jakub | January 27, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | Theatre Awards Roundup: WaterWorks, Lift Every Voice, and More


Multidisciplinary artists Marie Lloyd Paspe, Barkha Patel, Christopher Rivas, Marie Thomas, and Immanuel Wilkins.

Harlem Stage has commissioned five artists to create new work as part of the 2024 WaterWorks Emerging Artists program. Designed to support promising multidisciplinary artists of color as they develop new aspects of their artistic practice, the cohort includes Marie Lloyd Paspe, Barkha Patel, Christopher Rivas, Marie Thomas, and Immanuel Wilkins.

The program includes mentorship and critical feedback from industry leaders, professional development workshops led by Harlem Stage staff, and production guidance. Each emerging artist will develop an original performance piece to be presented as part of a work-in-progress showcase at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse in December 2024.

Marie Lloyd Paspe is a Filipina American dancer, vocalist, choreographer, and writer. Her project in the belly of the crocodile will be a theatrical dance alter-musical exploring the reincarnation of “babaylan,” a Filipinx shaman of pre-colonial Philippines.

Barkha Patel is a kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, and the artistic director of Barkha Dance Company. She will develop ramti aave – her playful arrival, a work that explores surrendering to the Hindu goddess Kali’s playfully destructive power to access the erotic.

Christopher Rivas is an actor, author, podcaster, playwright, and storyteller. His project ROUGH MAGIC will be a three-act operatic ritual that leads the audience through three distinct immersive configurations, revealing how our contemporary lives bear striking parallels to the enduring curses of the Greek mythological figures Sisyphus, Tantalus, and Narcissus.

Marie Thomas is a writer, independent producer, and director. She intends to create a reflective dialogue where a father and daughter discuss their differences and similarities in relation to terms like “Girl Dad,” “Narcissism,” and “Childhood Trauma.”

Immanuel Wilkins is an alto saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. He will develop FLESH, a piece for saxophone, synthesizer, percussion, guitar, and voice that serves as a study on the Black body and the remix, repurposing the skin as a symbol and tool for unification.

Harlem Stage is a performing arts center in New York City that seeks to perpetuate and celebrate the unique and diverse artistic legacy of its neighborhood and the indelible impression it has made on American culture.


Christian Mendonça, Nimisha Ladva, Syd Rushing, Vickie Ramirez, Lily Rushing, and Steven J. Burge.

American Stage has named six playwrights whose work will be featured in the 2024 Lift Every Voice: New Play Festival, a program meant to develop new, diverse works from emerging artists. The festival will take place March 1-3.

Playwrights Christian Mendonça (Flowers for Men), Nimisha Ladva (Goddess at the Lucky Lady Motel), Syd Rushing (Aberdeen and Netarine), Vickie Ramirez (Glenburn 12 WP), Lily Rushing (The Dog), and Steven J. Burge (Bats#!t) will further develop their projects in the week leading up to the festival, where their plays will be performed in professionally staged readings. Their works will be considered for production in American Stage’s upcoming seasons. The festival will also include selections from the theatre’s Write-On! program, which connects teaching artists with local high school students in a semester-long playwriting workshop.

In Christian Mendonça’s Flowers for Men, a Latinx social worker creates a program to unpack the masculinities of five men in his community as they tend to a community garden.

In Nimisha Ladva’s Goddess at the Lucky Lady Motel, a motel becomes a home and a refuge for Indian immigrant Mummy-ji and her America-born son Ravi after the loss of their patriarch.

In Syd Rushing’s Aberdeen and Netarine, Two church mothers go up against the school board, the church, and the prominent political figures of the city to implement changes that will save their city’s children.

Vickie Ramirez’s Glenburn 12 WP follows two strangers, one Black, one Native American, who meet in an empty Irish bar in the midst of police brutality protests.

In Lily Rushing’s The Dog, Taryn reveals more than she intended while vacationing in Arizona when she recounts her experience on a reservation.

Steven J. Burge’s Bats#!t is a 75-minute monologue that, depending on statutes of limitations and local laws regarding admission of guilt wherever this may be produced, is either 100% fictional or entirely autobiographical.

American Stage is professional regional theatre company located in St. Petersburg, Fla. The company strives to be a vital arts leader, connecting its community to world-class productions that celebrate powerful stories of the moment and defining stories from our past.


jose sebastian alberdi, Calley N. Anderson, Jake Brasch, Forest Malley, Genevieve Simon, May Treuhaft-Ali, Garrett David Kim, and Elinor T Vanderburg.

Page 73 has announced their 2024 Playwrighting Fellow as well as members of this year’s Writers Group. This year’s Playwriting Fellow is jose sebastian alberdi, who will join the Writers Group along with new members Calley N. Anderson, Jake Brasch, Garrett David Kim, Forest Malley, Genevieve SimonMay Treuhaft-Ali, and Elinor T Vanderburg.

The fellowship provides a year of support to one early-career playwright who has not received a professional production in New York City. The fellow receives an unrestricted cash award of $20,000 and a development budget of up to $10,000 to develop one or more new plays of his choosing, culminating in at least one public presentation of a new play.

jose sebastian alberdi is a New York-based Mexican-Basque-American playwright originally from California. His plays include bogfriends, The Family Saves A Life, rachel, nv, ¡Mamágua!, and more.

The Writers Group (formerly known as Interstate 73) meets twice a month to share pages and discuss work with their peers along with the company’s artistic director Michael Walkup and associate artistic director Kari Olmon. Members receive a $3,000 stipend.

Applications for the 2025 Fellowship and Writers Group are due by 11:59 p.m. on April 28.


The Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) and stage manager and producer Cody Renard Richard have announced the 2024 recipients of the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program. The program is dedicated to building a bridge into the industry for emerging theatrical leaders of color working behind the scenes.

This year’s recipients include Uchenna Agbu (Rutgers University), Genevieve Bellavance (University of California, Berkeley), Shavante Brogley (Webster University), Paul Molina (Carnegie Mellon University), Meili Monk (University California, Irvine), Phanésia Pharel (University of California San Diego), Tia Smith (Yale University), Natalia Jiménez Torres (Florida State University), Joshua Treviño (Texas State University), and Mary (MK) Ware (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

Each student will participate in various online mentorship seminars focused on community building, leadership, and social justice. The scholarship comes with a $10,000 grant and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with mentors and experience New York’s theatre scene in person.

This year’s scholarship selection committee featured BIPOC theatre professionals including Richard, Lawrence Bennett, Jhanaë Bonnick, Dria Brown, Yang-Yang Chen, Ann James, Zhailon Levingston, Tina McCartney, Kenneth McGee, and Nzinga Williams.

The Broadway Advocacy Coalition is a multidisciplinary organization which unites artists, legal experts, and community leaders to create lasting impact on policy issues from criminal justice reform to education equity to immigration.


The Bayless Family Foundation has announced the 2024 recipients of two grant programs for Chicago Theatres: the Stepping Stone Grants and Signal Grants. Stepping Stone Grants support companies at critical moments in their growth by providing $180,000 over the course of three years. This year’s Stepping Stone Grant recipients are the Definition Theater and TimeLine Theatre Company.

Definition Theater celebrates stories created with, inspired by, and intended for people and communities of color. They will use the grant to lease, equip, and hire staff for an interim performance space in the Hyde Park neighborhood, while TimeLine Theatre Company will work to modernize the administrative and financial procedures of the organization while they transition to their new uptown theatre space. Timeline presents stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues in order to engage, entertain and enlighten.

Signal Grants vary in size and are one-time payments awarded to organizations that respond to community needs. This year’s Signal Grant recipients are Chicago Children’s Theatre and Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. Chicago Children’s Theatre aspires to enrich their community through diverse and significant theatrical and educational programming that engages and inspires the child in all of us. They will receive $100,000 to expand their trauma-informed-care program called R.O.A.R. (Residencies of Arts and Resilience) to include a Spanish-language curriculum and Remy Bumppo Theatre Company will receive $50,000 to support and expand the Studio Bumppo professional-development program. Remy Bumppo seeks to expand and enrich their community’s view of the world, and their own, by producing the great plays of the past and the important plays of today.

Founded in 2017 by Rick and Deann Bayless, the Bayless Family Foundation supports established Chicago theatre organizations with a vision for institutional and artistic growth.

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