La MaMa to present "The Script in the Closet," written and directed by Joyce Griffen,
a farce about writing and jealousy.

March 1 to 17, 2024
La MaMa E.T.C. (Downstairs Theatre), 66 East Fourth Street
Presented by La MaMa E.T.C.
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 4:00 PM
Tickets: $30 gen. adm., $25 seniors & students
The first ten tickets for every performance are available for only $10 each (limit 2 per patron, advance sale necessary).
Box office: 646-430-5374,
Show's website:
Photos are available at:
Runs: 1:50 including intermission. Reviewers are invited on or after March 1.

NEW YORK, January 25 – "The Script in the Closet," a new farce written and directed by Joyce Griffen, follows the misadventures and jealousies of a Pulitzer Prize-winning, husband-and-wife writing team who discover untitled pages of a mystery screenplay on their shared laptop. The source is a script fragment that has been concealed in their linen closet by a pair of visiting performers. It has been partially transcribed by their son's governess. The esteemed couple--and everyone else in their family circle--begins sneakily adding to the script. Suspicions, accusations and jealousies pile up as the wife assumes her husband has taken a new writing partner--a move tantamount to infidelity. La MaMa E.T.C. will present the play's world premiere March 1 to 17 in its Downstairs Theatre, 66 East Fourth Street.

The comedy plays on the humorous aspects of the creative process, the eccentricities of authors and the challenges of the literary world. Jealousy goes hand-in-hand with creativity, and just about everybody in the play is infected with it. Lionel and Lynn, eloquent to a fault, are enormously successful writing together, but when Lynn discovers new writing in their ritzy 5th Avenue apartment, she assumes it's Lionel's and that he must have found a lover to write with. Their elder son, Carlton, moves home from L.A. to escape the clutching jealousy of his fiancee, Gladys, and falls into bed with the governess. Every suspicion between Lionel and Lynn is reinforced by their close friends, Valerie and Noah, who fortify the misunderstandings as a duty of good-fellowship. (Lynn and Valerie have a sort of Lucy and Ethel friendship; Lionel and Noah mostly bond with a snifter in hand.) Every possible mistaken intention befalls these extravagant characters, whose erudition is played to comic effect.

Playwright/director Joyce Griffen is also an actress, screenwriter, jazz singer and audiobook narrator. She has been a member of the Harlem Dramatic Writing Workshop (based at Columbia University) for more than a decade.  Her screenplays include "Po' Robin and Uncle Bey," a period piece set in the antebellum South, and "MIRAS," a Broadway story. The latter was a semifinalist in the International Screenwriters Association 2021 competition. Her writings for the stage include two works about Madam C.J. Walker, the African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist who was the nation's first self-made female millionaire. One is a large-cast musical that was presented as a staged reading at the Museum of the City of New York. The other is a solo show that Griffen has performed at The Rose Theater at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Friends School and Philadelphia's Freedom Theatre.

Griffen has acted prolifically in productions of New Federal Theatre (including "From the Mississippi Delta" with La Tanya Richardson and the lead in "Cotillion" by John O. Killens) and The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (including the company's 50th anniversary production of "Rosalee Pritchett" at Theatre 80 St. Marks). She appeared as a Soubrette in La MaMa's Cotton Club Gala.

She began her performance career as a dancer, first studying and performing with Syvilla Fort’s repertory company, later touring with the Stanze Peterson Modern Dance Company. When she branched out into acting, she joined the popular Prince Street Players children’s theater company, scoring a leading role in their four CBS TV specials, "The Mother Goose Go Go!" She performs regularly as a jazz vocalist at popular venues and has toured as far away as Istanbul, Turkey, where she spent a year singing in that city’s top nightclubs and cabarets. "Love's Languages," her latest jazz vocal CD, is available at iTunes, and other Internet sites.   Her latest audiobook release is "She Who Finds a Husband" by E.N. Joy, available on iTunes and Amazon. 

She began directing at the request of famed playwright Ed Bullins. Her directing credits include "Spinning into Butter" at the Schoolhouse Theate in Croton Falls; "Zora Speaks" at the Theater at Riverside Church and "Chuleta" by Lillian Santos at Ensemble Studio Theater.

The actors are Ruth Kavanagh, Charlotte Coudal, Mark De Rocco, Tina Harper, Patrick Huang, Kristin Johansen, Magdala Joseph, Benjamin Lang, Thomas Staggs and Carrie Wilder.

Set and costume design are by Joyce Griffen. Lighting design is by Alex Moore. Assistant Set Designer is Jen Varbalow. Sound design is by Boris Nazarov.

Technical help for this production is supplied by the Roundabout Theater's Theatrical Workforce Development Program, in partnership with IATSE.
La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theater. La MaMa's 62nd "Radical Access" season comes on the heels of its 61st season, when the theater re-opened its newly-renovated, original location at 74 E. 4th St. The building's $24 million makeover provides the return of the fully accessible Club, a new Community Arts Space for neighboring groups in the East Village, and an expanded public lobby and galleries. La MaMa's "Radical Access" initiative builds an infrastructure of opportunity that supports new ways of connecting the theater to people and communities around the world, expanding its means of connectivity and providing space where artists and digital tools converge from multiple points of entry.  

La MaMa has been honored with 30+ Obie Awards, dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie Awards, Villager Awards, the 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award, and most recently a 2023 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Special Citation. It is a creative home to artists and resident companies from around the world, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Bette Midler, Ed Bullins, Ping Chong, Jackie Curtis, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, Tom Eyen, Pan Asian Rep, Spiderwoman Theater, Tadeusz Kantor, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Mabou Mines, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Tom O'Horgan, Andrei Serban, Liz Swados, and Andy Warhol. La MaMa's vision of nurturing new artists and new work from all nations, cultures, races and identities remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961.

# # #

Photos are available at:
Reviewers are invited on or after March 1.