Cast: Tina Benko, Elizabeth Carter, KK Moggie, Kate Cullen Roberts, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Brian Wiles.

Creative team:
scenic design: John McDermott // costumes: Lux Haac
lighting: Grant Yeager // sound design: Amy Altadonna 
projections: Kate Ducey // properties: Brian Bernhard 
production management & technical direction: Sean McGrath
Producers: Dominique Bravo, Ayana Parker Morrison,
Emily Caffery & Andrew Perlmutter

Production Stage Manager: Avery Trunko
Assistant Stage Manager: Katie Cecil Cairns
Casting: Anne Davison  // Associate director: J. Mehr Kaur
Videography: Crystal Arnette/Adventure We Can 
Press: Richard Kornberg // Production stills:  Robert Altman  

Eureka Day
An East Coast premiere by Jonathan Spector
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
August 24 - September 21, 2019
Walkerspace Theater, Lower Manhattan

The screamingly funny and achingly profound EUREKA DAY uses a heated vaccination debate at a progressive elementary school as a metaphorical lens for the escalating hostility of America’s culture wars and our inability to listen to those with whom we disagree.

Carina has just enrolled her son at EUREKA DAY School in Berkeley, CA, where all decisions are made by consensus— diversity and inclusion are valued, and vaccinations are a personal matter. As a freshman member of the private school’s board of directors—one position is always reserved for a new parent so no one gets too calcified in their thinking—she is thrown into the deep end when a mumps outbreak hits the school, forcing parents to choose between their own personal beliefs and what might be best for the community. Opening the discussion up to online trolls during a Facebook Live meeting only moves the committee further away from answering EUREKA DAY’s—and our era’s—most pressing question: how do you find consensus when you can’t agree on the facts?

Click here to watch a teaser video! 

EUREKA DAY premiered at Aurora Theater in Berkeley, CA in April 2018, where it received all of the region’s new play awards: Glickman Award, Theatre Bay Area Award, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, and Rella Lossy Award.

*Eureka Day is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Click here to read the NYT feature article “Can a Play About Vaccines be a Laughing Matter” - about playwright Jonathan Spector and Colt Coeur’s production of Eureka Day.

“The central subject of the play, directed with sharp finesse by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, could hardly be more topical: mandatory vaccinations for children.

“…characters who had seemed so easy to ridicule as stereotypes acquire a substance and specificity that inhibit both derision and facile categorization. It becomes possible to identify with each of these people, embodied by an impeccably codependent ensemble, no matter what your own feelings about vaccination are.

“This means that “Eureka Day,” is not only one of the funniest plays to open this year, it is one of the saddest. The more contemplative second act…allows each of the excellent cast members to reveal the confusion and vulnerability of people so hungry for certainty that they have stopped listening to everybody else. Ms. Benko has a harrowing monologue that seems to stop time.”
“Eureka Day,” a new play written by Jonathan Spector, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and produced by the company Colt Coeur (at Walkerspace), is, by contrast, so brilliantly yoked to the current American moment—its flighty politics, its deadly folly—that it makes you want to jump out of your skin.
The play’s most astonishingly accurate moment comes when the board convenes a live stream—over, of all mediums, Facebook—in order to discuss the crisis with the school’s parents. The board bickers while, online, the comments section turns into a free-for-all. The parents trash one another like professional wrestlers as the board members stammer genteelly, swathing their similar hostilities in H.R.-department-safe passive aggression. Emojis and insults and near-threats keep coming until poor, scandalized Don has to close his laptop and scoot away, as if on the run from a feral creature poised to bite. I’m still trying to figure out how hard is appropriate for a critic to laugh at the theatre; this night, I made myself hoarse.
There seems little purpose in offering lavish, must-see praise to a play midway through its 25-performance run—in a 65-seat off-off-Broadway theater, which despite being produced by a little-known non-profit with a little-known playwright and little-known players is virtually sold out due to violently positive word-of-mouth. Must see, yes, only you are unlikely to see it lest you have tickets in hand. But does that suggest that we should simply ignore Jonathan Spector’s Eureka Day?

No. Eureka Day is not to be ignored. With any luck, this caustically funny but trenchantly provocative comedy will reappear somewhere, soon, in our vicinity, hopefully with the same excellent cast and production. Take this as a warning: be prepared to pounce at the first announcement.

Spector’s play hails from the Brooklyn-based Colt Coeur, under the artistic direction of Adrienne Campbell-Holt, who also provides the impeccable staging. Colt Coeur has taken temporary possession of the Soho Rep space on Walker Street in Tribeca, which accounts for the brief scheduled run of the play. But who’d have guessed that it would take off like fireworks? And strike a nerve or three, too?
Director Campbell-Holt deserves full honors for the proceedings, with a valuable assist from set designer John McDermott whose “typical” elementary school library set abounds with surprises.

So keep your ears peeled, do, for word of a future day for Eureka Day.
“Warning: Prepare to be triggered into fits of laughter by Eureka Day, an extremely funny and ultimately thoughtful new comedy…this smart comedy by Jonathan Spector is likely to appear on many critical top-ten lists come next spring…Tina Benko’s portrait of a self-assured soul whose manner grows brittle under pressure and Thomas Jay Ryan’s drolly stricken expressions as a kindly educator harried by controversy are among the show’s finer points, but everyone provides ace performances…Tickets likely are hard to get for this production’s limited run, but don’t be surprised should the comedy stick around. I’ve got no inside scoop, but it sure seems to me that a show this smart deserves a longer life somewhere in town.”
“Sure, it’s a bit early in the game, but what might turn out to be the funniest scene to hit New York stages in this young theatre season occurs at the end of the first act in Jonathan Spector’s sharp and empathetic social commentary, EUREKA DAY…EUREKA DAY is the latest, and in this reviewer’s opinion the best, of that 21st Century Theatre genre that might be called Comedy of White Liberals Overcompensating For Their Privilege Manners…After a satirical first half, the second act begins addressing the issue of vaccination more seriously as matters get more personal for the committee members. Spector and Campbell-Holt do an impressive job of gliding the piece into moments of poignancy. The laughs are still there, but they evolve into more realistic, character-based comedy.
And when Benko gives a devastating performance in a dramatic scene where Suzanne explains why she holds the position she does in regards to vaccination, EUREKA DAY shows itself as a play that asks us to consider the power that emotions have to defy what science has proven as fact.”
“Wonderfully spiky…Under Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s alert direction, Spector and the expert cast extract comic gold from the little tugs-of-war for control among the members of the committee. But in the second act, this comedy of manners yields to a serious probing of interpersonal responsibility and the limits of consideration. “No one in this room is a villain,” as Don says, and the play’s anti-vaxxers are equipped not just with the usual weapons of skepticism but—far more disarmingly—with personal pain and guilt.”
Under Colt Coeur artistic director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, the actors’ timing is impeccable.

Like the best satire, Eureka Day will provoke discussion and a sense of the real dilemmas of communicating in a deeply divided society. Spector’s mastery of liberal jargon captures the tenor of the left-wing pieties and marks him as a smart new voice in theater.
“One is struck by Spector’s remarkable facility for skewering his characters’ affectations while allowing them their humanity. It’s a pretty devastating combination and it helps to explain why “ ‘Eureka Day’ is both loaded with laughter and armed with plenty to say about the way we live now.”
Not only is Jonathan Spector’s Eureka Day an entertaining evening in the theater, it is also stimulating and provocative as the issue-based discussions heat up and the stakes are raised higher and higher. From Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s elegant direction, to the impeccable acting of its cast of five and its spot-on production design, Eureka Day is superlative theater. This may just prove to be the best play of the year, certainly one of the most challenging and engrossing.
The riveting East Coast premiere of Eureka Day, Jonathan Spector’s bitingly topical dramedy, at Walkerspace, Soho Rep’s usual haunt, reminds me of the immortal words of Sean O’Casey’s bibulous “paycock,” Captain Jack Boyle: “The world’s in a terrible state of chassis.”

Eureka Day gives the incipient fall season a well-needed shot in the arm with its clever way of exploring the ramifications of compulsory vaccinations.

Hopefully, Eureka Day will prove contagious and be quarantined somewhere for a longer run.
Great entertainment! Off-Broadway at its best.