Mentor Project










































Explore MP's History

Teresa Avia Lim and Tiffany Villarin in Jiehae Park's PEERLESS

Eileen Rivera, Brenna Palughi and Shannon Marie Sullivan in Jesse Jou's re-envisioned KING LEAR

Elizabeth Ramos and Lisa Ramirez in Kristina Poe's THE IDEA OF ME
Photos by Chasi Annexy

Ruy Iskandar and Vichet Chum in THE HUNTERS by Jen Silverman. Photos by Erik Pearson

Claudia Rahardjanoto, Cartier Williams, Hillary-Mary in SONNETS ON TAP, conceived and directed by Awoye Timpo

Kahan James and Mahira Kakkar in THE RAGGED CLAWS

Elizabeth A. Davis in her solo performance JOE

Lisa Ramirez in her solo performance PAS DE DEUX (lost my shoe)

Liza Fernandez in Natalia Naman's THE LAWNPEOPLE

Nadine Malouf in Nastaran Ahmadi's EXILE

Photos by Chasi Annexy

Tickets to Mentor Project 2018 are now on sale!

Our OBIE Award-winning new play series pairs emerging writers with mentors to develop and present exciting new works by the next generation of American dramatists. Be the first to hear these bold new voices in Mentor Project!

Single tickets are $25

*All tickets and memberships add a $1 facility fee per ticket



A PATRON OF THE ARTS (March 1 – 10)

By Kate Cortesi, mentored by Anne Washburn, directed by Mike Donahue

with Jordon Bolden, Harrison Bryan, and Peter O'Connor

Set design by Matt Iacozza, Costume design by Isabelle Coler, Lighting design by Amith Chandrashaker, Sound design by Matt Otto
Fight direction by J. Allen Suddeth, Casting by Nicole Van Denberg, Properties by Carrie Mossman
Emma C. Olson, Production Stage Manager; Michelle Perri, Assistant Stage Manager

When a high school drug dealer does a drop off at a new address, he’s unexpectedly reunited with the father of his childhood best friend. The laid-off father is holed up to re-start the painting career of his youth, and this young entrepreneur wants to help. So, they make an unusual arrangement. 

Buy tickets to A Patron of the Arts




By Sam Chanse, mentored by Migdalia Cruz, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

Set design by Raul Abrego, Costume design by Loren Shaw, Lighting design by Seth Reiser, Sound design by Lee Kinney
Casting by Nicole Van Denberg, Properties by Carrie Mossman
Bob Brownell, Production Stage Manager; Michelle Perri, Assistant Stage Manager; Jenny Grober, Assistant Director

Mel and Arjun have embarked on a last-minute camping trip to take refuge from the brewing storm of their lives. Georgia is studying the impact of climate change on the imperiled Joshua tree. Navigating a world in crisis on multiple fronts, what does it mean to survive in the face of annihilation?

Buy tickets to The Opportunities of Extinction



About the 2018 Artists:

KATE CORTESI (Playwright, A Patron of the Arts) is a Brooklyn-based playwright from Washington, D.C. Her other plays include One More Less, Great Kills and Is Edward Snowden Single?. Her work has been developed or produced at Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, Colt Coeur, Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, terraNOVA Collective, The Lark, New Dramatists, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Premiere Stages at Kean University. Awards and honors include: O'Neill Playwrights Conference Finalist (2017), NYFA award (2016), Princess Grace Fellowship (2014-2015), Columbia University's Karen Brownstein Award, and Kilroy's List honorable mention (2016). Kate is a resident playwright at Colt Coeur (artistic director Adrienne Campbell-Holt) and at New Dramatists (2016-2023). She has taught writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Riker’s Island, and lots of places in between. 

ANNE WASHBURN (Mentor, A Patron of the Arts) returns to the program having been a fellow, mentored by Craig Lucas in 2000. Anne Washburn's plays include 10 out of 12Antlia PneumaticaApparitionThe Communist Dracula PageantA Devil At NoonI Have Loved StrangersThe InternationalistThe LadiesLittle Bunny Foo FooMr. BurnsThe Small and transadaptations of Euripides' Orestes & Iphigenia in Aulis. Her work has been produced nationally and internationally and has premiered with 13P, Actors Theater of Louisville, The Almeida, American Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Folger, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Two River Theater Company, Vineyard Theater and Woolly Mammoth. Honors include a Guggenheim, a Whiting, an Alpert Award, a PEN/Laura Pels award for artist in mid-career, a NYFA Fellowship, a Time Warner Fellowship, and residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. She is an associated artist with The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Chochiqq, and is an alumna of New Dramatists.

SAM CHANSE (Playwright, The Opportunities of Extinction) In addition to The Opportunities of Extinction (2017 Kilroys List, Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop at the Lark, Ars Nova Out Loud), Sam’s plays include The Other Instinct (Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship, Lark Playwrights’ Week, O’Neill Semifinalist, 2017 & 2016 Kilroys List Honorable Mention, StageLeft Leapfest), What You Are Now (EST/Sloan commission, Civilians R&D Group), Fruiting Bodies (2015 Kilroys List, Lark Studio Retreat, the Claque, Ma-Yi Labfest), Trigger (Leviathan Lab), and Lydia’s Funeral Video (Kaya Press, San Francisco Arts Commission). She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and Ars Nova’s Play Group. A former Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, Sundance/Ucross Playwright Fellow, MacDowell Fellow, and Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow at The Lark, she has also received residencies from Djerassi, Tofte Lake Center, and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Commissions include Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan, Ma-Yi/the Flea, Second Generation, Leviathan Lab and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her work has also been developed with The Civilians R&D Group, The Yale Institute of Musical Theatre, Labyrinth Theater, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, Bindlestiff Studio, Asian American Theater Company, and the New York International Fringe Festival. more info:


MIGDALIA CRUZ (Mentor, The Opportunities of Extinction) Migdalia's works have been produced internationally at Ateneo Puertorriqueño (PR), National Theater of Greece (Athens), Foro Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Mexico City), Vancouver Players (Vancouver, B.C.), the Old Red Lion Theatre (London), Miracle Theatre (Portland, Oregon), and Houston Grand Opera. Her work has been produced in New York City at Playwrights Horizons, Mabou Mines, Classic Stage Company, INTAR, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Monarch Theater, En-Garde Arts, HOME, Shaliko Company, New York Shakespeare Festival's Festival Latino, Theatre For The New City, and the W.O.W. Cafe. Cruz is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts playwriting fellowship (in 1991 and 1995), the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright Award, and Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays. Her over 50 plays include El Grito Del BronxAnother Part of The HouseThe Have-little, and SALT



About Mentor Project

Cherry Lane’s marquee program is our Obie Award-winning Mentor Project. Every year we pair three early-career playwrights in season-long, 1-on-1 mentoring relatonships with experienced dramatists. Mentors guide their fellows through an intensive developmental process consisting of readings and rehearsals, while serving as a trusted source of career advice and professional support. The program culminates in fully-staged productions that remain critic-free to avoid commercial concerns that woud inhibit the creative process. Each fellow receives a $5,000 stipend.

Mentor Project was established in 1998 by Founding Artistic Director Angelia Fiordellisi and was inspired by an important precursor in resience at Cherry Lane in the 60s: ALBARWILD, a collaboration between producers Richard Barr, Clinton Wilder, and playwrihgt Edward Albee, who created production opportunities for such early-career playwrights as Sam Shepard, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), A.R. Gurney, and Jean-Claude van Itallie. 

In 2018 Mentor Project celebrates its 20th anniversary season, having nurtured the careers of 62 emerging artists to fuel the next generation of American playwrights. Past fellows include Christopher Shinn (mentored by Charles Fuller in 1999), Anne Washburn (mentored by Craig Lucas in 2000), Julia Cho (mentored by David Henry Hwang in 2002), and Bathsheba Doran (mentored by Michael Weller in 2003). For Mentor Project 2016, we were proud to welcome back former fellowship recipients Rajiv Joseph (mentored by Theresa Rebeck in 2005), Katori Hall (mentored by Lynn Nottage in 2006), and Sheila Callaghan (mentored by Michael Weller in 2006) to return as mentors.

Explore MP's History

"The Plays of Mentor Project: a Cherry Lane Anthology"

Mentor Project is now in print! Read more

In the Artists' Own Words

"What the Cherry Lane is doing is so exciting. Most important, I think, is its mentoring program of young playwrights, and while it is nice that the Cherry Lane programming takes care of the important theatrical past, it is the mentoring program which will allow us to have an important theatrical future."

–MP 1999-2013 EDWARD ALBEE

"The Mentor Project is artfully designed to avoid the pitfalls of most play development workshops, directionless rewrites, lack of exposure to actors and audiences, and instead plunges the playwright directly into an intensely practical, tightly focused, experience...The Cherry Lane is doing essential work in building the next generation of American theatre artists."

–MP 2005 Mentor DAVID AUBURN

"The Mentor Project has my enthusiastic support. I have seen performances at the Cherry Lane rival the very finest professional theater this country has to offer."

–Co-Founding and Supervising Mentor 1999-2008 MICHAEL WELLER

"The Cherry Lane's belief in writers is absolute. And whether you are a young playwright staging a new play, or an experienced playwright passing along your advice and comfort, the mentor program at the Cherry Lane works on the most astonishing level, giving people a chance to talk with each other about the nearly impossible but nevertheless thrilling task of writing for the theater."

–MP 2001, 2002, 2003 Mentor MARSHA NORMAN

"Cherry Lane's Mentor Project asked me to read five plays, pick out the best one and be prepared to work with the playwright through drafts, reading, and showcase production. It proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my literary life."

–MP 1999, 2008, 2010 Mentor CHARLES FULLER

"I've been in touch with enough other fledgling playwrights to notice that buzz about your program is very good indeed. Writers in it seem happy, and writers outside of it want to get in."

–MP 1999, 2000, 2003 Mentor A. R. GURNEY

"Through the Cherry Lane Mentorship, I have had the privilege of working with two wonderfully gifted and dedicated young writers. They have taught me at least as much as I have taught them, and I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit that electrifying moment when a new playwright first emerges into the theatrical world."

–MP 2001, 2002, 2010 Mentor DAVID HENRY HWANG

"I am honored to be invited into the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. The playwriting art has been at the center of my life for so long that it is a great affirmation to me that an American institution of this historical stature and cultural scope recognized my motivation to serve."

–MP 2003, 2004 Mentor ED BULLINS

"I'm so proud of the Mentor Project and all the playwrights it's supported over the years. I feel so blessed to have been born at the Cherry Lane"

--MP 2006 Finalist Playwright KATORI HALL

"the greatest pay of all is the privilege to take part in the guidance of an artist who will be a vital contributor to the American theatre canon. In that respect with Nastaran [Ahmadi] I feel already I've been paid a thousand times over." 

--MP 2012 Mentor KIA CORTHRON