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See Tomorrow's Screen and Stage Gems Today

MFA screenwriters and playwrights show off their goods May 6 and 7

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April 22, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- See the work of tomorrow’s screen and stage superstars today -- at no cost whatsoever! 

The annual New Plays/Screenplays Showcase -- co-hosted this year by Northwestern University School of Communication and Chicago’s Remy Bummpo Theatre Company -- gives theatre enthusiasts a chance to be among the first to view new work by the 2011 graduates of Northwestern’s MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage Program.

The showcase will take place at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn Street, on May 6 and 7. Writers will stage readings of their scripts at 8 p.m. Friday, May 6, and at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Seats are available at each show on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Northwestern has long been known as a nurturing ground for writers,” says Dave Tolchinsky, MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage Program director. “Think of John Logan, TV writer and producer Greg Berlanti or Bruce Norris.” (Norris just won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his drama, “Clybourne Park;” Academy Award-winning screenwriter Logan’s “Red” won the 2010 Tony Award for best play; and Berlanti has written and produced “Dawson Creek,” “Everwood” and “Brothers and Sisters.”

“What’s more,” Tolchinsky adds, “faculty in our MFA program include the likes of Rebecca Gilman, who two years running had a play on Time magazine’s 10 Best Plays and Musicals of the Year list, and whose “Boy Gets Girl” made its 10 Best Plays and Musicals of the Decade list.”

“As a company devoted to great theatrical language, it is enormously satisfying for us to partner with Northwestern and play a small part in the development of America’s next generation of great writers,” says Remy Bumppo artistic director James Bohnen.

The showcase is the public portion of the School of Communication’s annual Festival of Writing, which includes a panel event featuring visiting alumni screen and stage professionals.

Established in 2006, the MFA Program in Writing for the Screen and Stage is a two-year, interdisciplinary degree founded upon principles of art, craft, business, vision, and community. In its short history, its graduates have moved on to prestigious fellowships, residencies and work in TV and film, and have had works produced on the stages of Steppenwolf Theatre, The Kennedy Center, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and other national and regional venues. 

For information about the MFA program, visit the program website at http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/programs/mfa_writing_screen_stage/intro.php. For more on the May showcase in Chicago, contact l-rader-day@northwestern.edu.