Cherry Lane Theatre has announced the playwrights and mentors that will participate in its Obie Award-winning Mentor Project in 2017. The initiative culminates with fully-staged productions presented at the Off-Broadway theatre.
The 2017 mentors will be: Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy, and The Motherf***er with the Hat), MacArthur Genius Award Recipient and Pulitzer Prize-finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Gloria, Appropriate, and An Octoroon), and Lilly and Obie Award winner Lucy Thurber (The Insurgents and The Hill Town Plays).
Below is a list of the selected works and participating playwrights as billed by the theatre:
The Siblings Play by Ren Dara Santiago, mentored by Lucy Thurber (February 22 – March 4, 2017)
Three siblings fight to keep each other safe from the demons their parents created. For Mars, Leon and Marie, what defines family is survival. As love seems to leave them they begin to battle their own desires and destiny, praying at the end of the day they'll still have one another.
Esai's Table by Nathan Yungerberg, mentored by Stephen Adly Guirgis (March 22 – April 1)
Esai's Table follows the journey of three young black men on a mythical night sea journey atop a magical old table. Through artistic expression and personal revelations, we learn why they've been chosen to navigate this journey. Destiny meets eternity in this story of black lives, friendship, family, and love.
Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh, mentored by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (April 25 - May 6)
In the 1990s, Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) is on the rise. Ayamma dreams of leaving her job at her parents’ travel agency and becoming a star. When she auditions for a new film by Nigeria's hottest director, tension flares with his former leading lady—as sparks fly with Nollywood’s biggest heartthrob.
The cast for Nollywood Dreams will feature Nyahale Allie (The Blacklist), Kelechi Ezie (The Book of Mormon), Washington Kirk (Patient, Lover, Friend), Nana Mensah (An African City), Irungu Mutu (Our Lady of Kibeho), and Dorcas Sowunmi.
As part of the Mentor Project, Cherry Lane partners a young playwright with a seasoned professional for a year of script work, rewrites, casting, rehearsals and a full production at Cherry Lane. The Mentor Project is also the recipient of the James Kirkwood Award for American Playwrights.
(Updated April 5, 2017)