Tony- and Pulitzer-Winning Playwright John Patrick Shanley Honored by 2014 William Inge Theatre Festival, Beg. Today

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Tony- and Pulitzer-Winning Playwright John Patrick Shanley Honored by 2014 William Inge Theatre Festival, Beg. Today

John Patrick Shanley, playwright, screenwriter and director, Oscar, Tony, Writers' Guild and Pulitzer Prize winner, will be the Honoree of the 33rd Annual William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas, at Independence Community College.

The Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, the Inge Festival runs today, March 26-29, 2014.

Shanley joins the roster of internationally renowned playwrights who have traveled to the Inge Festival to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award. This select company includes Arthur Miller, Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe and Neil Simon, to name only a few.

"John Patrick Shanley's writing is muscular, poetic, funny, inspiring, spiritual, intellectual and deeply human. He is a true prize of the American theatre," said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center Artistic Director. "Shanley's work examines the nuances of our belief systems; his characters often have to confront their own shortcomings and re-evaluate their values and what it means to be human." Ellenstein said, "We are thrilled to have such a charming, versatile, multi-talented honoree joining us in Independence next year."

Shanley is not just an accomplished playwright, but also a screenwriter, and unlike most playwrights, he often directs his own work, whether on stage or screen. Shanley will attend the Inge Festival, March 26-29, 2014, and present a writing workshop. At the multi-media Tribute performance that concludes the festival, Shanley will accept the annual William Inge Theatre Festival's Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.

John Patrick Shanley's best known stage work is the dramatic parable "Doubt," which swept almost every theatre award there is: Obie, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. Shanley followed that up by directing the film version starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and receiving an Oscar nomination. Shanley rose to prominence in the theatre in early 1980s with a series of exciting plays plays including: "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," "The Dreamer Examines his Pillow," "Italian American Reconciliation," "Four Dogs and a Bone," "Savage in Limbo," "Beggar in the House of Plenty," and "Psychopathia Sexualis" and he's still going very strong, as last season's "Storefront Church" at the Atlantic Theatre Company attests. Unlike most great American Playwrights, Shanley is just as well known as a screenwriter. Shanley wrote the movie "Moonstruck" starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, winning himself and Cher both Oscars, and the coveted Writer's Guild Award. He wrote the screenplays for many films and television shows including: "Five Corners," "January Man," "Alive," and he wrote and directed the cult favorite, "Joe Versus the Volcano", starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in.

Since its founding in 1981, the William Inge Theatre Festival has celebrated the accomplishments of nationally renowned playwrights. Inge, who passed away in 1973, was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of "Picnic" and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Splendor in the Grass."

Major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the National Endowment for the Arts, the William Inge Festival Foundation, Independence Chamber of Commerce, and its host campus, Independence Community College.

The Inge Festival's setting is the quaint small town of Independence, located in rural southeast Kansas. It is 90 miles north of Tulsa, Okla., and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Mo.

The Inge Festival is sponsored by the William Inge Center for the Arts, a year-round arts center at Independence Community College (ICC). The Inge Center partners with ICC's Fine Arts program to provide a unique blend of professional theatre with academic theatre training. The Center is also proud to be a co-producer of next year's ASTRA summer festival of Theatre and Art, also in Independence, July 3-13, 2014.

ICC is also home to the William Inge Collection, which includes correspondence, original artwork, and some 400 manuscripts, as well as Inge's personal book and record collections. During 2009, seven of the unpublished plays from the Collection were publicly performed for the first time, including one world premiere in New York. The Inge Collection at Independence Community College is the most extensive collection on William Inge in existence, and remains a valuable resource for both theater researchers and admirers of the playwright. The Collection houses about 25 manuscripts by Inge that have not been published.

Thanks primarily to the work of longtime Tribute creator Mike Wood of Wichita State University, the Inge Center has amassed a vast collection of video interviews of America's leading playwrights, composers, actors, directors, producers and other theatre professionals, gathered over the last three decades. A sampling of playwright interviews is available on the website www.ingecenter.org. The rest of the video collection is in the process of being digitally preserved for future generations.

Tickets for the 33rd Annual William Inge Theatre Festival go on sale online in February of 2014. For further information, visit www.ingecenter.org or call (800) 842-6063 ext. 5491.

Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

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