RIPP #32: STEPHEN WILLEMS, LITERARY MANAGER/RESIDENT DRAMATURG, MCC

October 8th, 2013 donnahoke

 

If you don’t know what RIPP: Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project is about, please click here to get some context before reading.

 

From STEPHEN WILLEMS, LITERARY MANAGER/RESIDENT DRAMATURG, MCC

 

“Two years ago, Jeff Talbott submitted a dialogue sample and synopsis to MCC Theater, since we do not accept unsolicited scripts. One of my readers read the sample and asked for the full script. She passed it on to another reader who recommended that I read it. I did and found it quite compelling. A few months later, MCC Theater was invited to submit a play for consideration for the first Laurents/Hatcher Award ($50,000 for the playwright). This was Jeff’s first play. I called him in and we did dramaturgical work on the play. I submitted the play and it won the award. We produced the play, now titled The Submission, to great acclaim. Jeff, previously unrepresented, is now with William Morris Entertainment. Things like this can really happen.”

 

My nutshell takeaway: This is classic RIPP, the intent of the whole project, so I don’t think you need me for this one: “Wow, it really can and does happen and man oh man, I wish it would happen to me.” What was particularly fun about this story is that I had heard so much about this play because with the word “submission” in the title, it was constantly showing up in searches about play submission.

 

A couple of things to note… What’s particularly special about the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award is that it not only awards $50,000 to the winning playwright, but also $100,000 for the nominating theater to mount a subsequent production. And when a theater with the clout of MCC stages a successful premiere, tons of other theaters across the country follow suit—and they did. Arthur Laurents and partner Tom Hatcher knew what they were doing when they created this award in 2010. Playwright Talbott is on the map with one play. I’m still shaking my head (and I know you are too)…

 

Until next time,

 

Donna

 

 




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