Asheville has a new theater company: The Sublime Theater and Press, co-founded by long-time artistic collaborators Steve Samuels and John Crutchfield with the mission of discovering, producing and publishing excellent new theatrical and literary work, as well as neglected masterpieces. The company’s inaugural production was the world premier of Crutchfield’s latest play, TRNZ: A Metamorphic Musical, directed by Samuels, in November of 2018.
Samuels, himself a well-known playwright and actor, has directed many of Crutchfield’s plays over the last decade, at The Magnetic Theatre (which they co-founded in 2009) and elsewhere, including the New York International Fringe Festival. The two have a long-standing artistic and professional relationship, which both see as involving a certain amount of healthy rivalry and mutual challenge. “That’s how the best art happens,” says Samuels. “Artists create for and in response to someone whose good opinion they value and desire, be that a teacher or mentor, another artist, or the audience itself.” Crutchfield couldn't agree more. "That's true anywhere and in any age, but it's especially true today, in small town America," he says. "Once you find someone who understands what you're trying to do with your work and who is willing to help you make it better, woe betide you if you let them go."