RADHA BLANK New York native Radha Blank is the author of nine plays. She is a 2013 Sundance Institute UCROSS Playwright, a 2011 Helen Merrill Award recipient, a 2011 NEA New Play Development Award recipient (for SEED), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and a Nickelodeon Writing Fellow. Radha’s plays have been developed and/or presented by Rattlestick Playwrights, The Public Theater, The New Group, Luna Stage, Penumbra Theater, Arena Stage, Classical Theater of Harlem, The City Parks Foundation, Dixon Place, Here, The Lark, Voice and Vision, Hedgebrook, Tofte Lake Center, The New Black Fest and several seasons of The NYC Hip Hop Theater Festival. Radha has written for Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. (Backyardigians, Little Bill) and her original film, Papa Moco Jumbie, was a huge hit for the networks. She has written several screenplays, including FOH, Winner, Best Screenplay at The 2013 BlackStar Film Festival. When not writing plays, Radha performs as RadhaMUSprime- a Moms Mabley meets GhostFace Killah Hip Hop/Comedy mash up. Her mixtape The 40-Year-Old Version drops later this year and her original mockumentary web series of the same name will debut early 2015. Radha is currently staffed as a writer for "The Get Down", a new Baz Lurhman series for Netflix about two Bronx teens and the beginnings of Hip Hop in 1977.
LEILA BUCK has toured the U.S., Europe and China since 1998 with her award-winning solo show, ISite, on growing up in between worlds. Her second play, In the Crossing, was first performed in New Work Now! 2006, and has since been developed with the support of Theater J, New York Theatre Workshop, Silk Road Theatre Project, Chautauqua Institution, the Brooklyn Museum, Epic Theatre Center, The Public, Queens Theatre in the Park and the Lark Play Development Center where it was a finalist for Playwrights' Week 2009. In the Crossing will receive a mini-run in the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage festival in March: www.womencenterstage.org. Her newest play, Hkeelee, begun in the EWG, Leila received a Special Jury Prize from the Middle East America grant co-sponsored by Silk Road (Chicago), Lark Play Development Center (New York), and Golden Thread Productions (San Francisco), and is currently being developed with MAPP international productions: www.mappinternational.org. As an actress Leila is most proud of her roles in the NY run and international tour of Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's critically-acclaimed Aftermath (New York Theatre Workshop -Drama League nominee- Distinguished at New York Theatre Workshop (Drama League nominee- Production and Distinguished Performance), and Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad, directed by Blanka Zizka, at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (Barrymore Award, Outstanding Ensemble in a Play). Leila has had the honor of being a Usual Suspect with NYTW, and of working with writers and directors including Jo Bonney, Thomas Kail, Annie Dorsen, Yussef el Guindi, Isis Misdary and Naomi Wallace. After training and working with Creative Arts Team for five years, Leila was NYTW's teaching artist at the Khalil Gibran International Academy, America's first dual language English-Arabic public school. She has conducted workshops on storytelling and drama for cross-cultural engagement at conferences, universities, schools and cultural centers across the U.S. and around the world, most recently as a U.S. State Department Cultural Envoy using drama and storytelling to address tensions between Muslim immigrants and the wider population in Denmark. Her work has appeared in American Theatre and Mizna magazine, The New York Times and Lebanon's Daily Star and on "Brian Lehrer Live" and WBAI NY public radio. Her essay on Arab-American political theater can be found in Etching Our Own Image: Voices from the Arab American Art Movement, from Cambridge Scholars Press. Leila has been a founding member of Nibras Arab-American Theater Collective, Artistic Director of Nisaa Arab-American Women's Collective, and a writer and performer for the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. She holds a B.A. in Theater from Wesleyan University and a Master's in Drama for Education about the Arab World from NYU, is conversationally fluent in French, Spanish and Arabic and has performed, lived, taught and traveled in over 18 countries in Europe and the Arab World.
RAUL CASTILLO was born and raised in McAllen, TX, with family ties in neighboring border city Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. A graduate of Boston University’s School for the Arts, he is author of the play Knives and Other Sharp Objects, which premiered in March 2009 at the Public Theater. He is a proud member of LAByrinth Theater Company. His one-act play The Biggest Asshole Ever Born premiered at Intar Theater as part of One Night in the Valley; Four Plays by South Texas Writers. Another one-act play - Death on my Mind - is published by Dramatic Publishing in Best Student One-Acts, Vol. 5. Coming up, he is developing a script for the La Jolla Playhouse/Museum of Man Crossing Borders project at Balboa Park in San Diego. Raúl is also an accomplished actor. He plays the role of Richie in the hit HBO series Looking. Theater: Fish Men (Goodman Theater), A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages), School of the Americas (LAByrinth/Public), Open House (Foundry Theatre), and the films My Best Day The Girl, Bless Me, Ultima, Cold Weather, Don't Let Me Drown and Amexicano.
CHRIS CRAGIN-DAY's play The River Nun was part of the 2009 EWG Spotlight Series directed by Tea Alagic, who also directed the subsequent workshop reading at Burning Coal Theater in Raleigh, North Carolina. Chris is also an alumna of The O'Neill National Music Theater Conference where her musical Son of a Gun co-written with Don Chaffer, was work-shopped and presented. Son of a Gun then received a NYC production by Firebone Theatre directed by Gabriel Barre and starring Van Hughes (American Idiot) Ryan Link (Hair), and Rebecca Hart (The Great Immensity) (www.firebonetheatre.com). Most recently her musical adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant, co-written with Michael Castillejos, was part of Firebone's Long Long Ago festival of fairy tales. Chris is currently working on two commissions. One is a play titled Martin Luther on Trial, commissioned by Fellowship for the Performing Arts. The other is a musical titled Mary and Joseph's Baby commissioned by Pacific Theater in Vancouver. Chris teaches playwriting at The King's College and Regent University. She also currently serves as Artistic Director of Firebone Theatre.
CHRISTINA GORMAN’s play American Myth, which she developed in the Emerging Writers Group, was awarded the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, as well as the Blue Ink Playwriting Award from American Blues Theater, who produced the world premiere of the play in March 2014. Her play Just Knots was named winner of the Samuel French Short Play Festival and is published in the Samuel French Publication Off-Off Broadway Festival Plays, 34th Series. It has been produced nationally and internationally. DNA has been produced at Prospect Theatre Company, Hangar Theatre, Samuel French Short Play Festival, and in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it received the award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting. Split Wide Open has been produced in the NYC’s Summer Play Festival and was developed with a fellowship from Ensemble Studio Theatre through its New Voices Program. The play was also named runner-up for the Princess Grace Award. Sacred Ground was produced at Stella Adler Studios while Christina was its Harold Clurman Playwright-in-Residence. Her short play The God Particle has been produced at Planet Connections Festival, Estrogenius Festival, and at Stageworks/Hudson. Another short play, The Grey Ladies, has been produced by Spark & Echo Productions and American Blues Theater. Orion Rising has been workshopped at the New Harmony Project. Far From the Trees has been presented in |the claque|’s The QuaDs Festival, at Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and in the Geva Theatre Center Festival of New Plays. Christina is an Artistic Affiliate at American Blues Theater, a former New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, and an alumna of the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab. www.christinagormanplaywright.com
ETHAN LIPTON produced plays include Red-Handed Otter, Luther, Goodbye April Hello May, The Barber and The Farmer, 100 Aspects of the Moon and Meat. His theatrical song cycle No Place to Go was produced by the Public Theater at Joe’s Pub and won a 2012 Obie Award. No Place to Go has since been produced at Two River Theatre in New Jersey and the Gate in London, and presented in over 20 cities. Ethan’s plays have been seen and heard in Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, Edinburgh, and Berne, Austria. He was the 2012-13 Playwright’s Realm’s Page One Playwright, is an alum of the Public’s Emerging Writers Group, and is an Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb. Ethan has received NYFA and Drama-Logue awards and commissions from Playwrights Horizons, True Love Productions, NSYCA (via Clubbed Thumb), the NEA (via Joe’s Pub), and Barrington Stage. He has been a Kesselring Prize nominee, an O’Neill Conference finalist, a Kleban award finalist and a resident writer at New York Stage and Film. His play Luther was published in THEATER (Duke/Yale) in 2013.With his band Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra (“Best Lounge Act” New York Magazine), he has released five albums and played throughout New York and beyond, including Celebrate Brooklyn, MASS MoCA, ATP in East Sussex (UK), Grand Performances in LA and at the Portsmouth Music Hall. The band has been featured on radio shows such as “Weekend Edition,” “Word of Mouth,” “The World,” and “Soundcheck.” As a performer Ethan appeared in the original production of Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz and has worked with artists Laurie Anderson, Cynthia Hopkins and Matt Berninger of The National. Info on his plays and band is at www.ethanlipton.com.
ALEJANDRO MORALES is the author of the silent concerto (two FringeNYC Awards and one Innovative Theater Award), sweaty palms, sebastian (winner 2002 Whitfield Cook Award), expat/inferno (winner 2005 Fringe NYC Overall Achievement), marea, castle of blood, and the october crisis (to laura) (cited four times in OffOffOff.com's Best in Fringe 2008, including Best Script). His plays have been presented/developed at The Public Theater, INTAR, South Coast Repertory, The New York International Fringe Festival and Mabou Mines. A collection of his plays has been published by NoPassport Press. He is a founder and Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning Packawallop Productions. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and an alumnus of New Dramatists.
NICK HADIKWA MWALUKO was born in Tanzania but raised in neighboring Kenya and other east African countries. Nanna worked for Reuters News Agency in their regional headquarters in East Africa for several years. As a feature writer and journalist, Nanna witnessed much that has become material for plays, fiction and non-fiction. In New York, Nanna joined Reuters Equities Desk before attending Columbia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. After a brief stint at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Nanna was selected by the Public Theatre's Emerging Writers' Group. Plays include Waafrika (now a trilogy); Are Women Human? (published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2008/2009); Asymmetrical Me; Once A Man, Always A Man; Mwena (performed at the Culture Project in 2008 for Women's Center Stage); and several others. Nanna wishes to thank the Public Theatre for launching this initiative and an amazing year under their wing.
DON NGUYEN’s full-length plays include Sound (Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2014, finalist – O’Neill National Playwrights Conference 2014, Playwrights Realm Fellowship), Red Flamboyant (Ojai Playwrights Conference, finalist – O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and Bay Area Playwrights Festival), The Man From Saigon (NYSAF 2012 Founders Award, Naked Angels – Angels in progress workshop), The Commencement of William Tan (finalist – Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2G Jumpstart Commission, NYSAF reading), and Three to Beam Up (The Shelterbelt Theatre, Nebraska Arts Grant recipient). His one-act play The Harlequin Maneuver is published in The Best of The Strawberry One-Act Festival, Volume 1. It has subsequently been produced in New York, Nebraska, and Canada. Don is a founding member of Mission to (dit)Mars, a Queens based theater arts collective, a member of the 2010/2011 Civilians R & D Group, a current member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and is a frequent volunteer for the 52nd Street Project. For more information on Don, please visit www.thenuge.com.
As a Stanford undergrad, AKIN SALAWU founded and ran ergo student theater troupe which earned him the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for mounting culturally diverse theatre. In June 2006, he received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University's Film Division where he was accepted with the Dean's Fellowship. He is also a two time Tribeca All Access Winner for his stage play, You Dead Yet?, and his screenplay, Glory Masters (which also won the 2006 Columbia Screenplay contest). Additionally, his plays You Dead Yet? and Your God's Not Coming have both been part of New Heritage Theater's Roger Furman Reading Series. When not writing, Akin is a professional film and video editor and was an avid grassroots Obama Organizer. Prior to the campaign, Akin firmly believed that art and politics never mix. Then an invitation to write a play for an anti-war benefit yielded one of the most satisfying artistic experiences of his career. The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group has given Akin Salawu a space to explore the latest startling by-product of this awakening.
ALADDIN ULLAH has been pioneering the past decade as one of the very first South Asians to perform stand-up comedy on national television on HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and PBS. Co-founder and host of the multi-ethnic stand-up show "Colorblind," which Mel Watkins of The New York Times hailed as "hilarious, thought provoking and ground breaking." Theater: Indio, directed by Loretta Greco (New Work Now!-NYSF/Public Theater), Mike Batistick's Port Authority Throwdown (Culture Project), Rain from out of the Blue (NY Int'l Fringe Fest). Workshops: NY Stage & Film, Second Stage, Ma-Yi, Lark Theater, Working Theater, and Cape Cod Theater Project. Television: Law and Order, Uncle Morty's Dub Shack (IATV - Telly award for best comedy series), Desis: South Asians in NY (PBS). Appeared in several commercials as an actor and voiceover artist. Film: The animated feature Sita Sings The Blues (Best Animated Feature - Berlin and Tribeca film festivals), American Desi. Recipient of the Paul Robeson development grant.
PIA WILSON is the recipient of the 2014 Sarah Verdone Writing Award, a 2011 Heideman Award finalist for her short play Turning the Glass Around, and a semi-finalist in the 2011 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is a 2012-2013 resident with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace program, and a 2009 playwriting fellow with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is also a member of The Passage Theatre Play Lab and a member of the 2009 Project Footlight team of composers and librettists. Her play Generation T was produced at Adelphi University in March, 2014. The Flower Thief was an August 2012 co-production between Horse Trade Theater Group and The Fire This Time play festival. Her full-length drama Red Rooster was a part of The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Future Classics reading series. All the Pretty Girls was featured in The Looking Glass Theatre’s Spring 2009 Writer/Director Forum. The River Pure for Healing was part of the 2008 Resilience of the Spirit play festival.
Emerging Writers Group Spotlight Series 2008
Was on Monday, April 13
Written by CHRISTINA GORMAN
Directed by MARK BROKAW
Dr. Douglas Graham, best-selling author, beloved professor, and American history scholar, is accused by a former student of lying in the classroom about his participation in and around the Vietnam War. The play explores the line between personal and professional ethics, the difference between truth and history, and the myth of what makes a "great man."
Was on Wednesday, April 15
THE RIVER NUN
Written by CHRIS CRAGIN
Directed by TEA ALAGIC
It is the day of the yearly masquerade in a small village in the Niger Delta: Lysa sits alone in her fishing boat, determined to catch fish, but the loud rumble of gas flaring and the toxic fumes from the oil-polluted river have left the water barren. Led by Lysa, the women of the village must decide if they can finally stand up to the oil giant Elayone, shut down its operations, and restore the health of their river.
Was on Monday, April 20
Written by ETHAN LIPTON
Directed by LEIGH SILVERMAN
Like a lot of people these days, Walter and Marjorie have adopted an abandoned veteran of war. Sadly, that was the last good decision they made. Luther is a tragic comedy about the bonds of family and the price of violence.
Was on Thursday, April 30
I STAND CORRECTED
Written by AKIN SALAWU
Director: DAVID ESBJORNSON
While in rehab, a paralyzed 9/11 fireman, an Iraq Vet amputee, an aneurysm survivor, and a hate crime victim learn to fall seven times but get up eight.
Was on Monday, May 4
Written by DON NGUYEN
Directed by JOANNA SETTLE
In the midst of starting the first support group for women living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam, Mrs. Hue struggles to mediate the conflicting personalities of the spirited women that have joined. But just as the women are learning to live together in relative peace, money and medicine begin to run out. To fight for the group's survival, Mrs. Hue has no choice but to venture out into the very world that has shunned them.
Was on Monday, May 11
THE OCTOBER CRISIS (TO LAURA)
Written by ALEJANDRO MORALES
Director: KEN RUS SCHMOLL
1962. On the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a mysterious telegram and an old song send singer Marguerite Stone back to her fated 1945 debut in a Havana nightclub where she changed her name, left her old life behind, and became a star. As an uncertain future looms over the world, Marguerite must reconcile the two parts of herself that have been at war with each other for years.
Was on Monday, May 18
Written by ALADDIN ULLAH
Directed by HAL BROOKS
When comedian Aladdin reaches a crossroads in his career, he discovers the journey of his father who left Bangladesh in the 1940's to pursue his "American Dream" in Spanish Harlem of all places! His father's misadventures in the land of opportunity are juxtaposed with Aladdin's own perspective as a funny man of both Eastern and Western descent.
Was on Monday, June 1
Written by PIA WILSON
Directed by LIESL TOMMY
Joyce, a Hurricane Katrina refugee from New Orleans' Ninth Ward, is living in New Jersey with an elderly man named George. Joyce and George have an agreement: she'll take care of him, and he'll eventually sign his home over to her as payment. All is going well for George and Joyce, until George's son comes home and wants the house.
Was on Monday, June 8
Written by NICK HADIKWA MWALUKO
Directed by NIEGEL SMITH
Sam, an African-American anatomical female, needs to become a man to feel complete. S/he comes through the operation only to find that the world won't transition with him.
Was on Monday, June 15
Written by RADHA BLANK
Director: KAMILAH FORBES
Welcome to Paradise Cove, an exclusive, all-inclusive family resort in the Caribbean where mommies and daddies can escape their worries and leave with the perfect souvenir: a Paradise Cove Child Care Specialist.
Was on Monday, June 22
Written by RAúL CASTILLO
Director: TLALOC RIVAS
A New York City woman, after losing her lover to a freak bus accident and learning that she is pregnant with his child, decides to visit his estranged family in South Texas in an effort to learn more about his shadowy past.
Was on Monday, June 29
IN THE CROSSING
Written by LEILA BUCK
Directed by SHANA GOLD
Leila, a Lebanese-American writer-performer, was caught in Lebanon with her Jewish husband during the Israeli-Hezbollah war of 2006. As she attempts to portray the many voices of their experience, Leila begins to realize that the most treacherous journey of all is the act of telling her story.