Playwrights David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage to Teach at Columbia
Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts, announced today the appointment of two acclaimed playwrights to the faculty of the Arts: David Henry Hwang, Associate Professor of Theatre in Playwriting and director of the Playwriting Concentration, and Lynn Nottage, Associate Professor of Theatre in Playwriting.
"David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage are among the most influential and accomplished American dramatists of the past several decades," said Christian Parker, Chair of the Master of Fine Arts Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. "Their work respectively cuts across genres, audiences and aesthetics. Both have contributed immeasurably to making the stories of underrepresented characters visible in a historically homogeneous field. Each of them brings a passion for the possibilities for social dialogue that can stem from great theatrical storytelling, and a great sense of generosity and rigor about training a new generation of artists."
David Henry Hwang's work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Golden Child, Yellow Face, The Dance & the Railroad and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney's Tarzan. He is also America's most-produced living opera librettist. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. He won the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award, the 2012 Inge Award, and the 2012 Steinberg "Mimi" Award.
"I'm thrilled for this opportunity to serve the MFA playwriting students at Columbia, helping them develop their own unique and idiosyncratic voices, and building a practical foundation for their future lives in the theatre," said Hwang. "I couldn't ask for better partners than Lynn, Chuck Mee and the accomplished artists of the Theatre Program, and feel deeply honored to join the School of Arts during this exciting period of innovation and expansion."
Lynn Nottage won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Ruined. Her other plays include A Stone's Throw; Intimate Apparel; Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; and Mud, River, Stone. These plays have been developed and produced at theaters both nationally and internationally. She was a MacArthur Fellow (2007), a Guggenheim Fellow (2005) and Lucille Lortel Fellow (2007). Nottage served as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Playwriting Program in 2013.
"I couldn't be more excited to be joining David, Chuck and the wonderful faculty of the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts," said Nottage. "I look forward to being part of a vital and creative conversation with the next generation of dynamic theatre artists."
"That we have the great fortune to team David and Lynn up with Charles L. Mee, who has energized and raised the profile of our program enormously in his past several years with us, represents a tremendous and transformational boon to the Columbia MFA program in Playwriting," Parker stated. "Together, these three writers cut across a multiplicity of experiences and modes of theatrical storytelling, creating an ideal trifecta of influences and teaching styles for our playwrights. This is a most exciting time for the Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program. I know I speak on behalf of all of my colleagues and our students when I offer David and Lynn a warm welcome to our community."
The Playwriting Concentration in the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts works to help playwrights develop their own unique voices. The curriculum begins with a workshop in the first year that focuses on collaboration with actors, directors, dramaturgs and managers in the Program. The second year builds upon the creative relationships fostered in the first year towards a fully staged production in the spring, and allows the students to diversify their skill set into other media, like writing for film and television or musical theatre. In the third year of the program, each playwright gets to choose a favorite playwright to serve as personal mentor in writing and producing his or her thesis play, which then gets presented at New Plays Now, Columbia's playwriting festival in the spring. Both Hwang and Nottage have served as mentors to candidates for the MFA in Playwriting.
"Not only will we now have on our faculty three of the most well-respected playwrights working today, but also three truly magnificent teachers," said Dean Becker. "I know that together they will build a unique and fascinating program."
About David Henry Hwang:
David Henry Hwang is best known as the author of M. Butterfly, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. It ran on London's West End and has been produced in over three dozen countries. Golden Child premiered off-Broadway at New York's Public Theater, received a 1997 OBIE Award for playwriting and moved to Broadway, where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best Play. Yellow Face, which premiered at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and the Public Theater, received a 2008 OBIE Award for playwriting and was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize; it opened in May 2014 at London's National Theatre. Chinglish premiered at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and won a 2011 Jeff Award for Best New Work, before moving to Broadway, where it received a 2012 Drama Desk Nomination for Best New Play; it will soon be seen on the West End.
Mr. Hwang has written books for three Broadway musicals. His revision of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song earned him his third Tony nomination in 2003. He co- wrote Disney's international hit Aida, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards, as well as Disney's Tarzan, with songs by Phil Collins, currently in its sixth year in Germany.
His other plays include FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance & the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), The House of Sleeping Beauties (1983), The Sound of a Voice (1983) and Bondage (1992).
Named America's most-produced living opera librettist by Opera News, he has written four works with composer Philip Glass: 1000 Airplanes on the Roof (1988), The Voyage, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1992, The Sound of a Voice (2003), and Icarus at the Edge of Time (2010). Ainadamar, with music by Osvaldo Golijov, won two 2007 Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Composition. Other operas include The Silver River (1997), with music by Bright Sheng; Alice In Wonderland, with music by Unsuk Chin, named 2007 "World Premiere of the Year" by Opernwelt Magazine; and The Fly (2008), with music by Howard Shore, directed by David Cronenberg. Upcoming operas include Through the Looking Glass with Unsuk Chin for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Dream of the Red Chamber with Bright Sheng for the San Francisco Opera.
Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. Butterfly (1993), starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone; Golden Gate (1994), starring Matt Dillon and Joan Chen; and Possession (co- writer, 2002), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. With the pop star Prince, he co-wrote the song "Solo," released on Prince's 1994 gold album Come. He is currently writing a feature film for Dreamworks Animation and the film adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, the Fast & Furious franchise), as well as creating an original television series, Shanghai, for Lions Gate and Bravo.
Mr. Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale School of Drama. He is President of Young Playwrights Inc., and sits on the boards of the Dramatists Guild, the Lark Play Development Center, the American Theatre Wing and the Actors Fund. From 1994-
2001, he served by appointment of President Clinton on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 1993, the nation's oldest Asian American theater, East- West Players in Los Angeles, christened its new mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theatre.
Mr. Hwang won the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre and the 2012 Steinberg "Mimi" Award, the richest playwriting prize in the world. He was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York's Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays, including the premiere of his newest work, Kung Fu. Upcoming productions include two new musicals: The Forgotten Arm, with music and lyrics by Aimee Mann and Paul Bryan, for the Public Theater; and Pretty Dead Girl, with music and lyrics by Anne- Marie Milazzo.
David Henry Hwang lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng, and their two children.
About Lynn Nottage:
Lynn Nottage is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and a screenwriter. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. They include: By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and POOF!. She is currently developing a new play and multimedia performance installation based on two years of research and interviews conducted in Reading, PA (with Oregon Shakespeare, Arena Stage & Labyrinth Theatre Company). In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon to adapt her play, Intimate Apparel, into an opera (commissioned by The Met/LCT).
She is the co-founder of the production company, Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Premiere/Sundance 2014), First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/ IDFA, 2013) and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013-New Currents Award). Over the years, she has developed original projects for HBO, Showtime, This Is That and Harpo.
Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, Steinberg "Mimi" Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black
Theatre Fest's August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, PEN/Laura Pels Award, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she has been a faculty member since 2001.
About the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts:
The MFA Theatre Program at Columbia is international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony- and other award-winning productions; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with students on an ongoing basis.
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage join a full-time faculty that includes Arnold Aronson, Anne Bogart (head of Directing), Steven Chaikelson (head of Theatre Management & Producing), Andrea Haring, Brian Kulick, Charles L. Mee, Gregory Mosher, Christian Parker (Chair and head of Dramaturgy), Andrei Serban (head of Acting), Kelly Stuart, Niky Wolcz, Ulla Wolcz and W.B. Worthen.
Adjunct faculty include Marybeth Abel, Zakiyyah Alexander, Leslie Ayvazian, Victoria Bailey, Neena Beber, Jeremy Blocker, Gigi Bolt, Chris Boneau, Blair Brown, Laura Brown MacKinnon, Chris Burney, Carrie Casselman, Nancy Coyne, Penny Daulton, Diane DiVita, John Dias, Peter Entin, Robert Fried, Sue Frost, Jackson Gay, Sam Gold, Barry Grove, Jerome Hairston, Erik Hansen, Alli Houseworth, Morgan Jenness, Abigail Katz, Peter Lawrence, Paul Libin, Linda Marvel, Kelly Maurer, Raymond Menard, K.K. Moggie, Ira Mont, Anson Mount, Michael Naumann, Gene O'Donovan, Mark Olsen, Bonnie Panson, Michael J. Passaro (head of Stage Management), Arturo Porazzi, Carol Rocamora, Jack Rouse, Thomas Schumacher, Jim Semmelman, Lisa Timmel, Todd Thaler, Danielle Ventimiglia, Anthony Weigh, and Linda Winer.
About Columbia University School of the Arts:
Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, and offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts. The School is a thriving, diverse community of artists from around the world with talent, vision and commitment. The faculty is composed of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars. Every year the School of the Arts presents exciting and innovative programs for the public including performances, exhibitions, screenings, symposia, a film festival, and numerous lectures, readings, panel discussions and talks with artists, writers, critics and scholars. For more information, visit arts.columbia.edu.