Images from Mentor Project 2013
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Cherry Lane’s Obie Award-winning Mentor Project is the cornerstone of our development programs. Mentor Project engages leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for a theater season, the result of which is a showcase production in our Studio theatre.
ANNOUNCING MENTOR PROJECT 2014!
Read about this season's Mentor Project at Playbill.com
by Jen Silverman
Mentored by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Mike Donahue
February 19 - March 1, 2014
Alex and Cameron are twins who, despite their shared career as hustlers, are going in very different directions. While Alex is focused on the demands of the future, Cam is obsessed with a past in which family legend says that his Vietnamese grandfather was the victim of an American soldier's bullet. When Cam lures the soldier's grandson to a motel, he must ask himself how far he is willing to go to obtain reparations, while Alex is faced with the question: how much will the past determine their future?
Introducing Mentor Project's first ever directing mentorship...
SONNETS ON TAP
Conceived and directed by Awoye Timpo
Mentored by Lisa Peterson
March 12 - 22, 2014
Sonnets on Tap (working title) joins actors and tap dancers in an exploration of Shakespeare's sonnets. By delving into the text, rhythm, meter, language and beauty of the sonnets, Sonnets on Tap is an investigation of how the marriage and collision of forms can inform the richness of Shakespeare's poetry and bring to life the depth, range of emotion and stories found within the text. By melding expert Shakespeare interpreters with masters of tap dance, Sonnets on Tap wrestles with 154 tales of betrayal, lust, obsession, power, death and love.
THE RAGGED CLAWS
By Lina Patel
Mentored by David Henry Hwang
DIrected by Daniella Topol
April 2 - 12, 2014
As midtown Manhattan is being relocaterd upstate due to rising sea-levels and a feared tsunami, a British mother, American father, and their adopted Indian son must confront the wounds of history, even as the future rises up to meet them.
Performances: Monday - Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 3pm and 7pm.
Tickets on sale soon!
Katori Hall’s Hoodoo Love (Lynn Nottage, mentor 2006) Following its Mentor Project production, Cherry Lane Theatre presented the World Premiere production of Hoodoo Love in its Discovery Series, 2007 (Nominated: Three 2006 AUDELCO awards, winning for Best Supporting Actress). Chicago's The Collective Theatre presented Hoodoo Love in 2012, directed by Nelsan Ellis. Katori’s other credits include: Olivier Award, Broadway: The Mountaintop (starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett), later produced by Milwaukee Rep (2012) and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2013). Awards include Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award; 2nd place, Paula Vogel Playwriting Award at the 2005 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival; 2007 Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama. Other plays: Freedom Train, Awake, Hurt Village (Signature Theatre, 2012; Hattiloo Theatre, Memphis, 2012) and Diaspora, awarded the 09-10 Playwrights of New York Fellowship through the Lark Play Development Center. Currently, the American premiere of Children of Killers, Castillo Theatre, 2012.
Rajiv Joseph Huck and Holden (Theresa Rebeck, mentor, 2005). Cherry Lane Theatre presented the World Premiere production of Huck & Holden in its Discovery Series, 2006. Subsequently produced at The Black Dahlia Theatre in Los Angeles, 2006. Rajiv’s other credits include Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist, winner of an NEA Outstanding New American Play Award, Broadway in 2011 (starring Robin Williams), Drama League Award nomination: Distinguished Production of a Play, four Los Angeles Ovation Nominations including Playwriting for an Original Play; produced at Roundhouse Theatre (MD), 2012; 2004 John Golden Award for Playwriting; 2005 Dramatists Guild Fellow; 2008 Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Award; 2009 Kesselring Fellowship, 2009 Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Emerging Writers Playwright award. Other plays include: Gruesome Playground Injuries (Alley Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Second Stage, Theatre intime, Second Thought, INTIME), Out of Paper (Second Stage Theatre), The North Pool (Theatreworks, Barrington Stage Company, Vineyard Theatre), and The Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre).
Eliam Kraiem Sixteen Wounded (Michael Weller, mentor, 2002). Long Wharf Theatre, 2003 and on Broadway, 2004
Sheila Callaghan Lascivious Something (Michael Weller, mentor, 2006) World premiere production at Women’s Project in a co-production with Cherry Lane Theatre, 2010. Sheila’s plays have been produced at Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, Woolly Mammoth, and Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, among others. She has received the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists; Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis; MacDowell Residency; Susan Smith Blackburn Award; Whiting Award; international productions in New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. Plays include SCAB, CRAWL FADE TO WHITE, CRUMBLE (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), WE ARE NOT THESE HANDS, DEAD CITY, LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING, KATE CRACKERNUTS, THAT PRETTY PRETTY; OR, THE RAPE PLAY, FEVER/DREAM, and PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME. Affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb; Member of the Obie winning 13P; Resident of New Dramatists; Profiled by Marie Claire as one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World"; Named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010. Sheila will write ABC's new drama series, "Bright Young Things," based on the bestselling novels.
David Adjmi Strange Attractors, (Craig Lucas, mentor, 2001) World Premiere production: Seattle’s Empty Space Theatre, 2003. Other credits: Juilliard playwriting fellowship; 2002 Lecomte Du Nouy Award; a Writer-in-Residency, Royal Court Theatre; 2003 Helen Merrill Award; 2004, Northern Lights: the 9/11 plays, Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis. 2008 World Premiere The Evildoers, Yale Repertory Theater. 2008 world premiere Stunning, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, LCT3 at the Duke on 42nd Street; 2009 Bush Foundation Fellowship, Steinberg Emerging Playwright Award, 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award. 2012 World Premiere of 3C by piece by piece productions, Rising Phoenix Repertory, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
Anton Dudley slag heap (Ed Bullins, mentor, 2003) Cherry Lane Theatre presented the World Premiere production of slag heap in its Discovery Series, 2005 (starring Vincent Kartheiser and Polly Lee). Later produced in 2006 by Theatre Pro Rata. Anton’s other credits include: 2003 The Lake’s End Adirondack Theatre Festival; 2004 Triptych Entertainment musical based on Twelfth Night; Getting Home, Second Stage Theatre 2006. 2008 The Intentional Theatre Group UP HERE/IN HERE, Altered Stages; Short film, DAVY & STU on BOYS LIFE 6. Substitution, Playwrights Realm 2008; A Dram of Drummhicit, co-written with Arthur Kopit, La Jolla Playhouse, 2011; Cherry Lane commission for a new musical based on the story of Orpheus & Eurydice; The Queen of Pop, published by Heuer Publishing 2013.
Julia Cho, 99 Histories (David Henry Hwang, mentor, 2002). 99 Histories was a Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist, 2002. Ms. Cho’s other credits include: The Language Archive, South Coast Repertory 2009, Roundabout Theater Company (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for playwriting); The Piano Teacher, Vineyard Theater, 2007; Durango, Long Wharf Theatre, Public Theater, 2006; The Architecture of Loss, New York Theater Workshop, 2004; BFE, Playwrights Horizons; 2004-05 L. Arnold Weissberger Award; Playwriting fellow at New York Theatre Workshop; recipient of a New York Foundation for The Arts grant; playwright-in-residence at The Juilliard School.
Bridgette Wimberly’s Saint Lucy’s Eyes (Wendy Wasserstein, mentor, 1999) Cherry Lane Theatre presented the World Premiere production of St. Lucy’s Eyes in its Discovery Series, 2001 (Audelco Awards and a Kesselring Nomination). Bridgette’s works have been presented at: The Women’s Project & Productions, Cherry Lane Theatre, Alliance Theatre Company, Rainbow Theater, 2009. Recent credits include: The Separation of Blood, EST/Alfred P. Sloan Science Foundation-commissioned play, World Premiere, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, 2007; Susan G. Komen grant for From Breast Cancer to Broadway, a program she created to teach playwriting to breast cancer survivors, staged in Cleveland and Cherry Lane.
Christopher Shinn’s Four (Charles Fuller, mentor, 1999) Four has been produced at The Tribeca Playhouse, 2001 and Manhattan Theatre Club, 2002; Currently being adapted for a film version. Other credits include: Other People, Playwrights Horizons, 2000; What Didn’t Happen, 2002; Olivier award nominee, Where Do We Live, London’s Royal Court, 2002, The Studio Theatre, Second Stage, 2004; Obie Award, On the Mountain, Playwrights Horizons, 2004; Dying City, Royal Court Theatre, 2006, Lucille Lortel nomination for best new Off-Broadway play, Lincoln Center Theater, 2007, Signature Theatre 2012, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Finalist; adaptation of Hedda Gabler, Broadway at American Airlines Theatre, 2009; Picked, The Vineyard Theatre, 2011. Now or Later, Huntington Theatre 2012, Boston. The New York Times called Mr. Shinn “among the most promising playwrights to emerge in the last decade.”
Bathsheba Doran’s The Parents’ Evening (Michael Weller, mentor, 2003) was subsequently produced at The Flea Theater, 2010. Other credits include: Living Room in Africa, Edge Theater; Nest, Signature Theater (DC); Until Morning, BBC Radio 4; adaptations of Great Expectations, TheatreworksUSA, Lucille Lortel Theater; Maeterlinck’s The Blind, Classic Stage Company; Ben and the Magic Paintbrush, South Coast Repertory, 2010; Drama League Award nomination: Distinguished Production of a Play, Kin, Playwrights Horizons, 2011; Kin was later produced by Griffin Theatre Company at Theater Wit, Chicago, 2012; 2009 Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award; TV: Boardwalk Empire.
Deirdre O’Connor’s Jailbait (Michael Weller, mentor, 2008) was later produced by Profile Theatre, 2010 & 2011; Silhouette Theatre Company (Denver) 2012; Alliance Repertory Theatre Company (New Jersey), 2012; and Ghostlight Repertory Theatre (Massachusetts). Other credits include: Assisted Living, Profile Theatre, 2011; 2008-09 Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow; John Golden Playwriting Award; Emmy Award, The Electric Company on PBS; Writers Guild Award Nomination, Five, Lifetime.
Allison Moore’s Urgent Fury (Marsha Norman, mentor 2003) Urgent Fury was one of 36 finalists for the 2002 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Other credits include: Collapse, National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere: Aurora Theater, Curious Theater, Kitchen Dog Theater, B Street Theater, Third Rail Rep, and Know Theater, 2011-12, Women's Project (2012-13 season); Slasher, Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2009, more than a dozen productions around the country; Ivey Award for Best Play, My Antonia, Illusion Theater, 2010 & 2012; Seven Dallas Critics Forum Awards and five Leon Rabin Awards, including Best New Play, End Times, Kitchen Dog Theater, 2007; Hazard Country, Humana Festival, 2005, and regional productions; American Klepto, Illusion Theater; Split, Guthrie Theater; Eighteen, O’Neill Playwrights Conference; CowTown, Guthrie Theater Commission; Two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships; two McKnight Advancement Grants; Bush Fellowship; Iowa Arts Fellowship.
Jakob Holder's Housebreaking (Charles Mee, mentor, 2009) was subsequently produced by Poison Apple Initiative, 2011 and Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre (Kansas City), 2013. Published by Dramatists Play Service 2012.
Molly Smith Metzler (Training Wisteria, Jules Feiffer, mentor 2007.) Other credits include: Elemeno Pea, South Coast Rep 2012, Humana Festival, 2011; Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist, Close Up Space, Manhattan Theatre Club, 2012. Her work has been developed by The O’Neill Theatre Center, MTC, Chautauqua Theater Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, hotINK, Playwrights Horizons, and The Kennedy Center. Three KCACTF awards including the Kennedy Center National Student Playwrighting Award; Member of EST, Ars Nova Play Group, and Primary Stages writing group; two-time recipient of the Le Comte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center. Currently working on commissions for South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Manhattan Theatre Club
Samuel Brett Williams’ The Woodpecker (Charles Fuller, mentor, 2008) was subsequently presented by Mutineer Theatre Company, 2011. He is the co-founder of The Camisade Theatre Company, whose recent inaugural production was his own Derby Day at Theatre Row, 2011.
Peter Gil-Sheridan's Topsy Turvy Mouse (Michael Weller, mentor, 2007) was the winner of the Timothy Smith Prize from the National New Play Network. Peter was the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwright's Center and was commissioned by the Guthrie Theatre to write a new play which premiered in April 2009. He has had residencies at the Ucross Foundation and the Millay Colony for the Arts. His work has been seen/ developed at New York Theater Workshop, The Lark Theatre, The Sundance Institute, The Kennedy Center, the New York International Fringe Festival, The University of Colorado at Boulder, A Theatre Group of Silverton, Colorado, The Toy Box Theatre, the figments, Working for Tips Productions, Riverside Theatre of Iowa City, and Prospect Theatre Company. Peter is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Playwright’s Workshop. In addition to teaching at Fordham University, he often guest directs and mentors young directors
Nate Rufus Edelman's The Belle of Belfast (Charles Fuller, mentor, 2010) will receive its world premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre LA fall 2012. Nate is a writer and director for the stage and screen who divides his time between New York City, Los Angeles and Ireland. His stage plays have been produced and developed at The Vineyard Theatre, Firstlook Theatre, the Celtic Arts Centre, FirstStage, EST/LA, Antaeus Theatre Company, Bank of Ireland Theatre, Samuel Becket Theatre and the Road Theatre. He wrote, produced and directed Twist of Fate for the Galway Arts Festival. He produced and co-directed the Los Angeles premiere of Amy Freed's "The Psychic Life of Savages" at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre with the Latino Theatre Company and the Savage Players, which he is a founding member. His screenplay "The Scavengers" was on Hollywood's "The Black List," which singles out the best yet to be produced scripts. Nate was educated at University of California, Santa Cruz, Trinity College Dublin and received his MFA at New York University.
Cherry Lane Mentor Project: The Buzz
"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
More About Mentor Project
Mentor Project, our Obie Award-winning program, engages leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for an entire theater season. Established in 1998, Mentor Project was inspired by an important precursor in residence at Cherry Lane in the 60s: ALBARWILD, a collaboration between producers Richard Barr, Clinton Wilder and playwright 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. To date, Mentor Project has nurtured and launched new works by 47 emerging dramatists. The Mentors help the young writers hone their craftsmanship through meetings, readings, and workshops while forming a personal and trusted relationship of support. The project culminates in a showcase production that remains critic-free to avoid commercial concerns that would inhibit the writer's creative process. The Project has elevated a third of its alumni to professional and public notice. Their work has flourished on and Off-Broadway, regionally and around the world. Cherry Lane's Mentors are truly a priceless resource - they count among their distinctions eight Pulitzer Prizes, six Pulitzer Prize nominations, thirteen Obie Awards, eight Tony Awards, six Tony nominations, two Oscars, and an Oscar nomination.
Edward Albee, Charles Fuller, A.R. Gurney, Tony Kushner, Wendy Wasserstein, Michael Weller
Angelina Fiordellisi and Susann Brinkley
Mentor Project Founders
What We Provide
To meet the goals of Mentor Project, CLT offers generous rehearsal and performance time within our 60 seat Studio Theatre, publicity, audience outreach for all readings and performances, administrative support, Master Classes taught by our Mentors and other pre-eminent playwrights, culminating in an AEA approved showcase production. We provide financial support in the form of a $5,000 stipend to each Fellow and Mentor. This affords the writer freedom to concentrate on the development of the work and partnership between Master and Fellow.
Time Table and Process
March 15 - June 15
Cherry Lane Theatre does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Our Nominating Committee consists of a diverse group of theatre professionals from across the country. The Committee members nominate a maximum of three playwrights each. Nominees are mailed notification along with application materials and instructions.
June - October
The Selection Committee reads each submitted play and chooses a group of semi-finalists. Subsequently, each Mentor receives 3-5 scripts from this group and selects the writer with whom they will work. This is a time consuming process and demonstrates the level of commitment each Mentor makes to the Project. At the end of the selection process, we have three distinct voices that will receive the all too rare opportunity to be supported and developed by peers AND receive a production.
First Draft Readings - November
The first readings of the three selected plays are held in November. This private reading provides an opportunity for both the Mentor and the Fellow to hear the play read aloud by professional actors. The first reading serves as a formal beginning for their mentoring relationship.
A formal announcement of the season's Mentors and Fellows is scheduled for the first Monday in December. The event is both celebration and performance, as the Fellows read a 10-minute selection from each new play and their Mentors read a selection from one of their earlier plays or works in progress. The evening successfully fosters a strong group dynamic within the community of Mentors and Fellows who will be working together during the season.
Staged Readings - January
Following private exploration and revision, we present public readings of each Fellow's play. The readings, held in January in the Studio at Cherry Lane, are open to the public, which includes many theatre professionals. Mentor and Fellow actively participate in the selection of director and cast. The preparation for the public reading provides an opportunity to hear revisions in front of an audience, experiment with casting and begin to address production needs and challenges.
Three workshops, 12 performances each - March - May
Both Mentor and Fellow have been striving toward this crucial phase. Each of the three plays receives a full production with a professional director, actors and designers. This artistic collaboration with the entire company in preparation for the production provides the basis for the most intense work to occur on the play to date. Revisions are strongly encouraged and supported throughout the three-week rehearsal period and subsequent 12 performances.
The effectiveness of our Mentor Project program is affirmed by the continued success of the early- career playwrights we have worked with. It is our goal to provide these playwrights with a supportive yet challenging developmental structure for their plays. It is our hope that the writers leave the Mentor Project experience with a stronger draft of their play, an appreciation for what the audience can teach us, a professional working process and a deepened commitment to their craft. They will have benefited from the crucial element of interaction between master and protégé, and realize that it is within a community that the artist thrives. The creative bond and continued relationships of our alumni with their mentors, as well as their lasting membership in the Cherry Lane community is a clear indication of the need for this type of program. Thanks to our gracious mentors, CLT Mentor Project is a rarely experienced phenomenon among playwrights.