Liz Leimkuhler Joins the Extraordinary Risk Cast

headshot-classic-landscape-medium_origWe are pleased to announce that Liz Leimkuhler, most recently appearing on the Pipeline stage in our production of Jason Craig and Dave Malloy’s Beardo, is joining the cast of A Night of Extraordinary Risk: Corpse Backpack in the role of the Sorcerer.

Liz is an actress, singer, and comedian living in New York City. Favorite recent credits include Shack Sister in Beardo, and Mr. Newquist in Little Murders, directed by Shira Milikowsky and staged in old burger joint in BK. She is currently a member of The Bats at the Flea Theater. For more, visit

Liz joins a stellar cast that includes Jermaine Golden, Erik Olson*, Arshia Panicker, Omen Sade, and Jennifer Tsay+. Our Night of Extraordinary Risk will perform for three nights only, next week, November 16-18. Grab your tickets now!

*Pipeline Theatre Company Ensemble member
+Member of Actors Equity Association – AEA Approved Showcase

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Tickets Now On Sale

Tickets are now on sale for a highly limited engagement. Join Pipeline and our PlayLab Class of 2018 on November 16-18 for a night of riddles, mystery, and, as always, a touch of magic.

This year’s Night of Extraordinary Risk: Corpse Backpack is the first in what we hope will grow into an annual experiment in playmaking. Together, our PlayLab Class of 2018 chose the classic Indian folktale, Baichal Pachisi, to draw inspiration from and collaboratively built a brand new play. The tale features a prideful king, a dubious sorcerer, a back-latching ghoul, innumerable daughters, and absolutely no sons.

Join the Magic-Makers before making your purchase and start getting exclusive access to this adventurous Pipeline programming now!


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Introducing a Night of Extraordinary Risk

Today we are pleased to introduce our first ever Night of Extraordinary Risk, a new program from the PlayLab. Each year, the current PlayLab Class will select an existing folk story, myth, or fairytale from which they will draw inspiration to collaboratively build an original play.

For the inaugural year of the program, the Class of 2018 selected the classic Indian folk tale, Baital Pachisi. The tale features a prideful king, a dubious sorcerer, a back-latching ghoul, innumerable daughters, and absolutely no sons. Join the PlayLab class of 2018 for a grand experiment in playmaking; a night of riddles, mystery, and, as always, a touch of magic. This new event will be presented November 16-18 in a tucked away space at 915 Broadway. Save the date, tickets on sale October 20.

Through a year-long series of monthly meetings, the PlayLab serves as a workshop for 6-8 playwrights annually to build new plays with constructive feedback from other playwrights, directors, and the artistic staff of Pipeline. Throughout the course of the season, the PlayLab presents their work to the public twice, at A Night of Extraordinary Risk in November and at A Week of Extraordinary Risk: Reading Series in June. The Week of Extraordinary Risk (previously titled the Bonfire Series) is the culminating event of the PlayLab and features staged readings of full-length plays developed over the course of the year by each writer.

Together, our Extraordinary Risk programs exemplify Pipeline’s mission to challenge artists to go as far as they can dream, and then perhaps to push even further. Our PlayLab was designed to give artists space and time to create, completely free from logistical and financial concerns; to authentically build the wild plays they imagine. The Extraordinary Risk programs are our opportunity to invite our whole community in on this thrilling, rewarding, and courageous process.


Written by
The PlayLab Class of 2018
Rick Burkhardt, J. Julian Christopher, Amy Gijsbers van Wijk, Jae Kramisen,
K.T. Looney, Divya Mangwani, Matt Minnicino

Directed by Jaki Bradley & Tom Costello*
Music by Deepali Gupta & Nate Weida*

Set by Christopher Bowser*
Lighting by Scot Gianelli
Costumes by Haydee Zelideth
Stage Management by Shayna Penn


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Pipeline Artistic Director Named Rising Star

On Wednesday, July 19, our very own artistic director, Ari Schrier, was named one of New York’s 40 under 40 rising stars in the nonprofit sector. This is the third consecutive year that New York Nonprofit Media has recognized and celebrated the rising generation of leaders across the New York nonprofit world. Ari was recognized at an honoree breakfast this week alongside this year’s other awardees, including leaders from Planned Parenthood of New York City, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and others. Click here to learn more about the event and access the full list of 2017 honorees.

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Introducing the PlayLab Class of 2018

The Pipeline PlayLab, a year-long series of monthly meetings and events, provides a developmental space for playwrights to turn their biggest, wildest ideas into finished plays. Through an extensive application process, we seek out big dreamers who are taking big risks with their plays, we put them all in a room together, we provide structure and support, and we make magic together.

This year, the Pipeline artistic team received applications from over 200 playwrights. We then selected 7 outstanding artists to be in residence with us through June 2018. It is with great admiration and excitement that we now introduce our fifth PlayLab class:

Five Hundred

Rick Burkhardt writes and performs plays, songs, and chamber music, often lumped together into odd works for talking drummers and singing newscasters.

About the Project: Five Hundred is a play whose characters may speak only 500 words each, then fall silent forever — a play on economy, equality, and wild workarounds. Learn More



Bundle of Sticks

J. Julian Christopher is an internationally produced playwright exploring Queer subculture and otherness.

Julian is returning for a second consecutive year in the PlayLab, and will be serving this season as a mentor to other playwrights in the group.

About the Project: Gay men from across the globe go deep into the outback of Australia for a secret gay conversion therapy retreat, only to be tormented by Ungud, the Aboriginal God of erections. Learn More


feminine octagon

Amy Gijsbers van Wijk is a playwright whose work features all bodies, pronouns, and identities. She thinks of theatre as an art of reclaiming the self.

About the Project: “Do you ever think about becoming a body in the trunk of a car?” feminine octagon feasts on the banal, and the bizarre, the need, and the danger underneath it. Learn More



Earth is Greedy

Jae Kramisen is an internationally produced playwright who specializes in experimental drama that utilizes language, sound and light to create a visceral theater experience.

About the Project: A little girl is haunted by a demonic form of the moon, survivors flee to the woods as the cities fall, and the moon has disappeared from the sky. Who can you trust when everything is on fire? Learn More



House of Telescopes

K.T. Looney is a New York City based theater artist fascinated with the strange and familiar.

About the Project: House of Telescopes asks how magic works in a rural American town caught between ideologies. Learn More



The Rise of River

Divya Mangwani wanders around in search of stories. Following cute dogs is just part of the job.

About the Project: A fish is in search of a God. Faith is commanded by Godmen. Art is breaking down. As the river Indus rises and falls, so does the world around it. Learn More




Matt Minnicino is a playwright, director, actor, and teacher who would rather extend belief than suspend disbelief.

About the Project: A play about three sisters who aren’t sisters, a city consumed by fear, magic, love, dead gods, fathomless power, why everyone thought 2016 was so awful (but 2017 is worse), and the gaping maw of Hell. Learn More

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This play is unapologetic in it’s Queerness.

image1 (6)The Pipeline reading premiere of J. Julian Christopher’s Bruise & Thorn is coming to the Bonfire Series on June 25, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a little bit more from Julian about what makes this his most ambitious project yet.

Read on to find out more and reserve your seat now for Bruise & Thorn, June 25, 7:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

J. Julian Christopher: Actually, not much. I usually prefer audiences to walk into my plays without much knowledge. This allows for a more visceral experience without trying to “get it.” I think all I would want them to know is that the play is very New York and innately Queer. I use the word Queer, not to be divisive or exclusionary, but to name that this play is unapologetic in it’s Queerness.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

JJC: Bruise & Thorn was a result of a writing exercise at a free playwriting workshop given at SoHo Rep led by Gregory Moss. We were asked to write a few small scenes based on the title a fellow writer in the room created. I was given the title Never Call a Black Woman Sassy. Out of these scenes, I created three characters that are still in the play today, but now as a different genders and race. Clearly, I ditched the other writer’s title.

I continued writing the play because it was the first time I began creating celebratory Queer characters. Previously, my Queer characters were riddled with shame, so when these characters popped out, I was excited. It feels like an evolution in my work and in my own identity. This play has given me joy, but also fear. I’ve known Queer shame for so long and I know how to write it well, because I’ve lived it. Bruise & Thorn frightens me a bit because in many ways it feels like a barometer for how I presently view my Queerness. I’m living Queer joy right now, but will it translate to the stage? It’s a common fear with every new play, but because there is a shift in tone from my previous work, it scares the shit out of me.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

JJC: This is my most ambitious play yet. I’m most excited about writing the outrageous and eventually seeing how directors and designers are inspired by the piece. Bruise & Thorn is ripe for abstract staging and design possibilities. I am excited for the theatricality of the piece because there are moments of the play that seem impossible. But that’s the beauty of it… The collaboration of the theatrics… That gets me going.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

JJC: Chickens have a ball culture vogue off in the basement of a laundromat.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?

JJC: I’m working on a few projects — Walker Mercado Saved My Life and Bundle of Sticks. They are mostly in early development, so I actually have no idea what they are yet except that they are going to be Queer AF!

PTC: What’s next for you?

JJC: I am directing a new play by Georgina Escobar called The Beacons at INTAR Theatre this June. It will be partially devised which I am extremely excited about. I’ve been really interested in how collaborative devised theatre can influence a narrative. Much of my work, directing and playwriting is moving into the realm of devising.

About Bruise & Thorn

by J. Julian Christopher | directed by Lou Moreno
Sunday, June 25, 7:30PM
Reserve Tickets

Bruise and Thorn work at a laundromat in Jamaica, Queens. Bruise dreams of becoming a chef and Thorn of changing the face of Hip Hop. When finances become strained, they get caught up in illegal activities sending them on a magical ride to make their dreams come true and get the hell out of Jamaica.

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Thinking about spooky things

unnamedThe Pipeline reading premiere of Charly Evon Simposon’s Trick of the Light is coming to the Bonfire Series on June 24, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned from Charly about how the project got it’s start and the strange and wonderful ways it’s grown and changed over the years.

Read on to find out more and reserve your seat now for Trick of the Light, June 24, 7:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Charly Evon Simpson: This is a play about a young woman who comes home looking for some time and quiet so she can think. What she gets instead is a yelling-from-the-porch mother, a tarot-card-pulling aunt, three ghost-like-figures that feel way more familiar than they should. This is a play about family, about memory, about rituals, and about place.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

CES: This play actually started on a Fresh Ground Pepper BRB retreat. I was in the woods and while I kind of liked the woods—I’m an annoying person now who likes to go “upstate” and “hike” and stay in cabins in the “woods” but I wasn’t then—I was also really spooked by the woods. So I was there, in the woods kind of, thinking about spooky things, and I started this play. That was almost three years ago now. It merged with another project I started in grad school that started with some research I did for a class on various rituals and myths surrounding death and my own experience with a tarot card reading. I realized they were the same story. I realized the characters I had created were a family.

I’ve written quite a few drafts of this play over the last three years. Some said I should have abandoned it, but I kept coming back. I keep coming back. And I’m glad I did and do. There is something here and I’ve been trying to unearth it. Aurora, the main character, is trying to unearth something too. Perhaps that is why I am so attracted to this story and this world—we, Aurora and I, have been on a journey to figure out this world together.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

CES: Honestly, this play has been so damn challenging and so damn interesting for me and in many ways, that is where the excitement comes from. I’m also really excited that it is a play that centers around six women and otherworldliness and fear and a lost dog and death and birth and…It is a play that touches on a number of themes I’ve been wanting to play with. I’m excited to see how its grown, how the world has grown, how I’m closer and closer to what I want it to be. I’m excited by its imperfections. I’m excited by its weirdness. I’m excited by its quiet.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

CES: There are two ghost-like little girls who hang out above the stage a lot.

PTC: Are you working on anything else? What?

CES: I am having a reading of my play, Scratching the Surface, with The New Group ten days before this reading so June is a month of workshopping plays. I’m also finishing up an adaptation of the fairy tale, Girl With No Hands, for kids.

PTC: What’s next for you?

CES: I’m a member of SPACE on Ryder Farm’s The Working Farm so I’ll be working on a new play with them and this July I am headed to the Kennedy Center in D.C. to work on my play, Jump, at the MFA Playwrights Workshop. I also get to spent a few days in Iceland this August so that’s cool.

About Trick of the Light

by Charly Evon Simpson | directed by Dina Vovsi
Saturday, June 24, 7:30PM
Reserve Tickets

Aurora returns to her childhood home for some quiet, but soon realizes something is amiss. Her mother spends nights yelling on the porch and her aunt pulls the same tarot card every day. Not to mention the three mysterious, banshee figures she sees.

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The material manifestation of wonder

Pazniokas Square 2The Pipeline reading premiere of Francesca Pazniokas’ Wunderkammer is coming to the Bonfire Series on June 23, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned from Francesca about how this play, titled for a “cabinet of curiosities,” was originally inspired by a literal jar of moles. What does that mean? Read on to find out and reserve your seat now for Wunderkammer, June 23, 7:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Francesca Pazniokas: I’ll define the title for you. A “Wunderkammer” is a “cabinet of curiosities.” These collections “created a spectacle in which terror, curiosity and revelation could be relived through the discovery of new items and the relationships between them. The material manifestation of wonder” (Tiffany Shafran, Archives of Wonder).

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

FP: Wunderkammer is based off a short play I wrote when I was living in London for graduate school. It was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I took a lunch break from the library and walked over to the Grant Museum of Zoology. As soon as you walk in, there’s this jar of moles. Just a big jar filled to the brim with dead moles, which I couldn’t stop staring at, even though it upset me. There was something in the combination of what day it was and all the taxidermy animals that gave me this idea. I wanted to write about dehumanization, about categorizing someone as “human” or “animal.” About how easy it is to deny someone’s humanity if it benefits you. 

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

FP: The chance to try and make something spectacular and strange! The logic of this play is inspired by the Eastern European folktales and folk songs I grew up with—stories that can be simple and scary and strange and sweet by turns. I remember being a kid and asking, like: “Why is that hedgehog trying to marry a human princess? Why did that swan get kidnapped?” When you’re young, you don’t understand that these stories are meant to impart a higher, moral message—they just feel so unsettling, like the world has a dark logic that’s beyond your grasp. I wanted to try to recreate that feeling for adults. I also got to write some folk songs, which I’d missed doing.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

FP: A dead dog cries before someone’s hands get stolen.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?

FP: I wrote my thesis on verbatim theatre, but I don’t often get a chance to work on those kinds of projects (except for the short play I did for the Matchstick Series, when I interviewed 5-year-olds about their dreams—thanks Pipeline!). So I’ve started doing interviews for a new piece. I could tell you right now what I think it’ll be about, but I promise I’d be wrong. This is the fun part—looking for things that spark my interest and letting them lead me. It’s my favorite part of playwriting in general. 

PTC: What’s next for you?

FP: I have a short play about white feminism going up at the Prism Festival this June. I’m also working on a project with Everyday Inferno about murder ballads, which I’m looking forward to developing with them in the coming months. 

About Wunderkammer

by Francesca Pazniokas | directed by Felicia Lobo
Friday, June 23, 7:30PM
Reserve Your Seat

A lonely taxidermist trains a mysterious child with terrifying talents to be his assistant in Wunderkammer—a play that blurs the line between human and animal, and life and death. It asks: how do we determine who is an “us” and who is “them”?

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Three descend into the dark web

Hemphill SquareThe Pipeline reading premiere of Aeneas Sagar Hemphill’s The Troll King is coming to the Bonfire Series on June 21, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a bit more from Aeneas about the seeds of inspiration for this project, which include gender, sexualization, toxic masculinity, and gaming culture.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for The Troll King, June 21, 7:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Aeneas Sagar Hemphill: People will probably come at this with “can I enjoy this if I’m not a gamer?” and I want people to know that this is not just a gamer play, or a play about video games per se. This is a play about gender, sexualization, toxic masculinity, about white male radicalization. I think there’s a tendency to consider games and gaming culture frivolous, or to at least distance ourselves from it as some sort of strange inscrutable subculture. But as our world blends with technology the lines have intersected and blurred in fascinating ways. Geek culture began as a safe space for people who didn’t fit into a dominant homogenous and patriarchal social order. There’s overlap with POC and LGBTQ culture, with underground music culture, with other social movements, though there has always been a gender dynamic based in what I call a Revenge of the Nerds narrative: the Girl thinks she wants an Alpha Male and can’t see the true value of the Nerd, who must win the Girl’s heart by publicly emasculating the Alpha Male with his intellect. This has developed into an ideology which, combined with an Ayn Randian libertarianism, creates this bizarre anti-feminism. Our most recent image of gaming culture involved coordinated online harassment and death threats against women in the gaming industry, which have serious implications in our current political landscape. So while this does try to reflect to some degree a gamer world—a world of which I grew up in and do not have these toxic beliefs—but this is not only relevant to the gaming community.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

ASH: There’s this pseudo-philosophy on Reddit called the “Red Pill.” It’s an anti-feminist mythology of victimization that justifies itself with a cursory understanding of evolutionary theory. They were a major player in the #Gamergate debacle (which also helped make the career of Milo Yiannopoulos and other “Alt-Right” we know today). I’d recommend looking into it, as well as the responses from gaming publications like Gamasutra, who wrote a particularly assertive article headlined ‘Gamers are over,’ which disowned the #Gamergate “movement.” All across our culture we’re wrestling with oppression that’s baked into our language and our behaviors and our institutions, and it’s no different in the gamer community. I found the story of a group that began as a reaction to patriarchy, became a tool of patriarchy itself. I think this connects with how we view heroes and villains in society, and I wanted to delve into that complexity with a world that could be fun and that we don’t often get to see represented on stage with humanity.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

ASH: I get to deal with really heavy themes with a sort of crudeness I wouldn’t otherwise. It’s liberating to be so frank about teenagers, and with theatre you can really bend reality. I wanted the real world to feel almost more unreal than the online and gaming worlds, which for many I think is a relatable experience. It also allowed me the freedom to place the events in a global context, which the internet constantly does.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

ASH: Three descend into the Dark Web.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?

ASH: I have a bunch of stuff coming down the…pipeline. There’s a farce with spies and lacanian theory, a play based on the life of Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, an epic tragedy inspired by the black radical movements of the 60’s and 70’s, two pilots, a romantic comedy about Indian diaspora…I will be very busy.

PTC: What’s next for you?

ASH: Live. Create. Take over the world. 😉

About The Troll King

by Aeneas Sagar Hemphill | directed by Emily Moler
Wednesday, June 21, 7:30PM
Reserve Tickets

For many, the internet is a safe haven but it can also be something more sinister. When a young gamer’s love goes unrequited, a breach of trust rocks the student body and fantasy and reality collide.

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People are magical and resilient and survive

Edelhart SquareThe Pipeline reading premiere of Taylor Edelhart’s The Holdfolk is coming to the Bonfire Series on June 22, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a bit more from Taylor about how this project came to be, other projects they have in the works, and making plays for trans audiences first and cis audiences second.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for The Holdfolk, June 22, 7:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Taylor Edelhart: It’s about elves! Elves who live underground and are a secret now because humanity has taken almost everything from them. For me, it’s a exploration of how oppression works, and how oppressed people integrate new people into their communities, especially when they don’t really want to bring any new people in, but they have to. I’m also deeply invested in creating work that doesn’t put dialogue first as a communication tool, and this piece is a great example of that. There is some talking, but The Holdfolk communicate telepathically, so most of the piece is told through gesture and ritual. But for you, I just hope that it’s a meaningful story about elves. :)

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

TE: I got the idea for this play about a year ago. One of my favorite podcasts, LORE, did an episode that was partially about the huldufolk, the elves from Icelandic folklore that the play is based on. It really struck me how similar the huldufolk story was to experiences I’ve had as a trans person in the present day US – this phenomenon of saying “this group of people is both a menace and also doesn’t exist stop talking about them” was in both the huldufolk myth and all the bigoted thinking around those bathroom bills. This strange assumption that the Holdfolk live in rocks because they want to and not because they have to vs. trans people are oppressed because they decide to be and not because cis people actively oppress them. So I started writing to explore all those feelings the podcast brought up, and to see if I could make a sort of dark tale about what it’s like to be trans in America – to have your history erased, to have your livelihood stolen, to be driven underground – through a community of these elves. And since then, the play has deepened (I hope) into a story about how lots of different oppressions work, and how people are magical and resilient and survive in spite of all of that oppression.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

TE: This is the first time I’ve made a gesture-based play for a bunch of people who aren’t myself, and it’s been really exciting to see how other actors tackle a text like that, and how I can make this scripted movement writing style more legible and fun for other people. I’m also deeply invested right now in making work that is for trans audiences first and cis audiences second, and think this piece has the potential to serve trans folks who see it in a big way. I hope so, anyway!

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

TE: A Holdfolk speaks using a Translator that looks like a big ugly calculator and doesn’t CARE aboUt WORD emPHASIS.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?

TE: Oh goodness yes! I just finished the first run of my latest solo piece, SWIFT, which is a sci-fi play about how I might actually be Taylor Swift, so that piece might be happening again soon. And I’m planning to put together a little play subscription service from a score of plays I’m planning on writing in the next year. Head to to sign up for my mailing list if you want to stay in the loop on all of that!

PTC: What’s next for you?

TE: I’m going to Lambda Literary’s Emerging Writers Retreat for playwriting this August, and am going to write in a cabin in the woods for 2 weeks as part of the Hill House residency this fall. In general, my plan is to tackle the list of 30 play ideas I have on my phone and just write as many of them as I can until I get tired and/or bored. There’s a play about a cursed house. There’s a clown future dystopia of the King Arthur legend. There’s a radio drama about an intergalactic phone sex line. I’m so excited for all of them! Yay plays! Also I’m getting a cat soon which I honestly think is going to do wonders for my artistic practice. Yes. So excited. Yay.

About The Holdfolk

by Talyor Edelhart | directed by Jaki Bradley
Thursday, June 22, 7:30PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave
Reserve Seats

Deep underneath the earth, a family of elves has pieced together something like a peaceful life. Then a Human shows up. A broken fairy story about learning how to live underground.

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