Sundance Institute Announces Artists and Projects for Two Fall Theatre Labs

New York, NY — Sundance Institute today announced the projects and artists participating in its two Fall artist development programs: the Alumni Writers Studio at Flying Point in Water Mill, NY, which ran October 4-11, as well as the two-week Theatre Lab for musical theatre, ensemble-generated projects and solo work at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), taking place November 8-22. Under the supervision of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the initiatives are among the 24 residency Labs the Institute hosts each year for independent artists in theatre, film, new media and episodic content.

The Alumni Writers Studio at Flying Point offers four invited Theatre Program alumni and one Feature Film Program Alum an uninterrupted period of time and the space to work on their projects in a studio setting. The two one-week sessions each year are generously hosted by George and Joan Hornig.

The Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA supports three musical theatre and ensemble-generated projects. These projects are cast individually and rehearse daily – with the creative support of Sundance dramaturgs.

Himberg said, “Both the Alumni Writers Studio and Theatre Lab provide unique opportunities for artists to develop their projects, uninhibited, in inspiring environments. The Writers Studio residency offers our alumni the space to retreat and focus solely on their projects while the Theatre Lab MASS MoCA gives musical and ensemble theatre-makers the first opportunity to see their work brought to life on its feet.”

The artists selected for the fall session of the Alumni Writers Studio at Flying Point in Water Mill, NY are:

Sara Colangelo
Sara is a New York-based writer and director. Her award-winning short films Halal Vivero, Un Attimo di Respiro, and Little Accidents have screened at festivals around the world, including Sundance, Tribeca and SXSW. Colangelo’s debut feature, Little Accidents, had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by the short film of the same title, it explores tragedy and redemption in a modern-day American coal mining town. During its development, Colangelo was invited to the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs and received support from the Annenberg Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, IFP and Indian Paintbrush. Colangelo was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” She graduated from Brown University with a degree in History and received her M.F.A. at NYU’s Graduate Film Division.

Steve Cosson
Steve is a writer and director specializing in the creation of new theatre work inspired by real life, as well as a freelance director of new plays, musicals and classics. He is the founding Artistic Director of the New York-based investigative theater company The Civilians. Cosson won an Obie award in 2004 for his work with The Civilians, and his play (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch won a coveted First Fringe award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, a MacDowell Fellow, a two-time participant in the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, and a Resident Director at New Dramatists. His plays have been published by Oberon Books in the UK and Dramatists Play Service, and an anthology of his plays with The Civilians was published by Playscripts Inc.

Melissa James Gibson
Melissa’s plays include Placebo (Playwrights Horizons); What Rhymes With America (Atlantic Theater Company); This (Playwrights Horizons); [sic] and Suitcase or, those that resemble flies from a distance (Soho Rep); Brooklyn Bridge, with a song by Barbara Brousal (Children’s Theatre Company) and Current Nobody (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company). Her work has been produced and/or developed at Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, among others. She has current commissions at Atlantic Theater Company and Second Stage Theatre. Gibson is the recipient of the following honors: OBIE Award; Guggenheim Fellowship; Steinberg Playwright Award; Kesselring Prize; Whiting Writers Award; Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights’ Fellowship; LILLY Award; Jerome Fellowship; MacDowell Colony Fellowship; NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights. She holds a degree from the Yale School of Drama and is a graduate of New Dramatists.

Diana Son
Diana is a Brooklyn-based playwright and a writer/producer on the Emmy-nominated ABC series American Crime. Other writing/producing credits include Southland, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Do Not Harm and The West Wing. Her play Stop Kiss premiered at the Public Theater where it was extended three times. It won the GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Production and was listed as one of the “Top 10 Plays” in the New York Times, Newsday, the Daily News and other major publications. Diana also won the Berilla Kerr Award for playwriting. Stop Kiss has subsequently been produced at hundreds of theatres nationally and abroad. Her most recent play Satellites also premiered at the Public Theater to critical acclaim. Son’s plays have been produced at: the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Delaware Theatre Company, BRAVA, The Soho Theatre Company in London, GeVa Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, and many others.

Susan Soon He Stanton
Susan is a playwright and screenwriter in New York, originally from the consonant-free town of Aiea, Hawai‘i. Her plays include Today Is My Birthday, which recently took part in the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Takarazuka!!! (Clubbed Thumb, East West Players), The Things Are Against Us (Washington Ensemble Theater), The Underneath (Kumu Kahua, Yale Cabaret) and more. Awards and honors include Van Lier Fellowship at The Lark Play Development Center, Southern Rep’s Ruby Prize Runner-up, Susan Glaspell Prize Finalist, a Susan Smith Blackburn nomination, and a NET Partnership Grant with Satori Group. Stanton is a writing consultant for Disney Creative Entertainment. She received a Feature Film Development Grant from the Sloan Foundation, and a Leviathan Lab Film Production Grant. Films include Dress, winner of 2014 Hawai‘i International Film Festival Audience Award, Dispatched, Good House, and Same Will.


The projects and artists selected for the 2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA are:

Buffalo Bella: An American Tall Tale
Book and Lyrics by Kirsten Childs
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Musical Direction By Darryl G. Ivey

Buffalo Bella: An American Tall Tale is a musical tall tale, exploring the African-American experience in the Old West. When Isabella (“Bella”) Patterson boards a train west to reunite with her Buffalo soldier sweetheart, she encounters the most colorful and lively characters ever to roam the Western plains. Bullets and fists will fly, heads and hearts will get broken, but through it all Bella will breeze – blessed with a big heart and an even bigger behind!

Kirsten Childs is the winner of the Edward Kleban, Jonathan Larson, Rockefeller and Richard Rodgers Development Awards, Audelco, Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla and Richard Rodgers Production Awards, Black Theatre Alliance Award; Kirsten received a Lucille Lortel, NAACP nominations and Drama Desk nominations for The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin originally produced at Playwrights Horizons. Kirsten is a Professor at NYU’s Graduate of the Musical Theater Writing Program, Tisch School Of The Arts; Professor at NYU Open Arts Undergraduate Musical Theater Writing; TDF Mentor in Wendy Wasserstein’s Open Doors Program; Dramatists Guild Publications Committee member and Dramatists Guild Fund Board member.

Robert O’Hara has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obie awards and the Oppenheimer award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Dania Guiria’s In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo’s Wild with Happy as well as his own plays, BootyCandy and Insurrection: Holding History. His new plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue, will world premiere this year at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively. He is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.

Darryl G. Ivey, a Virginia native, is now based in New York City. He has been heavily involved in the fields of Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Pop, and Musical Theatre since 1986. After private musical study with jazz pianists Jaki Byard (protégé of Charles Mingus), Billy Taylor (protégé of Art Tatum) and saxophonist‐composer Frank Foster (longtime Musical Director of the Count Basie Orchestra), Mr. Ivey served as Musical Director (at the tender age of 23) for the Australian 1st National Tour of the Tony Award winning hit Ain’t Misbehavin’, featuring the music of the great Thomas P. “Fats” Waller. Following a successful tour there, he continued to work with the show in several tours of the United States as well as in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore. Most recently, Darryl was Assistant Conductor/Keyboardist for the 1st National Tour of The Color Purple

Created by Cory Hinkle, Victoria Stewart, Jeremy Wilhelm and David Wilhelm
Written by Cory Hinkle and Victoria Stewart
Directed by Jeremy Wilhelm
Musical Direction by David Wilhelm

Clandestino investigates immigration reform, small-town politics and religious fundamentalism within the context of the 2008 ICE raid of Agriprocessors, Inc, a Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. It is scored with live music and songs drawing on Jewish traditions, Guatemalan folk music and a few local news theme songs.

Cory Hinkle is a Los Angeles-based playwright. Most recently, he was a co-writer of That High Lonesome Sound, which premiered at the 2015 Humana Festival. His other plays include The Killing of Michael X (Jackalope Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep), The End of Beauty (Cape Cod Theater Project), and A Disappearance in Two Parts (HERE Arts Center). His play Little Eyes had its world premiere at The Guthrie Theater where Cory has been commissioned twice to write plays for the Guthrie’s BFA students. He has received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Tofte Lake Center, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. His work has been published by Playscripts, Dramatic Publishing, Vintage and Heinemann.

Jeremy Wilhelm is a Minneapolis-based director/designer/songwriter. He is the recipient of a MAP Fund grant for Clandestino with Wilhelm Bros & Co., which is currently in development and just received a capacity building grant from NEFA. He has created several shows with Thaddeus Phillips’ Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, currently touring Red Eye to Havre de Grace, which premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in May 2014, and has toured to FringeArts in Philadelphia, ArtsEmerson in Boston and the Walker in Minneapolis.

David Wilhelm is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Minneapolis. He has worked as a composer/performer for Bulgarian director Peter Pashov, Ben Krywosz, Thaddeus Phillips’ Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, Tectonic Theatre Projectand with his brother, Jeremy as part of Wilhelm Bros & Co. (Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, Misogomy, Woyzeck, La Vida es Sueño, Until We See Three of Everything, Nightwatches, and Clandestino).

New Untitled Musical
Created by Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas

Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel

Composer/lyricist Adam Guettel and book writer Craig Lucas are imagining an intimate musical that delves as deeply as possible into the nature of a love affair torpedoed by alcoholism.

Craig Lucas’ plays include Missing Persons, Reckless, Blue Window, Prelude to a Kiss, God’s Heart, The Dying Gaul, Stranger, Prayer For My Enemy, The Singing Forest, The Lying Lesson, Ode To Joy and I Was Most Alive With You (premiering at the Huntington in June 2016). He directed the world premiere of The Light in the Piazza at the Intiman Theater in Seattle, Harry Kondoleon’s Saved Or Destroyed (at Rattlestick) and Play Yourself (at New York Theater Workshop) as well as the film Birds of America. Lucas has received three Tony nominations, the NY Film Critics Best Screenplay Award (Secret Lives of Dentists), the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Steinberg Best Play Award (The Singing Forest), three Obie awards (one for direction), the LAMBDA Award (for his anthology What I Meant Was), the Laura Pels Mid-career Achievement Award from PEN; and he has been a Pulitzer finalist.

Adam Guettel is a composer/lyricist living in New York City. His upcoming project, Millions, will have its first production in the summer of 2016. His musical, The Light In the Piazza (cast album on Nonesuch Records), with a book by Craig Lucas, premiered on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in April 2005 and went on to receive six 2005 Tony Awards including two for Mr. Guettel – Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations – as well as a Grammy nomination for best cast recording. The Light In the Piazza also received five Drama Desk Awards, including two for Mr Guettel — Best Music, and Best Orchestrations.


The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Time Warner Foundation; Perry and Martin Granoff; LUMA Foundation; the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Wendy vanden Heuvel; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Karen Lauder; and Joan and George Hornig.


Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1981. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is one of the leading play development programs in the United States. Titles such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, The Good Negro, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Stuck Elevator, Spring Awakening, The Laramie Project and I Am My Own Wife have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, OBIEs and other recognition. The Theatre Program’s International Initiative currently offers Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists primarily from the Middle East & North Africa and continuing support for artists in six East African countries. The Theatre Program’s newest initiatives are the Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles France and the Writers Playwrights Studio at Flying Point.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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