Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards Announces Round 1 2017 Recipients

by Michael Eddy
The 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards
The 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, announces the recipients of the first round of the 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards. The awards, totaling $359,000, allow 13 productions extra time for the development and rehearsal of new plays with the entire creative team, helping to extend the life of the play after its first run. Past Productions to recieve award support include 2017 Tony Winners Dear Evan Hansen and Oslo. 

Watch the journey of Dear Evan Hansen and the effect it has had on audiences

Over the last 11 years, the Edgerton Foundation has awarded $10,244,900 to 348 productions, enabling many plays to schedule subsequent productions following their world premieres. Twenty-five have made it to Broadway, including: Curtains, 13, Next to Normal, 33 Variations, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Time Stands Still, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, A Free Man of Color,Good People, ChinglishVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Bronx Bombers, Casa Valentina, Outside MullingarAll the Way, Eclipsed, Bright Star,Hamilton, The Columnist, In Transit, A Doll's House Part 2, Indecent, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo. Fifteen plays were nominated for Tony Awards, with All the WayVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo winning the best play or musical awards. Nine plays were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with wins for Hamilton (2016), The Flick (2014), Water by the Spoonful (2012), and Next to Normal (2010).

“Every year, we count on the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards to introduce the field to important new plays,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “With the goal of giving these plays the best odds for productions beyond their premieres, Edgerton Foundation grants are helping deepen and expand the theatrical canon for the U.S. and beyond.”

“When a show like Dear Evan Hansen achieves the success that is has, one can always trace back to some very fundamental support at the beginning,” said Edgar Dobieexecutive director, Arena Stage. “Arena Stage is proud to have been a part of that fundamental support, but certainly the Edgerton Foundation plays an important role for this and so many other new plays. Not every new project will become Dear Evan Hansen or Oslo, but without the vital support of the Edgerton Foundation, many projects would never even get the chance to try. Because of this fundamental support, the Edgerton Foundation has a huge impact on American theatre as a field.”

The first round of the 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards were presented to:

Starstruck
by Lucile Lichtblau
at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

This Ain’t No Disco
musical & lyrics by Stephen Trask & Peter Yanowitz
book by Rick Elice
at Atlantic Theater Company

The Agitators
by Mat Smart
at Geva Theatre Center

Fireflies
by Matthew Barber
at Long Wharf Theatre

This Flat Earth
by Lindsey Ferrentino
at Playwrights Horizons

The Treasurer
by Max Posner
at Playwrights Horizons

Willow Run
by Jeff Duncan
at The Purple Rose Theatre Company             

Skintight
by Joshua Harmon
at Roundabout Theatre Company

Imperium
by Mike Poulton
at Royal Shakespeare Company

Curve of Departure
by Rachel Bonds
at South Coast Repertory

Little Black Shadows
by Kemp Powers
at South Coast Repertory

The Four Immigrants
by Min Kahng
at TheatreWorks

Where Storms are Born
by Harrison David Rivers
at Williamstown Theatre Festival

Oslo is a three hour, three act play about the Oslo Peace Accords. It was an LCT commission, but it did not arrive fully written,” said André Bishop, producing artistic director, Lincoln Center Theater. Actually, it began life not being written at all. Hours and hours of research that led to workshops that led to extended rehearsal periods for two separate productions at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater and the Vivian Beaumont Theater. It has a large cast and 63 scenes. The help that the Edgerton Foundation gave us to support extended rehearsal time for the world premiere at the Newhouse was invaluable and necessary in both the development and the writing and the performing of this complex work. The result of our labors exceeded all hopes: Oslo won every best play prize this spring, including the Tony Award. It has played in two of our theaters to large and enthusiastic audiences, it will go to the National Theatre and then the West End next fall, and will be made into a major motion picture. And, of course, there will be multiple productions around the country and in foreign lands. This was a play that was developed from an idea and a chance encounter with the two real-life leading characters. It was a long and slow development and rehearsal process and we are so grateful for the help the Foundation gave us.”

“We have discovered that an extra week of rehearsal, well before the start of the scheduled rehearsal period, is invaluable,” said Geoffrey Sherman, producing artistic director, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. “It enables the establishment of a true dialogue between playwright, actors, and director, without the pressure of imminent exposure to an audience.”

The Edgerton Foundation New Plays Program, directed by Brad and Louise Edgerton, was piloted in 2006 with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles by offering two musicals in development an extended rehearsal period for the entire creative team, including the playwrights. The Edgertons launched the program nationally in 2007 and have supported 348 plays to date at over 50 different Art Theatres across the country.

Further information from Theatre Communications Group (TCG): tcg.org