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Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:33

Keen Company Announces Keen Teens 2010 Writers



Keen Teens, the educational theatre partnership between Off-Broadway’s Keen Company and the theatrical publishing company Playscripts, has selected the writers for the program’s fifth season: Greg Kotis, Mike Lew, and Jenny Schwartz have been commissioned to write thirty-minute, large cast plays, which will be produced with student actors Off-Broadway. This year’s performances will be May 5th – 8th, in the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row.

Keen Teens is a unique educational theatre program which seeks to improve the quality of plays written for high school students by commissioning scripts from highly regarded professional writers.  The playwrights’ only guidelines are that the plays be 30 minutes in length, involve a large cast, and reflect Keen Company’s mission of producing plays that are generous in spirit and provoke identification.  Keen Teens then casts high school students from the tri-state area to perform in the World Premiere productions of these plays at Off-Broadway’s Theatre Row.  Playscripts publishes the plays, which have already garnered over 99 productions across the country.

In its first four seasons, Keen Teens produced plays by Naomi Iizuka, Anton Dudley, Winter Miller, Ryan Pavelchik, Courtney Baron, Bathsheba Doran, Barton Bishop, Jason Grote, Liz Flahive, Cheri Magid, Bekah Brunstetter, Marcus Gardley and Qui Nguyen.

Greg Kotis is the author of many plays and musicals including Urinetown (book/lyrics, for which he won two Tony® Awards and an OBIE Award), Yeast Nation (book/lyrics), The Truth About Santa, Pig Farm, Eat the Taste, and Jobey and Katherine.  His work has been produced and developed across the country and around the world, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Theater Company, Henry Miller’s Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, NY Stage and Film, Perseverance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre, Soho Rep, South Coast Rep, and The Old Globe, among others.  Greg is a member of the Neo-Futurists, the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and is a 2010-‘11 Lark Play Development Center Playwrights Workshop Fellow.  He grew up in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife Ayun Halliday, his daughter India, and his son Milo.

Mike Lew’s plays include microcrisis (Ma-Yi Theatre); Stockton (Ensemble Studio Theatre); People’s Park (Victory Gardens Ignition Festival); Yit, Ngay (published in Plays and Playwrights 2006); Neanderthal Love (Sloan commission); Bury the Iron Horse; and Paper Gods.  His shorts include Tenure (24 Hour Plays on Broadway); Roanoke (Humana Festival); In Paris You Will Find Many Baguettes but Only One True Love (Humana Festival/Heideman Award winner/InspiraTO Festival winner); Moustache Guys (Second Generation; published by Playscripts); The Roosevelt Cousins, Thoroughly Sauced (Samuel French Festival winner), and Magician Ben Vs The Wizard Merlin (published by Smith & Kraus).  He is a Heideman Award finalist four years in a row. Residencies include Youngblood (EST), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, Second Generation, Old Vic New Voices, and TCG Young Leaders of Color. Graduate: Yale College, 2003.

Jenny Schwartz’s plays include God's Ear (Vineyard Theatre, New Georges, Susan Smith Blackburn Special Commendation) and Cause For Alarm (Fringe NYC).  Jenny is the recipient of the Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a grant from the Lincoln Center Lecomte du Nouy Foundation.  She is a member of New Dramatists and an Associate Artist with the Civilians.  Jenny is hard at work on a new play called Somewhere Fun, which is a commission from Soho Rep (NY) and Soho Theatre (London). She is also under commission from South Coast Rep.  Jenny received an MFA in directing from Columbia University, and is a graduate of Juilliard, where she received a fellowship in the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Program.

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