Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playwright Corthron, Actor McLean To Receive 'Lights are Bright on Broadway' Awards

Photo left: Kia Corthron by Aaron Epstein; Photo right: Max McLean as Screwtape. Courtesy of Fellowship for the Performing Arts
Playwright Kia Corthron and actor Max McLean have been named recipients of 2010 “The Lights are Bright on Broadway” awards presented annually by Masterwork Productions, Inc. to individuals and organizations making a difference in the Broadway community through faith.

Corthron (Breath, Boom; Force Continuum), is being honored for her play A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, which ran last spring at Playwrights Horizons (presented as a co-production with The Play Company and Culture Project) for its positive representation of an African preacher-in-training as he interacts with his host family and a troubled orphan in a drought-stricken rural American community where he studies religion and water conservation.

“I'm so honored A Cool Dip was chosen for the Masterwork award - but when I initially found out, I must admit I was startled, Corthron said. “Just as I was when 10-year-old Josh King, who played Tay in my play, walked into his audition and the first thing he said was, ‘I prayed for a play like this - a Christian play!’ Before that, I had never thought of A Cool Dip as a Christian play - or a non-Christian play. I had just written the character of Abebe as honestly as I could, and he seemed to be someone who would be wholly committed to his faith. At least one voice (among the many providing input along a play's path from germination to opening) suggested that the dramatic arc lead to Abebe's questioning his faith. That never felt right to me, and frankly is a bit of a cliché in plays wherein Christianity plays a role. (Abebe does question himself but never his faith.)
"There is widespread intolerance - a sense of threat - in fundamentalist Christianity regarding people exercising individual freedoms, just as there is widespread intolerance - a sense of threat - in left-progressive and artistic circles regarding Christianity in any form. I have people close to me who are members of both flanks (as well as many in between), and while it was not my conscious intention, I would be truly gratified to know that A Cool Dip may have fostered some new understanding and compassion,” she said.

McLean is being honored for his portrayal of C.S. Lewis’ famous demon extraordinaire Screwtape, who coaches his nephew demon in training about the art of spiritual warfare. McLean co-wrote the adaptation of The Screwtape Letters with director Jeffrey Fiske.

“This comes as quite a surprise, McLean said of the award. “As a Christian who tries to work daily to live an integrated life of faith and work, I am delighted to receive this recognition from Masterwork for our work on C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.”

McLean’s award will be presented following the Monday, June 28 performance of the show which is running Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre. Corthron will receive her award June 30 at Playwrights Horizons.

“We’re excited to be able to honor examples of people making a difference through faith in the Broadway community,” said Lauren Yarger, executive director of Masterwork Productions. “Kia’s play helped promote an understanding of faith while Max’s helps people understand why they have such trouble with it!”

Last year's recipients were playwright Dan Gordon for Irena's Vow on Broadway, and Radio City Rockette Cheryl Cutlip, founder of Project Dance.
Masterwork Productions, Inc. is a faith based, non-profit organization which helps Christians and churches reach out through the performing arts by producing shows and events, booking artists, providing Broadway and theater reviews (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com) and training at workshops and conferences. For more information, visit http://www.masterworkproductions.org/.

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The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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