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MARILYN FELT
Asher's Command
J. Howard Wood Theatre (Sanibel, FL)

Set amid the tensions of Israel's West Bank, two men - an Arab mechanic and a Jewish military commander - have cultivated a close friendship since their youth. A senseless act of violence pushes their friendship past the breaking point as the men become caught in the crossfire of hatred and revenge.

 

JENNIFER MAISEL
The Last Seder
Organic Theater Company (Evanston, IL)

When Lily and Marvin Price's daughters return for the last Passover in their family home, they find that the magic of the seder ritual is the one thing that will allow them to heal the past and move on with their lives.

 

DEBORAH B. BREVOORT
The Women of Lockerbie
Women's Project & Productions (New York, NY)

A mother from New Jersey roams the hills of Lockerbie Scotland, looking for her son's remains which were lost in the crash of Pan Am 103. There, she meets the Women of Lockerbie, who are fighting to get the clothing of the victims released by the US government. Determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, the women want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victim's families.

 

STEPHEN BELBER
Drifting Elegant
The Directors Company (New York, NY)


Drifting Elegant
weaves together the stories of four people struggling with issues of moral choice and personal responsibility: a man whose rape conviction has recently been overturned, the reporter who is documenting his readjustment to society, and the journalist's wife and best friend, both of whom share a professional and intimate relationship.

 

HEATHER WOODBURY
Tale of 2Cities: An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks
The Public Theater/New York Shakspeare Festival (New York, NY)

Tale of 2 Cities: An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks delves into the story of how two American communities on either side of the country were forever changed: in 1957, Brooklyn Dodgers fans lost their cherished Ebbet's Field while a Los Angeles Mexican-American community is evicted to make way for Dodgers Stadium. Woodbury's work plays with genre, language and narrative form to conjure with new audiences a shared realm where memory is alive.

 

VICTOR LODATO
The Eviction
Magic Theatre (San Fransciso, CA)

The night before he is to be thrown out of his apartment, a troubled man reviews his options: homeless before, it appears he is once again destined for the street. As the man incessantly talks to himself, we are introduced to the mysterious character of The Reader - who seems to be controlling the man's actions through the book he reads. As the man slowly resists the text, the two characters begin to clash in a battle of fate versus free will.

 

LOUIS SACHAR
Holes
Seattle Childrens Theatre (Seattle, WA)

When Stanley Yelnats is convicted of a crime he did not commit, he is sentenced to Camp Green Lake, a seemingly happy fate since his family could never afford to send him to summer camp. Too soon, however, Stanley discovers the reality of Camp Green Lake: each day the boys must wake up before dawn and dig a deep hole, always under the supervision of a gruff warden who paints her fingernails with snake venom. The plot thickens as Stanley unwittingly fulfills his destiny, along the way coming face-to-face with an onion seller, a ruthless female outlaw and the real story behind the Yelnats family curse.

 

DAEL ORLANDERSMITH
Yellowman
McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ)

Yellowman is a multi-character memory play about an African American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her small town Southern upbringing, and the light-skinned man whose fate is tragically intertwined with hers. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male blackness as well as the effect these racial stereotypes have on black women.

 

 

Marilyn Felt

As a resident of Boston, Marilyn Felt has had a long career in creating multimedia curricula and documentary film, gathering material in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Japan. Her work won two CINE Golden Eagles and awards from the National Council on Family Relations, the American Film Festival and the British Medical Society.

Ms. Felt's first play, Acts of Faith, a drama set in the Middle East, was produced Off-Broadway in New York at the Mosaic Theater of the 92nd Street "Y," and published by Samuel French. Subsequently, the play was translated into German and produced as Nichts Zu Verlieren at Die Farbe Theater in Singen, Germany.

In 1988, Ms. Felt went to the occupied West Bank to research an incident that had taken place in a small Arab village. The University of Arkansas awarded her a fellowship to their summer institute to begin to develop the documentary material into a play. The play was to become Asher's Command, and it received grants from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Massachusetts Cultural Counci, and the Pilgrim Project, and readings at the Rainbow Theatre in Stamford, the Huntington Theater in Boston, The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, and the Boston Playwrights' Theater. Asher's Command was the winner of the Dayton Playhouse's FutureFest'98. This summer, Asher's Command was read at the Streisand Festival of New Jewish Plays at the Garfiled Theater of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture.

The J. Howard Wood Theatre presents an annual mainstage season of five to six productions. In addition to their regular season, the Wood offers The Congress Jewelers Playreading Series and Playwright Festival, and introduced The Pirate Players Children's Theatre this year.

 

Jennifer Maisel

Jennifer Maisel was recently awarded a commission grant from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture for her play The Last Seder, which was workshopped at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and read at New Dramatists in New York City and the Streisand Festival of New Jewish Plays at the La Jolla Playhouse.

The play received a National Foundation for Jewish Culture grant for the 2000-2001 season through Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey where the play was read in-house in May 2000. The play was subsequently rewritten and rehearsed for two staged readings in the Fall of 2000 with Joseph Megel directing. Megel also directed a reading of the play at New Dramatists in New York City in January 2001.

In 1992, her play Mad Love was awarded the Roger L. Stevens Award by the Fund for New American Plays and was a finalist for the California Playwrights Competition, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award and the PEN West Literary Award. Mad Love was given a critically acclaimed production in New York. Ms. Maisel's first full length play, Dark Hours, won the Center Theatre International Playwright competition and was produced in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. Her co-adaptation of The Dybbuk - written with April Vanoff and Robert Fieldsteel, music by O-lan Jones - premiered with the Wilton Project in Los Angeles.

Ms. Maisel was a member of the theater companies The Antrobus Group and the Wilton Project and the groups Playwrights Ink and Circle Rising, which was formed out of Paula Vogel's bootcamp at ASK Theatre Projects in Los Angeles. Ms. Maisel attended Cornell University, and received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

More than 40 Organic Theater Company productions have received Joseph Jefferson, Obie and/or Tony Awards. The Company was the first Chicago theater to perform on television, the first to have a production made into a television series, and the first to produce a play written by renowned Chicago playwright David Mamet. Since the 1960s, Organic Theater has fostered the careers of such nationally known artists as producer/director Stuart Gordon and actors Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, Meshach Taylor, and Dennis Farina, among others.

 

Deborah Brevoort

Deborah B. Brevoort is a playwright from Alaska who now lives in New York City. She is a member of New Dramatists.

She is author of King Island Christmas, an oratorio for the musical stage, with composer David Friedman, which won the 1997 Frederick Loewe Award and the 1998 Dramatists Guild Award. There have been over 35 productions since 1997, including performances at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Lyric Stage, Theatre IV and Perseverance Theatre. WM Productions in New York is producing a televised Christmas special of the work for national broadcast in 2001.

Ms. Brevoort is also the author of Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing, a musical written with composer Scott Richards. Coytoe was produced by Stuart Ostrow in 1996 at the University of Houston and the Perseverance Theatre in Alaska in 1996, directed by Molly Smith.

In 1998 she was given the National Theatre Conference/Paul Green Foundation award by composer Jerry Bock for her writing in the musical theatre. She is currently writing a new musical/oratorio with David Friedman called Goodbye My Island. She is also the author of numerous plays and screenplays. She holds MFAs in Playwriting from Brown University, and Musical Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Women's Project & Productions is the nation's preeminent theater company dedicated to the development and production of new plays by women. As the oldest and largest women's theater in the country, it has produced 108 productions and over 400 readings and workshops. WPP has worked with a veritable "Who's Who" of American theater, including Anna Deveare Smith, Maria Irene Fornes, Emily Mann, Mary McDonnell, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Joanne Woodward. WPP fosters emerging artists through its developmental programs - the Playwrights Lab and Directors Forum, and also commissions new works, presents workshops and readings, publishes anthologies of plays produced, and hosts discussion panels and talkbacks.

 

Stephen Belber

Stephen Belber's play Tape was produced as part of the Humana Festival 2000, and was subsequently made into a film by director Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard. The film played at Sundance 2001 and will opne in theaters this fall. The play has been produced in Miami, Newhaven, West Virginia, Montana and Malta, with scheduled productions in West Virginia, Virginia and Los Angeles.

Mr. Belber was one of three associate writers on the off-Broadway show The Laramie Project, in which he also performed in both Denver and New York. The play will be produced in theaters around the world this year, from La Jolla, CA, to Australia to Japan, and is soon to be published by Vintage.

Mr. Belber's other full-length plays have been produced and workshopped by New York Stage and Film, Second Stage, Soho Rep, Via Theater, Julliard, Lincoln Center Living Room, Expanded Arts, Urban Stages (Playwrights Horizon Upstairs), Goldsmith Productions (Beckett Theater) and the 78th Street Theater Lab. His play The Tranparency of Val was recently produced by The Trustus Theater in Columbia, South Carolina. He has also written the book for the new rock musical Sugar Mountain, which in under option by New York's Via Theater.

Mr. Belber is a graduate of Juilliard's playwright's program where he studied under Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang. He has received two LeCompte du Nouy Foundation grants; the award for excellence in playwriting for New York's 2000 Fringe Festival (for Finally); and first place in Trustus Theater's New Playwright's Festival 2000 (for The Transparency of Val). He has been in residence at New York Stage and Film, Chautauqua, Juilliard and with The Laramie Project at Sundance and Dartmouth (with New York Theater Workshop).

The Directors Company is a not-for-profit theatre company with a two-fold mission: to develop and produce new plays and musicals for the American theatre; and to mentor and present to the public outstanding directorial talent. By recognizing and supporting the significant role of the director, The Directors Company creates an arena for emerging and established directors to make an impact upon the vitality and growth of the American Theatre.

 

Heather Woodbury

Performer and playwright Heather Woodbury is a native Californian who spent most of her young adulthood in New York City. Her 10-hour solo play, What Ever: An American Odyssey in 8 Acts, was culled from her travels, eavesdroppings, and manual-labor jobs, and created from writing and performing a weekly episode for 37 weeks in the back of a New York City bar. She performed it in the U.S. and Europe 40 times from 1996-2001. It won "Best Solo Performance of the Year" in 1998 from the Los Angeles Weekly and the Austin Critics' Table Award for "Best Out-of-Town Show" in 1997. It was broadcast in its entirety on NPR stations as a radio-play, hosted by Ira Glass, on NPR stations including WBEZ, Chicago, in tandem with a hit production at Steppenwolf Theatre, and WBUR, Boston. Excerpts have been aired on NPR's Morning Edition and on This American Life.

Ms. Woodbury created and performed 16 standard-length solo pieces from 1984-1994, which she performed at spaces such as Dixon Place, the Kitchen and La Mama. She wrote and produced three plays and co-wrote and starred in Hollow Venus, a one-hour film directed by filmmaker Larry Fessenden in 1987. She was the founder and director of Café Bustelo, a Lower East Side bilingual arts space, from 1987-1989. She has received numerous awards and commissions and taught master classes for A.S.K. Theatre Project and Northeastern University. She currenly resides in Los Angeles.

The New York Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1954 by Joseph Papp with the strong belief that all New Yorkers, regardless of cultural or economic background, should have the chance to see fresh, contemporary productions of Shakespeare, free of charge. From this vision evolved Shakespeare in the Park, long one of New York's most beloved summer cultural traditions. In 1966, Mr. Papp saved the former Astor Library from demolition and created the Public Theater. The Public opened its doors in 1967 and has since become one of the nation's foremost producers of bold new American plays and musicals, as well as Shakespeare. An artist-driven institution, The Public is also dedicated to nurturing young talent and providing a safe space for creative exploration.

 

Victor Lodato

Victor Lodato is a playwright and actor. The 1999 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellow at New Dramatists, he is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Robert Chesley Foundation (NY), Art Matters (NY), The Puffin Foundation (NJ), The Arizona Commission on the Arts, as well as a New Forms Grant (Rockefeller Foundation/NEA).

Recently, his short play Mega World Destroyer was staged at The Guthrie Theater; and his play A Book of Harsh Geometry at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. Other works have been produced at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, a.k.a. Theatre (Tucson), and Institute for Studies in the Arts.

He has received workshops and readings at Magic Theatre (CA), A.S.K. Theatre Projects (CA), MCC Theatre (NY), New Dramatists (NY), and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. In 2000, his play The Mystery School was workshopped at The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, and his play The Bread of Winter at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival in San Francisco. From 1993 to 1995, Victor was resident playwright at a.k.a. Theatre (Tucson).

Currently, he is working on a play commissioned by South Coast Repertory and divides his time between New York City and Tucson, Arizona. His play The Eviction will receive its world premiere in 2002 at the Magic Theatre.

The Magic Theatre exists to give voice to the contemporary playwright. Founded by John Lion in 1967 and currently under the artistic direction of Larry Eilenberg, the Magic nurtures the creation, development and production of new plays by emerging and established writers, especially writers who speak to the cultural diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Magic Theatre seeks to create an artistic home for the next generation of playwrights and has served as collaborator, presenter and facilitator for new works by some of the most interesting and generative theatrical writers of our time, including Sam Shepard, Michael McClure, David Mamet, Neena Beber, and many more.

 

Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar was born in East Meadow, New York, and subsequently moved to Tustin, CA. He attended the University of Southern California at Berkely, graduating in 1976. Working by day as a shipping manager in a sweater warehouse in Norwak, CT, Mr. Sachar wrote his first manuscript, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, at night.

Mr. Sachar attended Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, and was informed during his first week of law school that Follett Publishing Company had agreed to publish Wayside School. Graduating in 1980, he worked part time as a lawyer until 1998, by which time his children's books were successful enough for him to write full-time.

Mr. Sachar married his wife, Carla, in 1985. The couple has a daughter, Sherre, born in 1987. The Sachar family currently lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time, Mr. Sachar enjoys playing duplicate bridge, and recently achieved the rank of "Life Master."

Holes was inspired by the long, hot Texas summers, which came as quite a shock after the cool, foggy weather of San Francisco.

Seattle Childrens Theatre's mission is to produce professional theatre for the young with appeal to people of all ages; to provide theatre education and theatre arts training by professional artists that ensure participatory experiences for young people; and, to develop new scripts and musical scores for young audiences.

 

Dale Orlandersmith

Dael Orlandersmith was born in East Harlem and raised between East Harlem and the South Bronx, and studied at the American Academy for Dramatic Art and the Actor's Studio. She has performed at McCarter Theatre, Aspen's HBO Comedy Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Solo Mio Festival, ICA in London, CCA in Glasgow, American Place Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and New York Theatre Workshop, among others.

She has appeared in productions of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, A Raisin in the Sun, and Song for My Sisters, and can also be seen in Hal Hartley's film Amateur.

Ms. Orlandersmith wrote and performed Beauty's Daughter and Monster, which premiered at the American Place Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop, respectively, and which established her as one of the country's most innovative and provocative theatrical storytellers. She received an Obie Award in 1995 for her work on Beauty's Daughter.

Other recent highlights include a summer reading in New York's Central Park with Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt, and a tour of the United States in the Fall of 1997 performing an evening of excerpts from her solo shows entitled Leftover Life to Kill. Her most recent work, The Gimmick, was commissioned and produced by McCarter Theatre in February 1998, developed with the assistance of the Sundance Theatre Institute, and was produced by numerous theaters in the U.S. as well as in parts of the United Kingdom.

McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts offers more than 200 performances of theater, dance, music and special events each year. Built in 1929 to provide a permanent home for Princeton University's Triangle Club, the theater seeks to present a diverse season of classic and contemporary plays that reflect and invite comparison among various aspects of American culture.