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  • NYS Writers Institute

Authors Theatre special event: "Interstate" by Amina Henry

“As a playwright, I am a deep sea explorer. I see human nature as something to be mined. My plays tend to explore gender, race, class, nationhood—all of the things that make up ‘identity.’”

– Amina Henry

Join us Monday, March 22, for a live Zoom reading of a funny and irreverent new play, followed by a conversation with the playwright.

"Interstate" by Amina Henry follows the cross-country drive of 40-something flight attendant named Red and her two kids, who are definitely too old to be taking a vacation with their mother. In a rusted-out convertible, teenage Robin vies for her mother’s attention, while her older brother Manny decides he’s done with being the “little man” that his mother wants him to be – and instead becomes Sybil.

Ex-boyfriends are visited; Texas gets weird; something magical happens in the middle of Illinois; and the Grand Canyon is reached at last. A funny and irreverent new play, that asks what it means to be family and what it is to be a woman.

The reading will be directed by Portia Krieger, and the cast will feature University at Albany students working alongside a professional cast, including Danielle Skraastad, a UAlbany Theatre Program alumna.

"Interstate" live Zoom reading

7:30 p.m. Monday, March 22

Admission is free. A Zoom account is required to view the live reading.

You can register for a free Zoom account at

Advance Q&A at 11 a.m. Monday, March 22

There will be a Q&A the morning of the event at 11 a.m. streamed on YouTube Live with the playwright Amina Henry and actor Danielle Skraastad, moderated by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Producing Artistic Director of Capital Repertory Theatre. Here is the link:

Authors Theatre is presented by the UAlbany Theatre Program and the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment in association with the NYS Writers Institute.

The playwright

Brooklyn-based Amina Henry's recent productions include The Animals, Ducklings, Hunter John and Jane and The Johnsons at JACK (Brooklyn, NY), Bully (SUNY Purchase, Clubbed Thumb WinterWorks), The Great Novel (New Light Theater) and Troy (HERO Theatre). Her work has been produced/developed by Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The New Group, Ars Nova, The Flea, National Black Theatre, among other venues.

She is a New Georges Affiliate Artist and 2019 Audrey Resident; and a graduate of Yale University, NYU’s Performance Studies MA program, and Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting program.

The director

Portia Krieger is a NYC-based theater director who mostly works on new plays and musicals. Productions include: world premiere of Zoe Laufer’s Be Here Now (Cincinnati Playhouse on the Park); The Tomb of King Tot (Clubbed Thumb, New York Times Critic’s Pick); Tania in the Getaway Van (The Pool); Friend Art (2ST Uptown); The Convent of Pleasure (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); The Bachelors (Lesser America); Storm, Still (Brooklyn Yard); 16 Words or Less (Clubbed Thumb); Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb); and Eager to Lose, a burlesque farce she co-created (Ars Nova).

She was Associate Director of Fun Home on Broadway, and holds a BA in Theater from Smith College.

The cast includes:

Maybe Burke is an actor, writer, and human rights advocate interested in telling the stories that haven't been told. Recent Credits include safeword. (American Theatre of Actors), Red Emma & the Mad Monk (The Tank, Ars Nova). TV: Awkwafina is Nora From Queens (Comedy Central), Tales of the City (Netflix). Audiobook: Freeing Finch (Audible). Maybe won the 2017 Fresh Fruit Spirit Award for “Fostering Pride, Survival, History, and Progress” for their solo show, Love Letters to Nobody, which also earned them a nomination for the 2018 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. Through the Trans Literary Project, Maybe works to address questions about the complexities of trans and non-binary experiences.

Ryan King grew up in Austin and Round Rock, TX, and now lives in Brooklyn. As an actor, he has appeared regionally and Off-Broadway at such theaters as the Atlantic Theater Company, Second Stage, Clubbed Thumb, PS 122, HERE Arts Center, Barrington Stage, Hartford Stage, Studio Theater, and Huntington Theater. As a playwright, his work has been developed by Cape Cod Theatre Project, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Naked Angels, Rattlestick Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Primary Stages, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Ars Nova, among others. His screenplay Black Flies (2018 Black List) goes into production this summer, and he is developing a noir/mystery/sci-fi series for AMC. Education: MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA UT Austin. More info:

Danielle Skraastad was last seen in Albany at Cap Rep in The Grapes of Wrath, and has also appeared may times at StageWorks/Hudson and The Ancram Opera House. Broadway: All My Sons. Off-Broadway credits include: A Bright Room Called Day, iHo, and The Wake (The Public Theater); Hurricane Diane (NYTW/WP); Havel: The Passion of Thought (PTP, Atlantic); The Mound Builders (Signature Theatre); The Pain and the Itch (Playwrights Horizons); The Architecture of Becoming (WP); Big Times (WET); Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb); and most recently, Paris at The Atlantic. Regional: Studio Theatre, Premiere Stages, Two River Theater, McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, The Wilma, Actors Theatre of Louisville. Training: CGCC and UAlbany.


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