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Posts about Awards

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

Posted by: Rohan Preston 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.

Playwright Kia Corthron wins $150,000 literary prize

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: March 8, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Kia Corthron, a playwright of lyrical language and hard subjects who has been associated with the Children's Theatre and Penumbra in the Twin Cities, has won a Windham Campbell Prize, Yale University announced on Friday.

The honor, administered by the university, comes with a $150,000 purse.

Corthron, a writer who uses fierce and lyrical language to tackle tough subjects, is best known for "Breath, Boom," "The Venus de Milo is Armed" and "Splash Hatch on the E Going Down," a play about environmental degradation. 

She also has written for the television shows "The Wire" and "The Jury."

Corthron wrote "Snapshot Silhouettes" for the Children's Theatre, a drama about tensions between African-American and Somali students that played in 2004. 

Corthron also has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater.

The playwright, who is American, is one of eight writers named as winners of the Windham Campbell Prize, which awarded a total of $1.2 million Friday.

The others are dramatists Sam Holcroft of Britain and Noëlle Janaczewska of Australia; fiction writers Nadeem Aslam of Pakistan, Jim Crace of the United Kingdom and Aminatta Forna of Sierra Leone; and nonfiction writers Pankaj Mishra of India and John Vaillant, who is Canadian-American. 


Best Picture nominees reviewed

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: February 26, 2014 - 11:34 AM
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," nominated for nine Academy Awards. Photo by Francois Duhamel/Fox Searchlight.

All nine movies up for a Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday night got 4-star reviews from Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert, except for "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Her," which each received 3.5-star ratings. Click titles below to read Covert's original reviews. Complete Oscars coverage is here. Best Picture poll is here.

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

BAFTA celebrations in London and Minneapolis as "12 Years A Slave" and Barkhad Abdi win

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: February 17, 2014 - 4:46 PM

Minneapolis film producer William Pohlad had a fine night at Sunday’s 62nd Annual British Academy Film Awards. His weighty historical drama “12 Years A Slave” took the best picture prize. Its star Chiwetel Ejiofor was named best actor.
"We’re honored '12 Years A Slave' received best picture from the BAFTAs,” Pohlad commented Monday. “This kind of bold storytelling is always what interests [Pohlad’s production company] River Road and for it to be embraced and championed in this way is incredibly gratifying. Producing a film like this alongside [Brad Pitt’s company] Plan B, with the vision of [director] Steve McQueen and the affecting performances by a remarkable cast was a humbling experience and one we’re proud to have had a guiding hand in.”
It was a night of celebration as well for Minneapolis actor Barkhad Abdi, who won best supporting actor for his turn as a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips.”
It’s not clear whether these wins boosted the Minnesotans’ odds of winning an Academy Award. In the last 30 years, the BAFTA best picture winner matched the Oscar winner 40 percent of the time. The best supporting actor went on to accept the Academy Award 26 percent of the time. Jared Leto, the clear Oscar favorite in that category, was not nominated for the BAFTA.

Go ahead, vote on some public art

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 10, 2014 - 4:31 PM

MIMMI, an interactive sculpture lit from inside by LED lights that changed color, won the 2013 Creative City Challenge in the program's first year.  Photo by Renee Jones Schneider.

Remember that giant multicolored UFO-like sculpture hovering over the plaza by the Minneapolis Convention Center last summer? The city is bringing back the program that made it possible, expanding funding for the winning entry from $50,000 to $75,000. They've also added a partner, Northern Lights.mn, the force behind the annual dusk-to-dawn outdoor arts extravaganza known as Nothern Spark, at which this year's winning public artwork will make its debut (June 14).

The Creative City Challenge competition for a "temporary destination artwork" was launched last year as a way of attracting more people to hang out on the plaza, actually a green roof across the street from the Convention Center.  It is open to individuals or teams of designers, artists, architects and engineers, but at least half of the members must be based in Minnesota.

The public can vote online for one of this year's jury-selected  finalists, all of which encourage interactivity. The proposals will be presented publicly at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture and Design, Rapson Hall at 6 p.m. tonight (Monday Feb. 10). They are:

  •          Balancing Ground by Amanda Lovelee, Christopher Field, Kyle Waites & Sarah West: A welcoming interactive space that weaves play and peacefulness together through the use of sound, light, text and group movements to create meaningful engagement and the opportunity for intimate, public conversations. The installation will consist of long rows of wood benches interrupted with a series of playground teeter-totters which will be surrounded by a large wood structure with a canopy of prisms and reflective fragments strung between rafters.
  •          Chrysalis by Wil Natzel & Jerry Natzel: An assemblage of deployable elements including a series of entry archways where the lighting reacts to people’s movements, a communal seating court and a tower pavilion through which the public will be guided. Once inside the pavilion, the public will experience an overhead explosion of baroque pattern, light and decoration, which will transform each month to display different exotic designs and configuration.
  •          SPark by Will Peterson, Bill Ferenc, Melissa Gagner & Trygve Nordberg: A colony of autonomous, self-moving “flowers” in which visitors are welcomed and encouraged to walk among to experience these human-sized components. SPark responds to visitors through movement and light, and each sculptural flower is a self-governed entity, linked to the other flowers by a wireless network. Through different interactions, visitors will be able to make SPark come to life: it can move, pulse and even breathe. 

Voting runs through Feb. 28 at http://www.startribune.com/a2560



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