Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Goodman Theatre’s OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR by Charles Smith, OSF’s HANNAH AND THE DREAD GAZEBO by Jiehae Park and More Receive 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards


Charles Smith. © Lia Chang

Charles Smith. © Lia Chang

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, has announced the recipients of the second round of the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards.

The awards, totaling $580,000, allow 22 productions extra time in the development and rehearsal of new plays with the entire creative team, helping to extend the life of the play after its first run. One more round of recipients will be announced later this year.

Over the last ten years,The Edgerton Foundation has awarded $9,224,900 to 319 TCG Member Theatre productions, enabling many plays to schedule subsequent productions following their world premieres. Eighteen have made it to Broadway, including: Curtains, 13, Next to Normal, 33 Variations, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Time Stands Still, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, A Free Man of Color, Good People, Chinglish, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Bronx Bombers, Casa Valentina, Outside Mullingar, All the Way, Eclipsed, Bright Star, and Hamilton. Eleven plays were nominated for Tony Awards, with All the Way, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Hamilton winning the best play or musical awards. Nine plays were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with wins for Hamilton (2016), The Flick (2014), Water by the Spoonful (2012) and Next to Normal (2010).

“Year after year, The Edgerton Foundation has honored its dedication to theatre through the New Play Awards,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “New plays have been given a deeper pool of resources in the earliest stages of production, helping to solidify their chances of receiving additive productions beyond the world premiere. In ten years, this program has undeniably helped in generating a new canon of American plays.”

The second round of the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards were presented to:

Objects in the Mirror by Charles Smith at Goodman Theatre

Hannah and the Dread Gazebo by Jiehae Park at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Marie and Rosetta by George Brant at Atlantic Theater Company

Dauphin Island by Jeffrey Chastang at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Troubadour by Janece Shaffer, original Music by Kristian Bush at Alliance Theatre

The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson at Denver Center Theatre Company

Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist at Denver Center Theatre Company

Other than Honorable by Jamie Pachino at Geva Theatre Center

How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl at Lincoln Center Theater

Napoli Brooklyn by Meghan Kennedy at Long Wharf Theatre

Table, book and lyrics by Adam Gopnik, music by David Shire at Long Wharf Theatre

Going to See the Kid by Steven Drukman at Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil at Mixed Blood Theatre

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon at Northlight Theatre

The Profane by Zayd Dohrn at Playwrights Horizons

String Around My Finger by Brenda Withers at Portland Stage Company

If I Forget by Steven Levenson at Roundabout Theatre Company

Harbur Gate by Kathleen Cahill at Salt Lake Acting Company

Roz and Ray by Karen Hartman at Seattle Repertory Theatre

The Gulf by Audrey Cefaly at Signature Theatre

The Siegel by Michael Mitnick at South Coast Repertory

Imogen Says Nothing by Aditi Brennan Kapil at Yale Repertory Theatre

“The Edgerton Foundation New Play Award is invaluable to the readiness of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo for its world premiere. It allows us to assemble the entire creative team for the first time; to give the playwright, director, designers and full cast the opportunity to all make a first dive together into the complex material,” said Bill Rauch, artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “Ms. Park, Mr. Yew and the designers can examine the intricate cultural references and complicated political history and address how to incorporate the play’s folklore and visual imagery, and the ensemble of six actors can begin preparing early for what promise to be linguistically exciting yet challenging roles that involve some Korean language and several long monologues. The additional rehearsal time is absolutely critical to this beautiful and important play; it ensures the full exploration of the characters as well as the refinement of the script, staging and cultural framework.”

“Because Other Than Honorable explores issues in the military, we will reach out to experts as consultants on the play’s content for use in rehearsals. Additional rehearsal time will allow for conversations with these experts – including representatives from the military as well as survivors of sexual assault – and the actors, director and playwright. Additionally, Other Than Honorable has a few unique technical requirements that, when addressed, will pave the way for innovative use of technology on stage. The play includes video depositions, projections, and a character who appears only through Skype calls,” said Jenni Werner, Geva Theatre’s literary director and resident dramaturg. “Additional rehearsal time will be required so that Geva’s staff, creative team and actors can address these requirements in a compelling and poetic way. They will explore what this means, how the technology will function onstage, and how the live actors will interact through the video screen. The ability to schedule full design meetings with the playwright present will allow the designers and production staff to speak with her directly and help them prepare for any script changes that may occur.”

TCG Member Theatres with a strong and consistent track record of producing new work are invited by the foundation to submit letters of inquiry to A panel of readers reviews the plays and one-time grants ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 are awarded.

The Edgerton Foundation New Plays Program, directed by Brad and Louise Edgerton, was piloted in 2006 with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles by offering two musicals in development an extended rehearsal period for the entire creative team, including the playwrights. The Edgertons launched the program nationally in 2007 and have supported 297 plays to date at over 50 different Art Theatres across the country. The Edgerton Foundation received the 2011 TCG National Funder Award in June in Los Angeles.

For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 11,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 14 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. For more, visit

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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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