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Headstrong by Patrick Link

Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation presents

by Patrick Link

Directed by William Carden*

April 18 - May 27, 2012

"When you win, nothing hurts." - Joe Namath

Ex-NFL linebacker Duncan Troy played with the greats, and tackled them to the ground. When his son-in-law, a Pro Bowler himself, dies under strange circumstances, Troy and his widowed daughter struggle with their own culpability, and whether the brain trauma he suffered in life was the price of football greatness.

with Ron Canada+ , Tim Cain+ , Alexander Gemignani+  & Nedra McClyde*+ 

Assistant Director - Francesca Di Cesare
Production Stage Manager - Danielle Buccino+
Assistant Stage Manager - Kelly Ruth Cole+
Sound Designer - Janie Bullard
Lighting Designer - Chris Dallos
Costume Designer - Suzanne Chesney
Set Designer - Jason Simms
Video Designer - David Tennent
Props Manager - Kate Stack
Technical Director - Derek Dickinson
Wardrobe Supervisor - Eileen Lalley

*denotes EST Member + denotes Equity Member


"Funny, frightening, relevant and enlightening, Headstrong folds the scientific, medical, social and cultural aspects of the sports/CTE story into a dramatic family narrative beautifully with wonderful, engaging characters." - Stone Phillips

"Well-acted and incisively directed by William Carden, Headstrong boasts strong characters and pungently funny dialogue. A chilling final twist suggests that the problems facing this tragedy-plagued household are far from over." - NY Post

"Headstrong is a riveting, character-driven work of art. The piece is a must-see for anyone who has an interest in any form of competition. The writer manages to make the world of football players both unnecessarily tragic and universally heroic. In the last year, many media outlets are beginning to turn their attention to the dangers of competitive sports. All of them would be wise to go watchHeadstrong and see how a brilliant writer, director, and cast show the complexities of this issue." -

"[Patrick] Link has created a universal tale about the struggle between pride and self-preservation, and between honoring the past and creating a workable future. A strong cast helps to make this tight little story a minor home run-I mean, touchdown." - Time Out New York

"Headstrong scores with taut directing by William Carden and great performances all around." -




On Saturday May 12, we held a post-show discussion with Hall of Fame Linebacker and all-time NY Giants great, Harry Carson, Forensic Pathologist/Neuropathologist/Epidemiologist & Clinical Professor of Pathology at University of California, Davis, Bennet Omalu and veteran news reporter Stone Phillips.

On Wednesday May 2, we held a post-show discussion with clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Jill Brooks & senior writer for ESPN: The Magazine Peter Keating. The discussion was moderated by Ivan Oransky, executive editor of Reuters Health.

On Friday April 27, Headstrong director William Carden, actor Ron CanadaDr. Annegret Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber & Dr. Jeffrey S. Kutcher from The University of Michigan's Department of Neurology were on Science Friday discussing concussions & the repeated brain injuries suffered by some athletes. Click here to listen.

On Monday, April 23 we held a post-show discussion with Irvin Muchnick, a leading reporter and writer on concussions in sports & Dr. Annegret Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber, Associate Research Scholar at The Princeton Neuroscience Institute, moderated by Headstrong director William Carden. Watch the video below.


Earlier Event: April 1
April Fool's Brunch!
Later Event: June 3
Fellowship of The Brunch