Issue #9

By Briana Bartenieff
Directed by Briana Bartenieff
April 4 – April 21
APR 4 - APR 21; THU, FRI, SAT at 8 PM, SUN at 3 PM

Executive Director, Crystal Field


Issue #9

Written and Directed by Briana Bartenieff
Music composed by J. H Greenwell

April 4 – 21, 2024
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM

Thursdays – Pay What You Can
Friday, Saturday, Sunday – General Admission $20
Students & Dramatist Members $15
Run Time: 2 hours with a 10 minute intermission.

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Street)

NEW YORK — From April 4 to 21, Theater for the New City will present the world premiere of “Issue #9,” an original musical written and directed by Briana Bartenieff, composed by J.H. Greenwell.  It’s set in an upstate gas station’s convenience store, where adolescent bullying and obsession with unattainable beauty ideals prompt tragedy in teenage girls and revenge by family members who love them.

The piece is a musical with nine pop rock songs and an all female cast. Its story revolves around Natalie and her adolescent daughter Lexi, who move to Germantown, NY (a burgh in Columbia County) in 1995. Natalie takes a job at the local gas station, and is unaware of the struggles of her daughter, Lexi,who deals with toxic friendships and an eating disorder after becoming obsessed with teen magazines. Lexi is eventually overcome by her dieting compulsion, leading to her tragic death. After her death Natalie, initially ignorant of the severity of her daughter’s obsession, takes control and tries to expose the incredibly harmful influence that teen magazines hold over youth. Ultimately, she exacts a terrible revenge on her daughter’s oppressors (which we won’t explain here).

While it’s a horror story, it’s a character-driven narrative of emotional depth, unlike mainstream horror films that more often prioritize scares and spectacle. It grapples with the existential dread associated with teenage bullying and diet culture.  It bears out truthfully the growing concern among mental health professionals about the harmful effects of diet culture and beauty magazines on vulnerable adolescents. The play’s title refers to an issue of the mass market fan/beauty mag that the characters are obsessed with; it is found in the racks of the convenience store the play is set in.

The play was originally developed as Bartenieff’s senior project at SUNY Purchase. It was written in the fall of 2022. A staged reading, which she directed, which was produced last Spring at Purchase College.  Since that time, Ms. Bartenieff has expanded and developed much of the piece, adding new songs and replacing dialogue with song.

Briana Bartenieff (writer and director) graduated with a BA in Playwriting and Screenwriting from SUNY Purchase. She has written and directed multiple short plays for TNC’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts and been Assistant Director for TNC’s summer Street Theater musical for four years in a row. She participates in Lissa Moira’s Live Poet’s Society. Her writings have been published in The Villager, The Village Sun, AM New York and Purchase College’s website as part of their Covid series. She is developing another new musical, “Scammed into Love,” to be produced by TNC in April 2025.  She is daughter of Lighting Designer/Actor/Puppeteer Alexander Bartenieff and granddaughter of Crystal Field and George Bartenieff, co-founders of TNC.

H. Greenwell (composer and musical director)isa multi-instrumentalist and composer. Originally from Highland Park, Illinois, they are currently studying music and film at Purchase College in New York. Greenwell has been composing music since third grade, beginning on their Nintendo DS with a copy of “WarioWare D.I.Y.”


Sarah Boess
Grace Bradley
Sandy Melissa Garcia
Amy Herzberg
Audrey Latt
Ada Victoria
Taylor Lynn – Understudy

Set design: Mark Marcante
Light and Sound Design: Alexander Bartenieff
Broken mirror costume: Billy Little
Choreographer: Amy Herzberg
Stage Managers: Rose Desidero and Franklyn Rodriguez
Board Operator: Franklyn Rodriguez


COVID Protocol:
As of September 26th, 2022, we are no longer requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for our audience upon entry.
Wearing of masks is suggested in the lobby, restrooms and performance spaces at Theater for the New City, but they are not required.