McCarter Theatre Hosts 2013 Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat

by Jacob Coakley


The 2013 Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat runs until June 19.
The 2013 Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat runs until June 19.

Now till June 19, the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., is hosting 10 artists as part of their 2013 Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat. The artists are given a “supportive environment” for 10 days to “work at their own pace on whatever inspires them.” The artists being supported this year are: George Brant, Jade King Carroll, Samuel D. Hunter, Ken Ludwig, Emily Mann, Lynn Nottage, Nicole Ari Parker, Heather Raffo, David “Tom” Thompson, and Kathleen Tolan.


McCarter Theatre Center has launched its 2013 Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat, which is being held in Princeton through June 19.  The ten participating artists are George Brant, Jade King Carroll, Samuel D. Hunter, Ken Ludwig, Emily Mann, Lynn Nottage, Nicole Ari Parker, Heather Raffo, David “Tom” Thompson, and Kathleen Tolan.

According to Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann, “For ten days, McCarter provides a supportive environment for these major theater artists to work at their own pace on whatever inspires them. At its core, McCarter’s Artists’ Retreat is an act of faith: faith in the artists and their singular ability to perceive what their projects most need, be it a week of solid writing or a week of silent waiting for the next idea to emerge. It is a respite from their day-to-day responsibilities with no requirements and no formula, no deadlines and no concrete goals.”

Rachel Sheinkin (Tony Award winner for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) offered this praise, “McCarter offers a gift that isn’t available anywhere else that I know of, for any price. To be invited to this lovely place and told now your task is simply to dream, to create, to set your own task – among this group of other theater artists who will be doing the same, with all the resources of world class theater to support you in doing so, and its productions as inspirations – this is not the normal life of a playwright. This is a dream opportunity.” One of the many projects that Sheinkin worked on during the 2009 Artists’ Retreat was the book for the new musical, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, which McCarter produced in spring 2011.

Some of the many plays that were developed during past Artists’ Retreats include Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon; Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man; Beth Henley’s Ridiculous Fraud; Danai Gurira’s The Convert; Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays; Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House; Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly; and, Take Flight by John Weidman, David Shire, and Richard Maltby, Jr.

“McCarter Theatre has maintained an impressive track record in commissioning and producing new plays that make a lasting contribution to the theatrical canon, and the Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat is central to our success,” Ms. Mann added.

“It is lonely work that we do, easily encroached upon by the constant demand of professional distractions and the personal demands of family,” said playwright Lydia Diamond. “Ten days of concentrated work in a beautiful environment gives a rare opportunity to find or finish a play, roll around in one’s thoughts, share ideas with peers, and sleep peacefully.” Ms. Diamond’s play Stick Fly was seen at McCarter in 2007, and had a Broadway production in 2012.

Sarah Treem, whose play The How and The Why, had its world premiere at McCarter in 2011, called the McCarter Retreat, “A little slice of heaven. Everyone works the best when they feel calm, centered, and inspired. McCarter creates that environment in spades. I only wish I could have stayed longer.”

About Sallie Brophy Goodman

The Artists’ Retreat is named for Sallie Brophy Goodman, a friend and supporter of McCarter Theatre Center for 40 years before her death in 2007. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London in 1950, and her arrival in New York coincided with the ''golden age'' of American television. She worked with actors ranging from Jack Lemmon to Cliff Robertson, and directors from Sidney Lumet to Arthur Penn. Among the many segments she did were those on The U S Steel Hour, The Dick Powell Show, Kraft Theater, Ben Casey, Medic, and The Fugitive. On Broadway, she appeared in The Second Threshold and played Wendy, grown-up, in the 1954 Broadway musical Peter Pan with Mary Martin. In 1958 she starred in her own series, Buckskin, a Western set in the Montana Territory. She had a featured role in the 1961 film, 'The Children's Hour', with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, which won 5 Academy Awards. She also appeared in the film, Storm Center, with Bette Davis. She married Jerry Goodman in 1961, and when the couple moved to Princeton in 1965, she directed student productions at Theatre Intime on the Princeton University Campus. She taught theater and acting for 20 years at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ.  The Sallie B. Goodman Artists’ Retreat honors her legacy by providing support for leading theater artists who choose to practice their craft in a not-for-profit environment.

Sallie B. Goodman 2013 ARTISTS’ RETREAT

Artists’ Biographies

George Brant’s plays include Elephant’s Graveyard, Grounded, The Mourners’ Bench, Salvage, Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile, Grizzly Mama, Any Other Name, Defiant, Dark Room, Miracle: A Tragedy, Good on Paper, Ashes, NOK, The Lonesome Hoboes, One Hand Clapping, The Royal Historian of Oz, Lovely Letters, Three Men in a Boat, Borglum! The Mount Rushmore Musical, Tights on a Wire and Night of the Mime. His plays have been generously developed by the Kennedy Center, Cleveland Play House, Asolo Rep, McCarter Theatre, New Harmony Project, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, WordBRIDGE Playwright’s Lab, Playwright and Director Center of Moscow, Florida Studio Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Contemporary Drama Festival of Hungary, the Hangar Theatre, Equity Library Theatre, and Ground UP Productions, among others.

Jade King Carroll Directing credits: A Raisin In The Sun (Juilliard & Perseverance); Seven Guitars (People' Light and Theatre & Point Park University); King Hedley (Portland Playhouse); The Etymology of Bird (CitiParks Summer Stages); Alondra was Here (The Wild Project); Cherry Smoke (Theatre Row); The Basset Table (Adelphi); Black Girl, You’ve Been Gentrified (Joe’s Pub) Radio Golf (Penn State); The History of Light, Samuel J&K, The Summer House ( Passage Theatre); The Persians, Splittin’ the Raft (People's Light & Theatre); Spit (Intar); Associate Director for A Streetcar Named Desire (Broadway). Jade was a TCG New Generations Future Leader Award recipient, through which she was the Artistic Associate at Second Stage Theatre. In 2010 Jade was presented with the Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from the National Theatre Conference and The Estate of August Wilson.

Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include The Whale (2013 Drama Desk Award, 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for Playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), and his newest plays, The Few, A Great Wilderness and Rest, all set to premiere in the 13/14 season. His plays have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, Page 73, and elsewhere. Sam is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. He has active commissions from Lincoln Center, Steppenwolf, Playwrights Horizons, and MTC/Ars Nova.

Ken Ludwig is an internationally-acclaimed playwright whose work has been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. He has had 6 shows on Broadway and 6 in the West End. He has won 2 Laurence Olivier Awards, England’s highest theatre honor.  He has also received 3 Tony Award nominations and won two Helen Hayes Awards, the Edgar Award, the SETC Distinguished Career Award, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Services to the Theatre.  His plays have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic. His best known plays and musicals include Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, Leading Ladies, Twentieth Century, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Game’s Afoot, The Fox on the Fairway, Midsummer/Jersey, The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island and The Beaux’ Stratagem. His plays have starred Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Lynn Redgrave, Mickey Rooney, Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter, Tony Shalhoub, Anne Heche, Joan Collins, and Kristin Bell.

Emily Mann’s most recent directing credits at McCarter include Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance and the world premieres of The Convert by Danai Gurira (also at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and CTG in Los Angeles; six Ovation Awards, including Best Director of a Play); Phaedra Backwards by Marina Carr; Sarah Treem’s The How and the Why; and Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (also at Playwrights Horizons). Last spring, Emily directed A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway with Blair Underwood, Wood Harris, Nicole Ari Parker, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Emily’s plays include Execution of Justice (Guggenheim Fellowship, Helen Hayes and Joseph Jefferson Awards, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Award nominations); Still Life (six Obie Awards); Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; and Annulla, An Autobiography. Ms. Mann wrote and directed Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations; NAACP and Joseph Jefferson Awards; Peabody and Christopher Awards for the screenplay). A winner of the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and the Edward Albee Last Frontier Directing Award, Emily is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its council. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University and was named the 2011 Person of the Year from the National Theatre Conference.

Lynn Nottage’s new play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination) premiered at Second Stage Theatre where it enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre (OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play).  It subsequently toured widely throughout US regional theatres and premiered internationally at the Almeida Theatre in London. The play has since been produced in countries throughout the world, including Canada, Cambodia, Chad, The Caribbean, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany.  Her other plays include Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF!. Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), Helen Hayes Award (Ruined), the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award.

Nicole Ari Parker is a seven-time NAACP Image Award nominee best known for her outstanding performance as ‘Teri Joseph’ of Showtime’s award winning original series Soul Food.  Nicole was seen at the Broadhurst Theater in her Broadway debut as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Blair Underwood for director Emily Mann.  Previously, Nicole starred in the ABC drama series “The Deep End”.  She has been featured in Remember the Titans, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, Boogie Nights, and the indie film Sebastian Cole, a winner at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.  She has performed in For Colored Girls directed by Jasmine Guy, and The Vagina Monologues.  She has received a special award at the Urban World Film Festival, for Outstanding Body of Work as an Actress. Nicole also starred alongside former Soul Food co-star and real life spouse, Boris Kodjoe in the Paramount/UPN sitcom Second Time Around.

Heather Raffo is the solo performer and writer of the Off Broadway hit, 9 Parts of Desire which details the lives of nine Iraqi women.  For her creation and performance of 9 Parts and its national and international tour, Heather garnered many awards including a Lucille Lortel Award, and the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn and Marian Seldes- Garson Kanin playwriting awards, as well as Helen Hayes, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations, for outstanding performance. Heather first performed 9 Parts of Desire in August 2003 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. It later moved to the Bush Theatre in London’s Off-West End where critics hailed it as one of the five best plays in London in late 2003. 9 Parts of Desire has been performed all over the U.S. and was one of the top five produced plays of the 2007-2008 American theater season.  It has had international productions/translations in Brazil, Greece, Sweden, Turkey, Malta, France, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Scotland, England and Canada. Currently, Heather is developing a libretto for an opera commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation and City Opera Vancouver.  The opera details the life of a US Marine who served in Fallujah in 2004 and relates the haunting experiences of identity and belonging for both veterans and their families as well as Iraqis.

David Thompson is an American writer and playwright. His theatre credits include And The World Goes 'Round (Drama Desk and Outer Circle Critics Awards), The Look of Love, Thou Shalt Not, Flora the Red Menace (Drama Desk Nomination), Steel Pier (Tony Award nomination), and the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago, to which he contributed a new book.  Thompson also wrote the book for John Kander and Fred Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys (Drama Desk Award Nomination, Tony Award nomination, Outer Circle Critics Award, Lucille Lortel Award). Thompson also wrote an adaptation of A Christmas Carol for McCarter Theatre. He is currently writing the book for musical adaptations of the 1930s films The Blue Angel and Little Miss Marker, and both are to be directed by Scott Ellis.  For television, Thompson wrote Sondheim - A Celebration at Carnegie Hall (Emmy Award nomination), the PBS specials Razzle Dazzle, Bernstein on Broadway, The Music of Richard Rodgers, and Great Performances' My Favorite Broadway.

Kathleen Tolan began as an actor, acting Off Broadway, in regional theatres and in film and TV. Her play Memory House premiered at Playwrights Horizons in spring ‘05, and has been produced at many theaters, including the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Victory Gardens in Chicago, the Seattle Rep and at Trinity Repertory Theatre where it was originally commissioned. Other plays include Kate’s Diary (Playwrights Horizons and the Public Theater), A Girl’s Life (Trinity Rep), The Wax (Playwrights Horizons) and A Weekend Near Madison (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Astor Place Theatre and numerous theaters in the US and Europe). Her new play, Chicago Boys, had a workshop production at the Goodman Theatre in 2011.