Five new plays are being developed by New York City's Cherry Lane Alternative, an organization devoted to helping up-and-coming theatre artists. Tony Kushner, A.R. Gurney and Wendy Wasserstein are among the established playwrights serving as mentors to authors of these new plays, which will receive brief but full productions in September and October.
Christopher Shinn's Four begins the series, Sept. 14-18. Charles Fuller serves as mentor for this tale of a 16-year-old boy who uses the internet to make a July 4 date with a married man. Frank Pugliese (Aven'U Boys) directs Angel David, Stacy Highsmith, Keith Nobbs (Stupid Kids), Isiah [sic] Whitlock.
Lizzie Olesker's Razing Houses follows, Sept. 21-25, with Lisa Portes staging her surreal drama about three "criminal" women in a boarding house. Tony Kushner (Slavs, Angels in America) serves as mentor.
An airline pilot with a too-vivid imagination is the focus of Peter Buchman's Crockerland, Sept. 28-Oct. 2. Michael Moonchildren Weller serves as mentor.
Wendy Wasserstein is the mentor for Saint Lucy's Eyes (Oct. 12-16), Bridgette Wimberly's look at two women forced to deal with a changing world around them. A director has yet to be announced for the piece. Last on the schedule, Heather Hill's Notes From The Confederacy tells of three sisters faced with "history's hand-me-downs." Eduardo Machado directs and A.R. Gurney (Far East) serves as mentor.
Though affiliated with the Cherry Lane Theater on Commerce Street (where the Alternative staged a series of staged readings in May 1998), the five Mentor Project plays will be staged at the Kaufman Theatre on 42nd Street. The playwrights and mentors have worked on the pieces for the past year through readings and script evaluations.
For tickets ($12 each; $50 for the series) and information on the Mentor Project production series call (212) 279-1434.
-- By David Lefkowitz