Cecilia Fannon’s new play, Red Corners, will receive its world premiere at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park in January 1999 as winner of the 11th annual Lois and Richard Rosenthal New Play Prize.
The comedy-drama was chosen Oct. 1 by Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern from perhaps three dozen candidate scripts. The prize, administered by the Playhouse, funds the playwright’s residency during the production’s rehearsal period, and allows the writer to work with the cast and director Stern.
Performances Jan. 5-31 will be in the theater’s second space, the Thompson Shelterhouse. Opening night is Jan. 7, after two days of public previews.
The play is the eleventh recipient of the Rosenthal New Play Prize, which was established in 1987 by the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation for encouraging superior new plays for the American stage. The Rosenthals are prominent Cincinnatians, publishers of Story Magazine, Writers Digest and other periodicals through their F&W Publications.
Artistic director Stern said he chose the play for its “inventive use of language and characterization, and to the genuine and heartfelt story of love at its core.” Fannon joins the company of Jeffrey Hatcher, whose Scotland Road won the award in 1993. Hatcher’s Titanic-related play is being seen in at least three regional theatres this season.
According to Playhouse publicist Peter M. Robinson, each past winner has enjoyed subsequent productions Off-Broadway or at regional theatres nationwide.
The 1997 winner, Keith Glover’s In Walks Ed, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Robinson said Red Corners is set in present-day Russia, where Mitch, a widowed dentist, his daughter, Beth, and her unenthusiastic husband have come to find a distant cousin in post-Soviet Moscow. The three meet more than they bargained for when the cousin turns out to be, not a matronly babushka, but a 30- year-old knockout in designer jeans who can tell fortunes and read hearts. Mitch is smitten, and Beth “must discover her place in her family’s new world order.”
Playwright Fannon, of Newport Beach, CA., has written for television, print and the stage. Her play, Green Icebergs, won the 1994 California Playwrights Competition and premiered at South Coast Repertory that same year. Another of her works, To Distraction, won second prize in the same competition one year earlier.
In 1998, Fannon wrote the touring one-act show, Armageddon Tonight!.
She teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Long Beach City College.
The set designer is Karen TenEyck. Cast members and other designers have not been finalized.
Tickets ($22-$36) are available now. For reservations or more information, call the Playhouse at (513) 421-3888.
-- By Kenneth Jones