our story

Mississippi Mud Productions is a developing theatre company with roots in the NYC scape, working on developing visionary American theatre with artists from around the world. Mississippi Mud Productions is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts service organization.

Artistic director Jen Danby brings her passion and commitment to theatre along with 25 years of experience as an actress, and more recently as a director, teacher, and producer. Jen says "I believe theatre allows us to tell human stories and to reflect, and generate ensemble work that reaches in and out. My training includes advanced acting class with Austin Pendleton at HB Studio in New York City, and master classes with Olympia Dukakis and Jeff Corey. I hold my MA in Acting and Ph.D. in Acting Styles/Theatre. I am also a proud member of AEA, SAG - AFTRA, HB Ensemble, and PSi (Performance Studies International). I am proud to say that Mississippi Mud Productions believes in responsible theatre through awareness and generosity by building bridges among artists and communities through disciplined practice and playful art."

As Tennessee Williams writes in Camino Real, quoting Byron, "Make voyages! Attempt them...there's nothing else."

The Mississippi Mud Productions Story

Mississippi Mud Productions was christened on Thanksgiving day 2009 and we were officially born on Christmas Eve of that year. Our name comes from three things: Tennessee Williams’s heroine, Blanche Dubois; chocolate Mississippi Mud Pie; and southern folklore that says: when the earth was born there was all this extra water and it became the Mississippi River.

I know from the Speed side of the family from Louisville Kentucky, who found their way to Brooklyn when Melodrama and Vaudeville were shining on the New York City stages, that north and south and around the wide world you have to keep on going like the river.

In the summer of 2010, we achieved some milestones. Our first production, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, played to standing room only for its last six performances at the Cherry Pit in NYC, a 99 seat house. We have been awarded membership in the prestigious corps, A.R.T. / New York, an alliance of resident theatres. We are so proud to say that we are the recipients of a $2,500 grant from the Halprin Family Foundation in support of developing our work as a growing company.

We were born out of working together in Austin Pendleton’s advanced acting class at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. Mr. Pendleton, who acted with Meryl Streep, directed Elizabeth Taylor, and received a 2007 Drama Desk Award as American Renaissance Man of the Theatre, writes about us and our first production, A Streetcar Named Desire:

"Everything spoke of a thorough, meticulous professionalism harnessed to a deep and sensitive love of the play, to a degree that made it possible to feel, in a theatre, in a live performance, what Tennessee Williams called in a different play "the old pure music" once again. The response to the production was full and overflowing, and that has emboldened the company that was formed to do the play, christened Mississippi Mud, to move forward as a producing entity. This is profoundly promising news for the New York theatre scene. I wish them so well. I hope very much to work with these people again, but an even more important hope I have than that is that the company will be allowed to grow and flourish.

Make voyages. Attempt them. There is nothing else. That's another thing Tennessee Williams said. And here is Mississippi Mud. It's pretty thrilling."

We think so too.

This year, Mud launched its pilot Mud Lab, an actor-driven laboratory. This year’s Lab was Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. Nine actors participated and were in residence together with teacher and Broadway director Austin Pendleton in the heart of Midtown for two weeks in July. The lab was so successful, Mud is bringing it back again in a more extended form in the summer of 2012. We will be in lab with SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER along with our return to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Our 2011 full production was Austin Pendleton’s electric Orson’s Shadow about titans Orson Wells, Vivien Leigh, and Laurence Olivier, and we had the privilege of being the first New York City company to produce a revival of this play since its New York debut five years ago.

Like cats on a hot tin roof, Mud is alive, not just in New York City but virtually. We invite you to be a “Mudling” by following us on Twitter, Tumblr or joining our Facebook page.

Mud is happening! And you are a core part of it. We thank you

Check back for photos and stories from past events and shows. Upcoming info on new classes, productions, and general tidbits on the growing Mississippi Mud Productions!