Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph, Katori Hall and Sheila Callaghan set for Cherry Lane Theatre’s MENTOR PROJECT 2016

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

MENTOR PROJECT – the Cherry Lane Theatre’s Obie-winning program for new playwrights – will mark another milestone this year when three emerging writers are mentored by three previous Mentored Playwrights from the program’s early years, with fully-staged productions presented by Cherry Lane (38 Commerce St. in NYC) from February 24 to April 23, 2016 it has been announced by the theater’s Producing Artistic Director, Angelina Fiordellisi.

Returning to the theater where they first honed their own playwriting skills – themselves now in the role of mentors — will be Rajiv Joseph (Pulitzer finalist for BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO on Broadway), Katori Hall (Olivier Award for Best New Play, THE MOUNTAIN TOP, also on Broadway), and Sheila Callaghan (ROADKILL CONFINDENTIAL, SCAB, LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING).

Mr. Joseph will mentor Christopher Gabriel Nunez, whose play THE SURGEON AND HER DAUGHTERS will kick off the 18th season of MENTOR PROJECT February 24-March 5. Ms. Callaghan will mentor Sarah Einspanier, whose play THE CONVENT OF PLEASURE will be presented March 23-April 2. And Ms. Hall will mentor Antoinette Nwandu and her play PASS OVER, performed April 13-23. All productions are staged at Cherry Lane Theatre’s Studio Theatre at 38 Commerce St.

The Mentor Project – winner of an Obie Award for its dedication to helping young playwrights develop new work – each year partners a young author with a celebrated professional for a season of script work, rewrites, casting, rehearsals and a full production at Cherry Lane. Mentor Project is also the recipient of the James Kirkwood Award for American Playwrights.

Rajiv Joseph was mentored in 2005 by Theresa Rebeck for his play HUCK AND HOLDEN. Katori Hall was mentored by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage for the play HOODOO LOVE in 2006. Sheila Callaghan was mentored by Michael Weller for her play LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING in 2006.

These nine playwrights – the new writers, their mentors and their mentors’ mentors – will be on hand for a December 7th kick-off event for MENTOR PROJECT 2016 at Cherry Lane Theatre. Seri Lawrence and Janio Marrero are Producing Artistic Directors of MENTOR PROJECT 2016.

Tickets to MENTOR PROJECT performances are $18 for single tickets or all three plays for $45 with a Mentor Project membership. For performance information and tickets, visit or call Ovationtix at 866 811 4111.

Cherry Lane has also announced that the young theater company LESSER AMERICA – which in the past has presented such well-received works as Caroline McGraw’s THE BACHELORS (Rattlestick), Brian Watkins’ WYOMING, Lucas Kavner’s CARNIVAL KIDS and Nick Jones’ TREVOR – has been awarded a two-year residency by Cherry Lane Theatre, beginning with a new work (TBA) this spring. LESSER AMERICA was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to the development of new, accessible work at affordable prices for theatergoers. LESSER AMERICA was co-founded and led by Daniel Abeles, Nate Miller, Laura Ramadei and Claire Siebers.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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