Emily Mann on Turning Off the Morning News

I am pleased to welcome you to the final production of our 2017-2018 season, Turning Off the Morning News by Christopher Durang.

I first met Chris when we were students in William Alfred’s playwriting seminar at Harvard, and I remember Alfred predicting that Chris was going to be a new voice for his generation. Chris’s writing was unlike anything I had ever heard before, and I was amazed by his brilliance. It was a delight when we were reconnected many years later by fellow playwright and mutual friend, Wendy Wasserstein.

With this reconnection, my professional collaboration and close friendship with Chris began. McCarter commissioned him to write the play that would become Miss Witherspoon, which I had the pleasure of directing here and at Playwrights Horizons in New York City in 2005. On the opening night of Miss Witherspoon, I gave Chris another commission, which brought us his enormously successful Tony Award®-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Now, I am thrilled to be directing his latest world premiere and McCarter commission: Turning Off the Morning News.

I love working with Chris Durang. He is clear sighted and generous. An absolutely unique voice in the American theatre, Chris is able to take on disturbing questions and issues that in another writer’s hands would take the form of tragedy and spin it into comedy. This is his own particular alchemy, his singular sense of humor and extraordinary craft as a playwright and a theater maker. I am honored that McCarter is an artistic home for Chris, and it is an exciting event to bring his newest play to life on our stage.

At its heart, Turning Off the Morning News explores the absurdity of our modern world. A fierce exposure of the ways that our personal and societal anxieties can bring out the worst in us, it also gently reveals the antidote—reaching out beyond ourselves to find connection with others. In the end, isn’t the desire for this kind of connection why we all go to the theater? Gloria Steinem once said: “laughter breaks out when two thoughts come together and suddenly make a third, when we understand or learn something, when we recognize a truth.” Chris’s talent for dark comedy shows us recognizable truths of modern society, while keeping us laughing throughout. 

I would like to extend a special invitation to you to return in September for our 2018-2019 Theater Series. I am thrilled by the variety of the works in our upcoming season, and by the different cultures and time periods that they highlight. For more information on these plays, please visit our 2018-2019 Season listings. I am personally looking forward to seeing every one of these plays, and to sharing them with you.


May 4 - June 3, 2018

Turning Off the Morning News

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Emily Mann

Experience a decidedly dark and daring comedy that takes hilarious aim at today’s absurd and dangerous world. Tony Award®-winning Christopher Durang is back with a new cast of eccentric characters—starting with Cliff and Salena, whose across-the-street neighbors are at best peculiar—and at worst, stark raving mad.