Using a blend of field interviews, archival research, Methodist hymns, and original songs, this daring new play investigates the lives in and around Miracle Village, a rural community for sex offenders buried deep in Florida's sugarcane fields.

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LISTEN TO NPR'S INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR & CAST

"This play, an investigation of transgression, redemption and the limits of compassion, takes a hard, uncomfortable look at forgiveness and what it means to put it into action... Paying homage to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Mr. Russ presents Miracle Village as an ordinary American town, except in the ways it isn’t.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

"This play introduces us to a strange community that could only be American. The writer-director Travis Russ put together this lovely show, drawing on interviews that his New York-based company conducted in Miracle Village, Florida, a small settlement populated with convicted sex offenders. Dodging prurience and judgement, the piece, dotted with brief songs by Priscilla Holbrook, is a deceptively gentle look at redemption, faith, and what makes a community."

THE NEW YORKER

"Making documentary theatre takes great discipline and a touch of innovative genius. With its new work Life Jacket Theatre has proven itself to be a strong new practitioner in this genre. Writer and director Travis Russ certainly hasn’t made it easy for himself. His foray into this demanding genre takes on a doozy of a subject that requires viewers to undertake Herculean feats of empathy."

EXEUNT MAGAZINE

PRESS

A smart and troubling new piece of documentary theater… The room was so pin-drop quiet that you could hear the electric hum of the lights.
— THE NEW YORK TIMES
The play is a heartbreaking, complicated portrait of people adrift.
— THE NEW YORKER
An excellent, deeply moving Off-Broadway play about redemption.
— THE INDEPENDENT
Hands down, the bravest show currently playing in New York... Powerful performances electrify an already supercharged script.
— THEATERMANIA
 
 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

HERE ARTS CENTER / JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 24, 2018

Cast: Ken Barnett, John Carlin, Joyce Cohen, Amy Gaither Hayes, David Spadora, Gareth Tidball. Production Team: Travis Russ (Playwright, Director, & Scenic Designer), Priscilla Holbrook (Composer, Lyricist, & Music Director), Anthony Dvarskas and Amelia Parenteau (Research & Development Team), Solomon Weisbard (Lighting Designer), Andrea Hood (Costume Designer), Kristina Vnook (Production Stage Manager), Dale Brown (Casting Director), Matt Ross Public Relations (Press Agent). NYC PREMIERE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This play received grants from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York. Additionally, this play was developed, in part, through residencies at the Drama League, the Tank, New York University, Governor's Island, Fordham University, and IRT Theatre.

We wish to express our appreciation to the many wonderful artists who participated in previous development stages of this show including: Jake Alexander, Nick Auer, Steph Bacon, Cecil Blutcher, Michael Castillejos, Brendan Dalton, Austin Davidson, Andrew Dawson, Paul DeBoy, Anni Epstein, David Goldberg, Stuart Green, Shea Madison, Jeannie Moffitt, Ashley Nease, Nick Plakias, Katie Proulx, Scott Redmond, Michael McCorry Rose, Christopher Russo, Aidan Sank, Celia Schaefer, Chad Stoffel, Jane Summerhays, Clay Westman, Evan Reynolds White, and Rachel Tuggle Whorton.