TWEED TheaterWorks was founded in 1983 and has grown from presenting tiny, late-night shows in East-Village dives to producing full-scale productions at premier Manhattan venues. For three decades, TWEED has produced innovative and unusual live theatrical work including performance art, original plays, musicals, dance theater and category-defying extravaganzas.
TWEED began by producing the early plays of Sam Shepard, Eugene Ionesco, Tennessee Williams and original adaptations of the works of Dorothy Parker, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy and Mary Shelley, among others. Over the decades, TWEED has produced under several different names: theaterTweed, Tweed Ensemble, Club Etc., T.W.E.E.D. (TheaterWorks Emerging/Experimental Directions and later The Wildest Entertainments Ever Devised), TWEED TheaterWorks, and just plain TWEED.
The original idea behind the use of the word “tweed” was to describe a concept for a production company that wove together several different types of live performance. In 1984, when the East Village art scene was thriving, TWEED was one of the first theater companies to embrace performance art and bring a variety of work from that arena (primarily nightclubs) and produce it in legitimate Off-Off-Broadway theaters.
For eleven years, the company produced a curated festival of new works— the TWEED New Works Festival (1984-1995)— that presented the early work of many of today’s recognized theater artists, including Bill Russell (Side Show), Lisa Kron (Well), Diana Son (Law & Order), Adrienne Kennedy, Mac Wellman, Joshua Fried, Mark Dendy, Edgar Oliver and John Kelly, among others. Other ongoing endeavors include the TWEED Music Series, which has featured Anohni (previously of Antony & The Johnsons), Kate Pierson (of The B52s), Nora Jones, Annie Golden, Joey Arias, Lana Cantrell, and a vast array of downtown musicians. The TWEED Fractured Classicks Series presents staged readings and full productions of classic american plays and films employing unique casting choices. This idea, much to our delight, has been brazenly copied by many major theater companies since our iconic reading of CAGED, which starred Isabella Rossellini, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers, Carole Shelley, Charles Busch, Wallace Shawn and a dozen others.
TWEED has produced the majority of the work of John (Lypsinka) Epperson for the past 20 years, and Lypsinka The Trilogy was produced at The Connelly Theater for six weeks in 2014-15. In 2015, TWEED began Saloon Salon, a weekly variety show in the back room at Cowgirl, which lead to a residence at Pangea, New York’s most innovative and unusual cabaret room.
TWEED Sundays at Seven at Pangea has now been going strong for over three years. Longtime TWEED artist Carol Lipnik has been mesmerizing audiences with an ongoing monthly show, and actor/writer David Cale has workshopped his autobiographical musical, which will premiere at the Goodman in Fall 2018. To date, over thirty artists have been seen in the series. tweed's relationship with HOWL Arts has continued for over a decade, and benefits supporting HOWL H.E.L.P. are produced regularly— the most recent being Joni Mitchell: A Birthday Tribute at the cutting room, which we hope to make an annual concert event.
Currently, plans are afoot to continue the development of a new production of Marat/Sade, and a video screening of several past Fractured Classicks is planned for the summer of 2018. Finally, a gala 35th Anniversary celebration is in the works for Fall 2018.