Sundance Institute Announces Projects and Artists for Two Fall Theatre Labs

New York, NY — Sundance Institute today announced the projects and artists that will participate in its two Fall artist development programs: the inaugural Playwrights Studio at Flying Point in Water Mill, NY (October 19-26), as well as the two-week Theatre Lab (November 30 – December 14) for musical theatre, ensemble-generated projects and solo work at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Under the supervision of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the initiatives are among the Theatre Program’s five annual Labs and Residencies for theatre artists and part of the 24 artist residency labs across many creative disciplines Sundance Institute offers annually.

New this fall, the Playwrights Studio at Flying Point offers Theatre Program alumni 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.

Himberg said, “These fall labs provide unique and inspiring locations for these new and established artists to develop and explore their stories. MASS MoCA allows the creators of these innovative musical theatre and ensemble-generated projects the time and space for collaboration and rehearsal, while the Playwrights Studio offers a home to our alumni who continue to grow and experiment and can take advantage of the retreat setting to focus solely on their work.”

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

David Cale
David’s solo shows include The History of Kisses, Palomino, A Likely Story, Lillian, Deep in a Dream of You, Smooch Music and The Redthroats. He wrote the book, lyrics, co-composed the music for, and played Floyd in the musical Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky, inspired by the character of Floyd “Studebaker” Duffner he portrayed in the film The Slaughter Rule. His plays include Betwixt and Nightwear. Cale has written lyrics for songs sung by artists including Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry and Jimmy Scott. Most recently he wrote the songs for 600 Highwaymen’s Employee of the Year. As an actor he performed on stage in shows including John Jesurun’s Chang in a Void Moon, Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s The Total Bent and Kevin Elyot’s Mouth to Mouth. His film credits include Winter in the Blood, Two Lovers and Pollock. David has been a participant in the Sundance Theatre Lab three times, twice as an actor working on new plays by Annie Baker, Paula Vogel and Doug Wright and as a writer, working on his solo Palomino.

Dan LeFranc
Dan is the playwright-in-residence of Playwrights Horizons. His new play Troublemaker was commissioned by and recently produced at Berkeley Repertory. His last play The Big Meal premiered at ATC (Chicago), received an extended off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons and made its UK premiere last summer. Other plays include Sixty Miles to Silver Lake (Soho Rep, P73, NYC), Origin Story, Bruise Easy and Night Surf. Dan received the 2011 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and the John C. Russell Fellowship, among others. He teaches at the Yale School of Drama and is currently on staff for the Showtime television drama The Affair.

Christopher Shinn
Christopher is the head of Playwriting at the New School for Drama, and author of many plays including Dying City (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Where Do We Live (Obie Award), and Four. His work has been produced internationally, with five world premieres at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

José Rivera
José’s The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005. His film On the Road premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Trade was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. In theatre, Rivera has won two Obie Awards in playwriting for Marisol and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. Cloud Tectonics, Boleros for the Disenchanted, Sueño, Sonnets for an Old Century, School of the Americas, Massacre (Sing to Your Children), Brainpeople, and Adoration of the Old Woman have been produced in theatres across the country and around the world. New plays include Human Emotional Process, The Last Book of Homer, The Hours are Feminine, Another Word for Beauty (a musical), and a new translation/adaptation of The Kiss of the Spider Woman. For television he co-created and produced Eerie, Indiana for NBC as well as The House of Ramon Iglesia for PBS. In the works is an untitled HBO series with Tom Hanks, producer. Films in development or in production include Three Apples Fell from Heaven (about the Armenian genocide, Shekhar Kapur, director), The 33, John Brown (Giancarlo Esposito, director), Vincent,and an adaptation of Jack London’s White Fang for Disney, among others. Celestina, based on his play Cloud Tectonics will mark his debut as a feature film director. Love Makes the City Crumble is his first novel. Rivera runs a writing workshop in New York and has been a mentor/advisor for the Sundance Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan, and India.

Cori Thomas
When January Feels Like Summer (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Page 73/Women’s Project Theater NYC, World Premiere- City Theatre Co., Pittsburgh); Pa’s Hat (Pillsbury House Theatre, MN); My Secret Language of Wishes (Mixed Blood, MN); Akosua Means Sunday; The Princess, The Breast, and, The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Her plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Theatre Lab, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Co., Page 73, Women’s Project, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Playwrights Realm, among others , American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Award (When January Feels Like Summer) ; Theodore Ward Prize (My Secret Language of Wishes),  2nd Place Theodore Ward Prize (our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor….) Publications: Waking Up (Plays For Two-Vintage), His Daddy (Best Short Plays 2010 –Smith and Krauss). Representation: Ron Gwiazda and Amy Wagner Abrams Artists Agency.

The projects and artists selected for the 2014 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA are:

Throw Me On the Burnpile and Light Me Up
Written & performed by Lucy Alibar

Tales of a man, his family, his animals, and his burn pile.

Lucy Alibar’s work has been published in Zoetrope, the Oxford American, and the Wall Street Journal. Work seen at National Theatre Studio, Joe’s Pub, Ojai, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Williamstown, HERE, EST, Dixon Place, New Georges, Avignon Festival, Women Center Stage/CSC, and the Cherry Lane. Her first movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild (an adaptation with Benh Zeitlin of her stage play, Juicy and Delicious) received the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Film Festival Camera D’Or. For her work on Beasts she was nominated for the Scripter, BAFTA, and Academy Award. Winner of the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award, the Humanitas Prize, and the Nantucket Film Festival New Voices in Screenwriting Award. Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, two time finalist for the Heideman Award at ATL, and finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Member of the OBIE award-winning Youngblood, and co-­founder of the New Georges Writer/Director Lab.

A Memory of Fire: Hatuey 
Written by Elise Thoron
Music by Frank London

Based on Asher Penn’s 1931 epic Yiddish poem Hatuey, as well as the story of the poet’s life – hisescape to Cuba from pogroms in the Ukraine –Elise Thoron and Frank London’s musical work A Memory of Fire: Hatuey is set in pre-revolutionary Cuba of the 1930’s, and tells the story of the legendary Taino chief Hatuey who led a valiant uprising against the Spanish conquistadors.

Frank London is a trumpeter and composer and a member of the Klezmatics, with whom he won a Grammy Award. He has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, They Might Be Giants and Ben Folds 5. London’s projects include the folk-opera A Night In The Old Marketplace (with Glen Berger and Alex Aron, based on Y.L. Peretz’s 1907 play), Davenen for Pilobolus and the Klezmatics; Green Violin (with Elise Thoron and Rebecca Taichman, winner Barrymore Award for Best New Musical); Great Small Works’ The Memoirs Of Gluckel Of Hameln and Min Tanaka’s Romance.

Elise Thoron’s plays have been produced in the United States and Europe: Green Violin, music by Frank London of the Klezmatics (published Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays); Prozak and the Platypus, music by Jill Sobule (also album/graphic novella); and Charlotte: Life? or Theater? based on paintings of the young German Jewish artist, Charlotte Salomon.She developed and directed Tony award winning poet Lemon Andersen’s County of Kings first as a Literature to Life piece, then performing at The Public, Spoleto, and venues around the world. Elise is directing Lemon’s new play ToasT at The Public Theater this season.

The Fever

600 HIGHWAYMEN will begin work on The Fever, the company’s adaptation of Stravinsky’s 101-year-old ritualistic and revolutionary work Rite of Spring. This first exploration for the company brings together New Yorkers and North Adams residents to reopen this classic work, alongside a brand new music composition created during the residency by Brandon Wolcott.

Under the name 600 HIGHWAYMEN (600HWM), Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone construct expansive performances that illuminate the inherent poignancy and theatricality of people together. They are exploring a radical approach to making live art, constructing events that create intimacy among a group of strangers. Developed using creative methods ranging from the mainstream to the peculiar, their Obie-award winning work is a rigorously tuned investigation of presence and humanity, not only in performance, but also in process and aftermath. Formed in 2009, past productions include: This Time Tomorrow, Empire City, This Great Country, The Record, Everyone Was Chanting Your Name, and Employee of the Year. Upcoming: The Record at Centre Pompidou and Parc de la Villette, Paris. 600HWM is the recipient of a 2014 ObieAward.



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, the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Inc., LUMA Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Karen Lauder, and Joan and George Hornig.

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to connect audiences to their work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling as art and as a compelling and powerful way to inform, inspire and unite people. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, 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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