Isabella Star LaBlanc, Megan Burns and Rosey Lowe are three of "The Wolves" at Jungle Theater.
"The Wolves" is one of the hottest titles in American theater, so how did the 150-seat Jungle Theater snag the rights to the drama about a high school soccer team?
In an emotional curtain speech before the March 30 performance, director Sarah Rasmussen said it was the result of pursuing the play relentlessly. When Samuel French, the publishing company that holds the keys to "The Wolves" rights, gave the go-ahead to produced the play, Rasmussen revealed that she screamed.
One thing in Rasmussen's favor was that she had been tracking the 2017 Pulitzer Prize nominee since well before its two New York runs, in 2016 and 2017, made it a sensation. In fact, the first time Rasmussen read "The Wolves" was when she was head of the MFA directing program at University of Texas, before she was hired as the Jungle's artistic director in 2015.
"I believe it was four years ago, I first encountered this play because [DeLappe] applied to grad school at UT with it and I read it as part of a selection committee," recalls Rasmussen. "She ended up going to grad school at Brooklyn College but we all thought, ‘Whoa. This woman can write.’ I was joking the other day that most peoples’ grad school application does not go on to be a Pulitzer prize finalist."
DeLappe is in good company, though. One of her mentors is Paula Vogel, who was her (undergrad) teacher at Yale University and whose "Indecent" just concluded a run at the Guthrie. Between stints at Brown University and Yale, Vogel has taught many award-winning playwrights, including Stephen Karam ("The Humans"), Lynn Nottage ("Intimate Apparel") and Sarah Ruhl (whose "The Oldest Boy" was staged 18 months ago at the Jungle).