Archive for June, 2008
State of the Arts
Posted by Jonathan Elliott on June 28th, 2008
For the past several months, the arts and culture communities of New Jersey have rallied their supporters in opposition to the proposed state budget cut of 27 percent to state cultural funding in 2009. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how it affects McCarter for the coming Season; every arts organization, across all distinctions of size and media, will feel the impact of this reduction of state-supplied funds, and it will affect the breadth and amount of arts programs available throughout the state.
Now, here comes the cautious optimism—thanks to individuals across the state, who wrote their legislators, tabled at public events, and came out in droves in support of arts, history, and culture organizations, over 3.25 Million dollars in cultural funding was restored, and awaits the Governor’s signature. The campaign for restoration of funding was spearheaded by ArtPride New Jersey, an organization that emphasizes the cultural and economic importance of the Arts in New Jersey.
EVEN MORE 2008 Retreat Participants!!!
Will Power is an award-winning playwright, rapper, actor, and educator.
Most recently, Power received the 2006 Lucille Lortell Award for Outstanding Musical for his play, The Seven, Theatre Communications Group’s 2006 Peter Zeisler Memorial Award recognizing innovation, the prestigious Joyce Award, a 2005 NYFA Fellowship, a 2004 Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival, and a 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Solo Performance.
Power’s skills have also been captured on television and film. Recent guest appearances include Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS), The Colbert Report (Comedy Central), Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC) and Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam (HBO). He was the lead male in the film, Drylongso, a hit at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and was also featured in the documentary, All Fathers are Sons.
He has been highlighted in publications as varied as his skills. From glowing reviews in The New York Times and American Theater Magazine, to interviews in VIBE and The Source, Will Power deftly walks the line between serious, studied actor and urban hip hop MC. Will Power’s varied skills, high-energy performances and lyrics are matched only by his remarkable teaching ability, providing communities across the globe with tools of self-expression.
Will was in residence at McCarter during the 2007-2008 season through an Artists & Communities program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, a project of the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group.
Jose Rivera is the author of 27 plays and 13 screenplays. He is the recipient of two OBIE Awards for Playwriting, a Fulbright Arts Fellowship, a Whiting Foundation Award, a McKnight Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, and a Kennedy Center Grant. He studied with Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the Sundance Institute and was writer-in-residence at the Royal Court Theatre, London.
U.S. premieres include THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA (Ensemble Studio Theatre), THE PROMISE (Ensemble Studio Theatre), EACH DAY DIES WITH SLEEP (Circle Rep & Berkeley Rep), SLAUGHTER IN THE LAKE (Ensemble Studio Theatre), MARISOL (Humana Festival), CLOUD TECTONICS (Humana Festival), REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT (South Coast Rep.), SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY (Greenway Arts Alliance), SUENO (Hartford Stage), TAPE (Humana Festival), GIANTS HAVE US IN THEIR BOOKS (Magic Theatre), MARICELA DE LA LUZ LIGHTS THE WORLD (La Jolla Playhouse), THE STREET OF THE SUN (Mark Taper Forum), ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN (La Jolla Playhouse), SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS (Joseph Papp Public Theatre & LAByrinth Theatre), MASSACRE (SING TO YOUR CHILDREN) (Goodman Theatre & Teatro Vista), BRAINPEOPLE (ACT, San Francisco), GLIESE 581D (Chicago Humanities Festival), BOLEROS FOR THE DISENCHANTED (Yale Rep.), YELLOW (Collaboraction), and FLOWERS (Ensemble Studio Theatre).
Rivera was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Writers Guild of America award for his screenplay “The Motorcycle Diaries.” In 2006 he wrote and directed the short film “The Tape Recorder.” His film “Trade” was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. His screen adaptation of Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD will begin production winter 2008. In 2007 he directed the music video of Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) song “The Sky is Over.”
Anna Ziegler’s plays include: BFF (W.E.T. at the DR2 Theatre, 2007), NOVEL (SPF, 2007), PHOTOGRAPH 51 (commissioned by Active Cultures and produced February-March, 2008), DOV AND ALI (Theatre 503, June-July 2008), LIFE SCIENCE (Bulldog Theatrical, 2007), VARIATIONS ON A THEME (to be work-shopped July 2008 by Chautauqua Theater Company, directed by Ethan McSweeny) , IN THE SAME ROOM, THE MINOTAUR, TO BE FAIR, and EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.
Ziegler’s plays have been developed by: The Sundance Theatre Lab, The Old Vic New Voices program, Primary Stages, The Geva Theatre Center, The McCarter Theatre, The Lark Play Development Center, Ars Nova, The Kennedy Center, Theater J, New Georges (where she is an Affiliated Artist), Clubbed Thumb, The New Harmony Project, The hotINK Festival, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Catalyst Theater, The Playwright’s Center PlayLabs Festival, Short + Sweet Festival (Melbourne, Australia), The Fireraisers Theatre Company at the Hampstead Theatre (London) and The Birmingham Rep, and by Company B at the Belvoir St. Theatre (Sydney, Australia).
She was a Dramatist’s Guild Fellow for 2004-2005, a member of the 2005 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and is currently a member of the Lark’s Monthly Meetings of the Minds writers’ group.
She has been published in Ten-Minute Plays for 2 Actors: The Best of 2004 (Smith and Kraus, Inc.) and New American Short Plays 2005 (Backstage Books, ed. Craig Lucas). BFF and LIFE SCIENCE will be published by Dramatists Play Service and BFF will be included in the anthology: New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2007 (Smith and Kraus). A graduate of Yale, she holds an MFA from Tisch.
Anna Ziegler’s poetry has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2003, The Threepenny Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Reactions, The Mississippi Review, Arts and Letters, Mid-American Review, Smartish Pace, The Saint Ann’s Review, and many other journals.
More 2008 Retreat Participants!
RICHARD MALTBY, JR.
BROADWAY: Conceived and directed two Tony Award winning musicals: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards — also Tony Award for Best Director); FOSSE (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards); and RING OF FIRE, The Johnny Cash Musical Show, (2006); With composer David Shire, director/lyricist: BABY, (1983, book by Sybille Pearson; seven Tony Award nominations); lyricist: BIG, (1996, book by John Weidman; Tony nomination: Best Score); lyricist/conceiver, TAKE FLIGHT (book by John Weidman), world premiere 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, also produced in Japan the same year. Co-lyricist: MISS SAIGON (Evening Standard Award 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991). Co-bookwriter/lyricist: THE PIRATE QUEEN (2007). Director/co-lyricist: American version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s SONG & DANCE, (1986 Tony Award for star, Bernadette Peters.) OFF-BROADWAY: director/lyricist STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW, (1977 Grammy nomination); CLOSER THAN EVER, (1989, two Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score), both written with composer David Shire. REGIONAL: director, MASK (2008, Pasadena Playhouse); director, THE 60′S PROJECT (2006, Goodspeed Opera House). FILM: Screenplay, MISS POTTER, (2007) about Beatrix Potter, starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor (Christopher Award, best screenplay.). Contributes devilish crossword puzzles to Harpers Magazine. Son of well-known orchestra leader; Five children: Nicholas, David, Jordan, Emily and Charlotte.
The McCarter Artists retreat, in its seventh year, has become a pillar of our artist cultivation process. We invite nine artists—largely writers, with some composers, directors and designers from time to time—to come to Princeton, stay at a bed and breakfast (which happens to have 9 rooms—hence the size) and work on whatever they want. There are no required events, although we do have a number of fun group dinners so we can get to know all the artists and they can get to know us. (The aforementioned “eating and chatting” component.) It’s a time for starting new things, working uninterrupted, searching for inspiration in a new place—each artist comes to the retreat with different goals.
So what about this year? They’re working really hard! Some snapshots: Earlier this week, Daniel Goldfarb, one of our participants, wandered in to my office to visit because he’d just finished writing 12 pages (this is a lot for a playwright in a day). Jose Rivera spent the day in the rehearsal room with some actors working on a play that’s been commissioned by McCarter. I had a great lunch with Anna Ziegler talking about her play Minotar. And of course, many people have visited town or the library or the Bent Spoon (because high quality ice cream has been proven to stimulate creativity)—taking advantage of everything Princeton has to offer.
Over the next two weeks we’ll be posting the bios of the artists who are with us this year. Some of them you’ll recognize as old friends of McCarter, others we’re just getting to know—they’re all really interesting artists we’re excited to have with us.
| Atley Loughridge and Mark Megill
If you keep up with our blog, you have probably been reading recently about the Youth Ink! Festival (which ended on Thursday with incredible success). I thought I might take this moment to let you know a little bit more about what happens in the McCarter Education Department, while we have your attention. The Education Department stays busy year-round, and with more than the encouragement and development of young playwrights. I am the Education Teaching Artist Intern, and, like many of the other interns, I had the privilege of working on the Youth Ink! Festival, both as a co-teacher on one of the residencies earlier in the year and as the Assistant Stage Manager and Production Assistant for the Festival itself (a lot of words to say I ran a lot of errands and helped everyone out wherever I could!) And, in addition to teaching in our after-school program, First Stage, and in-school residencies, I am also the Student Matinee Coordinator.
Whenever appropriate, we invite students from schools all over New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania to see McCarter’s mainstage productions as a part of our Student Matinee Series. This season, we had at least one matinee performance for Stick Fly, Tartuffe, A Christmas Carol, Argonautika, and A Seagull in the Hamptons. Some teachers really take advantage of the program and bring their students to more than one production per season. Mr. Mark Megill of Allentown High School in Allentown, NJ, is one such teacher. His drama students are regulars in our matinee audiences, and it is always a treat to see them; they are consistently well-prepared and, as a result, invested in every production.
So, when Mr. Megill told his students to post a “Citizen Response” to Argonautika on our blog, Adam was overwhelmed with a flood of insightful, relevant, and challenging questions and comments. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen that many comments posted on one of our blog entries before or since! Adam approached the Education Department to see if we had any ideas about how to respond to all of these questions. As it turned out, we had just the thing. You see, the cast members of Argonautika, whose blog entries you may have enjoyed reading in the past, are a remarkable group of people, both on and off the stage. The Education Department was blessed with their involvement in several of our projects while the show was in residence at McCarter. So, even though Argonautika had closed and the actors had moved on to other projects, we knew just who to call. Atley Loughridge (Medea and others) had been particularly involved with the Education Department while she was in Princeton, and it was a rare and thrilling delight to work with a professional actor who understands the goals of our Education Department. When we asked if she would be willing to take the time to come back out to New Jersey to visit the students at Allentown High School, she immediately said yes!
Youth Ink! Responses
Posted by Carrie Hughes on June 5th, 2008
| The Youth Ink! Production of A Part of Me Missing
In our last post I introduced the Youth Ink! program, and discovered I had kind of a lot to say, so these comments get their very own post! Thanks to the playwrights and staff who chimed in to share their thoughts on the Youth Ink! experience.
BRANDY HOFSTETTER, South Hunterdon Regional High School
Author of IF THE CUSHION FITS, SIT
The entire learning process on how to structure plays and how to channel your own inner voice was very fun. Paula, Heather, and Rachel were awesome and always kept us entertained. Our special guests were also amazing.
And then, of course, there was the winning process. Soon after I had found out I was the winner from South Hunterdon (I still get excited when I say it!!!!!!!), I met my dramaturg, Elizabeth Edwards. Who could ask for a better dramaturg? She kept me inspired and upbeat through the whole process AND helped me twist my play into an EPIC! (hehe) Really, she is fabulous though.
Then there was meeting my cast and my director. They are all amazing. I love them all =D The first day of rehearsal with them all was a little frightening, I will admit. We talked about my play on many different, philosophical levels. Which scared me because I thought, “I hope they don’t think I can make this explicit in my play. I only have 10 mins!!” But after the original shock, I really enjoyed my rehearsals. I was surprised about how the actors really got into the parts. Larissa Lury, my director, would address them as the characters they are playing and say, “How do you feeeel?” However, it really seems to have been very productive because they all play the parts wonderfully.
I can’t imagine my play coming out any better or having a better staff to work with. I am very, very, very, very, thankful =]
Thank you all!!!!
Posted by Carrie Hughes on June 5th, 2008
Cast members of Echo In Silence: Things Left Unsaid
Usually, when you blog readers get an update on what’s going on in rehearsal from the literary office, you get it from the lovely Elizabeth, the blog’s usual literary correspondent. But this time around, you have to make due with an update from me because Elizabeth is, at this very moment, simultaneously dramaturging FIVE plays in our Youth Ink! Festival! (They are each 10-ish minutes long, but still—FIVE. I am in awe.)
“But wait,” you say, if you are a blog reader who hasn’t been deeply immersed in McCarter culture for years. “What is this Youth Ink! Festival that has spirited away our intern?” The Youth Ink! (which, if you put the space elsewhere reads You Think! Clever, no? I worked here for over a year before I figured that out.) Festival is the culmination of our Youth Ink! residencies, in which McCarter education staff and guest teaching artists go into high schools (five this year) and, over the course of several weeks, introduce the students to the principles of playwriting. (Principle #1: Action=what a character wants. If you want more you, have to do Youth Ink or be very, very nice to Paula Alekson, our high school residency coordinator and Youth Ink! guru. Paula enjoys Bent Spoon ice cream if you are looking for bribes.) Over the course of the residency the students work on writing a 10-minute play. Once those plays are complete, McCarter brings in a crack team of actors, who give EVERY play a reading, so the playwright can hear what it sounds like performed.