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Plays & Playwrights

A roundup of prizes and commissions for writers.

Drama Is FDG/CBS Pick

Playwright Marsha Chamberlain and Victory Gardens Theater will share equally in the $10,000 National Award for 1984, presented by the FDG/CBS New Plays Program to “the most promising collaboration in the development and realization of a new play.” The Chicago theatre’s production of Scheherazade, which depicts a young woman locked in a struggle for survival with a rapist, was chosen for the award by a Dramatists Guild committee that included James Kirkwood, Jerome Lawrence, Marsha Norman and Mary Rodgers. Chamberlain’s play was subsequently staged by Minneapolis’ Cricket Theatre, which originally commissioned and developed the work.

The five theatres selected for the 1985 FDG/CBS program, funded by a $175,000 grant from CBS, Inc. and administered by the Foundation of The Dramatists Guild, are Capital Repertory Company of Albany, N.Y., Magic Theatre of San Francisco, Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, Salt Lake Acting Company of Utah, and Virginia Stage Company of Norfolk. Each of these theatres will premiere a new American play in the spring of 1985, with the help of an FDG/CBS production grant. Authors of plays selected for production will each receive $5,000; each theatre will also name two playwrights to receive $1,000 honorable mention awards.

The deadline for submitting scripts to the five theatres is Sept. 15. For contest details, contact the Foundation of the Dramatists Guild, 234 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036; (212) 398-9366.

Winning Writers

Marsha Norman is this year’s winner of the prestigious Hull-Warriner Award, given to a playwright for a work dealing with “controversial subjects involving the fields of political, religious and social mores of the time.” The award cites Norman for her Pulitzer-winning drama ‘night, Mother, and carries with it a prize of approximately $8,000.

CAPS fellowships, awarded this year for the last time, went to New York State playwrights Michael Brady, Jack Cornwell, Phillip Hayes Dean, Robert De Los Reyes, Ren Draya, Karmyn Lott, Emily Mann, Donald Margulies, Dennis J. Reardon, Robert Schenkkan, John Sedlak, Mark Stein, Victor Steinbach, William Wesbrooks and Donald F. Wollner. CAPS recently announced that it will cease operations after 13 years of providing support for individual artists.

Jerome Playwrights-in-Residence at The Playwrights’ Center during 1984-85 include Leslie Brody, Steven Deitz, Michael Kinghorn, Patty Lynch, Jamie Meyer and Lynn Snyder. The writers, each receiving a $4,050 stipend, will spend 12 months at the Minneapolis center developing their craft.

Ruth Phillips has won the $3,000 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Playwright Award for Emily and Kate, a humorous play about a poor middle-aged woman and her deaf, ailing mother. Baby Grand, winner of the $1,000 Wabash College Playwriting Prize, will be produced by the college in February, with author David Cohen in residence. The play focuses on two brothers, sons of a famous musician and musicians themselves, who are locked in a psychologically and physically abusive relationship.

The playwriting team of Charlotte Anchor and Irene Rosenberg split the $1,000 Margo Jones Playwriting Competition award, and plan to serve as playwrights-in-residence with Third Child, a drama about the encounter of an American family in the diplomatic service and a 14-year-old South American waif, is produced by Texas Woman’s University in the fall. The Flight of the Earls by Christopher Humble, the previously announced winner of the Theatre Memphis New Play Competition, has also been awarded $1,000 and production as top entry in the Elmira College playwriting contest.

Playwrights’ Update

The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced a new division, the Artists Fellowship Program. Funded by an initial $1.1 million from the New York State Council on the Arts, the AFP replaces the now defunct CAPS program of fellowships for New York State artists. Among the 14 categories of awards are Music Composition and Playwriting/Screenwriting; the application deadline for the $5,000 fellowships in these two areas is Oct. 15. September application seminars for interested artists will be held in 23 locations across the state. Obtain application forms and further information from the New York Foundation for the Arts, 5 Beekman St., New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-3900.

Seeking to create a musical for young and family audiences that can be produced annually in New York during the winter holiday season, Theatreworks/USA has earmarked commissioning monies of up to $7,500 for this project. Writers should submit a one-to-three page outline, or scripts, scores and tapes to Dept. S, Theatreworks/USA, 131 West 86th St., New York, NY 10024. In addition, the theatre is interested in receiving issue-oriented works, fantasies, and historical or biographical pieces for young people. Writers, composers and lyricists should direct questions to Barbara Gold at (212) 595-7500.

For information on hundreds of contests, grants, awards and other opportunities for playwrights, translators, composers, lyricists and librettists, refer to TCG’s Dramatists Sourcebook. The 1983-84 edition can be ordered for $9.95 plus postage and handling by using the order form in the back of this issue.

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