Now Playing: Will Arbery's HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING comes to Second Thought Theatre


Second Thought Theatre Announces Upcoming Production of Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery 

Celebrating its 20th season of theatre-making in DFW, Second Thought Theatre is excited to open its year with Texas (& Wyoming) native, Will Arbery’s haunting play all about the vicious fight to be known and understood. 

Previews: March 27th & 28th, 2024 

Opening Night: March 29th, 2024 

Closing Night: April 13th, 2024 

Tickets on Sale Now 

Content note: This play contains strong language, and challenging themes of religion, politics, and mental health. There are depictions of the use of alcohol, the suggestion of drugs, and the simulation of firearms. 

Dallas: (March 5, 2024) – Second Thought Theatre opens its regional premiere-packed 20th season with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Drama, Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery. Arbery, who’s work you might recognize from the HBO Max hit show Succession, drops us into one chilly late night in Wyoming, where four young conservatives have gathered at a backyard after-party. They’ve returned home to toast their mentor Gina, newly inducted as president of a tiny Catholic college. But as their reunion spirals into spiritual chaos and clashing generational politics, it becomes less a celebration than a vicious fight to be understood. On a chilly night in the middle of America, Will Arbery's haunting play offers grace and disarming clarity, speaking to the heart of a country at war with itself. 

“Growing up in rural Texas,” writes STT Artistic Director Carson McCain, “I found myself particularly enthralled by these characters. This play is uniquely able to invoke horror and foster empathy. Rarely have I encountered characters I disagree with so wholeheartedly, and yet they want what we all do; to be heard. To make a difference. I chose this play for STT not only because of Will Arbery, but because it made me uncomfortable. And this particular discomfort, I think, can be incredibly useful.” 

Heroes was “intentionally selected for a Dallas audience in an election year” adds STT Executive Director Parker Gray. Not only is Heroes a Pulitzer Finalist, but it is also the winner of

the 2020 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, and Whiting Award for Drama. This story has resonated with audiences across America and STT is thrilled to bring it to the theatre landscape. 

This team is filled with newcomers to the STT creative community. Leading the room is Amphibian Stage’s own Co-Artistic Director, Jay Duffer (Spaceman and The Visit). Duffer is assisted by Alejandro Saucedo (Theatre 3’s 2024 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change). The cast includes Emily Gray* as Gina, Taylor Harris as Justin, Dani Nelson* as Teresa, Savannah Yasmine Elayyach as Emily, and Mac Welch as Kevin. 

The production team is just as packed with Rayven Harris as the production’s stage manager, scenic design by Justin Locklear, costume design by Sarah Mosher, lighting design by Aaron Johansen, sound design by Joshua Nguyen, and props design by Carson McCain and Parker Gray. 

Tickets for Heroes of the Fourth Turning are available now. Be sure to grab your seat to a thrilling and insightful night of local theatre! 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM 

Will Arbery (Playwright) is a playwright and screenwriter. His play Heroes of the Fourth Turning premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2019 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, OBIE winner, Lortel winner, New York Drama Critics Circle Award winner and John Gassner Memorial Award winner. 

It was named one of the best plays of the year by The New York Times, Vulture, Time Out and more. Corsicana premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2022 and was a New York Times Critics Pick. Evanston Salt Costs Climbing had its New York premiere at The New Group and was the subject of a feature in The New York Times Magazine. Other plays include: Plano (Clubbed 

Thumb), You Hateful Things (NYTW Dartmouth Residency) and Wheelchair (3 Hole Press). He was the recipient of a Whiting Award in 2020. TV: Succession and Irma Vep. His work has been featured in The Paris Review. He's currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, Adventureland and The Met Opera. 

Jay Duffer – he/him (Director) is thrilled to be making his Second Thought Theatre debut! A fellow Baylor University alumnus, Jay is currently the Co-Artistic Director at Amphibian Stage in Fort Worth. There he has directed: Spaceman, The Visit, The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), Babette’s Feast and Marie Antoinette as well as the staged readings of The Amazing, Fabulous and Spectacular Untruths of Juan Garcia and The Handless King at Amphibian Stage’s annual SparkFest. He has been involved in new works and script development with Threads Theatre Company, New Threads (Riverside CA), Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Source, Kaleidoscope Theatre Company, The Artful Conspirators and Can’t Sleep Productions. Prior to joining Amphibian Stage, Jay was Associate Professor of

Theatre at Huntington University in Indiana. During his tenure, he served as both Chair for the Theatre Department and as Division Chair for the School of the Arts and as State Chair of Indiana for The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He has professional acting and directing credits spanning decades and is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Upcoming 2024 directing gigs include: Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Elusive Ear (Stage West) and The Handless King world premiere (Amphibian Stage). I’m so grateful to Carson and Parker for this wonderful opportunity! 

Alejandro Saucedo – he/him (Assistant Director) is excited to join Second Thought Theatre for this provoking production! Directorial credits include I Love You, You’re Perfect… (Theatre Three), Marisol (Theatre TCU), The Festival of the Kid (Stage West), The Play That Goes Wrong (AD for Stage West and Watertower Theatre), Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical (AD for Stage West), and The Butterfly's Evil Spell (AD for Theatre Three). Alejandro also serves as a teaching artist at Stage West. He received a BFA in Musical Theatre from TCU and hopes you visit his website for information on future projects! 

*Rayven Harris – she/they (Stage Manager) is happy to be working with Second Thought for the first time, and hopes it becomes a lasting relationship! Credits include: Jubilee Theatre as Sound Designer/ASM for A Gospel Black Nativity, and as Stage Manager for East Texas Hot 

Links. Assistant Stage Manager for Marjorie Prime, Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical, and Church & State at Stage West. Stage Manager for Ada and The Engine, and Intimate Apparel at MainStage Irving. Sound Designer for Into the Breeches at Stage West, and for The Odd Couple at WaterTower Theatre. Rayven also served as Properties Designer for Intimate Apparel at MainStage Irving 

*Emily Gray – she/her (Gina) New York, off-Broadway: Millamant in ‘The Way of the World’, ‘The Phantom Lady’, ‘Blithe Spirit’ (u/s), ‘The Oresteia’ (u/s), ‘The Duchess of Malfi’, ‘Henry VI parts I, II, & III, ‘Yes is for a very young man’, ‘Too Rustic!’, ‘How to be a Red Hot Shakespearean Lover’ (also Philadelphia). Regionally: ‘Hay Fever’, ‘The Miser’ and ‘Lysistrata’ (director) for Oklahoma City Rep. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ for Trinity Shakespeare Festival. She served for 4 years as Co-Artistic Director of Classical Acting Company, where she appeared in the following productions: 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'A Flea in Her Ear', 'The Gift of the Magi', 'The Cherry Orchard, 'The Hypochondriac', 'No Exit', 'Every Trick in the Book'. Other Dallas theatre includes: 'Kindertransport' at Echo Theatre; 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Eat, It's Not About Food', 'Best Christmas Pagaent Ever', and 'Anne of Green Gables' at The Dallas Children's Theatre; 'Popcorn', 'House and Garden' and 'Seasons Greetings' at TheatreThree, 'The Norman Conquests' at Stage West. Emily is an experienced narrator and voice over artist, she has narrated 70+ audiobooks across many genres, she also voices several characters in the very popular video game Borderlands 3. Emily is represented by The Campbell Agency and trained at Drama Studio London. 

Taylor Harris – he/him (Justin) is so excited to be back at Second Thought. Theater: Dallas Theater Center, Theatre Three, Undermain, Utah Shakespeare Festival. Voiceover: Gearbox, Crunchyroll, Okratron. Film: Tenkiller, Run Hide Fight. MFA: Southern Methodist University BFA:

University of Central Oklahoma. Hello and hi to my family and friends. EXTRA special thanks and love to my sweet wife, Haley who makes everything better. 

*Dani Nelson – she/her (Teresa) is an actor/writer based in NYC. Theatre: Oleanna (Riverside Theatre), Lungs (Stage West Theatre), Hamlet (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre), Troilus and Cressida (The Globe Theatre, London Residency), April is Over (The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 5 Stars). She holds an MA in Acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

Savannah Yasmine Elayyach – she/her (Emily) s thrilled to be making her Second Thought Theatre debut! Some of her favorite DFW credits include Clue (Dallas Theater Center), Baba (Amphibian Stage), Tomorrow Game and El Rey Del Pollo (Echo Theatre), One Man, Two Guvnors and Artemisia (Circle Theatre), The Bystander, The Bird, and The Beard (Theatre Arlington), NWF 2023: The Agency (Kitchen Dog Theater), We Are Pussy Riot or Everything is PR and PUFFS (Imprint Theatreworks), Redeemer Mine (Lily & Joan), and Dog Sees God (Arts Mission Oak Cliff). Other credits include In The Heights, The Crucible, Watbanaland, Fefu and Her Friends, and more. A million thanks to the cast, crew, staff, and creative team for their gorgeous work, and shoutout to her family and friends for their endless support! Insta: @savannahelayyach 

Mac Welch – he/him (Kevin) is an actor, director, producer, and writer. He has worked locally with Dallas Theater Center, Theatre Three, Arts Mission Oak Cliff, Fair Assembly, Echo Theater, and Teatro Dallas. Nationally and beyond, he has worked with theaters such as the WP Theater in NYC and The Estates Theater in Prague. On-screen, he has worked with Grammy-award-winning director Joseph Kahn, Joe Harris, Raashi Kulshrestha, Pearce Chadwick, and many commercials. He is most recently the recipient of the "Best Screenplay" award for his writing work with the Paris International Film Festival. He serves as the Resident Producer at Teatro Dallas, and is a Co-Founder of the Watering Hole Collective. He is represented by Engage Artists Agency. | @a_mac_welch 

Justin Locklear – he/him (Scenic Designer) is an artist who specializes in theatrical and phenomenological performance. Interested in audiences at a human scale, Locklear creates and collaborates on works which merge traditional forms with experiments in technology, spectacle, and public space. Locklear is the current Artist-In-Residence at The Ochre House Theater, an experimental theatre producing a season of new works each year. As a Theatrical artist, Locklear is an actor, playwright, director, composer, and scenographer. He is also a Producer and the Conceptual Artist of the award-winning contemporary dance theatre company, the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. 

Aaron Johansen – he/him (Lighting Designer) is a Dallas based lighting designer for theater and live events. Aaron is thrilled to be returning to Second Thought Theatre! Previous collaborations have included: Dallas Theater Center; Dallas Children’s Theater; Kitchen Dog Theater (Company Member); Theater Three; Stage West; Uptown Players; Cry Havoc Theater Company; Cara Mía Theatre Co and Sweet Tooth Hotel Art installation. Aaron is the resident

lighting director for the Dallas Opera and also the Lighting Director for the Drone Racing League where he designs lighting for drone racecourses around the country. These races are shown on NBC sports network and various streaming platforms. Follow my work and me on Instagram @Famoustrendywizard. Enjoy the show! 

Sarah Mosher – she/her (Costume Designer) is a costume designer, a fiber artist, and an Assistant Professor at Baylor University. She is grateful to be working at Second Thought Theatre with this incredible group of artists. Recent work in the metroplex includes Goin’ Hollywood at Water Tower Theatre, Cruel Intentions at Stage West and Uptown Players, Stede Bonnet at Theatre Three, and one look for Spaceman at Amphibian Stage. Sarah has worked professionally as a costume designer for theatre, opera, film, and dance in Seattle and in Central Texas and she has a passion for the dramaturgical work inherent in theatrical design. 

Joshua Nguyen – he/they (Sound Designer) is honored to return to Second Thought for Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Selected works: Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Second Thought Theatre), POTUS (Stage West Theatre), Fire & Air (Uptown Players),The Mountaintop (Circle Theatre), Clue, The Rocky Horror Show (Associate Design at Dallas Theater Center), Side by Side by Sondheim (Associate Design at Rep STL). Joshua holds a BFA in Theatre Design & Technology from Baylor University and is a member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association. Joshua hopes to be part of the next generation of theater educators, making the medium and field more accessible and equitable. @jashngooyen 

Carson McCain – she/her (Props Designer & STT Artistic Director) is a born-and-bred Texas director and producer, with a heart for new and local work that serves to connect humans and foster empathy. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she studied acting, and directing. There, she received a Meadows Exploration Grant to develop and produce the 

world premiere of Michelle with Wet Eyeballs by Claire Carson. Second Thought Theatre audiences will recognize her work as the director of Empathitrax by Ana Nogueira and The Great God Pan by Amy Herzog. She has also directed at Undermain Theatre (Really by Jackie Sibblies Drury,) and Stage West (Lungs by Duncan McMillan). She served as associate director on Dallas Theater Center’s 2016 production of A Christmas Carol, on Second Thought Theatre‘s production of BOOTH by Steven Michael Walters, and as assistant director on Belleville by Amy Herzog, Kitchen Dog’s Production of I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard. Other directing credits include Middletown by Will Eno, Delirium by Enda Walsh and Theatre O, and the world premiere of Ophelia Underwater by Janielle Kastner. To experience more of Carson’s work, check out her most recent podcast, Untitled Dad Project with Janielle Kastner on whatever podcast app you use. 

Parker Gray – he/him (Props Designer & STT Executive Director) is a Dallas based Actor, Teaching Artist, and Playwright. Parker’s stage acting credits include work across the metroplex at Dallas Theater Center, Casa Mañana, Theatre Three, Second Thought Theatre, Amphibian Stage, Circle Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater, Stage West, Undermain Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, WaterTower Theatre, Fair Assembly, Lyric Stage, and Shakespeare in the Bar. Parker’s voice can be heard in various shows with Crunchyroll, and can be seen in several films

including the Dallas-made horror film The Finale. He has served as a teaching artist for Shakespeare Dallas, Bishop Dunne, and Arts Mission Oak Cliff. Parker’s premiere play, Incarnate, received a reading at Undermain for their Whither Goest Thou America Festival in 2022. His play The Destruction received a reading for Theatre Three’s Monday Night Playwright series in 2023, and his play How to Lose a Sleep Paralysis Demon in 10 Days was chosen for the inaugural year of the Digital Development Project in 2023. More of Parker's plays can be found on New Play Exchange. He holds a BFA in Acting from SMU and is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency. 

*Appearing under a Small Professional Theatres contract courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. 



Second Thought Theatre (STT) provides an intimate and unique theatrical experience by empowering top local theater artists to take risks, and by showcasing writers who boldly tackle the difficult and demanding questions of our rapidly changing world. 


(Heroes of the Fourth Turning) 

By Will Arbery 

March 27th – April 13th, 2024 Bryant Hall 

Director Jay Duffer 

Assistant Director Alejandro Saucedo Stage Manager Rayven Harris* Technical Director José Torres 

Scenic Designer Justin Locklear Costume Designer Sarah Mosher Sound Designer Joshua Nguyen Lighting Designer Aaron Johansen Props Designers Carson McCain & Parker Gray


Gina Emily Gray* Justin Taylor Harris Teresa Dani Nelson* Emily Savannah Yasmine Elayyach Kevin Mac Welch 

*Appearing under a Small Professional Theatres contract courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. 

Press Night March 29, 2024 


Heroes of the Fourth Turning Performance Schedule 

Wednesday 03/27/2024 7:30 PREVIEW NIGHT 1 Thursday 03/28/2024 7:30 PREVIEW NIGHT 2 Friday 03/29/2024 8:00 OPENING NIGHT Saturday 03/30/2024 8:00 

Monday 04/01/2024 7:30 PWYC Thursday 04/04/2024 7:30 

Friday 04/05/2024 8:00 

Saturday 04/06/2024 8:00 

Monday 04/08/2024 7:30 PWYC Thursday 04/11/2024 7:30 

Friday 04/12/2024 8:00 

Saturday 04/13/2024 8:00 CLOSING NIGHT