Straight White Men



Directed by ANNA D. SHAPIRO


at The Hayes Theater: 240 West 44th Street

It’s Christmas Eve, and Ed has gathered his three adult sons to celebrate with matching pajamas, trash-talking, and Chinese takeout. But when a question they can’t answer interrupts their holiday cheer, they are forced to confront their own identities. Obie Award-winning playwright Young Jean Lee takes a hilariously ruthless look at the classic American father-son drama. This is one white Christmas like you’ve never seen before.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Straight White Men runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Please note: There will be loud music, moving lights, and haze used during the pre-show.


YOUNG JEAN LEE (Playwright) has written and directed ten shows with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN Literary Award, and a United States Artists Fellowship. Her short films have been presented at the Sundance Film Festival, The Locarno International Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest. She is currently working on a Broadway commission for Second Stage with Center Theatre Group.

ANNA D. SHAPIRO (Director) won the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Director of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. In 2011 she was nominated for another Tony Award for her direction of The Motherf**ker with the Hat.  Other Broadway credits include Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, the revival of Steppenwolf’s production of This Is Our Youth and the Broadway revival of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which National Theatre Live selected as the first American production to be broadcast to over 700 cinemas across the UK.  She has directed Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club and Atlantic Theatre Company among others.  Ms. Shapiro serves as the Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago (since 2015/16) where she has directed numerous productions including Visiting Edna by David Rabe and The Man from Nebraska, Mary Page Marlowe and The Minutes by Tracy Letts.  She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Columbia College and the recipient of a 1996 Princess Grace Award, as well as the 2010 Princess Grace Statue Award. Shapiro is the Marjorie Hoffman-Hagan Chair in Theatre at Northwestern University.



KATE BORNSTEIN (Person In Charge 1) is a celebrated performance artist who’s toured nationally and internationally for over thirty years. Most recently, she performed On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us at La Mama in New York City. She is the subject of the documentary film, “Kate Bornstein Is A Queer and Pleasant Danger,” and appeared with Caitlyn Jenner on E! TV’s “I Am Cait.” Kate has also written six groundbreaking books, including “Gender Outlaw,” and “Hello, Cruel World.”

JOSH CHARLES (Jake) was seen last season in the world premiere of Annie Baker’s The Antipodes at the Signature Theater. Other theater: The Distance From Here (MCC, Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble), The Receptionist (MTC), A Number (ACT), The Well-Appointed Room (Steppenwolf), The Glass Menagerie, A Dance Lesson (Long Wharf). TV/Film: “The Good Wife,” “In Treatment,” “Sports Night,” “Masters Of Sex,” “Drunk History,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Law And Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” Hairspray, Dead Poets Society, S.W.A.T., Four Brothers, Things To In Denver When You're Dead, Pie In The Sky, Threesome, Crossing The Bridge, Bird People, Norman, The Drowning, Freeheld, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I Smile Back, Amateur.

TY DEFOE (Person In Charge 2) Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. Recent Off-Broadway credit: Masculinity Max (Directed by Dustin Wills, The Public Studio). Recent Television: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix). Grammy Award and 2017 Jonathan Larson Award winner. Book and lyrics, Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke (Yale Institute for Musical Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop); Hart Island Requiem (The Civilians R&D Group, Goodspeed Musicals); Red Pine (Native Voices at the Autry; IAIA of Santa Fe); The Way They Lived (by Micharne Cloughley with The Civilians at the Met). 

ARMIE HAMMER (Drew) most recently received critical praise and a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. Most recently he appeared in Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You and Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait. He will next be seen starring in Mimi Leder’s On The Basis Of Sex and Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai. Hammer voiced the role of “Jackson Storm” for Pixar’s Cars 3. Hammer’s other film credits include Nocturnal Animals, Free Fire, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Lone Ranger, The Social Network, and J. Edgar, for which he received a SAG Award Nomination. 

STEPHEN PAYNE (Ed) Broadway: Of Mice And Men, Superior Donuts, August: Osage County. Other Theater: Edward Albee’s Me Myself & I (Playwrights Horizons), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Paper Mill Playhouse & McCarter Theater), John Patrick Stanley's Sailor’s Song (Public Theater), Wings Of Desire (American Repertory Theater), Bus Stop (Old Globe), Boy Gets Girl (Seattle Rep). His many film and television appearances include "Law & Order: SVU," "Girls," and "Divorce."

PAUL SCHNEIDER (Matt) Credits include The Assassination Of Jesse James, Lars & The Real Girl, Parks & Recreation, The Family Stone, Café Society, Water For Elephants, Elizabethtown, and Les Bien-Amies. Paul was named Best Supporting Actor by the National Society of Film Critics for his work in Jane Campion’s Bright Star and Best Actor by the Tribeca Film Festival jury for Goodbye To All That. He co-wrote and starred in All The Real Girls and wrote and directed the Sundance film, Pretty Bird. Paul is from western North Carolina, a proud board member of The World Lens Foundation and an Innocence Project Ambassador.

CARY DONALDSON (u/s Drew, Jake, Matt). Broadway: Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  Off-Broadway: The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice (NYSF), Timon of Athens (Public Theater), The Rivals, Major Barbara (Pearl Theatre), The Old Boy (Keen Company), Hamlet (Waterwell). Regional: Williamstown, Old Globe, Studio Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, among others. TV: “Blue Bloods,” "Elementary," “The Men Who Built America.” B.A. Wake Forest University, M.F.A. NYU’s Graduate Acting Program.

DAVID MANIS (u/s Ed). Broadway: 11 shows, including The Curious Incident of the Dog…, War Horse, The Coast Of Utopia, and Arcadia. Most recently, he starred in Death of a Salesman at Bay Street and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner at the Guthrie. Other credits include Shakespeare In The Park, David Cromer’s Our Town, The Acting Company, “Monk,” “Frasier,” and a telekinetic weatherman on “The X-Files.”

T.L. THOMPSON (u/s Person in Charge 1 & 2) is thrilled to be in their first Broadway show! Theater: AFTER (Ensemble, Public Theater), WRETCH: The Final Concert (Bass), Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood (Will Scarlett, New Ohio Theater), Taylor Mac’s 24 Decade History of Popular Music (St. Ann’s Warehouse), Night of the Living N-Word (Aunt Jinny, NYC Fringe Festival), The Messiah Complex (Messiah, BRIC Arts). Film: Free Money (dir. Heather Acs), Friday Afternoon (dir. Paige Campbell). T.L. is a NY Neo Futurist. 


New York Times Magazine: Young Jean Lee's Unsafe Spaces

O Magazine: How Young Jean Lee is Transforming Broadway

Young Jean Lee shakes up Broadway with Straight White Men

The New Yorker: Real Gone Girl - Young Jean Lee's Identity Plays

The Brian Lehrer Show: The Problems of "Straight White Men"

Neil Patrick Harris gives Armie Hammer advice for his Broadway debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live


 “★★★1/2 (out of 4)…fascinating and hugely arresting” - Chicago Tribune

“Explosively entertaining...attitudes and anxieties on display” - The Washington Post

"Fascinating! A compassionate and stimulating new play written and directed by the ever-audacious Young Jean Lee" - The New York Times

“Smart, funny, and unsettling…an insightful look at families, privilege, and much more. Captures the activities and antics of straight white men brilliantly” - Splash