56 Flowers

By Polly Pen
Directed by Dustin Wills

In-Person Reading In this new online musical, a receptionist at a small animal hospital finds herself drawn to the story of Carrie Jacobs-Bond, a relentlessly cheerful yet obstacle-prone early 20th century composer, whose heart-filled songs brought her fame and fortune. A searching and comic look at how we fill our time, from Obie Award-winning composer Polly Pen.

In-person readings of 56 Flowers and The Fish have limited availability and will be invitation-only events. To express your interest in attending one or both readings, please fill out this form.

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Dustin Wills

Dustin Wills (Director, 56 Flowers) DUSTIN WILLS is a wandering theatre and opera director. Upcoming: Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play (Soho Rep & Ma-Yi Theatre), Handel’s Alcina (Yale Opera), Kate Tarker’s MONTAG (Soho Rep), Jeremy O Harris’ A Boy’s Company Presents: Tell Me If I’m Hurting You. Recent: Keith Reddin’s Black Snow (Juilliard), Phillip Howze’s Frontières Sans Frontières (Bushwick Starr—named a Top Ten Theatrical Production of 2017 by New York Magazine), Will Arbery’s Plano (Paper Chairs, Austin TX), Casey Llewellyn’s O, Earth (Foundry Theatre—Off-Broadway Alliance Best Play 2016), and a 2018 Baryshnikov Arts Center Residency. Recent opera: Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol. He has devised new work with Teatro L’Arciliuto in Rome, Italy, created large-scale puppetry pageants with Creative Action, trained with Augusto Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed legislative performance, and for a couple of years gave rogue tours of the Vatican. He is a Princess Grace Award recipient, as well as a Drama League and Boris Sagal directing fellow. MFA: Yale School of Drama

Polly Pen

Polly Pen writes book, music and lyrics. She is an Obie Award winner for the score of Bed and Sofa, which received seven Drama Desk nominations. Bed and Sofa premiered at Vineyard Theatre and received its London premiere at the Finborough Theatre. Polly’s first Off-Broadway production as both composer and co-author, Goblin Market, received five Drama Desk nominations and the Best Plays Special Citation for Musical Composition and Adaptation. Other works include The Night Governess (McCarter Theatre), House for Sale (Transport Group), Her Lightness (Sarasota Opera), The Dumb Cake (a radio musical for NPR), Embarrassments (Wilma Theater) and Christina Alberta’s Father (Vineyard Theatre), which received a Richard Rodgers Award, an Obie and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. Polly is the recipient of several NEA grants, The Kitty Carlisle Hart Award and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Award for Musical Theatre. She has been honored by fellowships at Moulin á Nef in Auvillar, France, Sundance Theatre Lab at Ucross and The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Italy. Polly received the 2009 Flora Roberts Award for a distinguished body of work. She has been a National Theatre Artist-in-Residence at McCarter Theatre and is a professor at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Polly has served on the Council of The Dramatists Guild, the Board of Dramatists Play Service and the nominating committee of the Tony Awards. Polly’s latest work, Arlington, premiered at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco and Vineyard Theatre, NYC. The original cast album of Arlington was released by Broadway Records. In another life, Polly worked extensively as an actor on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in repertory theatres throughout the U.S.