Working under [her] brought me immense joy…I’ve never seen someone infuse social justice concepts, identity affirmation, and artistry into a rehearsal process where the play wasn’t written to create those spaces for these conversations.
Beertown is dog & pony dc’s signature show. It premiered in November 2011 at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, and subsequently was remounted in the DC-metropolitan area four times, performed Off-Broadway, featured at Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab, revised and produced at theatres in Omaha, Cincinnati, and Raleigh to echo those distinct towns, re-written and produced by dog & pony dc once more at Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage in 2016, and then adapted into Beachtown by Herbert Siguenza with Rachel Grossman for production at San Diego REP.
Beertown was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, the first ensemble-devised show to receive this nomination (2011)
Beertown was named a Top Ten production by Washington Post (2012)
Beertown was named a Top Ten production by the Omaha World Herald (2015)
Beachtown was nominated for best new play by San Diego Theatre Critics (2018)
Rachel co-conceived and co-led of the devising project that generated Beertown in 2010. She was one of the 17 devisers of Beertown, directed the show for six+ years with dog & pony dc, and oversaw community-based adaptations of the show in collaboration with three other companies (Omaha Playhouse, Know Theatre, Raleigh Little Theatre). She led dog & pony dc through a complete write of Beertown five years after its 2011 premiere in order to make the show “Deaf-friendly”; this included infusing Deaf history and culture into the show, creating two characters who were Deaf (portrayed by Deaf actors), and making the show accessible every night to Deaf audience members. This “same show, completely different script” version is known as Beertown: 21st Quinquennial or Beertown in DC. Rachel developed the character “MJ Soch” and appeared as MJ from 2010 – 2014.
PRESS & PHOTOS
“Exceedingly goodhearteda combination of Our Town and a Christopher Guest Film”
– New York Times
“Gently satiric and utterly involving”
– Washington Post
“A quirky civics lesson”
– The Village Voice
“One of the best examples of immersive theater to come along in years”
– The Epoch Times
“Part Choose Your Own Adventure, part kooky murder-mystery dinner party”
Videos compliments of dog & pony dc
The ritual blessing and community fellowship moment, led by “Daughters of Ninkasi” as performed by cast of Beeertown in DC (2016). Featuring: (l to r) Amelia Hensley, Eileen Earnest, and Natasha M. Gallop.
The cast of Beeertown in DC (2016) perform “Antecedent #1: The Great Compromise.” Featuring: Amelia Hensley and James Caverly (voice actors are Eileen Earnest and DeJeanette Horne).
The casts of premiere of Beeertown (2011) + Beeertown Omaha (2015), Cincinnati (2016) & Raleigh (2016) perform “Antecedent #14: The Thesis Statement.”
Beertown premiered November 9 – December 10, 2011 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in Washington, DC. Beertown was remounted July 12 – 22, 2012 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s Rehearsal Hall and July 28, 2012 at Round House Theatre’s former Silver Spring black box. Beertown in DC ran October 18 – November 7, 2016 at Thurgood Marshall Center. Contact Rachel for a complete production history.
Show Description: “Can you capture your community’s identity in a collection of objects? Every five years, the citizens of Beertown tackle this creative, civic responsibility as they unearth their beloved Time Capsule and ritualistically review its contents. Will the pie tin remain, or be replaced with a coyote skull? Will the projector endure, or be voted out to make way for the sack of coins? dog & pony dc’s celebrated show Beertown is an interactive exploration of history, identity, and community that starts with a dessert potluck and ends with lively audience-led debate.”
by dog & pony dc
Directed by Rachel Grossman
Music arranged by Wyckham Avery, J. Argyl Plath, Mitch Mattson & Jon Reynolds
Set & Lighting Designer Colin K. Bills
Costume Designer Ivania Stack
Devising Ensemble Wyckham Avery, Colin K. Bills, Joshua Drew, Cory Ryan Frank, Max
Freedman, Jess Holman, Colin Hovde, Rachel Grossman, Kate Langsdorf, Jessica Lefkow, Mitch
Mattson, Elaine Yuko Qualter, J. Argyl Plath, Lorraine Resseger, Jon Reynolds, Ivania Stack,
Elizabeth Stone, Matthew R. Wilson.
Photos: Ryan Maxwell, Christian Robertson, C. Stanley Photography
Video: Rachel Grossman