NEA Grants Will Bring New Sweeney Todd, Marilyn Monroe Opera and Works by Lynn Nottage and Naomi Wallace to the Stage

News   NEA Grants Will Bring New Sweeney Todd, Marilyn Monroe Opera and Works by Lynn Nottage and Naomi Wallace to the Stage
A new staging of Sweeney Todd and an opera about iconic film star Marilyn Monroe are among the recipients of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, which announced it will award $29.1 million in 1,116 grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing.

Lynn Nottage
Lynn Nottage

"Since coming to the NEA, I have met with many NEA grantees and have seen first-hand the positive impact they have on their communities," NEA Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement. "These new projects will continue to demonstrate the power the arts have to deepen value, build connections, and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation both at the community level and with individuals throughout the nation."

San Francisco Opera's staging of composer Stephen Sondheim and librettist Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd, which will be presented as part of the 2015-16 season, received a top grant of $100,000. Lee Blakeley, who originated the production in 2011 at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, will direct the production, which will be staged in April by Houston Grand Opera in Texas, starring Nathan Gunn and Susan Bullock, prior to its engagement in San Francisco, CA.

The United States premiere of Marilyn Forever, by composer Gavin Bryars and librettist Marilyn Bowering, received a grant of $30,000 for its Long Beach Opera production.

Recipients also include About Face Theatre Collective in Chicago, IL, to support the commission and development of The Babe Didrikson Project with book and lyrics by Sarah Gubbins and music by Josh Schmidt; Actors Theatre Of Louisville, KY, to support the Humana Festival of New American Plays; Amas Musical Theatre in New York, NY, to support the creation and development of new musicals in the Lab and Workshop Series; the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, to support the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference; the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, to support to the commission and production of Reading Play by Lynn Nottage; Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, NY, to support the premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig; and the Signature Theatre Company in New York, NY, to support the New York premiere of The Liquid Plain by Naomi Wallace, among others.

For a complete list of recipients and more information, visit

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