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Center Theatre Group Joins Forces with Top Playwrights and Theatres

Announcing Major New Partnerships in Honor of our 50th Anniversary with the support of the Edgerton Foundation

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(L-R) Playwrights Jon Robin Baitz, Lynn Nottage, Young Jean Lee, Paula Vogel, and Will Eno.

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Some of the greatest and most innovative playwrights in American theatre have written major new works commissioned by Center Theatre Group, from Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit and Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 to Rajiv Joseph’s Archduke. As we celebrate our 50TH Anniversary, we are committing ourselves to doing more to support the creation and production of groundbreaking art. We are partnering with four internationally renowned theatres to bring the new work of a diverse, talented group of artists—including Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel—to our stages over the next decade. These partnerships will also connect us formally with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, London’s Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre, and New York’s Second Stage Theater, which now owns the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway.

A $1 million grant from the Edgerton Foundation is making these new theatre partnerships possible. The Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative will support Center Theatre Group in commissioning at least two shows annually with each of the four theatres over the next decade.

In recognition of Center Theatre Group’s long-standing mission to develop new art for the American stage, we are excited to offer commissioning funds for more than 50 new plays in the Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative, said Edgerton Foundation President Brad Edgerton, MD. By jointly developing each of these new plays with two talented theatre staffs, we hope to increase the number of productions that will journey to many regional theatres, Broadway, and the West End. In addition to Nottage and Vogel—both of whom recently made their Broadway debuts with Sweat and Indecent, respectively—co-commissioned playwrights include Jon Robin Baitz (Vicuña, Other Desert Cities), Lisa Kron (Fun Home), and Young Jean Lee, whose Straight White Men will bow on Broadway next year.

The Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative is allowing us to make bigger, bolder investments in some of the world’s best playwrights, said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. Co-commissioning with top theatres in the U.S. and London allows us to put our resources together in support of the creation and production of new work around the world—with a clear path to Broadway thanks to our new connection to Second Stage and their Helen Hayes Theater.

Ritchie is bullish on what this means for the future of Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles theatre, and our art form. These partnerships are setting an artistic foundation for the next 50 years of our company, he said. We’re creating a new model for global collaboration that ensures that artists get the creative and financial support they need to do their best work, and that nonprofit theatres get the resources they need to build and sustain relationships with top artists. Everyone benefits—most of all the audiences who will get to experience a wide range of terrific work on our stages.

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