Two years ago, playwright Nathan Jackson was working at a barbecue restaurant in his hometown of Kansas City, Kan., “with a baby on the way, not really knowing what we’d do next,” he admits. Not expecting much, he applied to Juilliard and was “shocked and surprised” to win a two-year playwright’s fellowship two days before his first child was born. “Since coming here, both my life and career have totally changed,” he says.
As an undergraduate at Kansas State, Jackson helped form the Ebony Theater group and wrote “The Last Black Play.” Now, in his first year at Juilliard, he wrote a play called “Broke-ology,” a family drama which then led to a commission from the Lincoln Center for “When I Come to Die,” a drama about a man on death row. “Die” is scheduled for future production, and in the meantime, the theater will premiere “Broke-ology” in October. “Juilliard’s been so supportive — like a second family to me,” Jackson says.