Grand Concourse


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Grand Concourse

By Heidi Schreck

The Startling, Compassionate Off-Broadway Hit.

Heidi Schreck’s (writer Nurse Jackie) comic drama with heart and bite set in an urban soup kitchen.

Shelley is the devoted manager of this church soup kitchen, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Enter Emma: an idealistic but confused young volunteer, who unexpectedly ignites and alters the kitchen and its regulars – including charming, co-worker Oscar and homeless eccentric Frog. Will Emma be their ruin or salvation? With keen humor, Heidi Schreck (writer Nurse Jackie) navigates the mystery of faith, the limits of forgiveness, and the pursuit of something resembling joy.

Finalist for the 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

“Insightful, with a moving, even shocking epiphany” (Huffington Post)
Grand Concourse “may well break your heart” (NY Post).

From the Playwright

“Having worked in soup kitchens and for social justice organizations both in my hometown and here in the city, I was interested in writing about the provisional families that spring up in places where people gather explicitly to care for one another—to help and to seek help. There is a great deal of affection and humor and… well, love in these situations, which also means that so much can go horribly wrong. Emma, Oscar, Frog, and Shelley become a weird little family during the course of this play, and, like any real family, they have the power to both heal and harm one another.” Playwright, Heidi Schreck

Shelley – modern nun in plain clothes nun, has run the soup kitchen for more than a decade, now questioning her future
Emma – rainbow-haired 19-year-old college drop-out and new kitchen volunteer, looking for a new path
Oscar – jovial, attractive kitchen maintenance guy, from the Dominican Republic, in college
Frog – eccentric, homeless veteran, Jewish, functioning with mental illness, has lived all over the world

A church soup kitchen located in the Bronx near 196th and Grand Concourse

Now. Over a six-month period from late spring to fall.

Length & Content

Grand Concourse runs 2 hours and 10 minutes including a 10-minute intermission. Rated PG-13.

See our post-show discussion schedule below!

Grand Concourse Press Release

Content Advisory:
On a 0-5 Scale (with 5 being high), this play contains:
Swearing: 3 (for several uses of the f-word)
Nudity:  0
Violence:  0
Sexual Situations:  1 (one brief sexual moment played in darkness)
References to drugs, alcohol: 0

Handicap seating limited for this production. Please call to reserve if needed.

Talkback Schedule

Thursday, April 2 after the 8 PM show – Atlanta Community Food Bank
Saturday, April 4 after the 3 PM show – United Way
Sunday, April 5 after the 5 PM show – Mad Housers
Thursday, April 9 after the 8 PM show – Shearith Israel Shelter
Sunday, April 12 after the 5 PM show – Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Wednesday, April 15 after the 8 PM show – Mercy Community Church
Thursday, April 16 after the 8 PM show – Atlanta Community Food Bank
Friday, April 17 after the 8 PM show – Central Outreach and Advocacy Center
Sunday, April 19 after the 5 PM show – Citizen Advocacy
Wednesday, April 22 after the 8 PM show – Atlanta Community Food Bank
Friday, April 24 after the 8 PM show – Children’s Restoration Network

Performance Dates

March 27-April 26, 2015


Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM and 8:30 PM
Sunday at 5:00 PM


General Admission
$20 and up

Bring your neighbors!
Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. Call 404.523.1477 x111 or e-mail Timothy Harland for more information.

*Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. 8% sales tax will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating.


Shelley – Maria Rodriguez-Sager
Emma – Alexandra Ficken
Frog – Allan Edwards*
Oscar – Evan Cleaver*

Creative Team

Playwright – Heidi Schreck
Director – Jeff Adler
Scenic & Costume Designers – Isabel A. & Moriah Curley Clay
Lighting Designer – Mary Parker
Co-Lighting Designer – David Mullen
Sound Designer – Angie Bryant
Prop Designer – Heather Cap
Stage Manager – Julianna M. Lee*

*Member Actors’ Equity Association



Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 5.53.45 PM



Meet Grand Concourse’s Shelley played by Maria Sager

Meet Grand Concourse’s Emma played by Alexandra Ficken

Meet Grand Concourse’s Oscar played by Evan Cleaver

Meet Grand Concourse’s Frog play by Allan Edwards


“A brilliant work by a brilliant woman.”
Publisher’s Feature Service


Publisher’s Feature Service – Grand Concourse

Past Production Reviews

New York Post – Grand Concourse Explores Faith and Forgiveness in a Soup Kitchen
New York Times – A Soup Kitchen Where Even the Staff Is Needy

What Audiences Are Saying

“Best show I have seen at the Horizon.”

“Why didn’t y’all market this as a comedy?”

From a staff member who was approached by a member of the audience: “She was in tears, the show was so real to her. She could hardly talk, said the show was wonderful. Her husband had to finish her thought process because she was so shook up.”

“Great work! Loved it! Loved the characters and how well they were developed. Brilliant acting by all four!”

“What a well-deserved standing ovation!”

“Powerful, I loved it!”

“I enjoyed it, as always!”

“One of the best shows I’ve seen at Horizon so far.”


“Great choice of casting.”

“The acting here is the best in town!”


“Really great!”

“This show really makes you think.”


“That guy is crazy funny!”

“That crazy guy was spot on.”

“That was truly what forgiveness is all about.”

“Love the set, so realistic!”

“My group of 8 all loved it! One of my guests was a former nun, and it resonated with her as well.”

“I know many ‘Frogs’, I loved the character.”

“Ah, the many levels of the Grand Concourse. The limits of forgiveness, the suspicion we are being had and manipulated by those we take care of, of knowing at the same time, they are doing the best that they can, that they fail themselves and we fail them too. That we ask too much of others, and of ourselves. And at times, that caring can take too much of us, that we forget “to drink while we pour” and that we want to live a “care-free” life, if only for a minute.”

Director’s Note

GRAND CONCOURSE is an ensemble comic drama set in an urban soup kitchen and written by one of America’s up-and-coming writers. Heidi Schreck’s smart, funny and compassionate play kicks off Horizon’s 31st season of award-winning contemporary plays and stunning new voices. It is all hand-made, locally sourced, right here by a Horizon ensemble of talented professional artists in our intimate theatre, up close and personal. Horizon Co-Artistic Director Jeff Adler (The Book Club Play, Superior Donuts) is back to helm this top notch cast, bringing back Allan and Maria who recently charmed audiences as Esperanza and Hugo in The Waffle Palace and spicing it up with two newcomers to Horizon. Our award-winning design team invites us to be flies on the fourth wall of this detailed church basement kitchen. They are all part of Atlanta’s dynamic professional theatre community who create incredible theatre across the city.

Introducing the play, director Jeff Adler asks, “Are you now or have you ever been a caregiver for another? This could be in your job or caring for a child or an adult family member or even a pet! At the heart of Grand Concourse is Shelley, a progressive nun and ultimate care-giver; she’s the long-time manager of a Bronx soup kitchen. And like many care-givers, she has some questions to face: Is this what I’m meant to be doing? Am I up to the task? Are there others who could do this better? Am I losing steam? Am I being taken advantage of? Am I ignoring my life by putting others first? Do I really know what that person needs?” As the play begins, we find Shelley with a new volunteer, Emma, a rainbow-haired college dropout searching for her purpose, who unexpectedly disrupts the status quo for Shelley and the kitchen regulars, including charming employee Oscar and homeless eccentric Frog.

Playwright Schreck draws deeply on her own background for the inspiration for the play. “The play is set in a soup kitchen… in homage to my parents, who ran a home for displaced kids and devoted their lives to service in both big and small ways,” says Schreck about the play’s genesis. “Having worked in soup kitchens and for social justice organizations both in my hometown and in New York City, I was interested in writing about the provisional families that spring up in places where people gather explicitly to care for one another—to help and to seek help. There is a great deal of affection and humor and… well, love in these situations… And, like any real family, they have the power to both heal and harm one another.”

“The problem of forgiveness was also on my mind as the play started to take shape—or at least my problem with forgiveness. Because of my upbringing, and because of the—I use this word carefully but—because of the saintliness of my parents, it was very much ingrained in us that we were always to forgive. ‘Turn the other cheek’ and ‘70 x 7’ were very much a part of our ethos as a family. That’s what you learned to do. And I realized as I got older that it didn’t always take into account the damage that could happen to oneself—or others—if you forgive people sort of automatically or out of obligation…‘Okay, I forgive you.’ …I would allow someone to hurt me over and over again, in part because that was what I had been taught to do and in part because sometimes it’s easier… To be the person who was always there for other people, so I didn’t have to step up to the plate myself, or figure out what I really needed or cared about. So I think that question is very much in the play and in my own life. And so the thorny relationship that forms between Shelley and Emma became my way to work that out, to test out the possibilities, and hopefully begin to navigate a kind of path toward grace.”

Peppered with keen humor, this is a rich soup of a play that explores the complexities of friendship, faith, trust, forgiveness, and service. Are you a care-taker or do you have a one? Do you serve or receive help from your community? What are the challenges you face? What would you change? If you serve, what do you expect to receive in return—and do you get it?

Share your thoughts with us  by posting a note in our lobby or sending your thoughts to us at

Thanks for being a part of Grand Concourse!


Video interview with the playwright, Heidi Schreck, on the personal experiences that influenced the writing of Grand Concourse

Interview with the playwright, Heidi Schreck

Selected scene from Grand Concourse at Playwrights Horizons 

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