Theatre Masters' president Julia Hansen announced today (Monday, June 25th) aspiring playwrights Carolyn Kras and Michael Mitnick as the sixth annual Theater Masters' Visionary Award winners.
In partnership with the Aspen Institute, the winning playwrights are invited to attend Aspen Institute's acclaimed "Aspen Ideas Festival," and are commissioned by Theater Masters to write a full-length play that embraces timeless values and powerful issues as discussed at the festival.
Based in Aspen, Colorado, Theater Masters is a non-profit organization whose core mission is to seek and nurture the next generation of artists for the American Theatre and present their work. "We are identifying some of the finest young playwrights in this country and encouraging them to write a new play inspirited by attendance at the Aspen Ideas Festival," said Julia Hansen, Theater Masters founder and Artistic Director – and former President of New York's Drama League. "In many ways how I started the Drama League's "Director's Project" is how I am now fostering new playwrights --- by discovering new playwrights through our National MFA Emerging Playwright program and making alliances with major theater to guarantee the writer's work is heard." "I am very proud of one of our first season's Visionary Award winners, Kirsten Greenidge. Through our program's joint effort with the La Jolla Playhouse-she went on to write "Milk Like Sugar" which developed into a production at La Jolla before moving to Playwrights Horizons for which she won an Obie!"
Carolyn Kras is a writer based in Los Angeles. Carolyn's plays have been produced or developed at The Looking Glass Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, Theatre Seven of Chicago, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Theater Masters National M.F.A. Playwrights Festival. She was a finalist for the Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville and served as Artist-in-Residence at the Ragdale Foundation. Carolyn acts as co-Artistic Director of the Artery Playwrights Project, a company dedicated to producing new American plays. She has an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. "The Visionary Playwrights program is a wonderful opportunity for emerging playwrights to produce ambitious pieces of work nurtured by the country's finest theatres. I'm very grateful for Theater Masters' support of my writing, and I look forward to the inspiring discussions of the Aspen Ideas Festival" remarked Ms. Kras.
Michael Mitnick's recent plays include Sex Lives of Our Parents (produced by Second Stage) and Babs the Dodo (produced by W.E.T. in Seattle). This season in Colorado, two new plays will premiere: Ed, Downloaded at The Denver Center Theatre Company and elijah (developed by Theatre Masters) at LOCAL in Boulder. For Broadway, he is writing the book for a stage version of Animal House. His screenplay, The Current War, was number 7 on 2011's BLACKLIST of Best Screenplays. He is writing an original comedy for Universal Pictures and a new rock musical for The Manhattan Theatre Club. M.F.A. from The Yale School of Drama in Playwriting. "I'm honored to be selected as a 2012 Visionary Playwright. My first job out of college was working at the Atlantic Monthly and I heard wonderful things about the Aspen Ideas Festival. I'm excited to attend and see if I can spark a new play," stated Mr. Mitnick.
In 2008, Theater Masters initiated the Visionary Playwrights Award, in partnership with the Aspen Institute and three of America's top regional theaters: Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, La Jolla Playhouse in California, and Playwrights Horizons in NYC.