WP Theater and the Natural Shocks National Project present:

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Written by Lauren Gunderson
directed by Caitlin Sullivan
and Starring Kathy Najimy


New York benefit reading to address domestic violence and gun violence

Minetta Lane Theatre

April 23, 2018

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All proceeds from the New York reading be donated to the Ms. Foundation for Women, designated specifically to address domestic violence and gun violence. 100% of your ticket price is tax deductible.

The Ms. Foundation For Women builds women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all.

They achieve their mission by investing in, and strengthening, the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural and economic change in the lives of women.

100% of your ticket price is tax deductible

About the play:

Based on Hamlet's "To be or not to be," Natural Shocks is a new 65-minute, one-woman tour-de-force play that bursts to life when we meet a woman waiting out an imminent tornado in her basement. She overflows with quirks, stories, and a final secret that puts the reality of domestic violence and guns in America in your very lap. The play is part confessional, part stand up, and part reckoning.

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Kathy Najimy

Kathy Najimy Is known for her memorable performances in over 25 films and several TV projects. She most recently received the Lilly Actress/Activist award from Gloria Steinem and is very proud to have been named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year.

With Mo Gaffney, Najimy wrote and starred in The Kathy and Mo Show, her long-running off-Broadway play (Obie Award), which became two award-winning Hit HBO specials. Kathy currently recurs on Veep, Graves, and Younger. Kathy is known for her award-winning portrayal of “Sister Mary Patrick” in the blockbuster hits Sister Acts 1 & 2.  Her work includes starring roles in Hocus Pocus, Rat Race, Pixar’s Oscar and Golden Globe winning WALL-E, Madea Christmas and Say Uncle (Philadelphia Film Festival Best Actress), among others. In the theater, Kathy starred as legendary “Mae West” on Broadway in the hit Broadway play Dirty Blonde, and later at The Old Globe Theatre (Outer Critics Circle Best Actress). Najimy is currently rehearsing her solo show for the NY stage, “Lift Up Your Skirt”. Kathy is also thrilled to be currently co-executive producing a television series about the women’s movement.

For her over 30 years of AIDS activism, Najimy has been honored with the L.A. Shanti’s Founder award as well as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's Distinguished Achievement award. She is an enthusiastic supporter of Women and Girls’ Rights, AIDS Awareness, Animal Rights, Women’s Choice, and frequently travels around the country to keynote speak on these issues. Najimy has lent her support to a variety of worthy organizations that include:  NYClass, Project Angel Food, APLA, GLAAD, GMHC, Human Rights Campaign Fund, Broadway Cares, Equity Fights AIDS, The Ms. Foundation, AMFAR, Planned Parenthood, Voters for Choice, and NARAL. 

She currently resides in New York City with her husband Dan Finnerty of The Dan band and their glorious 21-year-old actor/singer/songwriter daughter, Samia Najimy Finnerty.

Directed by

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Caitlin Sullivan

Caitlin Sullivan is a New York based director and theatre maker.

Her work has been presented by New Georges, the Drama League, On the Boards, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT/Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Rutgers University, Williams College and Cornish College of the Arts. Other recent associations include New York Theatre Workshop, LCT3, Manhattan Theatre Club, ZSpace and Ars Nova. Caitlin is the Associate Director of HUNDRED DAYS and THE LUCKY ONES (dir. Anne Kauffman).

Before moving to New York, Caitlin co-founded Seattle's critically acclaimed Satori Group. As Artistic Director, she directed and developed seven original works. She spent several summers as the Artistic Director of the Williams College Summer Theatre Lab, where she developed new work with Martyna Majok, The Bengsons, Mallery Avidon, Caroline McGraw, and Dipika Guha.  

Caitlin is a graduate of Williams College, an alum of the Drama League Directors Project and Next Stage Artist Residency, and a New Georges Affiliate Artist. Upcoming projects include MADONNA col BAMBINO (written by Sarah Einspanier, music by Deepali Gupta), THE HAUNTED by Claire Kiechel (Momentum '18, City Theatre) and the world premiere of Sacha Yanow's CHERIE DRE. 

Written by

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Lauren Gunderson


Lauren M. Gunderson is the most produced playwright in America in the 2017-2018 season, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award, the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award. She is also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation's 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company.

She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU's Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at companies across the US including South Cost Rep (Emilie, Silent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful And Her Dog!), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire and more.

She co-authored Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon, which was one of the most produced plays in America in 2017. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit Pursued By A Bear, The Taming, and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists (The Revolutionists, The Book of Will, Silent Sky, Bauer, Miss Bennet) and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon was released from Two Lions / Amazon in May 2017. Find her on Twitter at @LalaTellsAStory.

Produced by


Erica Rotstein

Erica is Director of Production for Broadway Across America, producer of 2018 Lortel nominee Hundred Days (by The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher, dir Anne Kauffman), manager to composer Drew Gasparini, and Board Chair of Colt Coeur Theater Company.  


Christina Wallace

Christina is an entrepreneur, producer, and writer based in Brooklyn. She is the Vice President of Growth at Bionic, a New York-based tech startup, and co-host of The Limit Does Not Exist, a Forbes podcast. She first directed a Lauren Gunderson play in 2003 and has been hooked ever since.


WP THEATER is the nation’s oldest and largest theater company dedicated to developing, producing and promoting the work of female-identified and trans theater artists at every stage in their careers. For nearly four decades we have served as leaders at the forefront of a global movement towards gender parity, and the example we set and the artists we have fostered have grown into to a robust and thriving community of artists in theater and beyond.  WP empowers female-identified artists to reach their full potential and, in doing so, challenges preconceptions about the kinds of plays women write and the stories they tell. 

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