Cecilia Fannon's new play, Red Corners, will receive its world premiere Jan. 5-31, 1999 at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park as winner of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal New Play Prize.
Keith Jochim, David Rosenbaum, Deirdre Madigan, Tony Carlin and Libby Christophersen perform in the theatre's second space, the Thompson Shelterhouse. Opening night is Jan. 7, 1999 after two days of previews.
Playhouse publicist Peter M. Robinson said Red Corners is set in present-day Russia, where Mitch, a widowed dentist, his daughter, Beth, and her unenthusiastic husband have come looking for a distant cousin in post-Soviet Moscow. The three meet more than they bargained for when the cousin turns out to be, not a matronly Eastern European frump, but a 30-year-old knockout in designer jeans who can tell fortunes and read hearts. Mitch is smitten, and Beth "must discover her place in her family's new world order."
The comedy-drama was chosen Oct. 1 by Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern from about three dozen candidate scripts. The prize, administered by the Playhouse, funds the playwright's residency during the production's rehearsal period, and allows the writer to work with the cast and director Stern.
The play is the eleventh recipient of the Rosenthal New Play Prize, which was established in 1987 by the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation for encouraging superior new plays for the American stage. The Rosenthals are prominent Cincinnatians, publishers of Story Magazine, Writers Digest and other periodicals through their F&W Publications. Artistic director Stern said he chose the play for its "inventive use of language and characterization, and to the genuine and heartfelt story of love at its core."
Fannon joins the company of Jeffrey Hatcher, whose Scotland Road won the award in 1993. Hatcher's Titanic-related play is being seen in at least three regional theatres this season.
According to Robinson, each past winner has enjoyed subsequent productions Off-Broadway or at regional theatres nationwide. The 1997 winner, Keith Glover's In Walks Ed, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Glover's Thunder Knocking an the Door opens the Playhouse's Marx Theatre Jan. 21 after previews Jan. 19-20, 1999.
Playwright Fannon, of Newport Beach, CA., has written for television, print and the stage. Her play, Green Icebergs, won the 1994 California Playwrights Competition and premiered at South Coast Repertory that same year. Another of her works, To Distraction, won second prize in the same competition one year earlier.
In 1998, Fannon wrote the touring one-act show, Armageddon Tonight!.
She teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Long Beach City College.
Designers for Red Corners are Karen Teneyck (set), Gordon DeVinney (costumes) and Dan Kotlowitz (lighting).
For tickets ($22-$36), call the Playhouse at (513) 421-3888.
-- By Kenneth Jones