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ONCE's Elizabeth A. Davis Among Playwrights in Cherry Lane's MENTOR PROJECT, Now thru 4/13

One of the nation's leading programs for emerging playwrights -- Cherry Lane Theatre's award-winning MENTOR PROJECT -- celebrates its 15th anniversary this season with the production of four new plays by emerging writers -- each of whom is paired with an accomplished mentor playwright -- from tonight, February 20, 2012 to April 13 at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St.) in Manhattan. MENTOR PROJECT is the recipient of the Ross Wetzsteon Obie Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Development of New Work, along with the 2009 James Kirkwood Award for fostering and promoting the work of contemporary American Playwrights.

Angelina Fiordellisi, Artistic Director of Cherry Lane Theatre and Mentor Project, has announced the four writers and the four mentor playwrights who will work with them over the course of the theatrical season as they prepare their new plays for production at Cherry Lane. Ms. Fiordellisi is also proud to announce Mentor Project's new program director, Stephanie Ybarra. Seri Lawrence is Literary Manager; Janio Marrero is Production Manager.

The 2013 Mentor Project playwrights and mentors are:

--Lisa Ramirez, author of PAS DE DEUX (LOST MY SHOE) will be mentored by playwright/performer Cynthia Hopkins. PAS DE DEUX will be performed at Cherry Lane Theatre from February 20 to March 2. PAS DE DEUX is a multimedia play about love, family, addiction and survival, depicting Ms. Ramirez's relationship with her brother -- a principal dancer with The Oakland Ballet, who lost his struggle with alcoholism -- and how she remained connected to him after his death by enrolling in ballet classes to learn the dances he had performed.

--Elizabeth A/ Davis, best-known as the Tony-nominated actress from the hit musical Once on Broadway, is the author of JOE and will be mentored by Enda Walsh, the Tony Award-winning author of the book of the musical Once. JOE will also be performed from February 20 to March 2 at Cherry Lane. JOE is Ms. Davis' play with music about Joe, a Native American homeless man in his 60's, and his 10-year encounter with Elizabeth, a small town, Texas pageant college girl.

--Natalia Naman is the author of LAWNPEOPLE and will be mentored by Eduardo Machado (HAVANA IS WAITING). LAWNPEOPLE will perform March 13 to 23. The play centers on the story of Solymar, a Mexican woman working as a housekeeper for a wealthy black couple in the South. An illegal immigrant married to another illegal, Solymar and her husband's new lives -- and the lives of her employers -- become complicated when a death at home in Mexico leaves her young daughter without a guardian, making it implausible for the pregnant Solymar to return to where she is needed most.

--Nastaran Ahmadi, author of EXILE, is mentored by Kia Corthron (FORCE CONTINUUM). The play will be performed April 3 to 13. In EXILE, an Iranian-American video game tester develops a game set in a post-nuclear-apocalypse Iran, even as her own relationship becomes a fallout zone. In EXILE, loyalties shift quickly, and staying alive is the only way to win.

Established in 1998, MENTOR PROJECT is Cherry Lane Theatre's Obie Award and James Kirkwood Award-winning program that engages leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for an entire theater season. To date, Mentor Project has nurtured and launched new workd by 47 emerging dramatists including Katori Hall, Rajiv Joseph, Christopher Shinn, Bridgette Wimberly, Jakob Holder, Sheila Callaghan and Anton Dudley.

After having been submitted for consideration through our national nominating committee, and selected through a blind judging process, the Mentors help the young writers hone their craftsmanship through meetings, readings and workshops, while forming a personal and trusted relationship of support. The project culminates in a showcase production that remains critic-free to avoid commercial concerns that would inhibit the writer's creative process. The Project has elevated a third of its alumni to professional and public notice. Their work has flourished on and Off-Broadway, regionally and around the world. Cherry Lane's Mentors are truly a priceless resource - they count among their distinctions eight Pulitzer Prizes, six Pulitzer Prize nominations, 13 Obie Awards, eight Tony Awards, six Tony nominations, two Oscars, and an Oscar nomination. MENTOR PROJECT plays are not open for review by the press.

For performance and ticket information to MENTOR PROJECT productions, visit Tickets are $19 (includes $1 facility fee). For tickets by phone call Ovation Tix at 212 352 3101 or 866-811-4111. For tickets online

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