Alley Theatre Receives $50,000 NEA Grant to Support Kenneth Lin's WARRIOR CLASS, 5/3-6/2

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National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that the Alley Theatre is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Alley Theatre will receive a $50,000 grant to support the upcoming production of Kenneth Lin's Warrior Class as part of the Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative.

"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including the Alley Theatre," said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."

The Alley's New Play Initiative has included, in the past three seasons, premieres by Rajiv Joseph (Gruesome Playground Injuries, and Monster at the Door) Elizabeth Egloff (Ether Dome), Kenneth Lin (Intelligence-Slave), and Theresa Rebeck (What We're Up Against, a rolling premiere) among others. The New Play Initiative was formed to bring the playwrights into the Resident Company, and offer them the resources to do plays of size and scope (the large cast Ether Dome, and scenically demanding Monster at the Door are examples). The Resident Company at the Alley has historically included actors and designers – but the addition of the playwrights as key company artists has been made central to the ideal of Company that the Alley embraces as its identity, and the highest item on its artistic agenda. To that end, we include another work by Kenneth Lin in our 2012-2013 season – his latest play Warrior Class.

"We celebrate our continued collaboration with Ken, his exciting voice and the wonderful theatricality of his vision, and his tremendous talent in creating great roles for actors," says Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd. "We are delighted to be recognized by the NEA and know that our artists and our audience will fully engage with Ken's provocative new play."

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $23.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

The Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative facilitates the creative collaboration between playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and dramaturgs during all stages of a new play's development. Central to this Initiative are readings, workshops, commissions, Affinity Series Symposiums and residencies. Previous premieres developed through this Initiative include: Theresa Rebeck's What We're Up Against, 2012; Elizabeth Egloff's Ether Dome, 2011; Herbert Siguenza's A Weekend With Pablo Picasso, 2011; Rajiv Joseph's Monster at the Door, 2011 and Gruesome Playground Injuries, 2009; Jack Murphy, Gregory Boyd, and Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland, 2010; and Kenneth Lin's Intelligence-Slave, 2010. This is the primary focal point and purpose of the entire New Play Initiative at the Alley Theatre – for the artists and audience to come together within the imagination of a living, working playwright and to help create a first production that will launch the new work to become what we all believe it will be – a play destined to become a classic for the future.

Provocative. Political. Dealmaking. Warrior Class by Kenneth Lin will play the Neuhaus Stage, May 3 – June 2, 2013. Opens May 8, 2013.

Warrior Class centers on Julius Weishan Lee, a New York assemblyman who's been dubbed "The Republican Obama." Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants and a decorated war veteran with a seemingly limitless political career ahead of him. Then someone from his past threatens to reveal a college transgression, and Lee must decide how far he'll go to keep the incident out of the public eye. Whatever his decision, the consequences may be costly.

The Alley Theatre, one of America's leading not-for-profit theatres, is a nationally recognized performing arts company that is focused on collaborating with resident actors, visiting artists, directors, designers, dramaturgs, and authors to cultivate the new voices, new work, and new artists of the American theatre. Under the direction of Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and Managing Director Dean R. Gladden, the Alley has also brought its productions to 40 American cities, and to Berlin, Paris, St. Petersburg, and New York's Lincoln Center, as well as to major European festivals (including two in one season at the Venice Biennale), and Broadway. As a recipient of the Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Alley creates a wide-ranging repertoire and innovative productions of classics, neglected modern plays, and premieres, as well as new works that will become classics for the future developed through the Alley's New Play Initiative. The Alley's productions are built and rehearsed in the Alley Theatre Center for Theatre Production – a 75,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the theatres themselves and are performed on the 824-seat Hubbard Stage and the 310-seat Neuhaus Stage. The Alley continues to pave the way for Houston audiences to experience thought-provoking, diverse and transformative theatre produced and performed by its professional company year round. For more information, visit alleytheatre.org.

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