In the words of New York Times’ critic Ben Brantley, Mint Theater is the “resurrectionist extraordinaire of forgotten plays.” We scour the dramaturgical dustbin for worthwhile plays from the past that have been lost or neglected—and we create new life for them through production, publication, and educational initiatives.
We do more than blow the dust off neglected plays; we make vital connections between the past and present. As the Times’ Jason Zinoman wrote in his review of our 2010 production of Jules Romains’ prescient 1923 farce Dr. Knock, “If there’s anything you learn by going regularly to the Mint, it’s that the world has changed less than you think.”
The Mint was founded in 1992. Jonathan Bank became artistic director in 1995 and began to shape the company’s mission, focusing on lost plays. Our first major success came in 1999 with the American premiere of The Voysey Inheritance, written by Harley Granville-Barker in 1905. “A playwright, and a company, couldn’t do much better,” wrote the New York Times.
Since then, we’ve produced close to 50 neglected plays—terrific works by talented playwrights that might otherwise have been lost forever. A.A. Milne was remembered primarily as a children’s author until the Mint presented incandescent productions of Mr. Pim Passes By in 1997 and again in 2003—in rotating rep with his drama The Truth About Bladys. D.H. Lawrence’s plays were unknown in America until the Mint produced acclaimed productions of The Daughter-in-law in 2003 and The Widowing Of Mrs. Holroyd in 2009. Ernest Hemingway’s only play—the impassioned Spanish Civil War drama The Fifth Column—languished on library shelves for seventy years until we presented its American premiere in 2008.
Nearly half of the plays we’ve produced have been by women, from Zona Gale, whose Miss Lulu Bett we presented in 1999 to Githa Sowerby, whose Rutherford And Son we produced in 2001 and 2012. In 2006, we re-introduced New York audiences to Rachel Crothers—once the toast of Broadway—with our highly praised production of Susan And God, followed by our equally acclaimed production of Crothers’ A Little Journey in 2011. Teresa Deevy had all but slipped from memory, even in her native Ireland—until the Mint came to her rescue with a three-year, three-production effort to resurrect her work and reputation, starting with Wife To James Whelan in 2010, continuing with Temporal Powers in 2011, and concluding with Katie Roche in 2012.
Our work has been recognized with an Obie Grant (2001), a special Drama Desk Award (2002), and the Theater History Museum’s Theatre Preservation Award (2010) along with a host of Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominations. In fulfilling our mission, we’ve created some the most compelling theater in New York. As Gwen Orel wrote in the Irish Examiner “We are lucky in New York to have the Mint here. If all they did was find and stage these plays, it would be enough, but what they do is reincarnate them into striking works of art.”
(Biography dated 02/09/2018 )