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Larry Powell Named 2021 Recipient Of IAMA's 'Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission'

Larry Powell is an actor, writer, director and producer born and raised in South Central L.A.

Larry Powell Named 2021 Recipient Of IAMA's 'Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission'

IAMA Theatre Company has selected Larry Powell as the 2021 recipient of the company's annual Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission. Sponsored by award-winning writer and producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal), the commission, now in its fourth year, was created to help grow and nourish budding playwrights and artists with emphasis on cultural inclusion and the goal to showcase fresh, creative, thought-provoking work.

"It's a real gift to be able to work with a complete theater artist such as Larry," state IAMA co-artistic directors Stefanie Black and Katie Lowes. "His artistry knows no bounds and his voice is so rich with history and humanity, not to mention humor and pathos. We couldn't be more excited to help create a platform for Larry to continue his work, which we know will change the world."

Larry Powell is an actor, writer, director and producer born and raised in South Central L.A. As an actor, he's originated and premiered roles in some of the most exciting new plays in America including The Christians by Lucas Hnath, The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez, Father Comes Home From The Wars by Suzan Lori Parks, Brokeology by Nathan Louis Jackson and While I Yet Live by Billy Porter. He also stars as Lawrence in the movie The Browsing Effect (PrimeVideo). He is a two-time Ovation Award nominee, three-time NAACP Theatre Award nominee, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Award nominee and two-time L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award winner, as well as an Audelco and Audie award nominee. Larry is also a playwright and screenwriter. His plays include Lost Dog (Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist), Night Cap (Fire This Time Festival), Realness, Freedom Crown and more. He is the writer/creator of The Gaze... No Homo, a 2020/2021 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist, which he adapted into a 12-part, multi-platform online experience, then again into a one-sitting, on demand #Digiplay experience now playing on Center Theatre Group's digital stage. As a director, he has worked with brilliant artists on exciting new works for stage and screen, including on his own feature film project Mother's Milk (Pan African Film Festival 2021 official selection), which he also wrote and stars in; and with Phylicia Rashad, as assistant director on her Center Theatre Group production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Larry is an adjunct lecturer in the University of Southern California's School of Dramatic Arts MFA Acting program, directing stellar productions of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau. Larry is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama and the founder of Free The Arts, a holistic experience for diverse, intergenerational Black artists to put each other on game through quality training; community; opportunity; and new, bold works for a new audience.

According to Powell, "This is my first real commission of this magnitude, and that it is made possible through the generosity of the force that is Shonda Rhimes means more to me than I can really say. I am so grateful to IAMA for supporting me and my work in this way."

IAMA has been dedicated to developing plays and musicals by new, emerging and established playwrights since 2007. Rhimes, a frequent IAMA audience member, came on board in March 2017 as the company's first-ever "Patron of the Arts," committing funds for the commission through her Rhimes Family Foundation.

Designated by Playbill as "one of 20 regional houses every theater lover must know," IAMA is a Los Angeles-based ensemble of artists committed to invigorating live performance for a streaming generation. Through cutting-edge, cool and hyper-modern stories, IAMA is invested in the immediacy of production and strives to bring audiences out of their personal space and into a shared experience. IAMA continues to break new ground with its 2020-21 season: five new solo plays exploring identity, isolation, race and connection, each fully produced and shot live on-stage for online streaming during the pandemic. The season opened with Making Friends written and performed by Tom Detrinis, shot live at the Pico Playhouse. Hi, Are You Single?, written and performed Ryan J. Haddad (2020 recipient of the Rhimes commission), was filmed live by Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in association with IAMA. Currently in production, also at the Pico Playhouse, are Anyone But Me and The Oxy Complex, two compelling solo comedies about female identity by Latinx-American writer/performers Sheila Carrasco and Anna Lamadrid. The season will wrap in June with The Latrell Show by Brandon Kyle Goodman.

The Rhimes Family Foundation was established in 2016 by writer/producer Shonda Rhimes and her family. The foundation was created to support arts, education and activism with a focus on promoting cultural inclusion, fighting for equality and standing up against bigotry of any kind.

For more information about go to www.iamatheatre.com.

For more information about Shonda Rhimes and the Rhimes Family Foundation please contact: Kristin Robinson at 323-499-4800 or kristinr@shondaland.com.


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