This is the largest program grant (devoted to play development) in the Manhattan not-for-profit troupe's history; in the past, PH has received larger grants for capital projects (like construction of its 42nd Street home). The grant "will help create a fund that will allow the institution to develop new works of musical theatre, each in partnership with a regional theatre — wholly within the non-profit system from start to finish," according to the Nov. 5 announcement.
Spread over seven years, the program aims "to commission at least four new works of musical theatre and develop and produce three or four full-scale productions. Each of the three musicals will be produced at both one specific regional partner and at Playwrights Horizons."
Playwrights Horizons has a long history of developing unique and ground-breaking new musicals, including Grey Gardens, James Joyce's The Dead, Floyd Collins, Assassins, Sunday in the Park with George and the Falsettos trilogy.
"The is the 30th anniversary of Playwrights Horizons' musical theatre program," Sanford said in a statement. "It was the first program of its kind in the United States, and we have been at the forefront of developing new musicals since then. This grant is an enormous step toward making sure that new musicals — regardless of their commercial potential — can continue to be developed and produced across the country. While producing musicals in partnerships with commercial producers has been fruitful for many institutions, the Mellon Foundation grant will allow us to create partnerships with like-minded institutions across the country without having to rely on support from the commercial world."
"A grant of this magnitude and duration will play an invaluable role in Playwrights Horizons' ongoing commitment to musical theatre," managing director Marcus said. "It will enable us to build a new national model for developing musical theatre projects. We are confident that it will also be a catalyst for securing additional funding from other major institutional and individual donors who support musical theatre and who will embrace the notion of a national network of theatres committed to the musical theater form. We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this visionary grant." Playwrights Horizons has been a recipient of generous annual support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation since 1997. In 2000, in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Playwrights Horizons was selected for the Leading National Theaters Program, a short-term joint-initiative of the two foundations.
For more information about Playwrights Horizons visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.