In addition to bringing Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rebeck into the company, Roundabout will produce a new play by David West Read, The Dream of the Burning Boy, in spring 2011 for its Roundabout Underground program. Additional commissions for new work were also announced.
"These initiatives reflect the not-for-profit's commitment to provide a nurturing artistic home for theatre artists at all stages of their careers where the widest possible audience can experience their work at affordable prices," according to a statement.
The appointment of Rebeck marks the first time a playwright joins a group of associate artists that includes Scott Elliott, Bill Irwin, Joe Mantello, Mark Brokaw and Kathleen Marshall. Scott Ellis (associate artistic director), Jim Carnahan (director of artistic development/director of casting), Robyn Goodman (artistic consultant) and Doug Hughes (resident director) are also members of the artistic staff.
An associate artist "can bring work to Roundabout that needs a developmental home, while Roundabout can discuss potential projects that are being explored for the institution." As an associate artist, Rebeck "will be available to consult with the artistic director, and assist the theatre in various educational and development activities. The relationship is intended to be mutually beneficial. "
This new relationship follows the recent New York premiere staging of Rebeck's play The Understudy at Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Rebeck's plays include Mauritius, The Scene, The Water's Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, Spike Heels, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, Our House, View of the Dome and Omnium Gatherum (co-writer, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003).
The Dream of the Burning Boy will be the first Roundabout Underground production to play in the spring. The new-works program usually premieres a play in the fall. Evan Cabnet will direct. Performances will begin Feb. 25, 2011. Opening is March 20, 2011, in the Black Box Theatre in the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.
Casting and a design team will be announced at a later date.
In The Dream of the Burning Boy, "the sudden death of a high school overachiever exposes a secret that could destroy those left behind, or bring them closer together. A bittersweet story of choices made, opportunities lost, and finding the strength to move on."
This will be the second Roundabout Underground production of the 2010-2011 season following Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still in fall 2010.
David West Read is currently a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School, and a recent graduate of the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His play The Dream of the Burning Boy was developed at the 2010 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. His work has been featured in the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, NYU's Festival of New Works, the Toronto Fringe, and the SummerWorks Festival, and he is currently working on a commission for South Coast Repertory. He is a native of Toronto, Ontario.
In 1995, Roundabout created the New Play Initiative to promote the development of new works by established playwrights as an extension of their mission to bring classic theatre to their audiences. The program "encourages playwrights by providing support in the form of commissions for early and mid-career writers, conducting developmental workshops of new musicals and plays, and mounting fully staged productions of new work on the Roundabout stages."
Since 2003, Roundabout has produced 67 workshops and readings and commissioned 12 writers.
Through the support of Roundabout's New Play Initiative donors, the following ten writers are currently under commission: Bekah Brunstetter, Julia Cho, Lydia Diamond, Diana Fithian, Nathan Louis Jackson, Stephen Karam, Steven Levenson, Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Julie Marie Myatt.
The commission of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez is the institution's first time commissioning a new musical.
Due to several grants, Roundabout grew from an average of one or two commissions per year to having ten currently in various stages of development. "Writers being developed range from Pulitzer finalists to playwrights with major regional success to younger writers in need of early career support," according to Roundabout. "Readings, workshops and feedback help support this diverse group to create strong and exciting work."
For more information, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.