When their Editor-in-Chief gets caught using some unexpected profanity, the employees of Webster's Dictionary find themselves at the center of an internet uprising over gender and obscenity in the age of social media. As office politics collide with ambition, morality, and lexicography, the future of the English language hangs in the balance. A play about vulgar words and the people who define them.
Interested in helping sponsor this production? See info here.
We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the River Bend Book Shop! There will be a pop-up shop in our lobby filled with titles related to the production. You can also shop the online collection. Playhouse on Park receives 20% of all proceeds.
Recommended age: 15 and up
Content/Trigger Warnings: Strong language, sexism, gendered language
Previews (May 31 & June 1)
Wednesday at 7:30pm
Thursday at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Regular Performances (June 2 - 18)
Friday at 8:00pm
Saturday at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday at 2:00pm - Talk back with cast and playwright Jacqueline Bircher after the performance
Tuesday at 2:00pm
Wednesday at 7:30pm
Thursday at 7:30pm
June 2 and 3: Pre-show wine & cheese at 7pm
June 3 and 13: Post-show wine & cheese after the show
June 13: Talk back after the 2pm performance
Young Professionals Night
Thursday, June 15th
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Join us for a special panel discussion with three of the Country’s top Lexicographers.
Immediately following the 8pm performance (approximately 9:45pm)
Free & open to the public
Rob Kyff aka “The Word Guy” the language columnist for the Hartford Courant from 1992 to 2020, is a teacher, editor and writer. His column “The Word Guy” is currently syndicated by Creators Syndicate; it appears regularly in newspapers across the nation and is a featured offering on the Arcamax website. A native of Armonk, N.Y., Rob earned a B.A. at Amherst College and an M.A. in American studies at the University of Minnesota. He has taught English, journalism and United States history at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford since 1977 and has also served as the school’s director of public affairs, editor of its alumni magazine, and advisor to its student newspaper. He has written three books: “Word Up! A Lively Look at English” (iUniverse, 2000), “Once Upon a Word – True Tales of Word Origins” (Tapestry Press, 2003), and “Mark My Words” (Creators Press, 2021) and two e-books: “English Goes on a Toot,” (Creators Syndicate, 2015) and “Logophilia – For the Love of Words” (Creators Syndicate, 2016). Rob’s essays have appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Baltimore Sun, and his articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, American History and Northeast. He also wrote two chapters for “Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley,” published by Oxford University Press in 1997. A resident of West Hartford, Connecticut, he has served on the boards of directors of the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Community Television and currently a member of the town’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Steve Kleinedler Steve Kleinedler worked as a lexicographer from 1989-2019, including 22 years on the staff of the American Heritage Dictionary (seven years as Executive Editor). Steve served on the board of the Dictionary Society of North America (including one two-year term as president) and is currently a technical editor at a software company in Lexington, Massachusetts. Steve received a BA in linguistics from Northwestern University and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago in the linguistics program, but left ABD to take the job at the AHD. Steve wrote the introductory textbook Is Language Changing? and the children's book Angry Jelly Donut. With Kory Stamper, Steve was a co-host of the dictionary podcast Fiat Lex.
Jesse Sheidlower Jesse Sheidlower is the former Editor at Large of the Oxford English Dictionary, and a past president of the American Dialect Society. He is the editor of the (online) Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, and is currently working on the fourth edition of his book The F-Word. He has written about language for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Magazine, Lingua Franca, Playboy, Esquire, Slate, Bookforum, and various scholarly journals, including American Speech, Dictionaries (journal of the Dictionary Society of North America), and The Journal of English Linguistics.
Kory Stamper is an author and lexicographer whose first book, "Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries" (Pantheon, 2017), chronicles her two decades as an editor at Merriam-Webster, where she defined everything from "bodice ripper" to "god." Her writing on language has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Boston Globe. She also appeared in the 2021 Netflix series "The History of Swear Words," where she provided expert explanations on the etymologies and usage of swear words. She spends her days as a freelance lexicographer, and her nights working on two more books: one about defining color, and one some stories of how women made the English language.
HARTFORD COURANT ARTICLE: ‘Webster’s Bitch’ plays with words and their ever-changing meanings at Playhouse on Park
REVIEW: From the Desk of Jim R., Take 2
REVIEW: N. Sasso Janis
REVIEW: Hartford Courant
REVIEW: One Man's Opinion (video review)
REVIEW: Stu on Broadway
REVIEW: Middletown Press
REVIEW: The Howard
REVIEW: CT Critics: T. Holehan
Photos: Meredith Longo
Isabel Monk Cade (Ellie) She/Her is a NYC based writer and actor. Playhouse on Park Debut! Selected NY Stage: Classic Stage Company YOUNG WOMEN OF VALOR, Vineyard Theatre WEBSTER’S BITCH , The New Museum THE REAL AMANDA PALMER, The Tank Theatre FUNNY VALENTINE. Selected Regional: Centenary Stage THE LEARNED LADIES, Speranza Theatre Company HISTORY ALIVE. Isabel has had her writing featured at Primary Stages, The Barrow Group, Naked Angels, Eden Theatre Company and more. She co-founded both Malarkey Film Festival and NY- based reading series DOGTOWN.
HanJie Chow (Nick) Playhouse on Park Debut! Theatrelab Ma Luo SKY OF DARKNESS, Creating Apart 2021 Jeremy BOXES, AADA Ryan BIKE AMERICA. Voiceover: Will Shakespeare LADY LUCY. As a multidisciplinary theatre artist, HanJie also collaborates behind-the-scenes as a costumer and a production photographer. Broadway: POTUS, KPOP, Ars Nova UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME, New York Theatre Workshop: MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. hanjiechow.com
Veanne Cox* (Joyce) Playhouse on Park Debut! Broadway: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, A FREE MAN OF COLOR, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, CAROLINE OR CHANGE, THE DINNER PARTY, COMPANY, SMILE. She was recently seen off-Broadway in WEDDING BAND and regionally in MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS. Recent TV/FILM: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Madalorian, Summoning Sylvia, New Amsterdam.And two funny Web Series: Indoor Boys and Cady Did. She has been nominated for Tony, Emmy and Helen Hayes Awards and has received special Drama Desk and Obie Awards for excellence in the Theatre.
Peter Simon Hilton* (Frank) Playhouse on Park Debut! National Tours: OKLAHOMA!, LES MISÉRABLES, FROST/NIXON; Denver Center HAMLET, Palm Beach Dramaworks: SKYLIGHT, ARCADIA, EQUUS; Alabama Shakespeare Festival MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, JULIUS CAESAR, 39 STEPS; MSMT: MAMA MIA, MY FAIR LADY. 7 years w/Aquila Theater Company. TV includes Pan Am, The Prince, An Englishman In New York. Peter is a U.S. board member of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, a Genie Award-wining playwright and a consultant in global issues of diversity and cultural awareness. impactdrama.net
Mia Wurgaft (Gwen) Playhouse on Park Debut! Mia is a Juilliard MFA Acting candidate and graduate of NYU/Tisch School of Drama. Theater credits include: American Shakespeare Center: Desdemona OTHELLO, Viola/Sebastian TWELFTH NIGHT, Helena A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Ma Joad GRAPES OF WRATH, The Queen in CYMBELINE. She thanks the whole cast and creative team and gives a special shout out to badass director, Vanessa Morosco.
VANESSA MOROSCO (Director) (she/her) is a multi-hyphenate theatre practitioner who focuses on the intersectional spirit of collaboration through an ethical framework. As a director, she has created productions for several theatres, including the American Shakespeare Center, Palm Beach Dramaworks, The Tank, Gateway Playhouse, Harlem Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Southwest Shakespeare Company. Vanessa is an ongoing collaborator with Clutch Productions in New York, where she fosters and directs new plays by women playwrights. She represents one half of the 50/50 SHAKESPEARE PROJECT, and will direct the world premiere of HAMLET 50/50 in 2023. As the co-founder of IMPACT DRAMA, she consults for multinational corporations to create drama-based content for use in training and development, focusing on global diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, power harassment, and cultural awareness. (impactdrama.net) Vanessa is a member of AEA, SDC, Statera, and holds an M.A. in Ethics from Yale University. (vanessamorosco.com)
*Appears courtesy of Actors Equity, the professional union for actors and stage managers.