presented by New City Theatre and ACTLab

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Dates: June 7-30
Run time: approximately 75 minutes with one 15 minute intermission
Location: Lalie Theatre

Sam Shepard’s The War in Heaven is a short masterwork that asks a large question: What is the future of our humanity? Originally written as a radio play in collaboration with Joseph Chaikin, the story follows an angel who dies the day she is born and crashes to earth. What do her poetic voice and innocent eyes observe of our world? Written in Shepard’s lauded voice, fired in the activism of the 1960s and 70s, The War in Heaven asks us to reexamine our past and its effect on our increasingly uncertain future.

Shaped in collaboration with Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot’s classic epic, The Waste Land, stretches across multiple characters, continents, and cultures, slipping and sliding through our collective humanity. New City Theatre first brought the work to life as a solo piece featuring Mary Ewald’s deft transformation from the king of the wood to famous clairvoyant Madam Sosostris to blind Tiresias to Hamlet to Dante, and more. As the Seattle P.I. notes, “Ewald lightens up Eliot’s ponderous learning and turns it into beautifully shimmery glimpses of human experience.”

In collaboration with ACTLab, New City Theatre brings these two masterworks together into a revelatory pairing, plumbing the intricacies, eccentricities, and similarities of the human condition.

John Kazanjian (Director) is the founding Producing Artistic Director of the New City Theater. He was also the Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Second Company, and was the Associate Artistic Director of the former Empty Space Theater in Seattle. He is the recipient of many accolades and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Directing Fellowship, a TPS Sustained Achievement Award, and a Goethe House Fellowship in Berlin. He has served as a guest director at ACT, Seattle Repertory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Group Theatre,  Seattle Shakespeare Company, and New Century Theater.

Mary Ewald (Performer) is a founding member of the New City Theater and has been acting professionally for over 30 years. Most recent credits include Everybody (Strawberry Theatre Workshop), and Timon in Timon of Athens (Seattle Shakespeare Company). She has worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT, Intiman, Empty Space, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Soho Rep NYC, Theatre X (Milwaukee & European Tour), and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her work at New City Theater includes playing the roles of Hamlet, Prospero, and Caliban, as well as Winnie in Beckett’s Happy Days (all directed by John Kazanjian). Ewald has also performed in New City Theater-commissioned world premieres including: Maria Irene Fornes’ Enter the Night; MacArthur Fellowship Artists Richard Foreman’s Eddie Goes to Poetry City, and John Jesurun’s Snow; and Len Jenkin’s Pilgrims of the Night.

Nina Moser (Costume/Set Design) was the founding production designer for New City Theater in 1982. She has collaborated with John Kazanjian over the years on multiple productions and has been collaborating with Eve Cohen since 2011. She has numerous theater, dance , television, and film credits including Northern Exposure, and Guy Maddin’s Brand upon the Brain. She currently teaches Pilates and is very happy to be collaborating with the New City family.

Eve Cohen (Costume/Set Design) is a costume designer, visual artist, and performer who has been collaborating with Nina Moser and New City Theater since 2011. She is a founding member of the performance troupe The Rollvulvas (Blue Arts; Belle’s Bloom), and a frequent collaborator with Vodvil Theater (Shades of Parkland; Her Phantom Limb) and Janice Findley Productions (The Skriker).

Lindsay Smith (Lighting & Sound Design) has been a lighting and sound designer with New City Theater for many years. His designs there include The Unseen Hand, The Ghost Sonata, Fen, Far Away, The Designated Mourner, Happy Days, The Homebody, Mud, and Hamlet. Other design credits include: lights for Timon of Athens (Seattle Shakespeare Company); lights and sound for The Walworth Farce and Tails of Wasps (New Century Theatre); sound for Amadeus, True West, and A Number (ACT); lights for Skin and Stray (Printer’s Devil Theater); lights for The Yellow Kid (Annex Theater); sound for All My Sons (Seattle Repertory Theatre); sound for Mother Hicks and Great Expectations (Seattle Children’s Theater); and lights for Sweeney Todd and Kiss Me Kate (Civic Light Opera).

Founded in 1982, the New City Theater is an ensemble theater that produced the second U.S. production of Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom with Suzan-Lori Parks in-residence and leading a playwriting workshop. New City Theater has also produced commissioned premieres with Maria Irene Fornes, Richard Foreman, Len Jenkins,  John Jesurun, W.David Hancock, and Theatre X Milwaukee, along with 15 Seattle artist commissions. Until 1995, artist-curated programs included: the Directors and Playwrights Festivals, the Late Night Club, New Film New City, the Rendezvous Reading Room, New Dance New City, the National Visiting Artist Series, the monthly visual art gallery initiated by artist Tom Hoffman, and three annual ensemble productions.

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