Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang and Pulitzer prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage have been appointed as faculty to the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Hwang is the new director of the Playwrighting Concentration, while the pair will both serve as Associate Professors of Theatre in Playwriting.

“David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage are among the most influential and accomplished American dramatists of the past several decades,” said Christian Parker, Chair of the Master of Fine Arts Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. “Their work respectively cuts across genres, audiences and aesthetics. Both have contributed immeasurably to making the stories of underrepresented characters visible in a historically homogeneous field. Each of them brings a passion for the possibilities for social dialogue that can stem from great theatrical storytelling, and a great sense of generosity and rigor about training a new generation of artists.”

David Henry Hwang’s work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival), and Tarzan. Upcoming productions include two new musicals: The Forgotten Arm, with music and lyrics by Aimee Mann and Paul Bryan, for the Public Theater; and Pretty Dead Girl, with music and lyrics by Anne-Marie Milazzo. As America’s most-produced living opera librettist, he has written four pieces with composer Philip Glass, including The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera, 1992), as well as Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), Bright Sheng’s The Silver River (1997), Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (2007 “World Premiere of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine), Howard Shore’s The Fly (2008) and Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier (2014). Upcoming operas include Through the Looking Glass with Unsuk Chin for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Dream of the Red Chamber with Bright Sheng for the San Francisco Opera. Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. Butterfly (1993), starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone; Golden Gate (1994), starring Matt Dillon and Joan Chen; and Possession (co-writer, 2002), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. With the pop star Prince, he co-wrote the song “Solo,” released on Prince’s 1994 gold album Come. He is currently writing a feature film for Dreamworks Animation and the film adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, the Fast & Furious franchise), as well as creating an original television series, “Shanghai,” for Lions Gate and Bravo. Hwang is a Tony Award® winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He received the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award, the 2012 William Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg “Mimi” Award, and the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, and recently completed his the Residency One Playwright term at NYC’s Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays, including the world premiere of his newest work Kung Fu in February 2014. He serves as President of Young Playwrights Inc, and sits on the boards of the Lark Play Development Center, The American Theatre Wing, and The Actors Fund.

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to serve the MFA playwriting students at Columbia, helping them develop their own unique and idiosyncratic voices, and building a practical foundation for their future lives in the theatre,” said Hwang. “I couldn’t ask for better partners than Lynn, Chuck Mee and the accomplished artists of the Theatre Program, and feel deeply honored to join the School of Arts during this exciting period of innovation and expansion.”

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Ruined. Her other plays include A Stone’s Throw; Intimate Apparel; Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; and Mud, River, Stone. These plays have been developed and produced at theaters both nationally and internationally. She was a MacArthur Fellow (2007), a Guggenheim Fellow (2005) and Lucille Lortel Fellow (2007). Nottage served as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Playwriting Program in 2013.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining David, Chuck and the wonderful faculty of the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts,” said Nottage. “I look forward to being part of a vital and creative conversation with the next generation of dynamic theatre artists.”

“That we have the great fortune to team David and Lynn up with Charles L. Mee, who has energized and raised the profile of our program enormously in his past several years with us, represents a tremendous and transformational boon to the Columbia MFA program in Playwriting,” Parker stated. “Together, these three writers cut across a multiplicity of experiences and modes of theatrical storytelling, creating an ideal trifecta of influences and teaching styles for our playwrights. This is a most exciting time for the Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program. I know I speak on behalf of all of my colleagues and our students when I offer David and Lynn a warm welcome to our community.”

The Playwriting Concentration in the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts works to help playwrights develop their own unique voices. The curriculum begins with a workshop in the first year that focuses on collaboration with actors, directors, dramaturgs and managers in the Program. The second year builds upon the creative relationships fostered in the first year towards a fully staged production in the spring, and allows the students to diversify their skill set into other media, like writing for film and television or musical theatre. In the third year of the program, each playwright gets to choose a favorite playwright to serve as personal mentor in writing and producing his or her thesis play, which then gets presented at New Plays Now, Columbia’s playwriting festival in the spring. Both Hwang and Nottage have served as mentors to candidates for the MFA in Playwriting.

“Not only will we now have on our faculty three of the most well-respected playwrights working today, but also three truly magnificent teachers,” said Dean Becker. “I know that together they will build a unique and fascinating program.”

Source: Columbia University: DAVID HENRY HWANG AND LYNN NOTTAGE APPOINTED TO THE PLAYWRITING FACULTY OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS THEATRE PROGRAM

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Oct. 8 – 12: 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival Lineup
Oct. 10-12: Dan Kwong’s WHAT? NO PING-PONG BALLS? with Kenny Endo at Interact Theatre Company as part of 2014 National Asian American Theater Festival and Conference
Sept. 5 – Oct. 5: Nicole Ari Parker, Esau Pritchett, Thom Sesma, Everett Quinton and More Set for Antony and Cleopatra at McCarter Theatre
Eric Sharp Makes Playwrighting Debut with Mu Performing Arts’ World Premiere of Middle Brother at The Southern Theater, September 11-28, 2014
Sept. 30 – Nov. 2: André de Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Mambo, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kyle Beltran & More Set for THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE at The Public 
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
July 31-Aug. 3: Drama Desk Nominee Joel de la Fuente stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at ACT, Helmed by Lisa Rothe
Signature Theatre to Be Honored with the 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan 
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre 
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party 
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Sept. 17: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Talks with A Chinaman’s Chance’s Author Eric Liu at 92nd Street Y
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
June 13-14: Washington National Opera Presents Huang Ruo & David Henry Hwang’s An American Soldier in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Receives $275,000 Doris Duke Artist Award
Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014 
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Signature’s Production Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, Opens February 24, 2014
Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature Theatre; Previews begin February 4, 2014 
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Phoebe Strole, Jon Rua, Join Cole Horibe and More for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Cole Horibe, Francis Jue, Peter Kim and More Set for Signature’s
World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu

Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu Stars SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’s Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee 
Ryun Yu, Christopher Gorham, Linda Park, Sab Shimono, Emily Kuroda, Ki Hong Lee, Justin James Hughes star in David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face Premiering on YOMYOMF Network on 6/8 & 6/9 
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012 
Signature Theatre’s Revival of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Set for Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, May 9-12, 2013 
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre 
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child; Extended Run Ends December 16, 2012 
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space 
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award 
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Nothing is Sacred in David Henry Hwang’s Comedy of Mistaken Racial Identity
Francis Jue, At Home on the Stage
The Making of the Flower Drum Song Cast Album
Flower Drum Song, An American Story The Literary Legacy of C.Y. Lee
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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