Ars Nova Announces 2009 Play Group And Artists-in-Residence
Play Group is Ars Nova's vibrant and eclectic group of emerging writers who gather twice a month at Ars Nova to share new work and get peer feedback. The group offers members the chance to develop their plays with peer support, form collaborative relationships and build a strong sense of community within Ars Nova. In addition, members receive dramaturgical support and artistic matchmaking advice from the Ars Nova artistic staff, priority consideration for Ars Nova's reading series (Out Loud) and industry exposure through a culminating group production at Ars Nova. Members of Play Group '09 will create a show to be presented in January 2010.
New members were selected after a competitive open application process and join for a two-year residency. The group is led by Director of Artistic Development, Emily Shooltz, who said: "The response to our call for applications was incredible, and the 2009 group represents a thrilling range of voices, styles and experience. Play Group is at the heart of our community of artists. It will be a privilege to have these writers here creating new work and inspiring one another this year."
New Play Group members include Kristoffer Diaz, Zayd Dohrn, Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Amy Herzog, Samuel D. Hunter, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Matthew Lopez and Janine Nabers. They join second-year members: Annie Baker, Bekah Brunstetter, Dylan Dawson, Steven Levenson and Samuel Brett Williams. Full bios for the 2009 Play Group are included below.
Recent Play Group alumni include Mike Batistick, Evan Cabnet, Ron Fitzgerald, Liz Flahive, Sam Forman, Etan Frankel, Kyle Jarrow, Nick Jones, Barry Levey, Liz Meriwether, Carly Mensch, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rachel Shukert, Mat Smart, Aurin Squire, Adam Szymkowicz and Beau Willimon.
Ars Nova proudly announces its 2009 Artists-In-Residence: Playwright Bekah Brunstetter, Composer Geo Wyeth (aka Novice Theory), Director Kerry Whigham, and Costume Designer Emily Rebholz. During their one-year residency, these emerging artists have access to Ars Nova staff and resources, and an artistic home. In turn, they provide expertise and skills to Ars Nova, and are integral to artistic planning and production. Playwright Bekah Brunstetter and Composer Geo Wyeth received 2009 commissions to create new work for the Ars Nova stage. Full bios for the 2009 Artists-In-Residence are included below.
As New York's premiere hub for emerging artists and new work, Ars Nova is committed to developing and producing eclectic theatre, comedy and music to feed today's popular culture. To that end, Ars Nova strives to create daring collaborations, meld disciplines and give voice to a new generation of artists. Last season, Ars Nova developed and produced critically acclaimed productions of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's Boom, Liz Flahive's From Up Here (in a co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club), and Nick Jones and Raja Azar's Jollyship the Whiz-Bang. Past productions include Dixie's Tupperware Party, At Least It's Pink, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Holy Cross Sucks!, Freestyle Love Supreme and The Wau Wau Sisters. In addition to its featured productions, Ars Nova supports and develops new work from the most promising emerging artists through its alternative comedy series (Tragedy Tomorrow), music series (Uncharted), public play-reading series (Out Loud), developmental residency program (Residency Encores) writer's group (Play Group) and artist-in-residence program. Ars Nova was founded in memory of Gabe Wiener.
Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright and educator. Plays include: Welcome to Arroyo's (developed/presented at the Donmar Warehouse in London, the Summer Play Festival, The Lark's Barebones series, Hip-Hop Theater Festival's Critical Breaks series, The Lark's Playwright Week, South Coast Repertory's Hispanic Playwrights Project, The Tank, and New York University); The Trophy Thieves: A High School Love Story (New York University Festival of New Works-Best in Festival Commendation and The Gallery Players; published by Playscripts); Guernica (Manhattan Theatre Source and New Dramatists; semi-finalist, 2006 O'Neill Playwrights Conference); The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens Ignition Festival, Summer Play Festival Alumni Reading Series and The Lark; finalist 2008 O'Neill Playwrights Conference); and Blood Wedding (with Jaime Castañeda; American Theater Company and Teatro Vista). Kristoffer is one of the writers for the 2009 Humana Festival anthology, and his play Welcome to Arroyo's will be published in 2009 as part of the first major anthology of hip-hop theater. Awards include the Van Lier Fellowship with New Dramatists and a Donmar Warehouse Playwright Residency. He holds an MFA from New York University's Department of Dramatic Writing. Kristoffer is currently enrolled in the MFA Performing Arts Management program at Brooklyn College.
Zayd Dohrn received his MFA from NYU and is currently a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard. His plays have been produced and developed at Woolly Mammoth, South Coast Rep, The Alliance, Marin Theatre Company, Kitchen Dog, Magic Theatre, American Theater Company, Southern Rep, Boston Playwrights', New Jersey Rep, Aurora Theatre, and Alchemy Theatre of Manhattan. He is a recipient of Lincoln Center's Lecomte du Nouy Prize, the Sky Cooper Prize, the Jean Kennedy Smith Award, an IRNE for Best New Play, and residencies with 24Seven, Chautauqua, and The Royal Court Theatre of London.
Tasha Gordon-Solmon is pursuing her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU where she is the recipient of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Fellowship in Playwriting. Her short play BillyJoelTookMetotheProm.com was produced by the American Globe Theater in New York and Walking Fish Festival in Vancouver. Her one-act play Iphigenia at Her Funeral will be produced at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto this spring. She is the author of the full-length plays Golden Water and Wedded in White: A Dark Comedy in Pastels and a feature length screenplay, Liner Notes on the Art of Living. Tasha is an alumnus of the National Theater Institute, a founding member of Full Stop Theater Collective and the Literary Associate at Women's Expressive Theater.
Amy Herzog received the 2008 Helen Merrill award for emerging playwrights. Her plays include Opportunity, The Wendy Play, Hungry, Willing and Christmas Present. Her work has been produced at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Ensemble Studio Theater (EST), The Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Yale School of Drama, and she has received readings or workshops at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film, The Rattlestick, The Black Dahlia in Los Angeles, and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.. She holds a commission from the Yale Repertory Theatre. Her one-act play Christmas Present was produced as part of the 2008 Marathon of One-Act Plays at EST. Amy is an alumna of Youngblood, EST's workshop for emerging professional playwrights. She has a B.A. in English from Yale College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. She teaches playwriting at Bryn Mawr College.
Samuel D. Hunter is from Moscow, Idaho. He received his BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU in 2004, an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop in 2007, and is currently a playwright-in-residence at the Juilliard School. Most recently, Sam was awarded the 2008-2009 Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship from the Lark Theater, where he is a member of the Lark Playwrights Workshop. His plays include: I Am Montana (produced at Montana Repertory Theater, developed at The Flea Theater, 2008 Ojai Playwrights Conference, 2008 Juilliard New Play Festival, 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the 2007 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference), Idaho / Dead Idaho (developed at Ars Nova, Juilliard, the Lark Theater, and the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Norman Rockwell Killed My Father (developed at the 2005 O'Neill Playwrights Conference), Abraham (A Shot in the Head) (produced at Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater), and his newest play, Hells Canyon, which recently had its first reading at Juilliard. Sam has taught at the University of Iowa, Fordham University, and in the Palestinian Territories at Ashtar Theater (Ramallah) and Ayyam al-Masrah (Hebron).
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright and performer from Washington, D.C., whose plays include: Neighbors, Face #1-3, Thirst, Zoo, Heart!!!, and Content. He is also one-half of enemyResearch, a performance duo with whom he has created/performed in Garbage, Schechnershirts, and The Amateurs. His work has been/will be seen at Prelude '08, New York Theatre Workshop, PS122, McCarter Theatre, Dixon Place, Providence Black Repertory, Links Hall, and Soho Rep. He is a former NYTW Playwriting fellow, an alum of the Hemispheric Institute's EMERGENYC Program, and is currently a member of the Soho Rep Writers/Directors lab. He also holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU.
Matthew Lopez's play, Tio Pepe, was presented this summer at The Public Theater as part of Summer Play Festival 2008. The Whipping Man received its world premiere at Luna Stage Company in April 2006 and will be presented next February at Penumbra Theatre Company under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director, Lou Bellamy. Other plays include Reverberation, Noble Street, Between Us, and Phemmi Klompers, Agent to the Stars. His work has been seen and developed at the McCarter Theatre, The New Group, The Lark Play Development Center, Luna Stage, Backhouse Productions, Monarch Theatre and Breedingground Productions. Matthew is a graduate of the University of South Florida. www.matthewlopez.com
Janine Nabers hails from Houston, Texas. She holds a BA in Drama from Ithaca College, an MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama, and is an alumna of the National Theater Institute. Janine's plays have been a finalist for: the Princess Grace Award, the Victory Garden's IGNITION playwriting award, The Theodore Ward Playwriting prize, and the POPS TNT playwriting award. Her play West of the Willow Tree is MCC Theatre's 2008 nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Last summer, her play Juniper; Jubilee was the winner of the Samuel French one act play festival and will be published in January of 2009. A resident playwright of Odyssey Productions and former Artistic intern at Naked Angels; Janine is a proud member of the Harlem Arts Alliance and the Dramatist Guild. She lives in Manhattan and is 26 years old.
Bekah Brunstetter hails from North Carolina. She received an MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama in 2007. Her plays include Green (finalist, Alliance Theater's Kendeda Competition), You May Go Now (winner, NYIT award for best new play, 2008) fucking art (winner, Samuel French short play festival, 2008,) Le Fou (the Atlantic Acting School, 2008,) Oohrah! (Ars Nova Outloud reading series, 2008, dir. Leigh Silverman) and Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Luna Stage reading series, 2008). She is a member of the Women's Project Playwright's Lab, At Play Productions, and Working Man's Clothes Productions. She lives in Williamsburg.
Emily Rebholz (Costume Designer): New York Design Credits include: Language of Trees (Roundabout Theatre); Clay (LCT3); Jollyship the Whiz-bang, Boom (Ars Nova); U.S. Drag (StageFarm); The Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (HERE); Have You Seen Steve Steven?(13P); Gutenberg! The Musical! (The Actors Playhouse) Select Regional: Six Degrees of Separation (The Old Globe Theatre); Broke-ology, Beyond Therapy (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (Centre Theatre Group); Doubt, Expecting Isabel (Asolo Repertory Theatre); Safe in Hell (Yale Repertory Theatre). Education: MFA, Yale School of Drama.
Kerry Whigham recently directed Girls I've LIKE Liked and Nobody Likes the Mormons as part of ANT Fest '08, as well as the NY premiere of Jennifer Haley's Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom as part of SPF '08 and the world premiere of Gregory Moss's punkplay at Brown. He is a Drama League Directing Fellow, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, an inaugural fellow for the New American Play Initiative, and has spent two summers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He directed the world premiere workshop of Madame Bovary by four-time Obie-award winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy, and he assisted on the Broadway production of Xanadu. www.kerrywhigham.com
Novice Theory is multi instrumentalist, songwriter, and performer Geo Wyeth. A native of New York and a champion of New Jersey, Geo was raised in a family of performing artists and began playing his own music in bars, coffee shops and public spaces at age 13. With roots in cabaret performance, experimental folk, and jazz, his work has been engaging audiences at Joe's Pub, The Zipper Factory, Ars Nova, La Mama, Glasslands, and other venues around town. He recently spent a month performing in London with Justin Bond as a part of his transgender variety show Lustre at the Soho Theatre. While in the UK, he was featured on the BBC television program "Later With Jools Holland" alongside the almighty Grace Jones. He is currently working on a multimedia song cycle about gender transformation, urban development, and flying too close to the sun.