Monday, September 25, 2023



By Mary Kathryn Nagle
Directed by Laurie Woolery

Complete Cast Includes Rainbow Dickerson, Elizabeth Frances, David Kelly, Jeffrey King, Enrico Nassi, Jessica Ranville, Joe Tapper, Sheila Tousey, and Rex Young

Performances Begin During National Native American Heritage Month
On Thursday, November 16 and Runs Through Sunday, December 17;
Official Press Opening on Tuesday, December 5

The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, and Patrick Willingham, Executive Director) announced complete casting today for the New York premiere of MANAHATTA written by Emerging Writers Group alumna Mary Kathryn Nagle and directed by Obie Award winner and Public Theater Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery. After previous productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Yale Repertory Theatre, MANAHATTA will now premiere on Lenape land in the very city from which it derives its name. Previews will begin in the Anspacher Theater with a Joseph Papp Free Performance on Tuesday, November 16, and run through Sunday, December 17. The production officially opens on Tuesday, December 5.

A gripping journey from the fur trade of the 1600s to the stock trade of today, Mary Kathryn Nagle’s MANAHATTA tells the story of Jane Snake, a brilliant young Native American woman with a Stanford MBA. Jane reconnects with her ancestral Lenape homeland, known as Manahatta, when she moves from Oklahoma to New York for a banking job just before the 2008 financial meltdown. Jane’s struggle to reconcile her new life with the expectations and traditions of her family and Nation are powerfully interwoven with the heartbreaking history of the Delaware Nation's expulsion from their land. Both old and new Manahatta converge in a lesson about the dangers of living in a society where there’s no such thing as enough. A stunning play about self-discovery, MANAHATTA was written as part of The Public’s prestigious Emerging Writers Group. Obie Award winner and The Public’s Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery directs.

“It is nothing less than incredible to witness the first production of MANAHATTA on the island of Manahatta,” shares playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle. “The Lenape may have been forcibly removed from their home hundreds of years ago, but they are still here today and this island remains their home. Many thanks to the Lenape Center for all the years they've spent helping me to write and create this story, and for all the work the Center is doing to erase the invisibility of the Lenape People in their own home: Manahatta.”

The complete cast of MANAHATTA includes Rainbow Dickerson (Toosh-ki-pa-kwis-i / Debra), Elizabeth Frances (Le-le-wa'-you / Jane), David Kelly (Jonas Michaelius / Michael), Jeffrey King (Peter Minuit / Dick), Enrico Nassi (Se-ket-tu-may-qua / Luke), Jessica Ranville (Understudy), Joe Tapper (Jakob / Joe), Sheila Tousey (Mother / Bobbie), and Rex Young (Understudy).

The production will include scenic design by Marcelo Martínez García, costume design by Lux Haac, lighting design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, sound design and composition by Paul James Prendergast, prop management by Rachel M.F. Kenner, fight and intimacy direction by Kelsey Rainwater, and movement direction by Ty Defoe. Executive Director and Co-founder of The Lenape Center Joe Baker will serve as the cultural consultant. Amanda Nita Luke-Sayed will be the production stage manager and Janelle Caso will be the stage manager.

The Public’s fall season also includes HELL’S KITCHENa new musical with music and lyrics by 15-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys, a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Kristoffer Diaz, choreography by Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown, and direction by Tony Award nominee Michael Greif. The unforgettable new show featuring both newly created music and the soulful, iconic music of New York’s own Alicia Keys plays in the Newman Theater through Saturday, December 23. 2024 kicks off with the world premiere of Tony Award winner Itamar Moses’ THE ALLY, a provocative new play directed by Drama Desk Award winner Lila Neugebauer and featuring Josh Radnor about the vanishing line between the personal and the political. Pulitzer Prize winner and writer-in-residence Suzan-Lori Parks returns with SALLY & TOM, an edgy dramedy about art, history, and politics, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III. Emerging Writers Group alumnus Ife Olujobi makes her professional stage debut with the bold, bitingly funny play JORDANS. Directed by Obie Award winner Whitney White, the world premiere play is a piercing exploration of assimilation, racial capitalism, success, and survival.

Starting on October 3, The Library at The Public will serve food and drink Tuesday through Sunday, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and closing at midnight. Beginning October 24, dinner service will begin at 5:00 p.m. The Library is closed on Mondays. 

For more information, visit

MARY KATHRYN NAGLE (Playwright) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an alum of the 2013 Public Theater Emerging Writers Program. Commissions include Arena Stage, The Rose Theater, Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre, Round House Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Santa Fe Opera. She is an attorney whose work focuses on the restoration of tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault.

LAURIE WOOLERY she/her/ella (Director) is an Obie Award-winning director, playwright, community activist, and Director of Public Works. Working at the intersection of community and transformative collaboration, Woolery directs at theaters across the country including OSF, NY City Center/Encores, Alliance, Yale Rep, etc.  She recently directed Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, Promenade, El HuracánDreamHou$e, as well as As You Like It and The Tempest at The Delacorte. Woolery is a founding member of The Sol Project and has been awarded the 2020 United States Artist, 2021 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, and 2022 National Theatre Conference Person of the Year Award.

RAINBOW DICKERSON she/her (Toosh-ki-pa-kwis-i / Debra) is making her Public Theater debut. Broadway credits include August: Osage County. Regional credits include Cashed OutOthelloRedwood CurtainA Midsummer Night’s DreamBoleros for the DisenchantedAutonomyWhite BuffaloThe Buddha PrinceDesert Stories for Lost Girls, and more. Film credits include BeansThe River, and others. TV credits include “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Gone,” “Chicago Fire,” and “Banshee.” Awards include Toronto International Film Festival Rising Star and Vancouver Film Critics Best Supporting Actress. Dickerson is an ABC Disney Discovers Alumna.

ELIZABETH FRANCES she/her (Le-le-wa'-you / Jane) is very excited to be making her Public Theater and NYC Debut. She received a BFA from Cal Arts and has worked with such notable theaters as Center Theater Group, La Jolla Playhouse, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Marin Theater Company, Native Voices, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. On-camera roles include “The Son” (AMC), Star Wars: Jedi Survivor (EA), “Mayans M.C.” (FX), “Love” (Netflix), Drunktown’s Finest (Sundance), Emmy®-nominated series “Her Story,” and more.

DAVID KELLY he/him (Jonas Michaelius / Michael) is making his Public Theater debut. Huntington Theatre credits include understudy for A Prayer for the French Republic and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Guthrie Theater credits include Emma and Harvey. Berkeley Repertory Theatre credits include Hand to God and It Can’t Happen Here. Kelly has performed for 28 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Other theater credits include Santa Cruz Shakespeare, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Rogue Theater Co., Geva Theater, Center Theater Group, and others. TV credits include “City on a Hill” (Showtime).

JEFFREY KING (Peter Minuit / Dick) was in the OSF acting company for 20 seasons, appearing in over 50 productions including the world premiere of Manahatta. He originated the role of Joe Pitt in Angels in America at the Eureka Theater and Mark Taper Forum. He has worked widely at major regional theaters. Recent roles include Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, and Henry in The Lion in Winter.

ENRICO NASSI he/him (Se-ket-tu-may-qua / Luke) is an Enrolled Member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe/Cherokee Nation. Nassi is Bear Clan and named Moon-Chin-Ne-Yeh (First Light of the Morningin Otoe after his Grandfather Milton James Pettit Jr. Credits include performances at Studio Theater, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, JACK (Brooklyn), Theater for a New Audience, Theater J, and most recently with Native Voices at The Autry. Nassi is based out of L.A. and earned his MFA at UCSD.

JESSICA RANVILLE she/they (Understudy) is Red River Métis and an enrolled citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation. Ranville has developed new works at The Playwright’s Realm, the Drama League, the Lark, WP Theater, New Ohio Theatre, and La MaMa. Off-Broadway credits include understudy in Stupid Fucking Bird (The Pearl). Regional credits include Where We Belong (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage) and Men On Boats (Baltimore Center Stage). Ranville received her MFA from The New School for Drama.

JOE TAPPER (Jakob / Joe) has previously performed with The Public in SocratesHenry V (Mobile Unit), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Broadway credits include You Can’t Take It With You. Tapper has previously performed at Cherry Lane Theatre, Gym at Judson, 59E59 Theaters, Mabou Mines/La MaMa, Shakespeare & Co., Studio 42, Huntington Theatre Company, Pioneer Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. TV credits include “Chicago Med,” “Blue Bloods,” “Masters of Sex,” “Odyssey,” “Brooklyn Taxi,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” He received his BFA from Ithaca College and his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

SHEILA TOUSEY (Mother / Bobbie) is a writer, director, and actress with many film, television, and theater credits to her name. Some of her favorite theaters that she has worked at include New York Theater Workshop, The Public, Lincoln Center Theater, Classic Stage Company, the Guthrie, Berkeley Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Native Voices at the Autry, and the San Francisco Playhouse. 

REX YOUNG (Understudy). Off-Broadway credits include Irish Rep, The Melting Pot Theatre. Regional Theater credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival (23 seasons), Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse, and Indiana Rep. Film/TV credits include Captain FantasticABCD, “All My Children,” and “Designing Women.”

THE PUBLIC continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Lab, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 60 Tony Awards, 190 Obie Awards, 57 Drama Desk Awards, 61 Lortel Awards, 36 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 62 AUDELCO Awards, 6 Antonyo Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.

The Public Theater stands in honor of the first people and our ancestors. We acknowledge the land on which The Public and its theaters stand—the original homeland of the Lenape people. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory. We honor the generations of stewards and we pay our respects to the many diverse indigenous peoples still connected to this land.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Legacy Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater's year-round activities.

Generous support for MANAHATTA is provided by the Ford Foundation.


MANAHATTA begins performances in the Anspacher Theater on Thursday, November 16, and will run through Sunday, December 17, with an official press opening on Tuesday, December 5.

Public Theater Partner, Supporter, and full-price single tickets can be accessed by visiting, calling 212.967.7555, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street.

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