With a $375,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation, the Magic Theatre and their partners, The Z Space Studio, will commission fifteen playwrights to create new work for Bay Area companies and two other California theatres over the next three years. Charles Mee (Big Love, First Love), Neena Beber and monologuist Josh Kornbluth are among the writers who will benefit from the new play development program.
Mee and the Magic have oft worked together, the theatre producing the premieres of his Summertime and Wintertime. Beber is the author of Jump/Cut. Kornbluth has been traveling the country as the wittiest founding father in Benjamin Franklin: Unplugged and recently starred in "Haiku Tunnel," a film of his theatrical monologue.
Other commissioned writers are Michelle Carter, Sara Felder, Leigh Fondakowski, Brian Freeman, Anne Galjour, Joe Goode, Joan Holden, D.W. Jacobs, O-Lan Jones, Cherylene Lee, Victor Lodato and Clark Suprynowicz.
Theatres partnering with the Magic and the Z Space, including the Bay Area's Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, will have the option to premiere any new work developed with their company. As leading partners, the Magic and the Z Space Studio will premiere half of the new plays.
The Magic, founded in 1967, recently produced the world premiere of Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss with Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson. The Z Space Studio is a new play theatre lab, producing since 1993. The James Irvine Foundation, named for the California pioneer, awards grants to groups who enhance the social, economic and artistic life in the state. – By Christine Ehren