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Wednesday, 22 June 2011 13:47

Kristoffer Diaz Receives Gail Papp Fellowship

The Public Theater

The Public Theater 
Announces 
The Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship

Playwright Kristoffer Diaz
Inaugural Recipient of 
The Year-Long Playwriting Fellowship

June 22, 2011 – The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Interim Executive Director, Joey Parnes) is proud to announce that acclaimed playwright KristofferDiaz will be the first recipient of The Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship. The Fellowship, announced at The Public Theater’s Gala on Monday night which honored Gail Merrifield Papp for her lifelong service and dedication to The Public Theater, was created to support a playwright every season. 

During the one-year fellowship, The Public will serve as an artistic home for Kristoffer Diaz and will co-commission two plays by Diaz with Dallas Theater Center.  The co-commission with Dallas Theater Center will continue the relationship between The Public Theater and Dallas Theater Center, which began in 2009 with Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Good Negro and continues next season with the new musical Giant, which will premiere in Dallas Theater Center’s 2011-2012 season.  Diaz’s play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and received a Lucille Lortel Award, an Obie Award, a Drama Desk nomination, and Equity Jeff Awardsincluding Best Production and Best New Work.

 “Gail Papp exerted a beautiful and powerful influence on The Public's writers during her time on staff, and she now exerts an equally important moral influence on our Board,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Kris Diaz is brilliant, fearless, boundary-breaking and determined to make a theater that matters. I can't imagine a better inaugural recipient of The Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship.”

“I've always written plays with the hope somewhere in the back of my mind that someday they'd find a home at The Public,” said Playwright Kristoffer Diaz. “The fact that I'll now join in that great Public tradition while specifically honoring the legacy of the Papp family is, not to put too fine a point on it, mind-blowing. Add in the incredible forward-thinking approach and architecture of the Dallas Theater Center, and I could not ask for a more inspiring and humble playground in which to create.”

KRISTOFFER DIAZ. His full-length plays include The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Lortel Award, Obie Award, Drama Desk nominee, Equity Jeff Award winner for Best Production and Best New Work), Welcome to Arroyo’s, and #therevolution, among others, and have been produced and developed all over the country. He is a Playwright-in-Residence at Teatro Vista; a recipient of the Jerome Fellowship, the Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant, and the Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists); and a former member of the Ars Nova Play Group. Diaz is currently working on commissions for the Goodman/Teatro Vista and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

GAIL MERRIFIELD PAPP worked in book publishing and at Lincoln Center Theater before joining the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1965. She created the Department of Play and Musical Development at The Joseph Papp Public Theater, where she and her staff helped to develop many new  works, including Cuba and His Teddy Bear, which attracted Robert De Niro back to the stage, the five-time-Tony Award-winning musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the first cabaret at The Public, and The  Normal Heart, Larry Kramer's political play about AIDS,for which she received the 1988 Arts and Communication  Award from the Human Rights Campaign. She and her staff also established a number of new programs for the theater, including Film at The Public, Language/Noise, the Ten-Minute Musical Project, and Playwriting in the Schools.  Gail Merrifield and Joseph Papp were married in 1976.  In 1994, Ms. Papp was the research collaborator for Helen Epstein's biography, Joe Papp: An American Life, published by Little, Brown & Co. and Da Capo Press. Ms. Papp was also a consultant to Kenneth Turan's Free For All: Joe Papp, The Public and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told, published by Doubleday in 2009.

DALLAS THEATER CENTER (Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director; Heather Kitchen, Managing Director) is one of the leading regional theaters in the country, performing to an audience of more than 90,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas. DTC also presents productions at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The mission of DTC is to engage, entertain and inspire its diverse community by creating experiences that stimulate new ways of thinking and living.  DTC produces a six-play subscription of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs including Project Discovery, Summer Stage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and community outreach efforts including leading the DFW Foote Festival and collaborations with the Dallas Holocaust Museum, North Texas Food Bank and Dallas Black Dance Theater.  Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978, Adrian Hall’s All the King’s Men in 1986 and recent premieres ofThe Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor, the revised It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Give it Up!(which later became Lysistrata Jones Off-Broadway) by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Finn, Sarah Plain and Tall by Julia Jordan, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson.

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes, Interim Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater’s productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 158 Obies, 42 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls…; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice.  www.publictheater.org.