Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph, Dominique Morisseau, Lucas Hnath and More Among 16 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award Recipients

Congratulations to the third round of 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards recipients, recently announced by Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre. The awards, totaling $669,000, allow 16 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.

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Award winner Dominique Morisseau attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Award winner Dominique Morisseau attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

The third round of the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards were presented to Archduke by Rajiv Joseph at Center Theatre Group; Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau at Lincoln Center Theater, Syncing Ink by NSangou Njikam at Alley Theatre; Too Heavy for your Pocket by Jiréh Breon Holder at Alliance Theatre; Hood, The Story of Robin Hood by Douglas Carter Beane & Lewis Flinn at Dallas Theater Center; Icebergs by Alena Smith at Geffen Playhouse; Escape to Margaritaville book by Greg Garcia & Mike O’Malley, music by Jimmy Buffett at La Jolla Playhouse; Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood at National Theatre of Great Britain; Her Portmanteau by Mfoniso Udofia at New York Theatre Workshop; Girl From North Country by Conor McPherson at The Old Vic; Gently Down The Stream by Martin Sherman at Public Theater; Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed at Public Theater; Women of a Certain Age by Richard Nelson at Public Theater; The Hypocrite by Richard Bean at Royal Shakespeare Company; A Doll’s House Part 2 by Lucas Hnath at South Coast Repertory; Mary Jane by Amy Herzog at Yale Repertory Theatre. 

Over the last ten years, the Edgerton Foundation has awarded $9,885,900 to 335 TCG Member Theatre productions, enabling many plays to schedule subsequent productions following their world premieres. Twenty-Four 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, Hamilton, The Columnist, In Transit, Doll’s House Part 2, Dear Evan Hansen, Indecent, and Oslo. 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).

“It is incredible seeing the direct impact that the Edgerton award has on the productions it supports,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG.“ Giving playwrights, directors, and creative team members the freedom of time so they can delve into the details inspires productions that live past their world premieres, and contribute to a new canon of American plays.”

“The Edgerton grant will allow us to add one week of rehearsal for A Doll’s House, Part 2.” said Marc Masterson, artistic director of South Coast Repertory. “Hnath plans to continue refining the play between now and its nearly simultaneous openings at SCR and on Broadway; the extra week will give him more elbow room to do so while he’s in residence with us. Of equal importance, director Shelley Butler and her cast will have more time to explore the tricky nature of Hnath’s deceptively familiar, deceptively naturalistic language and theatrical style and home in on the right way to deliver the play.”

“The 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award grant will allow the artists involved with the world premiere production of Her Portmanteau a much needed additional week of rehearsal,” said James C. Nicola, artistic director of New York Theatre Workshop. “Throughout this week, playwright Mfoniso Udofia and director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar will work closely with the three actors to explore the family dynamics embedded within the piece, grounding them in reality and strengthening the intimate universe of the play.”

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 plays@edgertonfoundation.org. 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 335 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. http://www.tcg.org.

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 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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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