OHIO MFA Playwriting alums Jackie Reingold (2003) and Laura Jacqmin (2007) recently worked on the writing staff for the soon to be released Netflix series, Grace and Frankie.
Recent graduate, Bianca Sams, has a new play Simply Bess having a reading at Nashville Repertory Theater this May!
Nashville Rep describes the play:
Simply Bess follows a young African American actress trying to make a name for herself. We see her backstage trials and tribulations on the 1950s European tour of Porgy and Bess, sponsored by the States Department as a way to combat communist propaganda about American racial problems.
Read a fun promo interview with her taken by Nashville Rep
Excerpt from website:
As we gear up for our annual Ingram New Works Festival (happening May 6-16, don’t miss it!), we want to introduce you to our three 2014-15 Lab Playwrights: Bianca Sams, Gabrielle Sinclair and Tori Keenan-Zelt. Since October, our lab playwrights have gathered here in Nashville each month with our Resident Playwright Nate Eppler to create, critique, read and write… and rewrite. Mainly to rewrite.
And now the final product is almost here! Their months of hard work will be realized with our fabulous Nashville actors giving staged readings of their new plays for you, our wonderful audience. So before you come to the Festival, we want you to get to know our 2014-15 Lab Playwrights.
OHIO MFA Playwriting alums Jackie Reingold and Laura Jacqmin served on the writing staff for the premiere season of “Grace and Frankie”, a new Netflix series starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. The series debuts on May 8th, streaming on your nearest interweb device. Read a preview here: http://www.people.com/article/grace-and-frankie-netflix-jane-fonda-lily-tomlin
From the Oregon Shakes Website: Opening in March is Vietgone by Qui Nguyen (March 30–Oct. 29, 2016). The play is based on the real-life story of Nguyen’s parent’s exodus from Vietnam in 1975 and their subsequent meeting and romance in a refugee camp in Arkansas. Vietgone will be directed by May Adrales, who will also direct the world premiere production of Vietgone at South Coast Repertory this fall.
More about Qui
Qui Nguyen is a playwright, screenwriter, and Co-Founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys of NYC. His work, known for its innovative use of pop-culture, stage violence, puppetry, and multimedia, has been lauded as “Culturally Savvy Comedy” by The New York Times, “Infectious Fun” by Variety, and “Tour De Force Theatre” by Time Out New York. This past season, The Chicago Tribune praised him as a “refreshing, break-the-rules writer” as Time Out Chicago named his play She Kills Monsters one of the 10 Best Plays of 2013.
Scripts include War is F**king Awesome (currently being developed by Sundance); She Kills Monsters (The Flea); Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Trial By Water (Ma-Yi Theater); Aliens Versus Cheerleaders (Keen Teens); Soul Samurai; The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (Ma-Yi Theater & Vampire Cowboys); Lush Valley (HERE); and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of Alice in Slasherland; Fight Girl Battle World; Men of Steel; and Living Dead in Denmark.
His scripts are published by Samuel French, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing.
Recent honors include being a 2014 Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellow; a 2014 McCarter/Sallie B. Goodman Fellow; a 2013 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow; a recipient of a 2013 AATE Distinguished Play Award (She Kills Monsters); a 2012 TCG Young Leader of Color; and receiving 2012 & 2009 GLAAD Media Award nominations for his plays She Kills Monsters and Soul Samurai.
He is a proud resident artist at New Dramatists, a core member of The Playwrights’ Center, an alumnus of Youngblood, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and the Keen Company New Play Lab.
Currently, Qui’s at work on new plays at South Coast Rep (Vietgone), Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis (Samantha Rai & The Shogun of Fear), HERE (Trade Practices), NYU (Five Days Till Saturday), The Playwrights Center (Dust), The Professional Performing Arts School (Begets); and Vampire Cowboys (Six Rounds of Vengeance). For television, he’s writes for the children’s cartoon, Peg+Cat, currently airing on PBS KIDS.
His company, Vampire Cowboys, often credited for being the pioneers of “geek theatre”, holds the unique distinction of being the first and currently only professional theatre organization to be officially sponsored by NY Comic Con. They’ve been praised by the Village Voice as “New York’s Best Army of Geeks” and currently in-residence at The New Ohio Theater and IRT.
We are proud to announce that The Visiting Mentors for the 2015 OHIO UNIVERSITY SEABURY QUINN, JR. PLAYWRIGHT’S FESTIVAL are: Steppenwolf’s Literary Manager and OU MFA Playwriting alum, Aaron Carter, Director of the Apprentice Company at Actors Theater of Louisville, Michael Legg and Executive Director of Indiana Repertory Theater, Janet Allen.
The festival will run April 23rd to the 25th.
Full Bios below:
Michael Legg is in his eighth season as Director of the Apprentice/Intern Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he¹s directed world-premieres of plays by A. Rey Pamatmat, Laura Jacqmin, Dan Dietz, Kyle John Schmidt, Marco Ramirez, Carmen Herlihy, Alison Moore, and many others. Before coming to Actors, he spent three years as a theatrical agent in New York and his former clients can still be seen on Broadway, in television/film, and in regional theatres across the country. Prior to his time in New York, he spent seven years teaching and directing and has recently served as a guest artist at several universities, including the University of Central Florida, the University of Idaho, and Ohio University. He also serves as the Artistic Director of the Wildwind Performance Lab in Texas and has taught for and worked extensively with the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. He holds an M.F.A. in acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a proud member of Actors Equity.
Janet Allen is currently the Executive Director of Indiana Repertory Theater. Creating world-class professional theatre for Central Indiana audiences of all ages has remained a career-long passion for Janet Allen. She began at the IRT in 1980 as the theatre’s first literary manager–dramaturg. After four years in New York City, she returned to serve ten years as associate artistic director under mentors Tom Haas and Libby Appel. She was named the IRT’s fourth artistic director in 1996. Janet studied theatre at Illinois State University, Indiana University, and Exeter College, Oxford. As a classical theatre specialist, she has published and taught theatre history and dramaturgy at IUPUI and Butler. Janet’s leadership skills and community service have been recognized by Indianapolis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award, the Network of Women in Business–IBJ’s “Influential Women in Business” Award, Safeco’s Beacon of Light in Our Community Award, a Distinguished Hoosier Award conferred iby Governor Frank O’Bannon, Girls Inc.’s Touchstone Award for Arts Leadership, and the Indiana Commission on Women’s “Keeper of the Light” Torchbearer Award.
Aaron Carter is currently the director of new play development at Steppenwolf Theater Company where he has served as dramaturg on such projects as The Way West by Mona Mansour, and Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour. Previously, he served as the Literary Manager at Victory Gardens Theater where he played a key role in the IGNITION Festival, and was involved in the production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Year Zero, Love Person and Living Green, among others. As a new play developer and dramaturg, Aaron has worked with many theaters and labs including WordBRIDGE, the Kennedy Center, Timeline Theater, Route 66 and Chicago Dramatists. Aaron also teaches courses in playwriting, dramaturgy and dramatic literature at Northwestern University, De Paul University, Roosevelt University and Grinnell College. As a playwright, Aaron’s work focuses on race, faith and obscure performance skills. Aaron’s play Gospel of Franklin was part of First Look 2013 at Steppenwolf. His latest play is Start Fair.
For more Info on the 2015 Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival, Click here
MFA Playwriting alum Cecilia Copeland is in the journal HowlRound today discussing her play “R Culture,” and how we as playwrights and theater practitioners should consider framing our approach to rape culture. From her essay:
This question of how to deal with rape on stage without creating more “rape culture” is paramount as we, as artists, attempt to express our experiences, create space for conversations, and build opportunities for change. – See more at: http://howlround.com/rape-culture-on-stage-or-as-subject
The Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Alaska just announced the 64 plays selected for inclusion in the 2015 PlayLab and among them are two playwrights with connections to the Professional Playwriting program at OU, Jacob Juntuen and current MFA Candidate, Catherine Weingarten ’17. Jacob got selected for his full-length play, Hath Taken Away and Catherine for her full-length play Are you Ready to get PAMPERED!? A graduate of the MFA in acting program, Eric Coble, will be a featured artist at the conference.
We are excited that there will be some OU reps at this prestigious conference!
There has been a history of OU playwriting alums at the conference including Ira Gammerman, Greg Aldrich and Jeremy Sony.
Here’s an excerpt from the website: The week-long Last Frontier Theatre Conference is held every Summer in Valdez, Alaska. It draws a majority of its participants from Alaska, but each year there are also attendees from the rest of the country and beyond. The 23rd Annual Conference is scheduled for June 14-20, 2015.
The Play Lab, started in 1995, features developmental readings of scripts from 20 minutes to 2 hours in length. Actors are sent scripts a month prior to the Conference. The readings receive one rehearsal the day before their performance, with the playwright acting as the director. The readings are then responded to by a three-person panel, and the audience gives their feedback as well. Additionally, authors have a private meeting with one of their panelists to further discuss the script.
Currently the Lab presents readings of 50-60 plays per year. Panelists include nationally acknowledged playwrights, director, designers, and dramaturgs, as well as some of the leading figures in Alaska’s theatre.
To read full press release Click Here
More about Jacob:
Jacob Juntunen is a playwright and theatre scholar whose work focuses on people who struggle against society’s boundaries.
His playwriting stems from a mix of scholarship and social responsibility. Therefore, his playwriting and academic writing are a constant symbiosis. Both focus on understanding the political function of theatre, and this focus is demonstrated in his plays, which, overall, are meant for those “who want to leave the theatre changed and moved,” as one Chicago critic described. He recently wrote See Him? to participate in the Belarusian Dream Theater, a consortium of 18 theaters in 13 countries simultaneously producing plays to raise awareness about human rights violations in Belarus. His latest play, In the Shadow of his Language lays bare the hidden dowry of academic success and was a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Center National Playwrights’ Conference; a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship; and a finalist for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award. It was also awarded an “In the Works” residency by the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In the Shadow of his Language has enjoyed two staged readings in Chicago, another at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, and a workshop off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. His play Saddam’s Lions—published in Plays for Two (Vintage)—examines the disquieting memories of an African-American female Iraq War veteran and her struggles to come to terms with war-time trauma. Jacob based this play on interviews with a veteran. This process combined his desire for politically relevant work, his dedication to diverse casting opportunities, and his scholarship about the politics of performance. He hopes to inspire in students a similar yearning for intellectual curiosity, social activism, collaboration, and playwriting.
More about Catherine:
Catherine Weingarten hails from Ardmore, PA also known as the area that inspired the preppy sexy TV show “Pretty Little Liars.” Catherine’s comedic plays delve into the societal pressure placed on young women to be both impossibly good looking as well as ridiculously intellectual, humble, kind as can be but sexy. Her plays usually include some hot fantasy sequences which helps attract the common man into the theater! She recently graduated from Bennington College in Vermont where she studied playwriting(with Sherry Kramer) as well as gender, mediation and environmental studies. Her short plays have been done at such theaters as Ugly Rhino Productions, Fresh Ground Pepper, Wishbone Theater Collective and Nylon Fusion Collective. She is currently the playwright in residence for “Realize Your Beauty Inc” which promotes positive body image for kids by way of theater arts. Catherine is thrilled to pursue her MFA at OU and thankful for the awesome opportunity for baller mentorship. catherine-weingarten.squarespace.com
OU MFA Playwriting Alum David Mitchell Robinson has just received a spot in the Playwrights Arena at Arena Stage in D.C! We are very excited about David’s awesome opportunity!
Here’s a quote from the website about the group,” Playwrights’ Arena is the newest new play initiative developed by the American Voices New Play Institute. Centering on a small collaborative group of local playwrights dedicated to the support and development of each other’s work, Playwrights’ Arena, facilitated by Director of Artistic Programming Robert Barry Fleming, meets throughout the year to investigate each other’s work and develop their dramaturgical practice as playwrights while creating new work. Playwrights’ Arena launched at Arena Stage in January 2013 and began a second round in February 2015″
Here is the press release
More about David Mitchell Robinson
DAVID MITCHELL ROBINSON’s goal to write a play about every place he’s ever lived has resulted in Carapace (Minneapolis), The Imaginary Music Critic Who Doesn’t Exist (Chicago), Animals Nobody Loves (Southeast Ohio), Olympic Village (Atlanta) and Terminals (airplanes). These and other plays have been produced, developed or commissioned by the Alliance Theatre, Center Theatre Group, the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Primary Stages, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Actor’s Express, Theater J, B Street Theatre, the Inkwell, Rep Stage, Field Trip Theatre, the Source Festival and Ohio University, where he received his MFA. David is a past winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition and the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award. He has also been a nominee for the PoNY Fellowship, the Lanford Wilson Award, the Terrence McNally Award and a Suzi Bass Award.
Bianca Sams’14 play “Rust on Bone” about sexual assault and the military, will received three developmental readings with the awesome female friendly company “Babes with Blades”!
Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses stage combat to place women and their stories center stage. Through performance, script development, training, and outreach, our ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.
If you are in Chicago, go check it out!
FW 2015 Public Reading Schedule
Quest: 1st public read, Sunday, April 26th at 12pm
Rust on Bone: 1st public read, Sunday, July 12th at 12pm
Quest: Final public read, Sunday, June 28th at 12pm
Rust on Bone: Final public read, Sunday, September 27th at 12pm
All performances will take place at Heartland Studio located at 7016 N. Glenwood in Chicago.
More info About the development program “Fighting Words”:
Playwrights selected for the Fighting Words program will receive a set of three readings to facilitate the development of their script. Each play will be assigned a director who will take part in the development process from the start. All readings and moderated talk backs are videotaped and given to the playwright to aid with rewrites.
The first reading is internal and is attended by company members and the director; the playwright is invited but not sponsored. The second reading is an advertised public reading; the playwright is invited but not sponsored. The final reading is an advertised public reading with one choreographed fight and a reception following the moderated talk back; the playwright’s travel expenses will be sponsored up to $400 to attend. The playwright is given approximately two months between drafts for revisions with a schedule provided at the time of selection.
More about Bianca:
Bianca Sams is an Actor/Writer hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays are lyrical investigations of found stories out of todays headlines or the pages of history that ask audiences to face their own complex love affair with misery. She recently finished her MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. She received her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School, where she earned the distinction of being Tisch’s first ever Triple Major (Acting, Dramatic Writing, Africana Studies). Awards and honors include KCACTF Lorraine Hansberry Award (2nd place), Rosa Parks Award (2nd place), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference Fellow, Jane Chambers/ATHE Student Playwright Award (2nd Place), Scott McPherson Award, TRI Research Fellowship at Ohio State University, and T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship.
We are thrilled that Bianca Sams ’14 will be apart of Available Light’s cool new play development series called “The Next Stage Initiative.” Bianca’s thesis play “Rust on Bone” is one of the six pieces that will be read this January in Columbus, Ohio. The dates are January 8th through the 17th and you can buy tickets here
Since graduating from Ohio University, Bianca Sams has garnered many achievements such as being a member of Tennessee Rep’s prestigious writing group and Warner Brother’s TV Writing Workshop for Emerging writers.
More Info about the Reading:
The Studio 2 Theatre will become a hothouse for new works in January! Be part of the growth & nurturing of some soon-to-be great plays.
If you’ve been following AVLT for a while, you know that we’ve a vested interest in daring, new plays. We’ve presented dozens of free readings over the years, and the Next Stage Initiative is the logical step into the future.
The Next Stage Initiative returns in January 2015 with 6 hot playwrights and their works in progress. Included this year will be Jen Schlueter of the much-loved for/word company and her new adaptation (developed with the AVLT ensemble) of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which will will be fully produced by AVLT later this season.
Recommended if You Like: Exploration, risk, and experimentation
January 8 — 17, 2015
Riffe Center Studio Two
77 South High St.
Pay What You Want
There will be a casual, post-show conversation with the cast and crew after every performance. Playwrights will be included as indicated below. Read more about this event here
Bianca considers herself a “Renaissance Woman”. At every turn, she has been driven to be a well-rounded student, athlete, and artist. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has earned the distinction of being Tisch’s first ever Triple Major [Acting, Dramatic Writing (Play and Screenwriting), Africana Studies, and an undeclared minor in Journalism]. She also ran on the NYU Track Team and was named Female Athlete of the Year.
At NYU, she studied at the Strasberg Theater Institute, which included intensive dance, voice, singing, and movement training. She also spent 6 months in London studying Shakespearean verse at the prestigious Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA). She also began her journey as a Writer at NYU. Bianca’s writing professors included Richard Wesley, Charles Smith, Kara Lee Corthron, Erik Ramsey, Beth Turner, George Malko, John Guare, and Kenneth Lonergan.
She received her MFA in play writing at Ohio University with Charles Smith. Her written work “ is like a New York Times article written in modern beat poetry”. She describes her plays as “ lyrical in nature, dramatic by design, inspired by found stories out of today’s headlines or the pages of history”. When asked who her artistic role models were she says “ If Whoopi Goldberg, Tennessee Williams and Sam Shepard could artistically have a love child together…that would be me”. Awards and honors include KCACTF Lorraine Hansberry (2nd place), Rosa Parks Award (2nd place), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference fellow, Jane Chambers Student Playwright Award/Athe (2nd Place), Scott McPherson Playwright Award, The Playwright Center Core Apprentice (2014), Playwright Foundation BAPF (finalist), Eugene O’Neill NPC (semi-finalist), TRI Research Fellowship at Ohio State University, Nashville Rep/Ingram New Works Lab Playwright-in-residence , Warner Brothers Writers Workshop, and T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship.
In addition, she has done community service in Belfast, Northern Ireland, taught theater to children at the Historical Karamu House in Cleveland, and worked at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC. She also received the prestigious T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship, a one month exchange with American and British Artists. This led to Bianca becoming a member of Old Vic New Voice in New York City in partner with Old Vic London headed by Kevin Spacey.
Her Theater credits include Ruined (Sophie), In The Continuum (Abigail), Voiceover spots for Bank of America and Crescent Jewelers, on-camera commercials for Suzuki Motors, and print ads for Always, Microsoft, and Hewlitt Packard. She can currently be seen in the feature film RENT, which is available on DVD at video stores nationwide. CHECK OUT HER ONLINE COOKING SERIES: WWW.FINGERLICKINKITCHEN.COM