Beginner's Luck: Matthew Barber Gets Tony Nomination for First Play

Tony Awards   Beginner's Luck: Matthew Barber Gets Tony Nomination for First Play Three of the nominees in the Tony Awards 2003 Best Play Award category—Richard Greenberg, Rupert Holmes and Nicholas Wright—are veteran dramatists, having composed many plays before their recent Broadway efforts. The fourth, Matthew Barber, however, has one credit to his name.

That's right. Enchanted April, which is nominated for a Tony Award as Best Play, is young Barber's first dramatic effort. The writer is a former arts journalist who plied his trade in the San Francisco area. One day, a friend gave him a copy of Elizabeth von Arnim's 1921 novel "Enchanted April." "I thought it would be a good dramatic property," said Barber, "with lots of good roles for women." His immediately set about adapting the work for the stage. Hartford Stage was the first to produce it, in 2000, and the Broadway production came three years later. How did he endure the wait in between. "I sort of entered a zen state," he quipped. Now, this successful playwright with the short resume is looking forward to productions in England, across Europe and throughout the U.S. He is also at work on two new plays—original works this time, but again with plenty of roles for women. "I grew up in the Midwest with a lot of interesting, strong women around me."