LOS ANGELES: Geffen Playhouse has named the six playwrights selected to participate in the company’s second cycle of the Writers’ Room. The 2019-20 writers will be Boni B. Alvarez, Chloé Hung, Inda Craig-Galván, Juan José Alfonso, Ramiz Monsef, and Ruby Rae Spiegel.
The program was established last year by artistic director Matt Shakman, who aims to develop and produce more works by local writers at Geffen Playhouse. The one-year residency will be lead by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the company’s manager of new play development. The six writers will receive dramaturgical support from Geffen artistic staff and the opportunity to further develop their works. The residency will culminate in a reading series.
Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based playwright-actor. His plays include America Adjacent, Bloodletting, Fixed, Nicky, Dallas Non-Stop, Dusty de los Santos, Ruby, Tragically Rotund, The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga, Marabella, and Refuge for a Purple Heart. His plays have been produced at Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre, Echo Theater Company, Coeurage Theatre Company, Skylight Theatre Company, and Playwrights’ Arena, and have been developed/given readings at Chalk Rep, Moving Arts, Artists At Play, the Vagrancy, Los Angeles Theatre Center, EST/LA, the Blank, Pork Filled Players, Second Generation, InterAct Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Upcoming: the world premiere of Driven at Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco. He is an adjunct lecturer at USC and a Resident Playwright of New Dramatists.
Hung is a Chinese Canadian writer and director. Her plays include All Our Yesterdays (Toronto Fringe, Next Stage Theatre Festival); Issei, He Say (world premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company); Three Women of Swatow (upcoming world premiere at Tarragon Theatre in March 2020). She was awarded the RBC Emerging Playwrights Award. Her plays have been workshopped in Toronto, New York, Washington, D.C., Banff, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. In the world of television, she has written for Cherish the Day and Queen Sugar (both created by Ava DuVernay). Her short film Signal received funding and mentorship through the Women in Film production lab. She is developing a television pilot, Banana Kids, with Insurrection Media. She workshopped her screenplay, A Glimpse of Sun, with the Black List’s screenwriting lab. When she’s not writing, she’s likely baking pies and cookies. Hung is a graduate of the M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing program at NYU Tisch.
Craig-Galván’s plays include Black Super Hero Magic Mama (world premiere at Geffen Playhouse, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Kilroys List); I Go Somewhere Else (world premiere at Playwrights Area, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards & Stage Raw playwriting nominations); and Welcome to Matteson! (Ojai Playwrights Conference, Blue Ink Playwriting Award, the Old Globe/Powers New Voices Festival). She has also developed work with Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab, San Francisco Playhouse, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, and others. She has an M.F.A. in Theatre, University of Southern California, and her TV credits include How to Get Away with Murder, The Rookie.
Alfonso is late to the playwriting game. After 20 years as a media executive, he wrote his first play, An Educated Guess, based on his own experience as an immigrant to the United States. The play was developed at New York Theatre Workshop and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (produced by Definition Theatre Company), and has been shortlisted at regional theatres across the country for awards and production. In his day job, Alfonso is a television producer. He has worked on over 25 shows, including the Emmy-winning American Crime from Academy Award winner John Ridley and Marvel’s Agent Carter; as well as documentaries like The Clemente Effect and L’Arbitre, winner of the United Nations prize at the New York Festivals in 2010. Alfonso began his career in advertising agencies in New York and San Francisco. He is an active member of Children’s Bureau and Urban Compass, and an unpaid weekend chauffeur for his very active children.
Monsef is a co-author of the musical The Unfortunates, which was produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and ACT in San Francisco. He wrote that show’s accompanying graphic novel as well. He also co-wrote The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield, which had its premiere in the 2017 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His newest play 3 Farids was part of the Bushwick Starr reading series and was selected to be in the New Works Festival at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, as well as the DNA Series at La Jolla Playhouse and at Playwrights Horizons. Monsef is an actor as well, and has appeared in theatres across the country, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, ACT, Seattle Rep, seven seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Second Stage Theater, Culture Project, and New York Theatre Workshop. He has appeared on television in Law & Order, Training Day, NCIS, SEAL Team, Modern Family, Kidding, Shameless, The Watchlist on Comedy Central, and the upcoming film Synchronic.
Spiegel’s Dry Land premiered Off-Broadway in a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at Colt Coeur, following development in New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater Readings Festival and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. A finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the play has since gone on to be produced in more than ten cities in the United States, London, Sydney, Abu Dhabi, South Korea, and more. Her short play Carrie & Francine premiered in the Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 when she was only 18 years old. The play is now published in the anthology Outstanding Short Plays Volume 3. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, was part of the Center Theater Group’s 2018/19 writers’ group, and recently attended Hedgebrook. Spiegal has written for several television shows, including The OA, Purity, Mindhunter, When They See Us, and A Teacher.