Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Our New Play Initiative playwrights have them. They also work with Carthage students to create new, original plays every year.
Carthage commissions acclaimed playwrights to create plays and to work with Carthage students. Students experience the joys and challenges that come with being a part of the creative process and to make history. Many times, roles are created with a specific student in mind to fill that character’s shoes. The production is not just a new play for the season, but a brand new play for the world of theatre. Many of these productions have gone on to win accolades at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
The Regina Taylor Project by Regina Taylor
Ms. Taylor, an actress, director, and playwright, has segued between television and film. She also has been active on the stage, and she holds the honor of being the first black woman to play William Shakespeare’s Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” on Broadway. She is an artistic associate with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the resident playwright for the Signature Company in New York. She earned the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award in 2010 and her critically acclaimed musical “Crowns” earned four Helen Hayes awards.
This year’s play focuses on the life of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, from her beginnings in abject poverty to the halls of power in Washington, where she testified before Congress with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Utilizing iconic songs immortalized during the struggle for civil rights, this new play will span Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer’s life while still connecting to contemporary struggles regarding race.
The Breath of Stars by Caridad Svich
“The Breath of Stars” looked at the workings of memory through stories of love and loss in the contemporary world. Written by Obie award-winning playwright Caridad Svich specially for Carthage Theatre, the play reconfigures Shakespeare’s “Tempest” for the digital age. A modern day Ariel has lost someone named Prospero, who is now only a picture in cyberspace. Another Ariel – perhaps a double or mirror image of the first – misses him too. As the Ariels move through spaces of loss, other worlds open up, revealing a haunting group of characters and stories, all tied together through the invisible bonds of technology.
Up the Hill by Keith Huff
Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and playwright Keith Huff was a writer/co-producer for AMC’s award-winning television drama “Mad Men” and a writer/producer for the Netflix series “House of Cards.” His many play credits include “A Steady Rain,” which starred Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on Broadway and continues to be performed across the United States and internationally.
- David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award
- Selected for the O’Neill Center’s National Playwriting Workshop
No Name by Jeffrey Hatcher
Jeffrey Hatcher is among the most produced playwrights in American theatre today. He adapted his celebrated play “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” into the screenplay “Stage Beauty” (2004, with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes) and also wrote the screenplays for “Casanova” (2005, with Heath Ledger) and “The Duchess” (2008, with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes). Among his many plays are “Mrs. Mannerly,” “To Fool the Eye,” and “The Falls.” He also co-authored the stage adaptation of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.
A Clamour of Rooks by Martin Maguire
Martin Maguire is an Irish playwright, TV writer, radio writer, actor, and director. Patrick Sutton, director of the Gaiety School of Acting, National Theatre School of Ireland, is likewise an acclaimed international director, actor, and writer. “A Clamour of Rooks” was developed as an original theatre project in cooperation with the Gaiety School and premiered at Dublin’s newly reopened Theatre Royal, Smock Alley-1662.
- Regional Certificate of Merit for Stage Management — Mikaley Osley
- Regional Certificate of Merit for Direction — Neil Scharnick
Ghost Bike by Laura Jacqmin
Laura Jacqmin is a Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright who also taught playwriting at Carthage. She is the winner of the 2008 Wasserstein Prize for emerging female playwrights. Her work has been produced and developed by Atlantic Theater Company, Old Vic New Voices, Roundabout Underground, Vineyard Theatre, Ars Nova, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway, among many others.
- National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design — Shannon Meyer
- National Award for Distinguished Director of a New Play — Herschel Kruger
- National Award for Distinguished Production of a New Work
- National Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lighting Design— Martin McClendon
- National Award for Distinguished Achievement in Sound Design — Simon Skluzacek
- Regional Certificate of Merit for Scenic Design — Shannon Meyer
- Regional Certificate of Merit for Costume Design — Kim Instenes
The Rail Splitter by Rick Cleveland
Rick Cleveland is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Screenwriting credits include the films “Jerry and Tom” and “Runaway Jury” as well as television shows “Nurse Jackie,” “Six Feet Under,” and “Mad Men.” He won an Emmy Award in 2000 as a writer for “The West Wing.” He is also a founding member of Chicago’s American Blues Theater. Cleveland’s 2006 one-man show “My Buddy Bill” won the Jury Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and was developed into a Comedy Central special.
- National Award for Distinguished Production of a New Work
One Day in the Season of Rain by Mohan Rakesh; new translation by Aparna Dharwadker and Vinay Dharwadker
Mohan Rakesh is one of post-independence India’s most important playwrights, and his modernist take on the life of Kalidas, Ashad ka ek din (here translated One Day in the Season of Rain), is his most celebrated play. He won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Playwriting in 1968. Translator Aparna Dharwadker won the 2006 Joe A. Callaway Prize for her acclaimed book, “Theatres of Independence: Drama, Theory, and Urban Performance in India since 1947.” Vinay Dharwadker is a poet and a translator of Hindi, Mararthi, Urdu, and Punjabi poetry.
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lighting Design — Colleen Geddes
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Property Design — Slim Simonini
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Scenic Design — Martin McClendon
Honest by Eric Simonson
Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member Eric Simonson is a celebrated playwright, filmmaker, and director. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 1993 (The Song of Jacob Zulu), and his film “A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin” won the Academy Award for Short Subject Documentary. His plays “Lombardi” and “Magic/Bird” were recently on Broadway.
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement for Playwriting
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Curriculum Enhancement
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement for Performance – Andrew Lenox as “Martin”
- Regional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Performance – Caitlin Robertson as “Casey”