Tar Beach

It is July 1977. Son of Sam is on the loose and New York City is in the midst of a brutal heat wave. Sixteen year old Mary Claire and her best friend Mary Francis start that day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Younger sister Reenie is searching for her lost Greek Mythology class project, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The boy crazy Marys...
It is July 1977. Son of Sam is on the loose and New York City is in the midst of a brutal heat wave. Sixteen year old Mary Claire and her best friend Mary Francis start that day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Younger sister Reenie is searching for her lost Greek Mythology class project, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The boy crazy Marys hatch a plan to stay out all night, but an overstressed electrical grid leads to a city-wide blackout and a sudden loss of innocence.

Nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Finalist, Terrence McNally Playwriting Award, Source Theater Festival, Jane Chambers Award honoree. Included on the 2014 edition of "The List" complied by the Kilroys as “one of the most excellent new plays by female-identified authors of the last year”.

"Her most accomplished work to date...a splendid memory play." - NJ Arts

"Tammy Ryan's dialogue is rapid fire, she has tapped into the ghosts of family everywhere...a big, thick, slice of life that is fiction, non fiction, experience, observation, life and love and struggle and you need to see it."
- Q Onstage
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Tar Beach

Recommended by

  • Benjamin Gonzales:
    16 Sep. 2019
    I can not get this play out of my head. I just re-read Tar Beach for the sixth time, and I can't get over how stunning the imagery is. The characters are vivid, the action and lines reverberate... I keep coming back to it. Tar Beach is a must read.
  • Cheryl Bear:
    1 Sep. 2019
    An excellent play for teens that has so much depth and captures the complexity of being human beautifully. Great work!
  • Jennifer Lane:
    26 Jun. 2019
    This stunning memory play is a beautiful exploration of sisterhood set against the rich backdrop of a blistering hot summer in Queens. Reenie is a heartbreaker of a character, and her family, in all of their dysfunction, are a dynamic lot to watch. I can't recommend this play highly enough.

Development History

Production History

Awards

Finalist
,
Source Theater Festival
,
2014
Selection
,
The List
,
The Kilroys
,
2014
Finalist
,
Actors Theater of Charlotte nuVoices Playwriting Festival
,
2014
Semi-Finalist
,
Terrence McNally Playwriting Award
,
Philadelphia Theater Company
,
2013