Mellon funds Horizons

Foundation doles out $2 million to org

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will dole out $2 million to Off Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons, with the money earmarked for the development of new tuners.

Grant will fund the commissioning of at least four new tuners and the full production of three or four works, each staged both at Playwrights and at a regional partner. Seven-year program aims to create a network of nonprofit regionals to develop and produce legit musicals.

Coin will help sustain Playwrights’ longstanding efforts to develop new musicals. Credits for the org’s 30-year-old musical theater program include “Grey Gardens,” “Sunday in the Park With George,” “Assassins,” “Falsettos” and “James Joyce’s The Dead.”

As the production costs of tuners consistently rise and nonprofit funding diminishes, not-for-profits have become increasingly reliant on commercial producers to provide enhancement cash for developing musicals.

According to Playwrights a.d. Tim Sanford, the Mellon grant will help the org curb that dependence on the commercial world, although it does not rule out future collaborations with commercial producers.

“It takes care of something I’ve worried about for years,” Sanford said of the grant.

The Mellon Foundation also recently announced funding for the Public Theater’s Master Writer Chair, a new position filled by Suzan-Lori Parks. The grant for Playwrights Horizons grew out of meetings between the Off Broadway company and the Mellon Foundation, long a funder of the org.

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