McCarter's 'Plays' also receives honor

Center Theater Group’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” has been chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the inaugural selections in its NEA New Play Development Program.

CTG is one of two recipients of the NEA Outstanding New American Play nod, which carries with it $90,000 to support advanced development activities, culminating in a full production and world preem of Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger.”

The second selection was a project by the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays.”

“Bengal Tiger” is set against the backdrop of the Iraq war as the lives of two American soldiers intersect with an Iraqi translator, the ghosts of Saddam Hussein’s sons and a Bengal tiger. Moises Kaufman directs.

Joseph, whose “Animals Out of Paper” preemed at Off Broadway’s Second Stage Theater this summer, is also this year’s recipient of the Vineyard Theater’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award.

Administered by Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the NEA New Play Development Program is intended to help nonprofit theaters across the country bring more new plays to full production. The org also awarded five NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects grants, worth $20,000, to support early development activities for new plays.

“Bengal Tiger” will bow in May at CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City.

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