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Over $1 million in support offered to new plays across the country

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater, Awards Updated: March 28, 2014 - 6:06 PM

The Theatre Communications Group on Friday announced the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards had gone to 39 world premieres that are the recipient of over $1 million in financial support.

The impressive roster of winners for the 2013-2014 cycle includes plays that have already been produced, like film-maker Ethan Coen’s “Women or Nothing ,” which premiered at the Atlantic Theatre in New York last summer, and Matt Gould’s and Griffin Matthews’ “Witness Uganda” (pictured above, photo courtesy of ART), which closed March 16 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge; and Rebecca Gilman’s “Luna Gale,” which closed in February at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

The list also includes works by playwrights who have some Twin Cities affiliation, such as Samuel D. Hunter, whose “Rest” opened Friday at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Marcus Gardley, whose “The Gospel of Lovingkindness” closes Sunday at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

And there are some big names in the mix as well, including Pultizer-, Oscar- and Tony-winner John Patrick Shanley (“Outside Mullingar”), Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (“Casa Valentina”) and legendary musical theater composer John Kander, who has teamed up with new librettist Greg Pierce (“The Landing”).

In just seven years, the foundation has given over $6 million to support the world premieres of new works, primarily through extra rehearsal time. The foundation has an impressive track record. Thirteen of the plays it has supported have gone to Broadway, including Pulitzer winners “Next to Normal” and “Water by the Spoonful” and best play Tony winner “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

“The impact of this support is undeniable, with so many of the plays going on to numerous subsequent productions,” TCG executive director Teresa Eyring said in a statement.

What is striking is that while metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City, Denver and Atlanta have theaters represented among the winners, there is not one Twin Cities playhouse on the list.

To be fair, there is new work being done in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including at the Children’s Theatre and Pillsbury House. Still, it’s surprising that such a fertile theater ecology would come up blank.

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