News: Playful Substance Presents "Canary" January 9-20, 2024, at the Chain

This January, Playful Substance will present Canary, by Donald Wollner, its first full production since Raphael Perahia’s oddly prophetic Shelter in Place in the fall of 2019.

“After nearly four years of focusing on development work, community events, and side projects, we are excited to open our return season with a world premiere from such a skilled playwright,” says Playful Substance’s Artistic Director, Bree O’Connor; “Don’s work embodies Playful Substance’s highest aspirations; to tell the truth with a quick wit and embrace discomfort as part of the fun.”

In Canary, we are in the previous century, and Cassie wants to be the best copywriter in advertising history. She’s young, inexperienced, and a woman in a deeply sexist world. But she and her art director turn out extremely creative work. It gets noticed, and soon they are locked in a room grinding out their agency’s coveted “mystery” campaign. Can they get Americans to swallow the biggest chunk of bullshit this country has ever seen? And who are the winners and losers in this game?

Canary is written by Donald Wollner (Tales from the Dark Side), directed by Bree O’Connor (Frank, I Can Kiss Like Ted Bundy) and features Dan Kellmer (Shelter in Place, The Blacklist), Yessenia Rivas (CowlGirl, Your Silent Face) and Jason Scott Quinn (All That You Love Will Be Carried Away).

Canary will run for 10 performances: January 9-20, 2024, Tuesday- Saturday @ 8:00 pm at The Chain (Studio Theater) 312 W 36th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10018.

Tickets for Canary are $35 and will be available for the general public on December 5th at

Canary was developed through Playful Substance’s weekly Writers’ Group, an ongoing feedback and accountability group for playwrights and screenwriters at all levels of experience. Playful Substance offers writing mentorship, developmental readings, and workshops along with unique opportunities to present new works through annual community events such as Play Date and Pithy Party. Its weekly Writers’ Group is offered throughout the year on Tuesday evenings both in-person and online. It also offers a monthly Writers’ Group for Caregivers (online only) the third Saturday of each month. For more information, email Bree O’Connor at

For further information about Canary or Playful Substance, visit


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