Bill Hayes on the 2022-2023 Season | Single Tickets Guide

A Conversation with Producing Artistic Director Bill Hayes

Ready for the new season? As PBD gears up for 2022-23, Producing Artistic Director William Hayes shares his thoughts with Sheryl Flatow about the five upcoming plays: 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog,Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose,The Science of Leaving Omaha by Carter W. Lewis, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, andTopdog/Underdog by Suzan Lori-Parks. 

Q: Let’s start at the beginning: Why did you decide to open the season with 4000 Miles?

Bill Hayes: There is a bit of a formula and a method to the madness in putting together a season. Some of it is thematic, and some has to do with the tone of a piece. Many times over the years I would start the season with a classic play because of its name recognition. I felt it would draw people in, and newcomers would see the quality of the work and become subscribers after the first show. But I decided to go in a different direction this time. I had seen 4000 Miles, it was a Pulitzer finalist, and I recognized that people need some feel-good material as we re-emerge from the turbulent pandemic period. This is a play that warms the heart. One of the things it’s about is the generation gap, and I think that’s something older and younger audiences will relate to. I’m hoping that the play attracts younger people, because all but one of the characters are in their twenties. That’s one of the things I worked on for the season as a whole – finding plays that are about younger characters. As we become increasingly representative in other ways, this is another means of being more expansive: if you have young people onstage, they tend to speak to a younger audience. The characters in The Science of Leaving Omaha are very young, and in Topdog/Underdog, one character is in his early thirties, the other a few years older.

Q: You mentioned The Science of Leaving Omaha, which was part of last season’s New Year/New Plays Festival. Why did you choose this play for a world premiere?

BH: It’s about two people who are trapped, and I think a lot of young people today often feel trapped. These two characters in Omaha are desperate to escape from the lives they’re living, and in order to escape, they have to leave. It’s something I relate to, because I was in that trap when I was young, and I realized the only way I was going to grow was to leave my hometown. I needed to be influenced by other things and other people and other environments. So, the play speaks to me, and I think it will also speak to many people of all ages.  

Q: There already seems to be a buzz around Twelve Angry Men. Why is this the right moment for the play?

BH: The play has actually been on my radar for a long time. The intention was to reunite actors who have been on our stage over the years. It’s a classic and it has the name recognition. It’s already attracting a lot of law firms and law students, and we’re actually doing a few programs for them in conjunction with the play. We’re doing the play authentically, meaning it’s set in the Eisenhower era, as it was originally. Although women and people of color were allowed on juries in New York at that time, most juries and jury pools were made up of white men. Reginald Rose, who was committed to writing about social issues of the day, was aware of this, and he very deliberately decided on an all-male, white jury. Viewed today, that adds another layer of social criticism to the piece. And it underscores the idea of “those people” – whoever those people are.

Q. Twelve Angry Men is the first of two plays PBD is doing this season that has a large cast. The other, of course, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County. What is it about this dysfunctional family that appeals to you?

BH: Fortunately, or unfortunately, a play about family dysfunction is always timely thematically. And August: Osage County is so rich and authentic and extremely well-written. I saw the original Broadway production, and I knew that the next year almost every regional theatre was going to try to tackle it. That’s not my nature: I don’t want to do something everyone else is doing. So, I waited. Now it’s 15 years later, and the time is right. I wanted to wait until we were ready – and we’re ready now.

Q: You’re ending the season with another Pulitzer Prize winner, Topdog/Underdog. It’s a play in which two men, now in their thirties, were abandoned by their parents as teenagers and forced to fend for themselves. Not surprisingly, they were unprepared for the challenge. One of the things this play does is shine a light on a major social issue.

BH: Right. If kids aren’t loved and valued, if they don’t receive a proper education, if they have to fend for themselves at an early age, if society doesn’t provide social safety nets, don’t be surprised when they fall through the cracks. Just look at West Palm Beach: we have a major problem with homelessness here in the city. And it’s a problem that’s skyrocketed throughout the country for a lot of reasons. When you watch this play, it almost compels you to contemplate what our responsibility is – or isn’t – to take care of all people.

Q: One of the big changes at PBD during the past several years is the inclusion of at least one world premiere each season. And there’s more of an emphasis on contemporary work. This season, for instance, four of the five plays were written in the twenty-first century. Are you deliberately shifting focus?

BH: I would say we’re always evolving. A theatre’s purpose, particularly that of PBD, is to engage in important social matters and to encourage discussion. In the past, I relied on the canon of great older plays that directly or indirectly related to things in our current climate. Classic plays are a treasured part of our great theatre heritage, and they will always be a part of PBD. But contemporary plays have an immediacy. Many of the great plays written in this century shine a light on a range of current social and political issues, and are more reflective of who we are as a nation right now. We see that in the plays that come through The Dramaworkshop, and I can also address specific topics by commissioning plays that deal with a subject head on. The audience is embracing premieres and understands that regional theatres have a responsibility to produce new works. The country is in a social crisis and things have continued to escalate and intensify, so it’s more important now than at any time in our history to take on really difficult subjects. 

Q: Last question, and I want to shift gears a little. After two years online, The New Year/New Plays Festival will be back in the theatre in front of a live audience. Talk about what that means for the playwrights, the actors, and the audience.

BH: Since the 2020 festival, actors, playwrights, and directors have spent the past few years developing new plays, but never in the same room. Just as it is for audiences attending theatre, working in a room becomes a communal experience. And you can’t quite get that online. You build more of a camaraderie in person. We talk a lot about the feedback from the audience, but it’s not just the individual feedback a patron gives to the playwright and director – it’s also the ways patrons interact with each other. They debate aspects of the play, and we’ve been without that. The communal experience for artists and audiences, and the healthy discussion that follows each reading, is invaluable for everyone involved. We’re just thrilled about the return to the theatre.

Your Guide to

Single Tickets 

We’re so pleased to announce that single tickets for the 2022-23 season are on sale now at the box office, and online at In addition to all five mainstage productions, tickets are available for the fifth annual New Year/New Plays Festival; the popular programs Dramawise and Outstage@pbd; and two special events in conjunction with the second play of the season, Twelve Angry Men.

Following are descriptions, dates, and prices for PBD’s mainstage season and all other programs.


4000 MILES

By Amy Herzog

Directed by J. Barry Lewis

October 14-30, 2022

At the end of an agonizing cross-country bike trip, 21-year-old Leo shows up unexpectedly at the West Village apartment of his 91-year-old grandmother Vera. Across the generational divide, the physically fragile Vera and the emotionally fragile Leo tentatively and gradually learn to connect in this warm and touching comic drama.

Executive Producers: Stephen Brown & Jamie Stern

Producer: Ruth Baum

Associate Producer: Bill Bone Bike Law


By Reginald Rose

Directed by J. Barry Lewis

December 9-24, 2022

In this timely, timeless, and taut classic, 12 jurors deliberate the fate of a teenager accused of killing his father. Only Juror #8 is uncertain of the young man’s guilt. As he compels the others to carefully examine the evidence, the prejudices and social attitudes of each man are revealed – as are the strengths and flaws of the American justice system.

Executive Producers: Marsha & Stephen Rabb


            (World Premiere)

By Carter W. Lewis

Directed by Bruce Linser

February 3-19, 2023

Iris feels trapped in her job at a crematory and wants to get out of Omaha. When Baker breaks into the funeral home to say goodbye to his recently deceased wife, he and Iris spend a humorously unpredictable evening together trying to understand the dismantling of their working-class lives before their pasts, and the police, catch up with them.


By Tracy Letts

Directed by William Hayes

March 31-April 16, 2023

Meet the Weston family, a clan so embittered and embattled that dysfunctional would be a step up. Violet Weston is the pill-popping matriarch whose weary, alcoholic husband walks out the door one morning, never to return. His disappearance leads to a tumultuous family reunion full of revelations, resentments, and recriminations. A semi-autobiographical, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama in which the taunts and stings are both over-the-top and all too real.

Executive Producers: Toni & Martin Sosnoff

Producer: Nancy Goodes


By Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Be Boyd

May 26-June 11, 2023

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of African-American brothers Lincoln and Booth, so named because their father thought it was funny. Spiritually wounded and barely scraping by, the brothers live in Booth’s seedy boarding house room where they alternately support and disparage each other as they look back at their troubled past and look ahead to an uncertain future. A darkly comic trash-talking tale of simmering sibling rivalry. 

Executive Producer: Penny Bank

Tickets for all performances are $84, except for opening night of each production ($99) and previews ($64).     


A program that takes audiences deeper into each mainstage production, divided into two “acts” and an intermission (also known as lunch at a local restaurant). Act I is an in-depth discussion of the play, while Act II features the cast and artistic team in conversation about the production and the creative process. Each program takes place on the Thursday prior to opening night. Act I runs from 10:00am – 11:30am, intermission (lunch) from 11:45am – 12:45pm, and Act II from 1:00pm – 2:00pm.

Dramawise Schedule:

4000 Miles: October 13, 2022

Twelve Angry Men: December 8, 2022

The Science of Leaving Omaha: February 2, 2023

August: Osage County: March 30, 2023

Topdog/Underdog: May 25, 2023

Dramawise Tickets:

Act I, Intermission (lunch included), and Act II:        $75

Act I only:                                                                 $35

Act II only:                                                                $25


January 6-8, 2023

The Dramaworkshop’s New Year/New Plays Festival, which was offered online for the past two seasons, makes a much-anticipated return to the theatre for the first time since 2020. One of PBD’s most popular initiatives, the festival features readings of five evolving works, providing playwrights with the invaluable opportunity to hear their words performed in front of a live audience, an instrumental step in the development and growth of a play. Audiences not only share in the excitement of bringing new work to life, but have the chance to offer feedback to the playwrights. The festival also includes a Playwrights Forum, free with a ticket to any play. 

Although the schedule has not yet been determined, the plays, in alphabetical order, are Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Bill Cain, Dangerous Instruments by Gina Montet, The Islanders by Carey Crim, The Messenger by Jenny Connell Davis, and The Virgin Queen Entertains Her Fool by Michael Hollinger.  

Diane & Mark Perlberg are the executive producers of the New Year/New Plays Festival, Penny Bank and Marsha & Stephen Rabb are the producers, and Sandra & Bernie Meyer are the associate producers.

NY/NP Festival Schedule:

Friday, January 6

Reading at 3pm

Reading at 7pm

Saturday, January 7

Playwrights Forum at 1pm*

Reading at 3pm

Reading at 7pm

Sunday, January 8

Reading at 3pm

Champagne Toast immediately following the talkback

NY/NP Festival Tickets:

One play  -  $20

Two plays - $30

Five plays - $50

*The Playwrights Forum is free with a ticket to any play.    


Twelve Angry Men, which, in its unique way, puts the American justice system on trial, remains as potent and relevant today as it was when it was introduced as a teleplay in 1954. The subsequent 1957 film is often required viewing for law and business school students. PBD is offering two special events around the play on December 13: a lecture for young professionals about decision making by the FAU College of Business and Attorney Appreciation Night, both of which are open to the public. A third program, a social justice talkback, is planned exclusively for Palm Beach County law academy students. Event sponsors to date are Holland & Knight LLP, United Way of Palm Beach County, and the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

Tuesday, December 13, 4pm – 5pm

Young Executive Program: Decision-Making and Group Dynamics

Tickets: $50

December 13

Attorney Appreciation Night

Reception at 6:30pm

Performance at 7:30pm, followed by talkback

Tickets: $150

Proceeds benefit PBD and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County

For more information, contact Linda Berman, PBD development manager

(561) 514-4042 ext. 106 or [email protected]


Special evenings of each mainstage production for the LGBTQ community that include a pre-show reception, the production, and a post-show reception. Each program takes place on a Friday evening, beginning at 7pm.

OutStage Schedule:

4000 Miles: October 21, 2022

Twelve Angry Men: December 16, 2022

The Science of Leaving Omaha: February 10, 2023

August: Osage County: April 7, 2023

Topdog/Underdog: June 2, 2023

OutStage Tickets:  $104

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