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originally published: 06/29/2022

(PRINCETON, NJ) — McCarter Theater announced that rush by Elisa Davis was added for the 2022-23 season. They play, which was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007, will be produced by the McCarter Theater Center from May 6-28, 2023 on the main stage of the Roger S. Berlind Theatre. Nicole A. Watson will direct the production.

rushwas a recent “streaming” hit, garnering widespread attention at the height of the pandemic when the Tony nominee (Indecent, how I learned to drive) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (Conduct) Paula Vogel launched the popular digital theater series BARD AT THE GATE, now co-hosted by Ms Vogel and Ms Watson in association with McCarter.

rush Set in 1955 in redwood country north of San Francisco, a multiracial girl grows up in a predominantly white town whose residents pepper their speech with the historic dialect of Boontling. Found floating in a basket on the river as a baby, Bulrusher is an orphan with a gift of clairvoyance that makes her feel like an outsider even to those who think they know her best: the taciturn schoolteacher who adopted her, the madam who rules it brothel with fierce discipline, the lumberjack with a zest for horses and women, and the guitar-throwing boy who is after Bulrusher’s heart. Just when she thought her world might be closing in on her, she discovers a whole new sense of self when a black girl from Alabama comes to town.

"Bulrusher"  added to McCarter Theater

The passionate, lyrical and humorous coming-of-age story had its world premiere in New York City at Urban Stages in 2006 and has subsequently been produced at Shotgun Players, Pillsbury House and Intiman Theatre, among others. rush was a perfect fit for BARD AT THE GATE, created by Ms. Vogel to provide neglected and underappreciated new American plays with a platform to what turned out to be the new dawn of digital theater when the pandemic brought the live productions for almost two years.

To date, BARD AT THE GATE has featured eight new works that might otherwise have languished on stacks of unproduced scripts without the advocacy of Ms. Vogel and BARD. The series emphasized a diverse offering of plays representing voices in the American theatrical canon such as women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and artists with disabilities. In reality, rush is one of many productions receiving major productions – in theatres, live and in person – following their debut on digital streams: last breath from Split Britches, coming to La MaMa; Fatty ham, currently at the Public Theatre; and Survival Lessons: 1971 at the Vineyard Theatre.

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BARD AT THE GATE continues to produce and broadcast powerful play readings – curated by Paula Vogel, Nicole A. Watson and the BARD Advisory Board of top theater industry leaders; and plays filmed and edited by Jared Mezzocchi.

“I am delighted to lead rush and share Eisa’s artistry with the McCarter audience. I have admired Eisa’s work as a writer and performer for so long and this piece is a joyful, refreshing and powerful story for audiences of all ages. I love that it features a young woman of color who, even in the midst of uncertainty, is certain to follow her heart and her dreams. – Nicole A. Watson (Director, rush; associate artistic director of McCarter; BARD AT THE GATE, co-curator.)

“As playwright Eisa Davis says, ‘rush has a timeless, vintage quality that speaks to the current moment – in the midst of an urgent call for equality and redress – a movement that has been going on for centuries. This piece is at the very heart of what BARD at the Gate is and reinforces the special nature of McCarter’s partnership with Paula Vogel. We couldn’t be more excited to bring this piece to our main stage and share it with the public. – Sarah Rasmussen (McCarter Art Director)

Tickets are on sale now at

Produced by special arrangement with Cody Lassen & Larry Hirschhorn.

McCarter is an independent, non-profit performing arts center located between New York and Philadelphia – and on the campus of Princeton University – McCarter is a multidisciplinary creative and intellectual hub offering theater, music, dance, spoken word, and educational programming for all ages that inspires conversations, connections, and collaborations in our communities. We lead with our values ​​of justice and joy, and we seek beauty in belonging. Famous for developing new work and winner of the 1994 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre, world premieres include Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Tony, Best Play) by Christopher Durang, The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Have Our Say by Emily Mann. Renowned artists who have appeared at McCarter include: Alvin Ailey, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, David Sedaris, The Moth, Terence Blanchard, Rosanne Cash, Lake Street Dive, Shawn Colvin, etc. McCarter connects to the community year-round with digital programming, on-site classes, and school residencies. McCarter and Princeton University share a long history of unique partnerships and creative collaborations.

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