New York's New Dramatists has announced this year's inductees into their prestigious home for new playwrights. This year's new crop of New Dramatists include: David Lindsay Abaire, Mark Bazzone, John Beluso, Bridget Carpenter, Lonnie Carter (The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy), Lisa D'Amour (Homefree), Karen Hartman (Gum), Lynn Nottage (Mud, River, Stone, Crumbs From The Table Of Joy,Por'knockers).
The 1999 new members will be announced at New Dramatists at their annual Spring Luncheon on May 13, a luncheon to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. The special honoree: Julie Andrews.
New Dramatists offers seven-year memberships to emerging playwrights of talent and ability. During this period, they are encouraged to use the organization's resources to develop and refine their artistry and vision. Primary among the services offered to members are the various play development workshops; playwright exchange programs with England, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Los Angeles and Israel; and ScriptShare, a national script distribution service. Additional services include screenplay development and musical theater workshops; writer's workspaces; a free ticket program, unlimited script copying facilities, and a summer playwriting residency in Lake Placid, NY.
When asked about the decision-making process, New Dramatists spokesperson, Paul Slee told PBOL (May 11), "We form a committee of seven people -- member playwrights, alumni playwrights and another individuals who works in theater, a director or designer. Writers are asked to submit two full length plays or two books to a musical." Slee continued, "The committee then reads 500 works through the course of nine months. Writers also must submit a letter of interest. They look at the letter and determine if New Dramatists will be able to help them with what they want."
"This year's meeting took place last Saturday (May 1)," said Slee, "One of the great things about the process is that there are no specific number of slots, so its really just about the quality of the work and the committee changes every year so there's always a variety." New Dramatists, founded in 1949, offers a haven for playwrights to develop their craft via workshops, staged readings, awards and prizes. New Dramatist membership lasts for a seven-year span. Alumni include: Robert Anderson, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Richard Foreman, William Inge, Donald Margulies, Suzan-Lori Parks, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman and many more.
Current New Dramatists members include: Diana Son (Stop Kiss), Jeffrey Hatcher (Turn of the Screw), Keith Glover (Thunder Knocking on the Door), Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) and Ruth Margraff (The Elektra Fugues).
-- By Sean McGrath