The Way West | West Coast Premiere
  • 2023-10-08

The Way West | West Coast Premiere

March 19, 2015

Publicity photos available online



Eight performances weekly from April 16 – May 10, 2015
Opening Night: Tuesday, April 21

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company continues its 48th Season with the West Coast premiere of Mona Manour’s The Way West, winner of the company’s 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize. Other winners of this annual prize, which has encouraged the creation of bold, powerful new plays for the past seven years, have included Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale and Bill Cain’s 9 Circles, both of which received critically acclaimed productions at MTC. As part of MTC’s New Play Program, play prizes and high profile premieres have led to the intimate theater’s reputation as “the Bay Area blue-chip showcase for new American plays” (For All Events). Hayley Finn, associate artistic director of the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, will direct the second production of this “sharp, sardonic, goofy tailspin of a play” (Chicago Sun-Times) about two daughters trying to help their interminably optimistic, but bankrupt mother in California’s Central Valley. Featuring song arrangements by local Americana duo Misner and SmithThe Way West sees the return of local actors Kathryn Zdan (Failure: A Love Story), Anne Darragh (Good People), Stacy Ross (God of Carnage) and Rosie Hallett (staged reading of The Emperor of America), as well as the MTC debut of Hugo Carbajal. The production will run for a limited engagement of 29 performances from April 16 through May 10. Opening night is Tuesday, April 21. Located in Mill Valley just minutes off the highway near great restaurants (and free parking!), Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s destination for new plays.

“When we were reading for our Sky Cooper Prize in 2012,” said MTC artistic director Jasson Minadakis,” The Way West jumped out as being a singular expression of what so many Americans experienced during the financial collapse of 2008. Written with outrageous humor and lovely grace notes, this play continues the exploration of our country’s class structure that we began with Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water and David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. Set in central California, The Way West examines the complicated relationship many Americans have with the American Dream, especially when it leads to living beyond our means, sometimes even on the edge of poverty.”

The Way West is a wryly funny and generously tender family drama: Yes, Mom may be filing for bankruptcy. And, sure, her health could be better. (She should probably stop driving too.) But she is from the West goddammit! And through optimism and courage, she can overcome any adversity – or so she tries to convince her daughters through frontier folk songs and tall tales of pioneers past (and passed). “Extremely entertaining, richly textured and often very funny, The Way West is one of the most original, creative and absorbing plays that I’ve ever seen” (Splash).

The Way West received its world premiere in April 2014 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. The play has been developed in a five-day workshop in January 2015 at MTC, a workshop and public reading in 2013 as part of the Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center, and BareBones workshop presentations in 2012 at Lark Play Development Center in New York City. MTC’s production will feature song arrangements by local folk and Americana duo Misner and Smith. Sam Misner and Meghan Pearl Smith best known for their numerous appearances, including at MTC, in Woody Guthrie’s American Song.

Formerly a Playwrights’ Center core writer, Lark Play Development Center fellow and a member of the Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater in New York City, playwright Mona Mansour has quickly become a leading American playwright. In 2012, she won the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, given in recognition of exceptional talent and promise early in a writer’s career. She also received the 2014 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award, which is given every three years to a playwright of extraordinary talent and commitment to expanding representation of Arab Americans on stage by Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative that is made up of San Francisco’s Golden Thread Productions, New York City’s Lark Play Development Center and Chicago’s Silk Road Rising. Locally, Golden Thread Productions held a staged reading of Mansour’s The Hour of Feeling in October 2012, and produced The Letter (a short play co-authored with Tala Manassa) as part of the 2012 ReOrient Festival and Urge for Going in November 2013.

Performing Arts | Theater

The Way West | West Coast Premiere
Winner Marin Theatre Company's 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize

Marin Theatre Company
Written by Mona Mansour
Directed by Hayley Finn | Song arrangements by Misner and Smith
Featuring Hugo Carbajal (debut), Anne Darragh (Good People), Rosie Hallett (mainstage debut), Stacy Ross (God of Carnage) and Kathryn Zdan (Failure: A Love Story)

April 16 – May 10, 2015
Opening Night: Tuesday, April 21
Previews: Thursday, April 16 – Sunday, April 19

Performance Days
Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm
Wed 7:30 pm
Sun 7:00 pm
Matinees: Every Sun 2:00 pm | Sat 4/25 & 5/9, 2:00 pm | Thu 4/30, 1:00 pm

Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

The road's better up ahead.

Mom’s fine. She’s filing for bankruptcy, her health could better, and she should probably stop driving. But she’ll overcome adversity through Optimism! and Courage! – or so she tries to convince her daughters through frontier folk songs and tall tales of pioneers past. Wryly funny and generously tender, this new family drama with music won MTC's 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize.

“Sharp, sardonic... a goofy tailspin of a play” – Chicago Sun-Times

“Extremely entertaining, richly textured and often very funny: one of the most original, creative and absorbing plays that I’ve ever seen.” – Splash

Recommended for youth aged 13 and up.

$20–$58, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)

Ticket prices:
All Previews: $30
Opening Night (4/21): $53 side | $58 center
Tues, Wed, Thu Evenings: $35| $40
Fri: $43 | $48
Sat Evenings: $48 | $53
Sun Evenings & All Matinees: $40 | $45

All prices subject to change

Discounts available
Under 30: $20, all performances
Senior discounts: $4 off, all performances
Military personnel, their families & US veterans: $5 off, all performances, must show ID

MTC Loves Our Schools
Teen tickets: $10, must be purchased in person at the Box Office.
Marin Teacher tickets: $10, limit 2 per order; contact Education Department at 415.338.5200 x3310 to learn more.

For group sales, contact Margot Manburg,, (415) 388-5208.


After Words – Join a member of MTC’s artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) for a Q&A talk back after every performance, except on Saturday evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights.

MTC Engaged Special Events

  • Library Lecture: Corte Madera Library: Thu, Apr 9, 7:00 p.m.; 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon
  • Window on the Work lecture: Mill Valley Public Library: Thu, Apr 30, 7:30pm; 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley
  • Perspectives pre-show topical lecture: Thu, 4/30, 12:00 p.m.

For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available with one week’s advance notice. To request a Large Print playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.

CONTACT | (415) 388-5208 |


Mona Mansour makes her MTC debut with The Way West, which received the company’s 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize. The Way West had its world premiere in 2014 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago and received a BareBones workshop at New York City’s Lark Play Development Center, where Mansour was a Fellow in 2012. The Hour of Feeling received its world premiere in the 2012 Humana Festival in Louisville and was part of the High Tide Festival’s Rifle Hall plays in the U.K. Urge for Going received a Public Lab production during the Public Theater’s 2011 season, and had its West Coast premiere with Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco. The Vagrant, the third play in the trilogy, was commissioned by the Public Theater and workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. Mansour was a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and a Core Writer at Minneapolis’ Playwrights’ Center. Her other plays include Across the WaterGirl Scouts of America and Broadcast Yourself (part of Headlong Theater’s Decade). With Tala Manassah, she has written The House for Noor Theatre in New York, After, which premiered at York College Little Theatre in New York, The Letter at Golden Thread’s ReOrient Festival, The Wife, which they wrote in residence at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, and Dressing, which is part of “Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege,” a collection commissioned by the New Black Festival and that has been presented at various theaters around the US, including the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in New York. They recently were given an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan commission to write a play about 1970s Iraq. Mansour’s other commissions include a play for South Coast Rep’s inaugural Crossroads program. She has written for television’s Dead Like Me and Queens Supreme. Mansour is the winner of the 2012 Whiting Award and 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award. Check out Mona's website here.

Hayley Finn makes her MTC debut with The Way West. She is the associate artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, where she works with some of the nation’s leading and emerging playwrights. Her directing credits in the Twin Cities include Hiding In The Open at the History Theatre, ADY at Pangea World Theatre, Permanence Collection at Walker Art Center and Doe at Workhaus Collective. She has directed the New York premieres of KatecrackernutsThe Lake and The Apology (co-adapted with actor Yusef Bulos) at the Flea Theater; Scab at Greenwich Street Theater; Metal at Here Arts Center; GolemDead ReckoningThe Shoe Box at Ebbets FieldDouble Sophia and Rona at Cherry Lane Theatre; Fate’s Imagination at Gotham Stage Company; and Munro’s Bold Girls at Urban Stages. Finn is the director and co-creator of such projects as Hysteria: Silence in Stills for Women Center Stage Festival at the Culture Project in New York and Jigsaw Nation for Relentless Theatre, which has toured across the country to South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, the Curious Theater in Denver and Ellis Island. She has assistant directed numerous plays on and Off Broadway including the Tony Award-winning productions of A View from the Bridge and Side Man. Finn has been a directing resident at the Flea Theater and has directed workshops and readings for such organizations as the Public Theater, New Dramatists, the New Group and the Kitchen. Currently an affiliated artist at New Georges in New York, Finn is the recipient of the Ruth Easton Directing Fellowship, the Drama League Directing Fellowship and the TCG New Generations Future Leader Grant. She holds both a BA and MA from Brown University.

Hugo Carbajal (Manny/Pizza Delivery Guy) makes his MTC debut in The Way West. A new collective member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, he has been an actor for over 15 years. His credits include Shotgun Players, Boxcar Theatre, Alter Theater in San Rafael, Teatro Vision, Bay Area Children's Theatre, Su Teatro in Denver and Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs. He has directed productions of Secret Obscenities and Death and the Maiden in both English and Spanish at Su Teatro, Bowl of Beings with CultureClash, the world premiere of The Fellowship at Alter Theater and Ripple Effect for the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Carbajal is currently adjunct professor of drama at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg. He has an MFA in actor created physical theater from Naropa University, a BA in acting and directing from the University of Colorado in Denver and additional training from the London International School of Performing Arts.

Anne Darragh (Mom) has previously appeared at MTC in Good PeopleThe Good GermanCharlie Cox Runs with ScissorsCommunicating DoorsThe Crucible and Shadowlands. She has performed in numerous world premieres including Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and Peter Nachtrieb’s T.I.C. (Trenchcoat in Common) with Eureka Theatre Company, Anthony Clarvoe’s Our Practical Heaven at the Aurora Theatre Company, Brian Thorstenson’s Over the Mountain at Brava Theater Center and Michelle Carter’s Ted Kaczynski Killed People with Bombs at Magic Theatre. Locally, she has also performed with A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, Campo Santo, Porchlight Theatre, San Jose Rep, Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre Company and TheatreWorks. She performed with playwright David Lindsay-Abaire in Heartbreak House at Downtown Art in New York. Darragh’s film credits include Chris Brown’s award-winning Fannie, Annie and Danny. She grew up in Oakland and lives in Lagunitas with her family.

Rosie Hallett (Meesh) makes her MTC mainstage debut in The Way West. She has previously been in a staged reading of The Emperor of America and served as an understudy for the world premiere of Bellwether at MTC. Her Bay Area credits include Mrs. Warren's Profession at Cal Shakes, Status Update at Center REP, Top Girls and Harry Thaw Hates Everybody at Shotgun Players, The Tempest and Macbeth at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, In Friendship and You Know When the Men Are Gone with Word for Word Performing Arts Company, Mr. Marmalade and The Heidi Chronicles at Custom Made Theatre Company, Doubt at New Conservatory Theatre Center, The Shakespeare Bug with Killing My Lobster and Playground, Best of Playground 16 at Playground, Enchanted April and See How They Run at Broadway West, Mrs. Warren's Profession and The Glass Menagerie at the Pear Avenue Theatre, Killer Joe at Renegade Theatre Experiment, Imaginary Love at Hapgood Theatre Company, All's Well that Ends Well at the Public Theater at Stanford and Under Milk WoodGoat Song for Asa Jacobs and Translations at Stanford Summer Theater, as well as The House of Blue Leaves at Jewel Theatre Company in Santa Cruz. She has BAs in Drama and English from Stanford University.

Stacy Ross (Tress) has appeared at MTC in Jacob Marley's Christmas CarolGod of CarnageWhat the Butler SawFrozenKiller Joe, the world premiere of Splittin’ the RaftCandidaSpring StormEmma’s Child and Kindertransport. She is an associate artist at Cal Shakes. She has appeared at Berkeley Rep, A.C.T., San Jose Rep, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, SF Playhouse, TheatreWorks and Centerstage in Baltimore, among others. She is a member of both PlayGround and Symmetry Theatre Company.

Kathryn Zdan (Manda) has appeared at MTC in Failure: A Love Story (of which she was also the choreographer) and the world premiere of Bellwether. As an actor, creator, singer, mover, teacher and director, she has worked extensively around the Bay Area with TheatreWorks, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, Center REP, Magic Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Cal Shakes, Livermore Shakes, Central Works and Berkeley Playhouse, among others. A Mill Valley native, Zdan received a BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in ensemble based physical theater from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. After graduate school, she performed and toured Europe with the internationally acclaimed, Amsterdam-based street theater and performance art group Warner & Consorten. Zdan is a guest artist at the Tam High drama department, of which she is an alumna. Next up, see her as Ada Lovelace in the latest world premiere by Lauren Gunderson, Ada and the Engine, at Central Works in Berkeley.

Founded in 1966, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our 231-seat main stage theater, as well as a five-show Theater Series for Young Audiences (in partnership with the Bay Area Children's Theatre) in our 99-seat studio theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and membership in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 8,500 students from over 50 Bay Area schools each year. MTC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | E-mail