Pulitzer Prize Winner David Lindsay-Abaire to Join Juilliard as Co-Director of Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program
James Houghton, Richard Rodgers Director ofJuilliard's Drama Division, announced today that Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire will join Marsha Normanas new co-director of Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, beginning in the fall 2016 semester. Mr. Lindsay-Abaire, an alumnus of the program, will succeed Christopher Durang, who has served as co-director of the program with Ms. Norman since 1994.
"Teaching with Christopher has been one of the great joys of my career and my life," said Marsha Norman. "Every Wednesday for 22 years, we have not 'taught' playwriting, but have listened to plays, talked about plays, shown the writers what working playwrights go through, and gotten them ready for the critical decisions and collaborations that will make the difference in their careers as artists. Christopher has been a great friend to me and to the playwrights, a valuable ally and a genius at casting, something most writers never realize they need to learn. But I understand why he needs his life back, so I am overjoyed to have David Lindsay-Abaire come in to take Chris's chair. Like Chris, he is a real man of the theater, and a friend to writers, and so funny. David was our first choice, but it was Christopher himself who wooed him into accepting. This is an artist legacy moment, and as such, exhibits Chris's continuing commitment to the Juilliard program and it's extraordinary young playwrights."
"Marsha Norman and Chris Durang have together created one of the most dynamic and essential playwrights programs in the country," James Houghton said. "They have nurtured an entire generation of some of the finest writing in American theater and beyond. It is absolutely right and appropriate that David Lindsay-Abaire, as an alum, joins Marsha now as they continue the legacy of this program. We are thrilled beyond measure to have David join us."
"I consider my years as a student at Juilliard to have been a special and seminal time in my life as a playwright, primarily because of Chris and Marsha and their unwavering support and guidance," David Lindsay-Abaire remarked. "To be stepping in for Chris all these years later is a great honor, and incredibly humbling. I so look forward to working alongside Marsha, and with Jim Houghton and the rest of the Juilliard family. But most exciting of all, I'm eager to get to know the next generation of playwrights, and to learn from them."
David Lindsay-Abaire is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, and librettist. His play Good People premiered on Broadway, and was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, The Horton Foote Prize, The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and two Tony nominations. His 2007 play Rabbit Hole received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, five Tony nominations, and the Spirit of America Award. Mr. Lindsay-Abaire also wrote the book and lyrics for Shrek the Musical, which was nominated for eight Tonys, four Oliviers, a Grammy, and earned him the Ed Kleban Award as America's most promising musical theater lyricist. His other plays include Ripcord, Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo, Wonder of the Worldand A Devil Inside, among others. In addition to Mr. Lindsay-Abaire's work in theater, his screen credits include his film adaptation of Rabbit Hole, Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians, and the upcoming Family Fang, starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, and Jason Bateman.
Last season, Juilliard Drama presented a production of Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole featuring its 4th-year actors in the Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater at Juilliard.
Juilliard's Playwrights Program offers one-year, tuition-free, graduate level fellowships to four or five writers each year. Selected playwrights may be invited to continue their studies through a second academic year, thereby completing a total of 52 credits for the two-year fellowship period and earning an Artist Diploma in Playwriting.
Alumni of the program have garnered considerable recognition, including productions, commissions, publications, and awards, such as the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole in 2007 and for David Auburn's Proof in 2001. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins recently received two Obie Awards, the Steinberg Playwrights Award (2015), the Martin E. Segal Award (Emerging Artist Award) from Lincoln Center, and the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize from Yale University (2016), which includes a cash prize of $150,000. Samuel D. Hunter was the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, and his play, Clarkston, was among the six finalists for the ACTA/Steinberg New Play Award.
Other Juilliard alumni playwrights have been recognized with countless other awards, including: the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Francesca Primus Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, Helen Merrill Award, Horton Foote Prize, Lanford Wilson Prize, Leah Ryan Prize, Lilly Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Obie Award, Olivier Award, Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, PEN Literary Awards for Emerging and Mid-Career Playwrights, Signature Theatre's Residency Five Program, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Tennessee Williams Award, the Weissberger Award, the Whiting Writers' Award and the Yale Prize.
Many Juilliard playwrights continue to work in television: Beau Willimon created House of Cardson Netflix and finished his fourth (and final) season, and he is also executive producing National Geographic's "The Walk Around The World." A fifth season has been announced of Elizabeth Meriwether's New Girl on Fox. This season will see a hundredth episode. Marco Ramirez is now the co-executive producer on Netflix's Daredevil after previously writing for Orange is the New Black, Da Vinci's Demons, and Sons of Anarchy. Jessica Goldberg created The Way for Hulu,who has already ordered 10 episodes. She also just signed an overall deal with Universal Television. Other alumni who have recently worked in television include Sofia Alvarez (Man Seeking Woman), Joshua Allen (Empire, Hostages), Tanya Barfield (The Americans, The One Percent) Jonathan Caren (The Start Up), Julia Cho (Betrayal, Big Love), Andrea Ciannavei(Copper, Borgia, American Odyssey), Fernanda Coppel (Kingdom, The Bridge), Cusi Cram(The Big C), Alexandra Cunningham (Aquarius, Bates Motel, Deception, Prime Suspect),Bathsheba Doran (Masters of Sex, Smash, Boardwalk Empire), Ron Fitzgerald (Knifeman, Last Resort, Prime Suspect), David Folwell (Mistresses), Etan Frankel (Shameless), Kate Gersten (Mozart in the Jungle), Jessica Goldberg (Parenthood, Camp, Deception), Daniel Goldfarb (Rogue), Steve Harper (Covert Affairs), Nathan Jackson (Shameless, Southland),Nick Jones (Orange is the New Black), J.C. Lee (How To Get Away With Murder, Looking, Girls), Carly Mensch (Nurse Jackie, Weeds), Janine Nabers (Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce),Adam Rapp (Flesh and Bone, In Treatment), David West Read (Schitt's Creek), and Tatiana Suarez-Pico (Parenthood). Boo Killebrew, now in her second year at Juilliard, has already written an episode of Longmire.
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