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121 Project, Van Lier New Voices Fellows, and More

A roundup of prizes, fellowships, and other recognitions.

CHICAGO: The Walder Foundation has announced that it will award $2.4 million to Chicago-area performing artists through the inaugural Platform Awards. Twelve music, theatre, dance, and interdisciplinary arts professionals will receive unrestricted grants of $200,000 each.

The 2024 Platform Award winners for theatre include Lili-Anne Brown, a director, actor, and educator who was formerly the artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago; writer, performer, and Joyce Award winner Sandra Delgado; and puppeteer, director, and multimedia artist Myra Su.

“The Platform Awards uplift the work of outstanding mid-career performing artists, enabling them to continue to grow and advance their careers so that Chicago remains a thriving destination for the arts for generations to come,” Walder Foundation president and executive director Elizabeth Walder said in a statement.

Platform Award recipients will receive financial support through 2026, along with professional development and workshop opportunities.

NEW YORK CITY: The Lucille Lortel Theatre has announced the inaugural recipients of the 121 Project, a commissioning program. Awardees will receive up to $10,000 for the creation of a new musical.

The winning projects include Barnstormer, with book and lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis and music by Douglas J. Cohen; The Break, with book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman; Coal by Nicholas Connors; Hart Island, with book and lyrics by Michelle Elliott and music and lyrics by Danny Haengil Larsen; and Little Duende, with book and lyrics by Georgina Escobar and music and lyrics by Robi Hager.

“121 Project is a bespoke development program designed to meet the individual needs of a specific moment,” Michael Heitzman, the Lortel’s artistic director of new musical development, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be helping these five projects advance to their next stage of development and hope that the support of the Lucille Lortel Theatre can be transformational.”

Additionally, the Alcove at the Lortel program has named a third round of commissioned playwrights: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Lucas Baisch, Sunny Drake, Georgina Escobar, Zachary Kline, Alex Lin, Tatiana Pandiani & Danny Tejera, Savannah Reich, Arturo Luís Soria, Marissa Joyce Stamps, and Andrea Stolowitz. 

The Alcove will also welcome Annabel Nightingale as its second visual artist in residence, as well as a group of playwrights working in research and dramaturgical development in the fall: S.T. Brant, Allyson Dwyer, Christine Toy Johnson, Gloria Oladipo, and Drew Woodson.

The Alcove at the Lortel program is led and curated by Caridad Svich, the Lortel’s artistic director of new play development.

Rattlestick Theater has named Alex Lin and kanishk pandey to be their 2024-25 Van Lier New Voices Fellows. The fellowship for emerging playwrights of color provides a $35,000 living stipend and a $5,000 artistic fund, along with mentorship and workshop and reading opportunities.

“Alex and kanishk are remarkable writers whose work is both playful and fearless, searing and adventurous,” Rattlestick artistic director Will Davis said in a statement. “I am honored and grateful to support the invaluable art they will create this year and eagerly anticipate sharing their work with our community.”

LONG BEACH, CALIF.: Musical Theatre West has announced the recipients of the 2024 Footlighters Scholarships for high school students in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Scholarships are awarded to students in the areas of music, dance, theatre, and stage management.

Orange County scholarship recipients include Makayla Palos Rodriguez, Conrad Mai, Francisco Ochoa, Avani Arhin, Anna Mut, Gigi Coo, Mollie Holbrook, Daniel Sidoni, Macaila Dorney, and Miranda Young. Los Angeles County scholarship recipients include Ava Carolina Jimenez, Ava Isabella Miranda, Jaclyn Goshert, Kai Maldonado, Evan Garcia, Case Fulton, Giovanna Bearman, and Kayla Epstein.

Musical Theatre West is the largest arts producer in the Long Beach area.

NATIONWIDE: The five theatres of the Generation Now partnership (Latino Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Native Voices, Penumbra, and Children’s Theatre Company) have announced multiple commissions of new works by BIPOC artists.

Current commissions include Michi Barall’s Drawing Lessons; Dustin Tahmahkera’s Comanche Girl on the Moon; Ifa Bayeza’s One Small Alice; Gabriel Rivas Gómez’s Level Up; Kalani Queypo and Chadwick Johnson’s The Mainlanders; Lloyd Suh and Diana Oh’s The Science Fair Project; an untitled project by Nambi E. Kelley; and Latino Theater Company’s Folklórico.

Each commission is a co-commission, and the aim of the Generation Now program is that each theatre will produce each new project. Generation Now works to expand the canon of work produced for multigenerational audiences. The partner theatres are committed to co-commissioning and co-developing 16 new works in a five-year period, which began in 2021.

NEW YORK CITY: The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and Asian American Arts Alliance have announced the cohort for the third annual Bandung Residency. The cohort includes theatre artist Phillip Gregory Burke, who will receive an honorarium and mentorship through the program.

Burke is a playwright, actor, and arts activist who will use the Bandung Residency to develop a play about two opposing empires seeking control of a seaport in medieval India. He is a 2024 National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Arts Fund grantee with his group DIEZ and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Latinx Playwrights Circle. Burke holds an MA in acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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