Playwrights and Composers Chosen for 2004 Sundance/Ucross Residency on Wyoming Ranch | Playbill

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News Playwrights and Composers Chosen for 2004 Sundance/Ucross Residency on Wyoming Ranch The Sundance Institute Theatre Program and the Ucross Foundation of Wyoming announced participants in the fifth season of its collaborative project, The Sundance Playwrights Retreat at the Ucross Foundation, a three week residency for the development of new work.

The 2004 residency offers six playwrights and one composer three weeks to research and write at a working ranch in northeastern Wyoming. The seven artists invited to participate in the 2004 program receive transportation, room and board during the retreat.

The participating artists are selected and invited by Philip Himberg, Sundance Theatre Program producing artistic director, and Robert Blacker, artistic director of the Sundance Theatre Laboratories.  Both Himberg and Blacker are in residence as creative advisors during the retreat.

 The 2004 Sundance/Ucross Playwrights retreat participants, announced Jan. 21, are:

  • Sybille Pearson, who wrote the book for the musical, Baby, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She is the author of the plays Sally and Marsha, Phantasie, Watching the Dog, Unfinished Stories, True History and Real Adventure and is currently  at work on Be Bold, which is to be produced at the Mark Taper Forum in July 2004.


  • Philip Kan Gotanda, a playwright and independent filmmaker.  His plays include The Wash, Song for a Nisei Fisherman, Yankee Dawg You Die, Ballad of Yachiko and Sisters Matsumoto and have been produced at theatres around the country, including Berkeley Rep, East West Players, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum, New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory, as well as abroad in Tokyo and London. At Ucross, Gotanda will examine a legal case brought in 1986 that helped overturn a Supreme Court Decision that allowed the U.S. government to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. 

  • Jessica Goldberg, whose play, Sex Parasite, commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, will premiere in the 2004 Taper Too season. Other plays include Katzman and the Mayor, Good Thing and Refuge, which won the 1999 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and premiered at Playwrights Horizons. Other theatres that have supported her work include Royal Court, Atlantic Theater Company, Hartford Stage, Magic Theater, Primary Stages and Soho Rep. Goldberg currently has a film, "Hungry Girl," in development with Fox Phillips.  At Ucross, she will be working on a rewrite of a new play commissioned by The Atlantic Theater Company entitled, Get What You Need.
  • Elaine Romero, whose plays Barrio Hollywood, ¡Curanderas! Serpents of the Clouds, Day of Our Dead and If Susan Smith Could Talk have been produced at such theatres as Actors Theatre of Louisville, Borderlands Theater, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Working Theatre and soon at the New Theatre.  Her publications include Vintage Books, Samuel French and Smith & Kraus ("Women Playwrights: Best Plays of 2000").  Playwright in-Residence at the Arizona Theatre Company, Romero has been a guest artist at the Mark Taper Forum and South Coast Repertory. At the retreat, Romero will be writing her new play, Virus, in which a scientist's discovery of his virus theory leads him to a greater understanding of world politics and his own heart.
  • Marcus Gardley, a poet-playwright pursuing his MFA at The Yale School of Drama. His latest play, (L)imitations of Life, will be produced at the Empty Space in Seattle in March.  Gardley has had seven plays produced, including Like Sun Fallin in the Mouth, Livin Tired and Jesus Moonwalks on the Mississippi.  He was the Foundation Fellowship winner at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2002 and a recipient of the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Scholarship.  Gardley was a resident writer for the San Francisco Mime Troupe in 2001.  At Ucross, Gardley will work on a new piece, Moth on the Mother Tongue, about Mission Delores, a church built by the Spanish to convert Native Americans, and a love affair between a Franciscan Friar and a Native American.
  • Composer-lyricist Steven Lutvak, whose works for the theatre include Hannah Senesh, Esmeralda, Almost September and his musical adaptation of A.R. Gurney's The Wayside Motor Inn.  As a singer songwriter, he has performed at major New York venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Algonquin and Russian Tea Room and Rainbow and Stars.  His debut CD, "The Time It Takes," was released in October 2003. His awards include a Jonathan Larson Grant, a NEA New American Works Grant and the first Johnny Mercer Emerging American Songwriter Award.  His film work includes the score to "Anything But Love."  At Ucross he will collaborate with Robert L. Freedman on Campaign of the Century and an adaptation of the Alec Guinness film classic, "Kind Hearts and Coronets."
  • Robert L. Freedman, who was nominated for the Writers Guild Award and two Emmy Awards as the writer and a producer of ABC's miniseries "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows."  He was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for his teleplay for "What Makes a Family" and nominated for the Writers Guild Award for his teleplay for "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella."  He won the Writers Guild Award for his HBO film, "A Deadly Secret." His New York theatre credits include a production of his play, Frantic and workshop of his musical, Grand Duchy, at Playwrights Horizons.  His current projects include the film adaptation of Dominick Dunne's "Another City, Not My Own," and a movie about Bette Davis.  At Ucross, he will collaborate with composer Steven Lutvak on Campaign of the Century and "Kind Hearts and Coronets." Located on a 22,000-acre working cattle ranch at the westernmost edge of the Great Plains, the Ucross Foundation was founded in 1981 and has awarded fellowships to over 1,000 writers and artist in all disciplines from around the United States and the world.

    The residency program "recognizes excellence in the arts, literature and natural sciences by supporting the work of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement or potential for making a significant contribution to their field of inquiry and to society."


    Five projects that began their life at Ucross perform at theatres across the country this season.  Paula Vogel's play, The Long Christmas Ride Home, and Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife opened to critical raves in New York in fall 2003, and Wright's play became the second Sundance project to open on Broadway in the last two seasons.  Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' musical, The Light in the Piazza, is currently playing the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, the same month that Kia Corthron's play, Snapshot Silhouette, goes into production at the Children's Theatre of Minneapolis.  Daniel Goldfarb's Sarah, Sarah will open at the Manhattan Theatre Club in March.

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