Kennedy’s largesse

Playwrights, theaters receive grants for new work

WASHINGTON — The Kennedy Center will dole out more than $100,000 to five theaters and seven playwrights in the latest round of grants under its Fund for New American Plays program.

The grant awards, in their 16th year, include three production grants to playwrights ($10,000 each) and up to $25,000 to the theaters that will produce their new works.

They include “Electricidad” by Luis Alfaro, to be produced at the Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Ariz. Play is a retelling of Sophocles’ “Electra” set in a bleak, post-modern desert of drugs, violence and retribution. Alfaro also received a development grant for “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” to be presented by L.A.’s Center Theater Group.

Playwright Steven Deitz received an award for his new play, “Fiction,” to be staged by Princeton, N.J.’s McCarter Theater. The play concerns the troubles that arise when a married couple, both writers, decide to share their personal diaries.

Playwright Joseph Fisher and Portland, Ore.’s Stark Raving Theater were selected for “Tundra,” a play about the loneliness and solitude of a tortured composer living in the Arctic.

Two playwrights received the Roger L. Stevens Award for promising new works: Kate Fodor for “Hannah and Martin,” to be staged by New York’s Epic Theater Center, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for “The Mystery Plays,” to be mounted by Washington, D.C.’s Source Theater Co.

A development grant was given for “Maria Kizito” by Erik Ehn, to be mounted by Atlanta’s Seven Stages.

The awards were presented by Kennedy Center prexy Michael Kaiser. The center’s Fund for New American Plays is supported by Countrywide Home Loans, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Laura Pels Foundation. The fund has awarded nearly $4 million since its creation. Past recipients include Tony Kushner for “Angels in America,” Robert Schenkkan for “The Kentucky Cycle” and Wendy Wasserstein for “The Heidi Chronicles.”

Prompted in part by the commercial success of some previous recipients, the center now takes a small subsidiary rights position (2.5%) in future mountings of production grant award winners.

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