NNPN's Benefit Features ALABASTER By Audrey Cefaly And Honors JUMP By Charly Evon Simpson
National New Play Network, the alliance of professional theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, held its annual benefit Monday night at The Vineyard's Dimson Theatre in New York City. In addition to a staged reading of Audrey Cefaly's Alabaster, Charly Evon Simpson's Jump was celebrated as the inaugural recipient of The David Goldman Fund for New American Plays.David Goldman, the director of the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University, was the driving force behind the creation of National New Play Network in 1998 and its widely acclaimed Rolling World Premiere (RWP) program in 2004. Last year, NNPN announced the formation of a new fund in his honor - the David Goldman Fund for New American Plays. This Fund allows the Network to dedicate one of its RWP supported works each year to Goldman via a statement acknowledging him as the organization's founder. This citation will be included in the billing for the play in perpetuity, spreading the word of his vision and impact every time and everywhere that play is produced. Mr. Goldman selected Jump by Charly Evon Simpson to receive the first iteration of this honor. "Jump is a play about what makes humans human--the casual and the deep relationships that tell us who we are and what we are living for," said Goldman. "With these ingredients, Charly Evon Simpson's play creates theatrical magic."Ms. Simpson, who was in attendance at last night's event, said, "I was so surprised and touched to learn that Jump had been selected for the Goldman Fund. NNPN has been such a wonderful supporter of this play and of me. Jump is out in the world in large part due to the NNPN's programs. I will forever be grateful to them for this honor and their support."Jump is currently in the midst of its Rolling World Premiere. The Roll began in January at PlayMakers Repertory Company (North Carolina), then headed to Portland, OR and a co-production between Milagro and Confrontation Theatre. In the coming months, the show will arrive in Atlanta, GA at Actor's Express, before concluding in Austin, TX with Shrewd Productions. The centerpiece of the evening's festivities was a staged reading of Audrey Cefaly's Alabaster, which will soon embark on a record-breaking 10-production Rolling World Premiere. The reading featured actors Alina Collins Maldonado, Kimberly Gilbert, Carolyn Messina, and Andrea Gallo, and was directed by Eleanor Holdridge. Alabaster was featured at the 2018 NNPN National Showcase of New Plays and will begin its Roll at Florida Repertory Theatre (Fort Myers) in December 2019.
David Goldman is the former Theatre & Film Critic for CBS Radio in New York. In 1998, while serving as a consultant to George White and the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, he founded National New Play Network (NNPN). In 2004 Goldman was named Director of the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University, where he runs a new play reading series in association with Playwrights Foundation and partners with Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival to bring environmental issue plays to audiences at Stanford, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. In 2006, along with Gregg Henry, Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival, he founded the Center's National New Play Network MFA Playwrights Workshop, which provides opportunities for graduate level playwriting students to develop new works in collaborations with NNPN-affiliated directors and dramaturgs.
Charly Evon Simpson's plays include Behind the Sheet, Jump, form of a girl unknown, it's not a trip it's a journey, and more. Her work has been seen at and/or developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ars Nova, The Lark, P73, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, National New Play Network through its NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop and National Showcase of New Plays, and others. Jump is in the process of receiving an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, with productions at Actor's Express (Atlanta) and Shrewd Productions (Austin) still to come in 2019. Charly is currently a member of WP Theater's 2018-2020 Lab, The New Georges Jam, Primary Stages' Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, The Amoralists 18/19 'Wright Club and she's The Pack's current playwright-in-residence. Charly is a former member of SPACE on Ryder Farm's The Working Farm, Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers' Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre's Youngblood, and Pipeline Theatre Company's PlayLab. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Purchase. She received her BA from Brown University, a master's in Women's Studies from University of Oxford, New College, and her MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College. www.charlyevonsimpson.com