In 2008, two friends — hungry for opportunities to do the type of theatre they wanted to do — decided there was no good reason not to start a theatre company. They made a promise to do just that and the result was Pinky Swear Productions.
In 2009, Pinky Swear produced the critically acclaimed Freakshow as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. Under the direction of Lise Bruneau, Freakshow was named a Pick of the Fringe by DC Theatre Scene.
In 2010, Pinky Swear decided to expand into cabaret, producing the sold-out Valentine’s Day show Singing Our Hearts Out at the Bethesda Theatre featuring a cast of ten women. DC Theatre Scene called the production “the perfect Valentine’s Day gift” from “some of the most talented women in our area.” Due to the success of that show, City Artistic Partnerships invited Pinky Swear to perform a two-night cabaret for Warehouse Theater’s Warehouse or Bust in May 2010. Pinky Swear returned to the Capital Fringe Festival in July 2010 with Be Here Now, an update and homage to Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
Starting in 2011, Pinky Swear developed a new cabaret series, Cabaret XXX, for the Capital Fringe Festival. These have become festival mainstays, selling out night after night and winning the award for Best Musical in 2011. The first was subtitled Les Femmes Fatales and dealt with breakups. The second, Love the One You’re With, was all about sex. Last 2013’s added a Y chromosome and featured our first male singer with Cabaret XXXY: Who Do You Think You Are? 2014features the next installment, Break on Through. Catch us at Capital Fringe Festival in July 2014.
Pinky Swear launched its first full season of full-length shows in December, 2011 with Marni Penning’s Carol’s Christmas. We followed that with Marisa Wegrzyn’s Killing Women in April of 2012. In 2013, we had our most active season, beginning with The Unclear Family, a repertory of three plays – Benched, Bleed, and Smudge. These allowed us to feature local women playwrights, Allyson Currin and Renee Calarco (Benched and Bleed, respectively) and introduce DC audiences to a recent work by Rachel Axler. We followed that up with our Cabaret XXXY show for Fringe, and wound the season up with our most successful show to date, Bondage by David Henry Hwang. Bondage, a play about race set in an S&M dungeon by a Tony winning playwright, played to sold out houses at the brand new, woman-owned Anacostia Playhouse in November of 2013.
In 2014, Pinky Swear grew by leaps and bounds. We saw our largest audiences yet with our two-show season. First, we performed our Cabaret XXX swan song, subtitled Everybody F*cking Dies. Hey, four cabarets is enough, right? Look for another rock & roll concept show in the future! Our second show was truly our biggest show to date. Tiny House Plays was a site-specific play written for and set in a tiny house community in DC’s historic Stronghold neighborhood. Directed by Jessica Aimone, the show brought together six playwrights, thirteen cast members, and a small army of tech and stage management crew. Over 520 people descended upon the tiny house community, including critics who gave us rave reviews.
2015 began with a Friday the 13th fundraising variety show called My Bloody Valentine. In July, we thrilled over 900 audience members with the première of Stephen Spotswood’s play,The Last Burlesque. Finally, we presented our first holiday show, Cabaret XXXmas. It was a delightful mixture of bah humbug and holiday cheer.
In 2016, Pinky Swear won the Best Musical and Best Show audience awards at the Capital Fringe Festival for our bluegrass murder ballad musical, Over Her Dead Body. The show was written and directed in house with special guests Dead Men’s Hollow, a local (mostly women!) bluegrass band. The show toured to the Shakespeare Theatre’s Happenings at Harman and to the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage as a featured show in the Page to Stage Festival.
2017 brought rock back into our shows with LIZZIE the musical, a rock opera about Lizzie Borden. Producing this show was a dream of ours for 7 years and it was awesome to finally get it. We also produced the first of three shows we developed with our resident playwrights for the 2017⁄18 season. Safe as Houses by Natalie Ann Piegari premiered in October 2017. We were delighted to bring her first full length production into the world.
Coming in 2018, Use All Available Doors by Brittany Alyse Willis and BLIGHT by John Bavoso.
We are proud of how far Pinky Swear has come since our upstart beginnings. We look forward to rocking DC for many years to come.
Pinky Swear Productions is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization.
Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.