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The Lark Announces 2017-18 Rita Goldberg Playwrights' Workshop Fellows

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From left to right: Headshots of Rae Binstock, Nick Gandiello, Lucas Hnath, C.A. Johnson, and Susan Soon He Stanton.
From left to right: Rae Binstock, Nick Gandiello, Lucas Hnath, C.A. Johnson, Susan Soon He Stanton

NEW YORK, NY – The Lark, a theater company devoted to the support of visionary playwrights and the development of new plays, is thrilled to announce five New York City-based playwrights have been named as the 2017-18 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows. The group spans a wide range of backgrounds and professional experiences and will meet regularly throughout the year to develop new plays.

The five fellows are Rae Binstock, who received The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists 2017 Theatre Grant for her play land of no mercyNick Gandiello, author of The Blameless, which received a production at The Old Globe San Diego subsequent to being developed through The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week program (2016); Lucas Hnath, author of Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop, 2017) and Tony-nominated play A Doll’s House, Part 2  (2017);  C.A. Johnson, a 2016-17 Van Lier New Voices Fellow at The Lark whose play Thirst was included on the 2017 Kilroys’ List; and Susan Soon He Stanton, a staff writer for the London TV series Succession, on HBO, who received the Lark Venturous Playwright Fellowship for her play Today Is My Birthday.

Arthur Kopit talks with actors of the Rita Goldberg's Playwrights' Workshop about his script in progress.
Alfredo Narcisso, Lanna Joffrey, Arthur Kopit, and Brian Dykstra during a session of the 2016-17 Rita Goldberg Playwrights' Workshop.

The Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop brings together emerging and established playwrights to explore new material without commercial pressures. Fellows meet twice a month to share new pages from plays-in-progress with a community of actors, directors, designers, writers, and special guests. Now in its 19th year, the Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Program has served as a resource for over 100 playwright fellows to develop their work within a peer-based cohort of artists. By surrounding the development of new plays with an engaged community of stakeholders, the Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop has served as one of The Lark's most significant tools for providing expanded engagement of our artistic community in the development of extraordinary work in progress.

“Playwrights’ Workshop is structured to support both the creation of new plays and the playwrights who write them. We're so excited that these five singular writers will all be sharing the same space and engaging one another in communal conversation over the course of this year as they generate new work,” said Krista Williams, Roundtable and Casting Director at The Lark. “These writers each investigate shared and urgent questions about humanity, history, society, and identity with sincere curiosity and a joyful sense of play. Together they make for a wickedly talented, rigorously thoughtful group who have risen to the challenge of tackling some of the most significant questions of our time. We are thrilled they’re joining us this year.”

The program is led by esteemed dramatist and program creator Arthur Kopit and a rotating group of leading American playwrights that includes David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, Kimber Lee, Terrence McNally, Dominique Morisseau,José Rivera, and Doug Wright, among others. Fellows are selected annually by a committee that solicits nominations from leading dramatists and artistic directors.  Program alumni include Robert Askins (Hand to God), Katori Hall (The Mountaintop), Samuel D. Hunter (The Healing), Rajiv Joseph (Archduke), Lisa Kron (Fun Home), José Rivera (Marisol), Lucy Thurber (Transfers) and Lynn Nottage, whose Pulitzer Prize winning play Sweat was developed during her time as a Fellow in the Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop during the 2013-14 season.

“The workshop is an energizing place for a writer. It is a seriously dedicated, generous, super smart community to return to every other week,” said playwright Sam Chanse, a 2016-17 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow. “It is a space to take risks and be received with insights, encouragement, and inspiration—a loving and supportive but rigorous structure in the often amorphous swamplands of writing. I loved being in this room.”

This program has been made possible with leadership support from longtime Lark trustee Rita Goldberg.  Additional support is provided by the Axe-Houghton Foundation and the John Golden Fund.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Rae Binstock was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. She earned her BA from Columbia University. Her full-length plays include land of no mercy (The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists 2017 Theatre Grant), Watch Me Burn (Pride Films & Plays, Idle Muse Theatre, Fresh Fruit Festival), Expedition (Monsterpiece Theatre Collective, National Theater for Student Artists, Seymour Brick Memorial Prize for Playwriting), We Are The Light Of The World (Red Theater’s National Playwriting Prize), POSE (Stella Adler Studio), The Snowstorm (2016 Historic Elitch Theatre New Works Festival, Harold Clurman Playwright’ Division Pick), and Daughters of the Evolution (New Perspective Theatre's 2017 Short Play Lab). Rae is a contributing writer at Slate.com, a co-creator of the fiction podcast Tapes From Jane Street, and an O’Neill Conference and SPACE on Ryder Farm semifinalist. She has been awarded residencies by the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Rae lives in Brooklyn, NY. Allison Schwartz, Paradigm Talent Agency; www.raebinstock.com.

Nick Gandiello is a playwright and teaching artist based in NYC.  His plays include The Blameless (The Old Globe), Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), The Wedge Horse (Fault Line Theatre), and Sunrise Highway (Ojai Playwrights Conference). Nick was the 2015 Page 73 Productions Playwriting Fellow, was awarded the 2016 Marin Theatre Company David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, and is an alum of the Ars Nova Play Group. His work has been developed or presented by Manhattan Theatre Club, The Lark, The Flea, Keen Company, Samuel French’s Off Off Broadway Festival, Capital Stage, Premiere Stages, and Wide Eyed Productions, among others.  Gandiello teaches Playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, and has worked as a teaching artist with the New School for Drama, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Naked Angels, Young Playwrights Inc., and Dorset Theatre Festival, among others. MFA, The New School for Drama.

Lucas Hnath’s work includes A Doll’s House, Part 2, Hillary and Clinton, Red Speedo, The Christians, A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, Isaac’s Eye, and Death Tax. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally, including at Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Soho Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival of New Plays, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Steppenwolf Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Royal Court Theatre, and on Broadway at the John Golden Theater. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a resident playwright of New Dramatists, and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Lucas is a recipient of an Obie, Guggenheim Fellowship, Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, Whiting Award, Kesselring Prize, two Steinberg citations from the American Theatre Critics Association, and a 2017 Tony nomination for Best Play.

C. A. Johnson hails from Metairie Louisiana, but currently lives and writes in Queens. Her plays include Mother Tongue, The Climb, Waitin’ on the Moon, Elroy Learn His Name, and Thirst. She is a member of the 2017 Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm and a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center. She was previously The Lark's 2016 Van Lier Playwriting Fellow, a 2016-2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow, and a member of The Civilians R&D Group.  Her work has been developed with The Lark, Open Bar Theatricals, UC San Diego, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation, and The Fire This Time Festival. Most recently, C.A.’s play Thirst was selected for the 2017 PlayPenn Conference and the 2017 Kilroys’ List. BA: Smith College, MFA: NYU. www.cajohnson.info.

Susan Soon He Stanton's plays include Today Is My Birthday; We, the Invisibles; Takarazuka!!! (Clubbed Thumb Summerworks); Cygnus (Women's Project Lab); SEEK; The Things Are Against Us; The Underneath; and Furball. Most recently, she worked in London as a staff writer for the TV series Succession on HBO. She is a member of Page 73's 2017 Interstate 73 writers group, a two-time Sundance Institute Theater Lab Resident Playwright, Ma-Yi Lab, and an alumna of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, SoHo Rep Writer-Director Lab, and The Women’s Project Lab, among other writers groups. Her work has been included on the Kilroys’ List in 2015, '16, and '17, and she was recently awarded the inaugural Lark Venturous Playwrights Fellowship for Today Is My Birthday as well as a Leah Ryan’s FEWW Award for We, The Invisibles. Originally from Hawai‘i, Susan holds a BFA from NYU Tisch’s Dramatic Writing program and an MFA from Yale School of Drama.


ABOUT RITA GOLDBERG

Rita Goldberg’s love of theater and dramatic writing began when she was a Hunter College student enthralled with the work of Eugene O’Neill.  After getting married and raising four children - Andrew, Suzan, Josh and Mitchell - Rita embarked on a career as an independent education counselor and founding member of Independent Educational Consultants Association and its regional division. Because of her passion for theater and dramatic writing, Rita and her husband Burton established the Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in Playwriting at Hunter College. She is on the Board of Trustees of The Lark and has followed Lark’s growth from its infancy and supported its progress through her patronage.

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