Chautauqua Theater Company delivers ‘tiny father’ co-premiere to Bratton stage

Chautauqua Theater Company Guest Artists Jennifer Ikeda and Andy Lucien perform in the co-world premiere of Mike Lew’s tiny father, which ramps up to opening night with a series of previews this weekend in Bratton Theater. Carrie Legg/Staff Photographer

Julia Weber
Staff writer

Amid an already-packed theater season, the world premiere of a new play is set to take center stage at Bratton Theater.

Co-premiered and co-produced by Chautauqua Theater Company and Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts, playwright Mark Lew’s tiny father represents a collaboration to extend the production’s reach, said Laura Savia, vice president of performing and visual arts at Chautauqua Institution.

“The opportunity to do a co-world premiere and co-production means that all of the work and artistry that Chautauqua Theater Company is pouring into this production is amplified by being in partnership with another excellent theater and vice versa,” Savia said.

After its first preview Friday in Bratton Theater, performances of tiny father continue at 4 p.m. Saturday with additional preview performances set for 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, tiny father will officially open for its stretch of performances. 

Barrington Stage Company’s production opened in late June and ran until July 22. Now, the performance has made its way to the grounds to continue its world premiere.

tiny father centers around Daniel, a single man in a casual relationship who is accustomed to a very carefree, unattached lifestyle.

When an unplanned pregnancy results in a dangerously premature baby, Daniel, played by CTC Guest Artist Andy Lucien, meets a nurse named Caroline, played by Guest Artist Jennifer Ikeda, in the NICU. Through humor and vulnerability, the play is an honest reflection on the joys and fears of parenthood, according to the play’s synopsis.

Lew’s play is being directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Mike and Moritz here at Chautauqua Theater Company. The artistry and excellence they bring everywhere they go is really not to be missed,” Savia said.

The two collaborate frequently and have made a name for themselves in comedy, she said. 

“Chautauquans who are looking to laugh – who are looking for joy – really shouldn’t miss tiny father,” Savia said. “It has a lot of heart and it tackles a very poignant story, but it is also written by and helmed by two masters of comedy.”

As the summer season continues for CTC, the theme of connection permeates each production. Along with tiny father, New Play Workshops Proximity and Cannabis Passover and the first mainstage production, Pride and Prejudice, all explore the benefits and complications that arise from our fundamental, human connections.

According to Barrington Stage Company’s description of the play, Daniel will need to take “more than a few tiny steps” to find his footing in fatherhood.

Savia hopes that Chautauquans take “a real sense of joy, hope, humor and humanity” away from tiny father.

“Mike Lew has this honest, funny, disarming way of getting to the heart of a thing,” she said. “I hope Chautauquans feel more alive when they exit the theater after seeing tiny father.”


The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.