Playwrights Ayad Akhtar, Stephen Karam and More Receive Commissions From OSF's American Revolutions Series

By Michael Gioia
02 Jan 2013



To date, OSF has commissioned 21 projects for American Revolutions.

In 2012, two American Revolutions plays were produced in one season: Party People by UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz, William Ruiz, a.k.a. Ninja) and Robert Schenkkan's All the Way. Both plays are among the five finalists nominated for the new $100,000 Kennedy Theater Prize, which was established to honor Senator Edward M. Kennedy and his interest in American history. The winner of the annual prize will be announced Feb. 22.

Also staged in 2012 was Frank Galati's The March, a co-commission with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, produced this season at Steppenwolf.

Prior to this season, OSF produced American Night by Culture Clash and Richard Montoya (2010) and Ghost Light, written by Tony Taccone, and conceived and developed by Taccone and Jonathan Moscone (2011).

In addition to the five writers already noted, OSF also has commissioned Richard Montoya to re-envision American Night for its annual School Visit Program, in which six pairs of actor-teachers perform for more than 70,000 students in schools in four states (CA, OR, WA, KS). This will be the first time an American Revolutions commission will be transformed to be part of OSF's ongoing education programs.

"We are committed to bringing the vision and artistry of American Revolutions writers to all of our audiences, and we are incredibly proud to imagine students watching American Night's Juan José, an aspiring immigrant, encounter the play's remarkable history dreamscape," said Alison Carey, director of the history cycle, in a statement.

In 2013, Naomi Wallace's The Liquid Plain, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, will run July 2-Nov. 3 in the Thomas Theatre. This production is a co-commission with Baltimore's CenterStage. Wallace was one of two recipients of the 2012 Horton Foote Prize, a biennial award named for legendary playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote. The Liquid Plain received the award for promising new American play.

American Revolutions is supported by three-year grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. They have renewed their support and given the second multi-year grant to American Revolutions for 2013-15.

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The plays of American Revolutions, according to OSF, "look at moments of change in America's past, helping to establish a shared understanding of our national identity and illuminate the best paths for our nation's future." Commissions to date include Tanya Barfield, Bill Cain, Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza), Kristoffer Diaz, Michael Friedman, Frank Galati, Quiara Alegría Hudes, David Henry Hwang, Young Jean Lee, the team of Jonathan Moscone and Tony Taccone, Lynn Nottage, Robert Schenkkan, collaborators Rebecca Taichman and Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, Universes (includes core performers Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz, William Ruiz) and Rhiana Yazzie.

American Revolutions has created partnerships with Arena Stage, CenterStage, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, The Public Theatre and the Playwrights Center.

For more information on American Revolutions, click here.