break beat play we meet Verb, a young black man who hypes the crowd and Pinnacle, a white front man who writes and rhymes. They've been best buddies since they were kids, growing up together on the same mean streets. Now, with the addition of Peep One, a mixed- race, female beat maker, the trio is about to make it big as America's next hip hop crew. But the shooting of an unarmed black man in their hometown throws them off their beat. Their friendship is tested. Their moral compass is challenged. Hype Man immerses audiences in a chilling conversation amongst the beats and rhymes of pulsating hip hop.

The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith says, “Idris has his finger on the pulse – taking the most popular music idiom in our culture and fusing it with a pressing social question. HYPE MAN is dangerous and entertaining and fits perfectly in concert with the rest of our season.”

Adds Carol Ostrow, Producing Director of The Flea, “HYPE MAN continues The Flea's Color Brave season. This is a play about color brave friendships that cross racial lines and about how you reach a shared destination when you come from such different starting points.”

HYPE MAN features The Bats, the The Flea’s resident acting company, including Tay Bass, Sonja Cirillo, Justin Jorrell, Matt Stango and Shakur Tolliver. The creative team includes Anton Volovsek (Scenic Designer), Sarah Lawrence (Costume Design), Xavier Pierce (Lighting Designer), Wendell Hanes (Music Composer/Supervisor/Editor), Jabob Brasi (Assistant Director), Haley Gordon (Stage Manager) and Keenan Hurley (Sound Engineer).

Idris Goodwin is an award-winning playwright, director, orator and educator. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Stage One Family Theater in Louisville, KY for which he penned the widely produced And In This Corner: Cassius Clay. Other widely produced plays include: How We Got On, This Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin Coval, Bars and Measures and The Raid. The Way The Mountain Moved, commissioned as part of Oregon Shakespeare’s American Revolutions series. His work has been produced by or developed with The Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Steppenwolf Theater, The Kennedy Center, The Denver Center for The Performing Arts, Cleveland Playhouse, Seattle Children’s Theater, Nashville Children’s Theater, Boulder Ensemble Theater, TheaterWorks, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Program, La Jolla Playhouse, The Eugene O’Neill Center, The Lark Playwriting Center and New Harmony Project. He’s received support from the NEA, The Ford, Mellon and Edgerton Foundation, and is the recipient of InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Prize and The Playwrights’ Center’s Mcknight Fellowship. www.idrisgoodwin.com

Niegel Smith is a theater director and performance artist who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts and imagine future narratives. Directing credits include Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (Goodman Theatre, 2018), Syncing Ink (Alley Theater, 2017; The Flea, 2017), Take Care (The Flea, 2015- 2016), Hir (Magic Theatre, 2014; Mixed Blood, 2015; Playwrights Horizons, 2015), A 24 Decade History of Popular Music... (New York Live Arts, et al., 2015), The Perils of Obedience (Abrons Arts Center, 2013–ongoing), and Neighbors (The Public Theater, 2010). His participatory performances have been produced by American Realness, Dartmouth College, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, and the Van Alen Institute, among others. He is the Artistic Director of The Flea Theater in lower Manhattan; Associate Artistic Director of Elastic City; and ringleader of Willing Participant - an artistic activist organization that whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy stuff that happens. www.niegelsmith.com

Kristan Seemel, before coming to New York, was a freelance director in Oregon for the better part of a decade. While on the other coast, he worked for eight seasons at Portland Center Stage, first as a Literary Associate and later as Corporate Development Associate during the organization’s transition into the historic Armory Theater, a world-renowned Green Building project. Kristan came up in the theater working on new plays, serving as dramaturg on a score of premiere productions and developmental workshops. His passion for new American writing is clear from his direction of premiers including Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love by Mallery Avidon and The Electric Lighthouse by Ed Himes (The Flea). Other new plays Kristan has directed include Mutt by Lava Alapai (Many Hats Collective) and The Verspiary by Matthew Zrebski (Stark Raving Theatre) as well as NW regional premieres of Carlos Murillo’s Mimesophobia (Sand & Glass Productions), The Long Christmas Ride Home by Paula Vogel (TheatreVertigo) and Mac Wellman’s A Murder of Crows (defunkt theatre). He has developed new plays with Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb (SuperLab), The Lark, Brave New World Repertory Theater, Spookfish and The Barn Arts Collective. Kristan is a graduate of the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program in directing and, while in Providence, he helmed workshop productions Oh Guru Guru Guru by Mallery Avidon and The Darkson Chronicles by Theo Goodell. Favorite revivals include Brecht & Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (Brown/Trinity Rep) and Hamlet (CoHo Productions). Kristan’s staging of Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights (defunkt theatre) garnered him a Portland Dramatic Critics Circle award (Drammy) for Outstanding Direction. Some of his favorite assisting credits include Gurney’s Ajax, The Mysteries (The Flea), A Raisin in the Sun, A Christmas Carol and Camelot (Trinity Rep). Kristan is an alumnus of the 2012/13 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the SDCF Observership Program. www.kristanseemel.com

The Bats are the resident acting company members of The Flea Theater. Each season, over a thousand actors audition for a place in this unique company. The Bats perform in extended runs of challenging classics, as well world premieres of new plays. They are the lifeblood of The Flea.

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Niegel Smith and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading Off-Off-Broadway companies. Winner of several Obie Awards, a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement and an Otto Award for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 theatrical, musical and dance performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include premieres by Steven Banks, Thomas Bradshaw, Erin Courtney, Bathsheba Doran, Will Eno, Karen Finley, Amy Freed, Sarah Gancher, Sean Graney, A.R. Gurney, Jennifer Haley, Hamish Linklater, Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio, Itamar Moses, Anne Nelson, Qui Nguyen, Adam Rapp, Jonathan Reynolds, Kate Robbins, Roger Rosenblatt, Elizabeth Swados, and Mac Wellman. Successes include Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters, These Seven Sicknesses, Restoration Comedy, The Mysteries and ten World Premiere productions by A.R. Gurney, including the WSJ Best New Play of 2013, Family Furniture.

HYPE MAN: a break beat play runs November 10 – December 10, Thursday–Monday at 7pm, with Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets start at $15 with the lowest priced tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Flea Theater is located at 20 Thomas Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks north of Chambers, close to the A/C/E, N/Q/R/W, 4/5/6, J/M/Z and 1/2/3 subway lines. Purchase tickets by calling 212- 352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.