France Luce-Benson Named One of Camargo Foundation’s Cultural Diaspora 2018 Fellows

Camargo Foundation’s Cultural Diaspora 2018 Fellows Participate
in Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival (Minneapolis, July 12–14, 2019) 
Playwrights from Africa and the U.S. share new works and perspectives

In 2018, France-Luce Benson was one of the winning playwrights who convened in Cassis, France to participate in the Camargo Foundation’s Cultural Diaspora residency, conceived and curated by award-winning Minneapolis-based playwright Carlyle Brown. The residency’s goal was to bring together mid-career and established African and African-American theater artists, in Brown’s words, “from opposite ends of the Africanist Diaspora,” engaging them in debates about identity and authenticity and exploring the different ways in which international boundaries shape the African experience.

As a measure of the residency’s success, the Cultural Diaspora has inspired the Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival (Minneapolis, July 12–14, 2019). A collaboration of the Camargo Foundation, the Playwrights’ Center, and Carlyle Brown & Company, the festival will feature workshops, a panel discussion on theater and Afro-Atlantic culture, and stage readings of the works completed at Camargo.

France-Luce Benson, whose work will be featured in Minneapolis this July, is an award-winning playwright of Haitian descent, currently based in Los Angeles and New York. Her plays have had productions and workshops at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre, the Fire This Time Festival, City Theatre Miami, Crossroads Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and the Lark, among others. Honors include: Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Miranda Foundation grant recipient, Zoetrope Grand prize, Alfred P. Sloan commission, Sam French OOB Festival winner, Princess Grace Award (runner up), NNPN Best New Play, and residencies at Djerassi and SPACE/Ryder Farm. About her work, she says, “My plays explore the black American narrative from my perspective as a first generation Haitian-American, born in Republic of Congo, and raised in Miami. My characters often struggle with displacement, identity, and the impacts of trauma.” While a resident at Camargo, she worked on part 2 of Deux Femmes on the Edge of a Revolution, a trilogy about the Haitian revolution. She intends to complete the trilogy during her residency at the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil later this year.

The festival, free and open to the public, will take place at the Playwrights’ Center, renowned for supporting playwrights and promoting new plays to production at theaters across the U.S. While at Camargo, fellows had the opportunity to meet African-European artists, work with local theater students, and participate in a roundtable discussion entitled “African and Afro-Descendent Writing,” which was presented as part of the Festival de Marseille and Massilia Afropea. In Minneapolis, they will discuss the impact of these experiences on their work and debate various conceptual and cultural facets of African diaspora studies. A second event will take place in New York in Fall 2019, in collaboration with NYU’s Department of Literature and Tisch Theatre Studies program.

EllaRose Chary Chosen Among 27 Others For Rhinebeck Writers Retreat

Founding Executive Director Kathy Evans announced the 27 writers of nine new musicals for Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s summer weeklong residencies. 

The nine musicals were selected from 160 applications, which were reviewed by 27 readers in the first round and, in the final round, six new musical experts who are members of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s Sounding Board: Tory Bailey, Executive Director of the Theatre Development Fund; Neil Bartram, Composer; Kent Nicholson, Associate Producer of Musical Theatre, Playwrights Horizons; Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director, TheatreWorks USA; Natasha Sinha, Director of Artistic Programs, Signature Theatre; and Steve Stettler, former Producing Artistic Director, Weston Playhouse.

For nine consecutive weeks beginning June 30, each writing team is awarded a private weeklong residency in the Hudson Valley to focus solely on writing their musical. Writers are provided a home, transportation, food, and a stipend, and all their costs are covered by Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s donors. 

· August 4 – August 11: Brandon James Gwinn, EllaRose Chary, and Sherri Eden Barber, TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, with Lead Support from Liz Armstrong

Read more about the retreat and other writers chosen from Broadway World here.

THE HELLO GIRLS Nominated for 4 Outer Critics Circle Awards this Season !

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
The Beast in the Jungle
Black Light
Girl from the North Country
The Hello Girls
Midnight at the Never Get

Outstanding Book Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Robert Horn, Tootsie
Conor McPherson, Girl from the North Country
Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, The Hello Girls
Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown
Jeff Whitty and James Magruder, Head Over Heels

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, The Prom
Joe Iconis, Be More Chill
Peter Mills, The Hello Girls
Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown
David Yazbek, Tootsie

Outstanding Director Of A Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Joel Grey, Fiddler on the Roof (in Yiddish)
Cara Reichel, The Hello Girls

Read the full list from Playbill.com here.

Emma Stanton Announced as a Premiere Stages at Kean University 2018 Finalist

(UNION, NJ) — Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has selected its four finalists for the 2018 Premiere Play Festival and will increase its cash awards for honored playwrights by one-third, the theatre announced. Premiere Stages received a record 572 submissions for the festival, an annual competition for unproduced scripts that offers developmental opportunities to playwrights with strong affiliations to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  The 572 submissions marked a 43% jump from 2017, and represented playwrights of all backgrounds and ages. For the first time in the festival’s 14-year history, three of the four finalist scripts selected were requested from synopses submitted by playwrights.

“We are very excited to be developing an eclectic and topical mix of plays as part of the 2018 Play Festival,” stated John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “Interest from playwrights and audiences in the Festival has grown substantially in the past few seasons and we are pleased to feature some impressive writers whose dramatic voices are just starting to emerge.”

No Candy by Emma Stanton, a former recipient of the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists.  Sunday, March 18 at 3:00pm – No Candy by Emma Stanton – A multi-generational community of Bosnian Muslim women copes, both privately and publicly, with the trauma they experienced during the war. Set in a gift shop near the Srebrenica massacre memorial, the play follows how each woman seeks redemption: one dreams of Julie Andrews, one sings grunge music at karaoke bars, one dresses drag in her father’s clothes. No Candy provides a thought-provoking exploration of the persistence of humor, art, and absurdity in an unimaginable time.

All finalists will receive professional readings as part of Premiere’s 14th annual Spring Reading Series (March 15-18), directed by Mr. Wooten and Jessi D. Hill, Literary Team Chair for Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and will be considered for expanded development in Premiere’s mainstage season. One of the four plays will be selected for an Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) 29-Hour Reading in June, and the most promising play will be awarded a full AEA production as part of Premiere’s 2018 season. All finalists receive cash awards ranging from $750 to $2,500.

Read more about the nominations here.