Backstage

NEA to Nurture 7 Varied New Plays

Natalie Mosco brings "A Brush With Georgia O'Keeffe" to the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Saturday.
Natalie Mosco brings "A Brush With Georgia O'Keeffe" to the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Saturday. (Katvan Studio)

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By Jane Horwitz
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the selection of seven plays to be funded as part of its New Play Development Program. The pilot project, which is being administered by Arena Stage, is designed not only to underwrite new works already in progress but also to spot successful collaborations among artists, theaters, communities and other entities that might be used as models.

Selected as NEA Outstanding New American Plays are two works that, with the companies nurturing them, will receive $90,000 each toward further development and full productions:

· Rajiv Joseph's "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," told from the point of view of an old tiger caged at the war-ravaged zoo; Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles.

· "The Brother/Sister Plays," a trilogy by Tarell Alvin McCraney; McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J. The world premiere of the third play, "Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet," will be presented with the previous two, one of which ("The Brothers Size") was performed at Studio Theatre in January.

Five works in earlier stages of development will receive $20,000 each, as NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects:

· "Pastures of Heaven" by Octavio Solis, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1932 novel; California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley.

· "Happy End to Everything" by Lloyd Suh, a children's parable about the beauty of being unique that uses techniques of comedy, science fiction and Japanese manga; the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. The piece was begun in partnership with the Ma-Yi Theater Company of New York.


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© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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