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

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02 Jan 2013

Oregon Shakespeare Festival has added Ayad Akhtar, Kirsten Greenidge, Stephen Karam, Lisa Loomer and Karen Zacarías to its list of commissioned writers in the American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, part of the company's commitment to the development and production of new work.

"We are incredibly proud to support the work of these extraordinary artists," said OSF artistic director Bill Rauch in a statement. "I am amazed by the stunning diversity of voices, culturally and aesthetically, among these five writers. This group really captures the promise of the American Revolutions cycle."

Actor, director, screenwriter and playwright Akhtar's latest plays include Disgraced, which was recently seen Off-Broadway as part of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 initiative, and The Invisible Hand, which premiered at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in March of 2012. "American Dervish," his first novel, was published in January 2012, and will be released in 22 languages worldwide.

Greenidge's work includes Milk Like Sugar (commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse/TheatreMasters), Bossa Nova (world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre and recipient of a 2010 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award), The Luck of the Irish (world premiere at Huntington Theatre Company in 2012, originally commissioned by South Coast Repertory and re-commissioned by Huntington Theatre Company), Rust (Magic Theatre Company) and Sans Culottes in the Promised Land (Humana Festival of New Plays/Actor's Theatre of Louisville).

Karam is the author of Sons of the Prophet (2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and winner of the Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Play), and his other plays include Speech & Debate, the inaugural production of Roundabout Underground; columbinus (New York Theatre Workshop); Girl on Girl (Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep); and Emma (a modern, musical version of Jane Austen's novel), performed by students of the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York City in association with Waterwell.

Loomer's most recent play, Café Vida, opened Cornerstone Theater Company's cycle of plays on hunger and has been nominated for an Ovation Award for Best Play. Her other works include Two Things You Don't Talk About at Dinner (world premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company), Homefree (Denver Center's Summit), Distracted (world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum and subsequently produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The Waiting Room, Expecting Isabel, Bocon!, Broken Hearts, A Crowd of Two and All by Herselves.

Zacarías' plays include The Book Club Play (National Latino Play Award, ATT/TCG First Stages Award, Finalist Susan S. Blackburn Award, The Edgerton New Play Award), Legacy of Light (2010 Steinberg Citation Winner for Best New Play), Mariela in the Desert (National Francesca Primus Prize), The Sins of Sor Juana (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play), the adaptation of Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, and the adaptation of Helen Thorpe's nonfiction book on immigration Just Like Us. Her TYA musicals with composer Debbie Wicks la Puma include Einstein is a Dummy (New Vision, New Voices), Looking for Roberto Clemente, Jane of the Jungle, Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans, Ferdinand the Bull and Frida Libre.


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