MTC & Ars Nova Announce Inaugural Group of Artists for THE WRITER’S ROOM

Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director, Manhattan Theatre Club), Barry Grove (Executive Producer, MTC), Mandy Greenfield (Artistic Producer, MTC), Jason Eagan (Artistic Director, Ars Nova), and Jeremy Blocker (Managing Director, Ars Nova) are pleased to announce the inaugural participants for The Writer’s Room a new program to commission, develop and support playwrights in the process of creating new work for the stage.

The commissioned writers for 2012-2013 are Adam Bock (A Small Fire) and Justin Levine (Bonfire Night) collaborating on the creation of a new musical; Thomas Bradshaw (Job); Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale); and Sharyn Rothstein (The Invested).

MTC’s Mandy Greenfield said, “Adam Bock, Justin Levine, Thomas Bradshaw, Sam Hunter, and Sharyn Rothstein are brave, bold, funny, inventive, theatrical writers and I am thrilled they’ll take the leap into The Writer’s Room with us in our inaugural year. We look forward to working with each of them, to create new plays and musicals for the future.”

Ars Nova’s Jason Eagan said, “Our initial conversations with these artists have been fertile and inspiring. It’s especially fulfilling to bring together a mix of writers who have passed through our emerging artist development programs with others who will be new to our community. These artists are ready to push the limits of their creativity and engage in this new venture wholeheartedly. We couldn’t be more invigorated by the inaugural group and look forward to supporting the daring and innovative new work The Writer’s Room is designed to foster.”

The Writer’s Room is a multi-year partnership between MTC and Ars Nova drawing on each organization’s strengths and areas of expertise to create a unique, collaborative developmental program for advancing new works from commission through production.

Each year, MTC and Ars Nova will jointly select four playwrights or writing teams to receive Writer’s Room Commissions. The commissioned writers will then come together to participate in a program designed to offer extensive developmental support. The Writer’s Room will encourage artistic risk taking in an environment that is supportive and sustaining.

The Writer’s Room is part of The Studio at Stage II, a new initiative where bold, new work meets bold, new audiences.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past three decades, MTC productions have earned a total of 18 Tony Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and an Off-Broadway theatre at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Since January 2011, Mandy Greenfield (Artistic Producer) has taken the lead in programming and execution at MTC’s Off-Broadway home. Renowned MTC productions include Venus in Fur; Master Class; Good People; The Whipping Man; Time Stands Still; The Royal Family; Ruined; The American Plan; Come Back, Little Sheba; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Love! Valour! Compassion!; A Small Family Business; Sylvia; Putting It Together; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin.’

Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Artistic Director; Jeremy Blocker, Managing Director) is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy, and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers, through its myriad of ongoing programs that include: Play Group, Ars Nova’s emerging writers’ collective, Commissioning and Artists-in-Residence programs, its annual festival of All New Talent (ANT Fest), summer music marathon 54/10, a Summer Artist Retreat, the Uncharted series which jumpstarts new musical theater projects, the Out Loud play reading series, a Project Residency program that allows unique projects to get up on their feet, and its world premiere Mainstage Productions. Past Mainstage Productions include: most recently, the critically-acclaimed, sold-out extended engagement of Dave Malloy’s electro-pop opera Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, directed by Rachel Chavkin; The Lapsburgh Layover; Be a Good Little Widow; Now Circa Then; the Drama Desk nominated musical Bloodsong of Love; the pirate puppet rock odyssey Jollyship the Whiz-Bang; boom, which went on to be the most-produced play of the 2009-2010 season; and Freestyle Love Supreme featuring Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. Each year, the company serves more than 500 artists and at least 150 evenings of entertainment make it onto the Ars Nova stage.

BIOGRAPHIES

ADAM BOCK is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Recent productions of his plays include Phaedra at Shotgun Players (San Fran) and A Small Fire at Playwrights Horizons (NYC). His musical adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novella, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, was produced by the Yale Repertory Theatre. His play The Receptionist received its world premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club (NYC) and the subsequent Los Angeles production featured Megan Mullally. Adam’s comedy The Drunken City was produced at Playwrights Horizons. His other works include The Thugs (Obie Award), Swimming in the Shallows (3 BATCC Awards, Clauder Award),  Five Flights (Glickman Award), The Typographer’s Dream, The Shaker Chair, and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award). His plays have been produced in New York City and regionally in Connecticut, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Internationally, he has been produced in Montreal, Greece, Toronto, London, and Edinburgh, among others. Bock is currently working on new play commissions for South Coast Repertory and Portland Center Stage. He is a New Dramatist member playwright.

THOMAS BRADSHAW‘s plays have been produced at regional theaters, in New York City as well as in Europe. In 2012, the Flea Theater successfully produced his play Job and in 2011, his play Burning ran to rave reviews at The New Group/NYC and the Goodman Theater produced his play Mary, which they had previously commissioned. His play The Bereaved, produced by Partial Comfort, was named one of the Best Plays of 2009 by Time Out New York and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. The Bereaved was subsequently produced at The State Theater of Bielefeld in Germany and presented in Berlin. In 2008, two of his plays premiered in New York: Southern Promises, at Performance Space 122 in September, and Dawn, at The Flea Theater in November, and both were listed among the Best Performances of Stage and Screen for 2008 in The New Yorker. His plays Purity, Prophet, Strom Thurmond is Not a Racist, and Cleansed were produced in New York. A German translation of Dawn was presented at Theater Bielefeld in Germany in October 2008 and published by Theater der Zeit in that same month. Bradshaw received his MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program and is Professor of Playwriting at Northwestern University. He has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s ten playwrights to watch, as one of Paper Magazine’s Beautiful People, and Best Provocative Playwright by the Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Lark Play Development Center, Soho Rep. (Streslin Fellow), and New York Theater Workshop. He was the Playwright in Residence at The Soho Theatre in London in February 2009, where he wrote The Ashes. Thomas Bradshaw has received commissions from Soho Theatre (London), the Goodman Theater, Soho Rep. (New York), the Flea Theater, Theater Bielefeld (Germany), and Partial Comfort Productions. He is currently working on commissions from the Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Foundry Theatre as well as developing a television series for Harpo and HBO. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, and the 2012 Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

SAMUEL D. HUNTER’s recent plays include A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play; original production by Partial Comfort Productions in NYC, second production at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company), The Whale (recently at Playwrights Horizons, upcoming at Victory Gardens and South Coast Repertory, original production at the Denver Center), A Permanent Image (commissioned and produced by Boise Contemporary Theater), Jack’s Precious Moment (Page 73 Productions at 59E59), Five Genocides (Clubbed Thumb at the Ohio Theater), Norway (Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis; Boise Contemporary Theater). He has active commissions from MTC/Sloan, LCT3, Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, and Playwrights Horizons. His plays have been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Lark Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard, LAByrinth, Rattlestick, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, 24Seven Lab and elsewhere. Internationally, his work has been translated into Spanish and presented in Mexico City and Monterrey, and he has worked in the West Bank with Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah and Ayyam al-Masrah of Hebron. At Ashtar, he co-wrote The Era of Whales which was performed in Ramallah and Istanbul. Awards: 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship from the Lark, two Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Awards, and others. He is a core member of the Playwrights Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, is an alum of Ars Nova’s Play Group, and will be a resident playwright at Arena Stage in 2013. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in New York City. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.

JUSTIN LEVINE. Writing: Bonfire Night (book, music, and lyrics), Tell Me Tomorrow (music and lyrics), Jump Jim Crow (music and lyrics), Naked Radio (music and lyrics), Death by Vaudeville (co-creator). Musical Direction/Orchestration: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Broadway and the Public), Murder Ballad (MTC), Here Lies Love (Public, by David Byrne), The Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Public), Like Water For Chocolate (Sundance). BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Currently teaches at Playwrights Horizons Theater School. www.justinlevineonline.com.

SHARYN ROTHSTEIN’s plays include All The Days and The Invested, Queen Bee (Ars Nova Out Loud reading), March (workshopped at the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival and a finalist for the Yale Drama Series Competition), Camp Monster (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Neglect (Ensemble Studio Theatre), For Abigail Who Drowns Men (New Georges workshop), and A Good Farmer (3Graces Theatre Co.), among others. Rothstein is a member of the 2011-2012 Ars Nova Play Group and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her drama The Invested will be published next year in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2013 by Smith & Kraus. In addition to playwriting, Sharyn is currently working on an hour-long drama pilot for Bravo. She holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU and a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College, with a concentration in Urban Health.

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