December 28, 2016

Berlind Playwrights In Residence at Lewis Center

Playwright Naomi Iizuka

Award-winning playwrights Naomi Iizuka and Sarah Ruhl have been selected by the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and McCarter Theatre Center as the next Roger S. Berlind ’52 Playwrights-in-Residence. Both writers will engage with Princeton students in the coming year through teaching, master classes, or workshops and will write and develop a new play.

This program, made possible by the support of Roger S. Berlind, Princeton Class of 1952, recognizes exciting established playwrights whose work has had significant impact on the field.

“I’m delighted in welcoming back to Princeton two artists we worked with when they were still ‘emerging,’” commented Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center. “Naomi was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton in 1998 and our Program in Theater produced Sarah’sMelancholy Play as its Fall Show in 2002. It’s been a pleasure to see them evolve into two of the best playwrights in America today.”

Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre Center’s artistic director and resident playwright, added, “The creative collaboration between McCarter and the Lewis Center for the Arts is singular for its incredible breadth and reciprocity. The centerpiece of this rewarding partnership is a unique program made possible by the extraordinary generosity and vision of Roger S. Berlind that engages some of the finest playwrights of our time. I am incredibly proud of this initiative and of our ongoing work with Princeton University.”

“The theater program is thrilled to welcome these two extraordinary writers to our community,” notes Jane Cox, Director of Princeton’s Program in Theater. “Both playwrights have generous, passionate, and inclusive theatrical voices that speak particularly to young people. We know that the presence of these artists will inspire and energize our students, and we feel privileged to contribute to the development of new work by these important artists.”

Iizuka’s plays include 36 Views, Polaroid Stories, Anon(ymous), Language of Angels, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Tattoo Girl, Skin, At the Vanishing Point, Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West, 17 Reasons (Why), Ghostwritten, Hamlet: Blood in the Brain (a collaboration with California Shakespeare Theater and Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts), 3 Truths (a collaboration with Cornerstone Theater Company), and War of the Worlds (a collaboration with Anne Bogart and SITI Company.)

Playwright Sarah Ruhl

Ruhl’s plays include For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (produced at Princeton in 2013), The Clean House, Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Melancholy Play, Eurydice, Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth, and Stage Kiss.

The Playwright-in-Residence program was established in 2014 through the support of Roger S. Berlind, Princeton Class of 1952, best known as the Tony Award-winning producer of over 100 New York shows, including The Book of Mormon, Amadeus, Annie, City of Angels, Hamlet (with Ralph Fiennes), Sophisticated Ladies, and A View from the Bridge. In 2009, Berlind was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame; in 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the playwright-development workshop New Dramatists. He provided the lead funding for construction of the Roger S. Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center, a venue shared by McCarter and Princeton University.