Billy Crudup in Vineyard Theatre's 2017 Off-Broadway staging of "Harry Clarke," produced in association with Audible. (Photo by Carol Rosegg)

Audible Announces New Audio Theatre Productions

Audible will produce live work by Patti Smith, Aasif Mandvi, Isaac Gomez, and Chisa Hutchinson, then make them available as audio recordings.

NEW YORK CITY: Audible, Inc. is expanding from producing audio books to producing theatre, planning a season of four plays in the coming months at New York City’s Minetta Lane Theatre. An audio recording of each play will also be available on Audible’s website for download and listening.

Audible has already started this experiment in Off-Broadway producing, in the last few months presenting Harry Clarke with Billy Crudup and Girls and Boys starring Carey Mulligan. Those audio performances are currently available for download on Audible’s website.

“Audible is seeking to transform the theatre experience and usher in a new era for audio drama,”  said Audible Theater artistic producer Kate Navin in a statement. After the first season’s successes, she said, “We can’t wait to continue supporting the creation of compelling works in an even wider spectrum of comedy, drama, music, and more, with both emerging and established creators, and to bring these shows to Greenwich Village and to millions of people as outstanding listening experiences on Audible.”

The productions will enjoy full runs, with the audio of the performance not available until after the show’s run. In the coming months, Audible also plans to produce live performances in different cities.

The first production in the fall will be Patti Smith: Words and Music at the Minetta Lane (Sept. 22-24), featuring the legendary punk-rock poet performing original spoken-word stores from her life, paired with the music from her beloved catalog. Her kids Jackson and Jesse Paris Smith will also perform, along with Tony Shanahan.

Next up will be Sakina’s Restaurant (Oct. 5-Nov. 4), written and starring Aasif Mandvi, a one-man show Mandvi originally created in 1998, about an Indian immigrant who comes to New York to work at a restaurant and live the American dream. The creative team will include Wilson Chin, scenic design; Jen Caprio, costume design; Mary Louise Geiger, lighting design; and Jill BC Du Boff, sound design. Kimberly Senior will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of Chisa Hutchinson’s Proof of Love (late 2018), the inaugural production from Audible’s commissioning program.

The slate will end with Isaac Gomez’s the way she spoke (early 2019), a one-woman play about the power of speaking the truth.

Audible has also launched a $5 million commissioning fund, where it has asked various playwrights to write plays for its platform. The inaugural group of writers number 15 and include Lauren Gunderson, Leah Nanako Winkler, and Antoinette Nwandu.