The Sundance Institute Theatre Program has begun the 2013 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation. The 13th annual writing colony at the 20,000-acre working cattle ranch outside of Sheridan, Wyo. takes place through February 22 and provides a supportive environment for artists to create new work and receive guidance and reactions to it at an early stage. Under the supervision of Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of the Theatre Program, and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Playwrights Retreat is made possible through the generosity of Ucross Foundation.
Notable artists and projects supported through the Playwrights Retreat program include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder by Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman (Hartford Stage Company and La Jolla Playhouse), Song for the Disappeared by Tanya Saracho (Goodman Theater, Chicago), ToasT by Lemon Anderson (Under The Radar), and Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Humana Festival).
As previously announced, the six artists selected for the 2013 Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation are:
Radha Blank: Ms. Blank is a writer for stage and screen. Last fall, the World Premiere of her play SEED received eight 2012 Audelco nominations including Best Playwright. Plays include HappyFlowerNail, American Schemes, SEED, nannyland, Casket Sharp and Kenya, her first solo show. Awards and Fellowships include New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship, Nickelodeon's Writers Fellowship, The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Award and the 2011 Helen Merrill Award Emerging Playwright Award. For 2012-13, commissions include 32 To Base, a play about immigrant cabbies in the South Bronx for EPIC Theater Ensemble's Sunshine Series as well as Rice and Chicken Parts, a play about restaurant workers. Her latest play, Confections, explores how baking masks a mother and daughter's dark secret in a small North Carolina town and is part of a trilogy based on the United States eugenicists movement. Her solo show, HappyFlowerNail, about a Korean-owned nail salon in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, will be presented in The Public Theater's 2013 New Works Now Festival.
Joy Harjo: Joy was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She has won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year. She performs solo as well as with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Most recently she performed We Were There When Jazz Was Invented at the Chan Centre at UBC in Vancouver, BC and appeared at the San Miguel Writer's Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her one-woman show, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, which features guitarist Larry Mitchell, premiered in Los Angeles in 2009. Her seven books of poetry include such titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems and She Had Some Horses. Her awards include the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was recently awarded 2011 Artist of the Year from the Mvskoke Women's Leadership Initiative and a Rasmuson US Artists Fellowship. She is a founding board member and treasurer of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Soul Talk, Song Language, Conversations with Joy Harjo was recently released from Wesleyan University Press. Crazy Brave, a memoir is her newest publication from W.W. Norton.
Michael John LaChiusa: The Public: See What I Wanna See, The Petrified Prince, First Lady Suite. His other musicals include: Queen of the Mist (2012 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical); Los Otros, (lyrics and book by Ellen Fitzhugh); Bernarda Alba; The Highest Yellow (book by John Strand); Little Fish; The Wild Party (Tony nominations for Best Score, Best Book, with George C. Wolfe); Marie Christine, (Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Book): Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Tony nomination for Best Book, with Graciela Daniele and Jim Lewis); Hello Again; and Break/Agnes/Eulogy for Mister Hamm. His operas include Send (who are you? I love you), Houston Grand Opera, and Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations) Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mr. LaChiusa is an Obie-Award winner and the recipient of the Gilman-Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award. He is a composer for The Wonder Pets, for which he received two Emmy Awards and has written special material for Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman for the Tony Awards and Hugh Jackman on Broadway.