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Second Stage, TW develop 10 plays

Time Warner backs scribes

Ten legit scribes have been selected to participate in the Time Warner Commissioning Program at Second Stage Theater.

New initiative, which pairs Off Broadway’s Second Stage with media giant Time Warner, will commission and develop a play from each writer over the next two to five years.

Program sought out writers from diverse cultural backgrounds at varying career levels. They are Lynn Nottage, Cheryl L. West, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Betty Shamieh, Tracey Scott Wilson, Zakiyyah Alexander, J. Holtham, Rajiv Joseph, Sandra Tsing Loh and Sun Rno.

Second Stage a.d. Carole Rothman, who selected the recipients, along with other members of the theater staff, said the impetus for the commissions came from a desire to see more scripts written from points of view that differ from what usually crossed her desk. “I wasn’t getting a lot of material from writers that weren’t white, frankly,” she said.

TW joined in the effort because it fit with the company’s philanthropic goals of opening the arts to both creatives and auds from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

“The film side of our business is always yearning for more scripts and better writing to represent diversity,” said Lisa Quiroz, TW’s senior VP of corporate responsibility. “We wanted to cultivate philanthropically the work of diverse playwrights.”

TW doesn’t talk numbers, so the two orgs aren’t saying how much coin is involved in the commissions.

“Commissioning is expensive in terms of time, more than anything,” said Rothman.

Scribes approached by Second Stage submitted proposals, and part of the selection process included evaluating whether a new idea for a piece seemed a good candidate for one of the theater’s two venues.

“The goal is to get as many of these plays produced as possible,” Rothman said.

Past commissions by Second Stage have included Nottage’s “Crumbs From the Table of Joy” and Paul Weitz’s “Privilege.”

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