New list of unproduced plays tallies those disrupted by pandemic

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, June 25, 2024

New list of unproduced plays tallies those disrupted by pandemic
Roslyn Ruff and fellow actors play a scene from Claudia Rankine’s “Help” at the Shed, in New York, March 8, 2020. On their sixth annual list, the Kilroys, a group of Los Angeles-based female-identified playwrights and producers, is spotlighting new plays and musicals by female, transgender and nonbinary writers that have had their runs disrupted by the pandemic. Rachel Papo/The New York Times.

by Sarah Bahr

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Trying to salvage a spring and summer of shelved and scrapped scripts, the Kilroys, a group of Los Angeles-based female-identified playwrights and producers, is spotlighting new plays and musicals by female, transgender and nonbinary writers that have had their runs disrupted by the pandemic.

More than 140 planned productions by writers ranging from the Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok to the comedian Sarah Silverman appear on the group’s sixth annual list, released on Tuesday.

The tally typically counts a few dozen unproduced and underproduced new plays that are nominated by approximately 300 theater professionals.

But this year the list isn’t curated. Any writer who’s had a first or second professional production of their work canceled, postponed or shortened by COVID-19 can submit their information to be included, said Obehi Janice, a playwright and member of the collective.

“It’s a rejection of status, which this list has unintentionally been a part of,” she said. “We wanted to take a true survey of our community.”

The list, which takes its name from the subversive World War II graffiti tag “Kilroy Was Here,” will be updated each month through the end of the year, she said. (The Dramatists Guild, Theater Communications Group and National New Play Network provided information for the first round.)

Several included productions will be familiar to New York audiences: Both Hilary Bettis’ “72 Miles to Go…” and Claudia Rankine’s “Help” had begun performances at the Roundabout Theater Company and the Shed, respectively. Silverman’s highly anticipated musical “The Bedwetter” (co-written with Joshua Harmon and Adam Schlesinger) had its April 25 opening date at the Atlantic Theater Company postponed indefinitely.

Other plays were aimed for spring at smaller, regional theaters, including Audrey Cefaly’s “Alabaster” at Know Theater of Cincinnati and Elaine Jarvik’s “Four Women Talking About the Man Under the Sheet” at Salt Lake Acting Company in Utah.

Majok, whose “Cost of Living” was on an earlier Kilroys list, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for the play. Her “Sanctuary City” is on the new list after a New York Theater Workshop production was postponed indefinitely.

In an interview Tuesday, Majok said she believes that advocacy by the Kilroys has nudged industry gatekeepers to more strongly consider plays by female and nonbinary writers. And she hopes such progress won’t be lost to the pandemic.

“The cost and, therefore, the exclusivity makes it so difficult for lower income artists to break into theater — or to keep going within it,” she said. “And I worry that further exclusivity could kill vital stories and perspectives in our cultural conversation.”

Inda Craig-Galván, a Los Angeles-based playwright, had two works on this year’s list, “A Hit Dog Will Holler” and “Black Super Hero Magic Mama.” She said it’s disheartening that productions have been scuttled in a cultural moment perfect for plays that tackle racism and oppression.

“It’s a great time in our country for these plays to be produced,” she said. “But now I’m wondering if they’ll ever be produced.”

She said that, as a writer of color, it’s frustrating when spaces are interested in developing her plays or showering them with prizes, but not in actually producing them. “‘Black Super Hero Magic Mama’ has won, like, every award,” she said. “And it’s had one full production.”

Approximately 49% of the plays and musicals on this year’s list are by writers of color, Janice said.

While a majority of plays produced in American theaters are written by white men, there has been progress: In 2016-17, approximately 70% of plays produced in regional theaters were written by men, compared with 2011 to 2014, when that figure was almost 80%, according to the results of a national survey financed by the Lilly Awards and the Dramatists Guild. The percentage of produced plays by writers of color also increased from 10.2% to 15.1% over that period.

But female playwrights still face a steep climb to Broadway. The pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season featured only a handful of shows written by women: Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons,” Rona Munro’s “My Name is Lucy Barton” and Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive,” plus the books for the musicals “Six,” “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” and “Jagged Little Pill.”

“Yes, there have been amazing gains," Janice said. “But at the end of the day, American theater still struggles with taking the breadth of voices in our country into account.”

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

July 9, 2020

It is Christo's final show. But is it the last we will see of him?

Sotheby's Modern Art Evening Auction realises over US$107 million

'David Smith. Sprays' opens online with key museum loans exploring the late artist's pioneering use of aerosol paints

National Gallery becomes first major London museum to reopen

amfAR and Christie's offer works donated by leading artists to fight COVID-19

US artist's holiday park sculpture fetches millions

Kunsthalle Bremen opens 'Your Turn! Recreating Artworks During Quarantine'

Sotheby's to offer masterful still life by Samuel John Peploe

Morphy's hits the jackpot with $3M auction of antique coin-op machines, advertising

Sohrab Mohebbi appointed Curator of the 58th Carnegie International

Christie's results: Paris Fine Jewels sale achieves a total of €4,6 million

Exhibition at Massimo De Carlo offers a a dialogue between the past and the present

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston welcomes new Deputy Director

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston reopens to the public on July 16

MCA Denver and Orange Barrel Media partner in ambitious public art project by Nari Ward

Newport Art Museum debuts "Private Moments: Photographs from Another Era by Bob Colacello"

More than a dozen six-figure sales push Heritage Auctions' American Art event past $6 million

Rock Hall of Fame to replace 2020 ceremony with broadcast special

Kevin Rafferty, 'Atomic Cafe' co-director, dies at 73

New list of unproduced plays tallies those disrupted by pandemic

Henry Martin, wry New Yorker cartoonist, is dead at 94

Prominent artists and writers warn of an 'intolerant climate'

Racket of cobwebs: Chinese contemporary art group exhibition opens at Tang Contemporary Art

Over the Influence opens Invader solo show 'Hanging / Hong Kong / 2020'

Customize your Logo Design with Your Own Style

Tips For Making An Attractive Logo Using Logo Generator

Best boxing matches of the last year

Best Way To Convert Your Documents In 2020

Best 5 Watches From The Frédérique Constant Collection

Road to Successful CompTIA 220-1001 Exam with Top-Rated Books, Practice Tests, and More!

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful