Directors, Performance Schedule Set for Cherry Lane's MENTOR PROJECT, 2/20-4/13

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Directors Lisa Peterson, Bryan Davidson Blue, Elena Araoz and Chris Henry will direct the four new works debuting as part of Cherry Lane Theatre's 15th anniversary MENTOR PROJECT, it has been announced by Angelina Fiordellisi, Artistic Director of Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St. in Manhattan), where MENTOR PROJECT will run from February 20-April 13, 2013. As well, the performance schedule for each production has been set.

Winner of the Obie and James Kirkwood Awards for fostering the work of contemporary American Playwrights, each year MENTOR PROJECT engages leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for an entire theater season, culminating with a production of the writer's play on the Cherry Lane stage.

MENTOR PROJECT'S first production of the 2013 season, billed as "An Evening of Solo Performance," features two one-act solo plays: PAS DE DEUX, written and performed by Lisa Ramirez (EXIT CUCKOO); and JOE, written and performed by Elizabeth A. Davis (Tony-nominated actress for Broadway's ONCE). "An Evening of Solo Performance" runs from February 20th through March 2nd, 2013.

Both solo works recall moments from the performers' pasts. In PAS DE DEUX, directed by Bryan Davidson Blue, Ms. Ramirez recounts the tragic passing of her brother, and her own struggle with addiction as she searched for catharsis. Ms. Ramirez was mentored by Cynthia Hopkins (THIS CLEMENT WORLD, A LIVING DOCUMENTARY). In JOE, directed by Chris Henry, Ms. Davis tells the story of her ten-year friendship with a Native American homeless man during her upbringing in small-town Texas. Ms. Davis was mentored by Enda Walsh (Tony Award-winning author of the book for ONCE).

The design team for this evening of solo performances are: sets by Timothy Mackabee, lighting by Burke Brown, sound by Jeanne Wu, and projections by Kate Freer. Props are by Andrew Diaz. PAS DE DEUX has original music composed by Amber Docters Van Leeuewen.

The second production of the 2013 season, LAWNPEOPLE, runs from March 13th - 23rd. Directed by Elena Araoz, LAWNPEOPLE is written by Natalia Naman (THE OLD SHIP OF ZION), who was mentored by Eduardo Machado (HAVANA IS WAITING).

LAWNPEOPLE tracks the journey of Solymar, an undocumented Mexican immigrant working as a housekeeper for a wealthy black Southern couple. When Solymar's mother is killed in Mexico as the result of gang violence, her pre-teen daughter is left alone across the border, and Solymar fights to find a way back to her.

LAWNPEOPLE has a set by Brittany Vasta, costumes by Amanda Seymour, lighting by Bradley King, and sound by Chris Barlow. Props are by Andrew Diaz.

The MENTOR PROJECT season concludes with EXILE, which runs April 3rd - 13th. Directed by Lisa Peterson (SLAVS!, AN ILIAD), EXILE is written by Nastaran Ahmadi (MOLLY'S 25TH), who was mentored by Kia Corthron (FORCE CONTINUUM).

In EXILE, an Iranian-American video game tester develops a game set in a post-nuclear-apocalypse Iran. As she does so, her own relationship becomes a fallout zone.

EXILE has a set by Timothy Mackabee, costumes by Amanda Seymour, sound by Stowe Nelson, and props by Andrew Diaz.

Established in 1998, MENTOR PROJECT is the recipient of the Ross Wetzsteon OBIE Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Development of New Work, along with the 2009 James Kirkwood Award for fostering and promoting the work of contemporary American Playwrights. The program engages leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for an entire theater season. To date, Mentor Project has nurtured and launched new works by 47 emerging dramatists, including Katori Hall, Rajiv Joseph, Christopher Shinn, Bridgette Wimberly, Jakob Holder, Sheila Callaghan and Anton Dudley.

After having been submitted for consideration through a national nominating committee, and selected through a blind judging process, the Mentors help the young writers hone their craftsmanship through meetings, readings and workshops, while forming a personal and trusted relationship of support. The project culminates in a showcase production that remains critic-free to avoid commercial concerns that would inhibit the writer's creative process. The Project has elevated a third of its alumni to professional and public notice. Their work has flourished on and Off-Broadway, regionally and around the world. Cherry Lane's Mentors count among their distinctions eight Pulitzer Prizes, six Pulitzer Prize nominations, 13 Obie Awards, eight Tony Awards, six Tony nominations, two Oscars, and an Oscar nomination. MENTOR PROJECT plays are not open for review by the press.

MENTOR PROJECT 2013 is overseen by Cherry Lane Artistic Director Angelina Fiordellisi and Program Director Stephanie Ybarra. Janio Marrero is The Cherry Lane Theatre's Production Manager, and Seri Lawrence is the theatre's Literary ManageR. Kelly Ice is the Production Stage Manager, and Michael Bulger is the Associate Producer for the 2013 season.

Each production of the MENTOR PROJECT 2013 season will have 12 performances. The performance schedule is Monday through Friday at 7pm, and Saturday at 3pm and 7pm.

Single tickets for each production are $18. A $1 facility fee will be added to each ticket purchased. With a 15th anniversary membership, patrons can purchase a Mentor Project pass for $45 and see all 3 evenings for just $15 per ticket. Tickets are on sale now at www.CherryLaneTheatre.org or by calling OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111, or in person at The Cherry Lane Theatre box office. Visit www.CherryLaneTheatre.org.

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