Here’s the press release from Chicago Dramatists:
CHICAGO DRAMATISTS 2009-2010
Production, Development & Education
Chicago, June 10, 2009 After a massively successful 30th Anniversary Season, Artistic Director Russ Tutterow announced Chicago Dramatists’ 2009-2010 season of programming today, featuring world premiere productions and a slate of programs engaging over five hundred playwrights throughout the year.
Programming will include collaborations with Chicago institutions such as Stage Left, The Second City, and the playwriting programs of DePaul and Northwestern University; four quarters of Playwrights’ Studio Classes; the distinguished guests of the Visiting Artists Program (previous artists have included Jeff Daniels, Paula Vogel and Sarah Ruhl); and signature developmental programs such as The Saturday Series, Script Lab and The First Draft Series. World premiere productions of Lucinda’s Bed by Resident Playwright Mia McCullough and Jade Heart by Senior Network Playwright Will Cooper will represent the culmination of plays that have been developed and fine tuned in many of those same programs.
As the only theatre in the country that is both a playwrights’ workshop and a full producing theatre, Chicago Dramatists’ programming focuses on the three major stages of a new play’s life: Production, Development and Education. Working with playwrights at every step of the writing process, Chicago Dramatists will continue its thirty-one-year old mission of developing new plays and playwrights for the American theatre.PRODUCTION
Since 1979, theatres and audiences have looked to Chicago Dramatists for the newest plays and most promising playwrights. Chosen from hundreds of plays-in-progress, the shows in the theatre’s thirty-first season were developed in part through readings and workshops at Chicago Dramatists. In 2007/2008, Chicago Dramatists’ productions earned 9 Jeff Nominations and won 4 Jeff Awards including Best Production. One of them, Resident Playwright Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain, went on to a successful extended run at the Royal George Theatre, and will open this Fall on Broadway with superstars Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.
LUCINDA’S BED, by Mia McCullough
October 1st – November 8th, 2009
The world premiere of Lucinda’s Bed by Resident Playwright Mia McCullough will play from October 1st to November 8th, 2009, with opening nights on October 8th and 9th, 2009. The play will be directed by Jessi D. Hill.
ABOUT THE PLAY: Lucinda is six years old, and all she wants is to be good. But when the Monster under her bed introduces himself one night, Lucinda finds out that staying good will be harder than she thinks. Even when she’s grown and married, the Monster turns up in the most peculiar places. Can she ever find goodness in her life, or will there always be something sinister lurking just beneath the covers? Lucinda’s Bed was previously workshopped at the Ensemble Theatre in New York.
MIA McCULLOUGH’s most recent productions include Since Africa at the Old Globe in San Diego, Spare Change at Stage Left Theatre (Chicago) and in Steppenwolf Theatre’s First Look Repertory, and Taking Care at the Victory Theatre in Los Angeles. Her plays have also been produced at Chicago Dramatists, Actors’ Express (Atlanta), Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company (San Diego), InterAct (Philadelphia), and Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, among others. Her break-through play Chagrin Falls garnered many awards including the American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Award, first prize in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition, and a Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work.
JADE HEART, by Will Cooper
April 22nd – May 30th, 2010
The world premiere of Jade Heart, by Senior Network Playwright Will Cooper, will play from April 22nd to May 30th, 2010, with opening nights on April 30th and May 1st, 2010.
ABOUT THE PLAY: Abandoned as an infant on a pile of vegetables, a Chinese girl is adopted by an American and grows up in America with only half a jade heart as a clue to her identity. Is she Chinese, American, or Chinese-American? Through dreams and remembrances, she seeks to find out why she was denied the life she was born to, and how she can become fully herself.
Will Cooper is a Senior Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. His play Book of Leaves, a finalist at the Ashland New Plays Festival, was produced in 2006 at Village Players Theatre. Several of his plays have been read and workshopped at Chicago Dramatists.
Working with over 500 playwrights annually, Chicago Dramatists’ most important sign of achievement is its nurturing of compelling, challenging and diverse plays that move on to productions, earn awards, and define the American theatre. Two membership programs, the highly-selective Residency and the open-to-all Network Playwrights Program, ensure that writers of all skill levels can find what they need at Chicago Dramatists. Through the one-of-a-kind Script Lab program, Network Playwrights can submit scripts for review and receive a thorough, one-on-one critique that encourages and guides the further development of the piece. As a baseline level of submission for Chicago Dramatists, the Script Lab also provides the theatre with scores of scripts for further development.
Chicago Dramatists’ foremost developmental program, The Saturday Series has presented a staged reading of a play-in-progress followed by a moderated audience discussion most Saturdays at 2:00 PM since 1979. The Saturday Series connects Chicago Dramatists’ playwrights with Chicago’s best directors and actors, provides networking opportunities between playwrights and theatres, and introduces Chicago audiences to the next generation of American playwrights. Over 1,300 plays have been developed through The Saturday Series since its inception 29 years ago. In addition to staged readings, the series also offers quarterly panel discussions on playwriting related topics, the popular 10-Minute Workshop, and bi-annual weekends set aside for the work of student writers from the playwriting programs of DePaul and Northwestern Universities.
In addition, Chicago Dramatists offers a wealth of other development opportunities for playwrights. The Private Reading Series gives a chance for work to be heard by the playwright in less public settings, with private table readings by Equity actors. The twice-annual Deadline Workshop groups playwrights with professional actors, and pushes the playwrights to write altogether new pieces tailored to the performers. This season, partnerships with Stage Left Theatre and Babes With Blades will give the Deadline Workshop playwrights the added benefit of writing for members of tight-knit ensembles. Another program, the weekly First Draft Series, offers the safest workshop environment possible, as playwrights gather to help each other with cold reads of scripts in progress, closed to the public.
In the past year, plays developed at Chicago Dramatists have seen over 800 productions, awards, readings or festival presentations, helping enrich the lives of thousands of theatre patrons across the country. “Chicago Dramatists provides playwrights with crucial support during the process of developing a play for production,” says former Resident Playwright and 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Gilman. “It is always inspiring to witness Chicago Dramatists’ commitment to the future of American theatre.”
Rather than focusing solely on the development of particular plays, Chicago Dramatists has spent its 31 years establishing relationships with the playwrights themselves. To ensure that these relationships begin as early in the artists’ development processes as possible, Chicago Dramatists offers education programs to playwrights of all ages and experience levels. Its flagship education program, the quarterly Playwrights Studio Classes, allows students to work with experienced and accomplished professionals in intimate classroom settings on topics as basic as Playwriting Fundamentals, or as focused as “Solo Show: Writing the One-Person Play.”
Outside of the theatre, Chicago Dramatists’ Youth and Community Programming sends teaching artists to at-risk high schools around the Chicago area, where they teach playwriting seminars to students who have often never been exposed to theatre before. At the end of each term, the students see their works performed by Equity actors, and get a feel for what truly constitutes the process of writing a play. Led by Director of Youth and Community Programming Ilesa Duncan, the program ensures that the next generation of playwrights will be home-grown here in Chicago.
For more information about any of Chicago Dramatists’ programs or productions, contact Brian Loevner or Russ Tutterow at 312-633-0630, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the theatre’s web site at www.chicagodramatists.org.