Roundabout Theatre Company & Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program Announce Winners of Columbia@Roundabout’s New Play Reading Series

May 25, 2016

Made Possible in Part by the Tow Foundation

 
Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) and Columbia University School of the Arts (Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty) are pleased to announce the winners of Columbia@Roundabout’s New Play Reading Series. As part of the previously announced collaborative partnership between Roundabout Theatre Company and Columbia University, each celebrating their 50th Anniversaries this year, the reading series awards three playwrights from the current MFA program and recent alumni with a cash prize as well as two readings in Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre. Five finalists have also received cash prizes in recognition of their exceptional work. No other collaborative partnership in the New York area brings together an esteemed Ivy League MFA program with a Tony Award‐winning not‐for‐profit theatre. The reading series is made possible by a grant from the Tow Foundation. 

Playwrights featured in the inaugural Columbia@Roundabout New Play Reading Series include Dominic FinocchiaroChas LiBretto and Emma Stanton. Finalists include McFeely Sam GoodmanBen Hoover,Daaimah MubashshirKristin Slaney and Celine Song.

The New Play Reading Series will be held June 14‐20 at Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre, home to the Roundabout Underground program, highlighting the work of Columbia MFA playwrights. Mentorship is provided by celebrated Columbia faculty members, including Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang, Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and OBIE Award winner Charles L. Mee. The series creates a bridge for Columbia’s emerging writers and provides Roundabout audience members with an opportunity to experience work by the next generation of leading theatre artists. Readings will be open to industry members and other guests by invitation only.

The selection committee consisted of two representatives from Roundabout Theatre Company, Director of New Play Development Jill Rafson and Artistic Consultant Robyn Goodman and two representatives from Columbia University, Christian Parker, Chair of the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts and David Henry Hwang, head of the Playwriting concentration for the program. 
                                                                                                                                                                                          
Schedule of Readings

The Found Dog Ribbon Dance
By Dominic Finocchiaro
Friday, June 17 at 3:00pm
Monday, June 20 at 6:00pm

Norma, a professional cuddler in Portland, Oregon, has devoted her life to healing others and ignoring her own needs. When she discovers a lost dog and attempts to return it to its rightful owner, Norma’s ordered life takes a turn. A story of loneliness, intimacy, and the healing power of the music of Whitney Houston.

The Laodamiad
By Chas LiBretto
Directed by Hunter Bird
Tuesday, June 14 at 3:00pm
Monday, June 20 at 8:30pm

Laodamia, daughter to King Acastus, is rescued from drowning by Iolaus, a sheep farmer from Phylace. When the Trojan War breaks out, she tries to keep him safe with her but inadvertently exposes him to a wider world of politics and power. A nightmarish prophecy ensures that the charismatic General Odysseus has him put at the front of the lines and when Iolaus is killed in combat, Laodamia becomes the war's first widow. How she deals with her grief echoes through history and myth for millennia. Inspired by the handful of surviving lines from Euripides’ lost playProtesilaos, The Laodamiad explores love, war, and loss.

No Candy
By Emma Stanton
Directed by Devon de Mayo
Thursday, June 16 at 3:00pm
Sunday, June 19 at 6:30pm

At the center of No Candy is a multi‐generational community of Bosnian Muslim women who run a gift shop near the Srebrenica massacre memorial. The play follows how each woman copes, privately and publicly, with the trauma she experienced during the war: she dreams of Julie Andrews, she sings grunge music at karaoke bars, she dresses in drag in her father’s clothes. While No Candy is very much about how trauma inhabits the body and shapes a community, it is also about the persistence of humor, art, and absurdity in an unimaginable time.

Winner Bios
 
Dominic Finocchiaro (The Found Dog Ribbon Dance) is a Brooklyn‐based playwright, performer, and freelance dramaturg. His writing has been produced and developed around the country, including with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Civilians, the Lark Play Development Center, National New Play Network, Portland Center Stage, PlayPenn, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, The Flea Theater, The Kennedy Center, UCross Foundation, The Amoralists, Pavement Group, Ugly Rhino, Pipeline Theatre Company, and at the Samuel French Off‐Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Dominic is a native of San Francisco, a graduate of Reed College, and recently completed the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University. He has also trained as a writer at the New School for Drama, the Kennedy Center, the Playwrights Foundation, and through Pataphysics at The Flea Theater.

Chas Libretto (The Laodamiad) is a playwright based in New York and the co‐founder of Psittacus Productions. Work includes The Royal PyrateA Cure in the HouseCyclops: A Rock OperaSong of Rage, and The Pleasure of Ruins. He is working on a novel, The True History of Lucian of Samosata. His work has been developed by Ars Nova, Lincoln Center Education, Theater Masters, NYMF, Pasadena Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare and the Paideia Institute. He is an alum of Ars Nova Uncharted and Theater Masters and is a Center for Hellenic Studies Fellow. He is represented by Katie Gamelli at Abrams Artists Agency. www.chaslibretto.com

Emma Stanton (No Candy) is a Chicago and New York theatre artist. She has worked with such companies as Redmoon Theater, American Theater Company, About Face Theatre, Double Edge Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, 600 Highwaymen, En Garde Arts, and Walkabout Theater Company, of which she is Associate Artistic Director. She was a recipient of a Civics and Arts Foundation Playwriting Award for Emerging Artistsin Chicago. Her play Bojko and The Glacier was a semi‐finalist for a Princess Grace Award, and No Candy is a finalist for the Susan Glaspell Award. Currently, Emma is teaching a documentary theatre class at Wadleigh High School for the Performing Visual Arts in Harlem and writing for Walkabout Theater Company’s upcoming show, Cure.www.emmadalbeystanton.com

Finalist Bios

McFeely Sam Goodman (Special Cheese). Plays include Afterward (Prelude 2015, The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center), America Breathing (Summertime Rewrite, The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center), Special Cheese (CATCH, Hearth Gods, Columbia University Schapiro Theatre), Brunchtime Is Over (Columbia University Schapiro Theatre), and The Pickle (Little Theatre at Dixon Place), all directed by Sarah Hughes, as well as Where Are We Now?(chashama Summer Performance Series) with Marina McClure. As an assistant director and dramaturg, he has worked with Half Straddle, Sibyl Kempson, Radiohole, and The Riot Group.

Ben Hoover (Midlife) is a playwright and neuroscientist who uses methods of experimentation and collaboration to create new works for the stage. As a playwright, his work has been presented in New York, Baltimore and Shanghai, China. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. As a theatre scientist, he is researching the role the brain plays during creation and contemplation of theatrical events. As a neuroscientist, he has researched treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease, glioma cancers, and multiple sclerosis. His scientific experiments have been published in NeuronJournal of Neurochemistry, and Journal of Neurosurgery.

Daaimah Mubashshir (Rum for Sale) is a New York City playwright whose work has been seen at Fire This Time Festival, Manhattan Rep. Theatre, The Play Rise Festival and a number of theaters in Chicago. Full‐length plays include Rum for SaleNight of Power and Clay. She has also held several other positions: Associate Curator of the Bushwick Starr Reading Series; Playwright in Residence at The New American Theatre (NY); Associate Director:generations (Soho Rep) and Invisible Hand (NYTW). Current projects include Hotel Harare at Jack and Everyday Afro Play. Learn more at daaimahmubashshir.com

Kristin Slaney (Un‐Utero) is a playwright originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York and Canada at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea Theatre, The Tank, Columbia University, Dalhousie University, University of Alberta, Ship's Company Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Halifax Theatre for Young People, and DaPoPo Theatre. Kristin is a member of EST's Youngblood and she has held writing residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Playwright's Atlantic Resource Centre, and the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia. Kristin’s play Un‐Utero has been named a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s 2016 National Playwrights Conference, and Kristin has also been selected as a semifinalist for the National New Play Network MFA Playwright’s Workshop at The Kennedy Center. She is in the second year of a teaching fellowship through Columbia's University Writing Program, where she teaches a course in Readings in Gender and Sexuality. Upcoming work includes a public reading through Youngblood's annual Bloodworks series, and a summer production at Ship's Company Theatre in Nova Scotia. 

Celine Song (The Feast) is a member of the Public Theater's 2016‐2017 Emerging Writers Group, a member of Ars Nova's 2014‐2015 Play Group, a 2016 resident of the Millay Colony for the arts, an IATI Theater 2015 Cimientos Playwright, a 2014 resident at Yaddo, a 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright, and a 2012 Edward F. Albee Foundation Writing Fellow. Her plays include The FeastFamily, and Tom & Eliza. She holds an MFA from Columbia. 
   
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Education at Roundabout connects with students and teachers through customized school partnerships, residency programs, mentorships and workshops in the practice of professional theatrical skills, professional development workshops, internships, apprenticeships, backstage tours, talkbacks and pre‐show workshops. For each Roundabout production, Education also creates Upstage guides, which include interviews, contextual information, teacher resources and activities, and presents a post‐show Lecture Series hosted by Education dramaturg Ted Sod and featuring a distinguished artist, scholar, historian or critic. roundabouttheatre.org/education

Roundabout Theatre Company is committed to producing the highest quality theatre with the finest artists, sharing stories that endure, and providing accessibility to all audiences. A not‐for‐profit company, Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the production of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate and engage all audiences. 

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals, and new works on its five stages, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the needs of Roundabout’s mission. Off‐Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design, is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout’s Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre offers a state of the art LEED certified Broadway theatre in which to stage major large‐scale musical revivals. Together these distinctive homes serve to enhance Roundabout’s work on each of its stages.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
 
Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th Anniversary Season celebrates the company’s numerous accomplishments and vision for the future with bold new productions of classic plays, a revival of the Roundabout’s first musical, and new work by some of the country’s most exciting young talent. Founded in 1965, Roundabout Theatre Company has grown from a small 150‐seat theatre in a converted Chelsea supermarket basement to become one of the nation’s most influential not‐for‐profit theatre companies, as well as one of New York City’s leading cultural institutions. Roundabout has been recognized with 29 Tonys, 41 Drama Desks, 50 Outer Critics Circle, 10 Obie and 15 Lucille Lortel Awards for its work on five stages, reaching more than 700,000 theatergoers and employing hundreds of artists each year. Bank of America is a proud 50th Anniversary Season sponsor – a partnership that makes possible Roundabout’s many productions and not‐for‐profit initiatives during this landmark year. Roundabout’s 50th Anniversary Season media partners include WNBC, Clear Channel Spectacolor, and the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. 

Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season in 2015‐2016 includes Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Gavin Creel, Byron Jennings, Tom McGowan and Jane Krakowski in She Loves Me by Joe Masteroff, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, directed by Scott Ellis; Steven Pasquale in The Robber Bridegroom by Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman, directed by Alex Timbers; Jessica Lange, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Shannon and John Gallagher, Jr. in Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill, directed by Jonathan Kent; and the national tour of Sam Mendes & Rob Marshall’s Tony Award‐winning production of Cabaret.

Roundabout’s 2016‐2017 season will include Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, directed by Gordon Greenberg with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin; Diane Lane in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov with a new adaption by Stephen Karam, directed by Simon Godwin; Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett, directed by Michael Mayer; If I Forget by Steven Levenson and Napoli, Brooklyn by Meghan Kennedy. The 2016‐2017 Roundabout Underground season includes Kingdom Come, a new play by Jenny Rachel Weiner.www.roundabouttheatre.org