|Keen Company awards its first commission of a new musical to Adam Gwon (ORDINARY DAYS, SCOTLAND, PA)|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 03:41 pm EST 01/12/22|
Awards Its First Commission of a New Musical
to Adam Gwon
(Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA)
Keen Company is proud to announce its first musical commission: a new musical by Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA ). Keen presented Gwon's Ordinary Days in Fall of 2018 to great acclaim, including a nomination for the 2019 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway).
"I am so grateful to the NEA and The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund for their support in helping Keen commission and develop a new musical by Adam Gwon. When I assumed the Artistic Director position, it was my dream to commission a new intimate musical. Smaller musicals that speak honestly and poetically are rare to find, yet they are in high demand for companies around the country. Ever since I met Adam Gwon, and subsequently produced and directed his musical Ordinary Days, it became clear that he would be the perfect fit for Keen's first ever musical commission. His heartfelt writing and skillful drawing of complex relationships, coupled with his emotional searing melodies, beautifully examine today's world. Thanks to the NEA's and The Shen's support, we look forward to working with Adam closely over the next few years to bring more of his work to fruition," said Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein.
Partial support for this commission comes from a Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts. "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Keen Company that help support the community's creative economy," said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. "Keen Company in NYC is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts."
Additional support for the commission has been provided by The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, which concentrates its musical theater grants on providing funding support for the works of exceptionally gifted and highly original musical theater composers. The Foundation's mission is to encourage originality, innovation and high artistic aspiration in the musical composition component of musical theater, and its grants are made to selected not-for-profit organizations to support original commissions, theatrical productions and, in certain circumstances, cast recordings of the works of composers who have the potential to advance the art form. Currently, the Foundation's grants are focused almost exclusively on its commissioning programs and on major New York productions of works by its commissioned composers. The Foundation's Musical Theater Composers Initiative concentrates its funding support on the works of a select group of exceptionally gifted musical theater composers whose writing is distinguished by originality, innovation and an advanced harmonic sensibility. To date, that group of composers has remained relatively small and consists primarily of Stephen Sondheim and, among the next generation of composers, Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Gabriel Kahane, Marisa Michelson, Jeanine Tesori and Joseph Thalken. Since 2002 the Foundation has committed grants to not-for-profit organizations to commission 20 new musicals, primarily through Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA) and the Public Theater (NY); and to provide major funding for more than 35 productions of works by Stephen Sondheim, more than 75 productions of works by commissioned and other contemporary composers, and more than 20 cast recordings.
Adam Gwon is a musical theater writer named one of "50 to Watch" by The Dramatist magazine and hailed "a promising newcomer to our talent-hungry musical theater" whose songs are "funny, urbane, with a sweetness that doesn't cloy" by The New York Times. His musicals have been produced on six continents, in more than half a dozen languages. Off-Broadway: Scotland, PA (Roundabout Theatre, Drama Desk Award nomination, New York Times Critic's Pick), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre; Keen Company, Drama League Award nomination - Best Revival), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre, New York Times Critic's Pick); Regional: String (Village Theatre), Cake Off (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination; Bucks County Playhouse), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); West End: Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios). Other projects include The Waves in Quarantine (a film collaboration with Lisa Peterson and Raúl Esparza), songs as a staff writer on the hit webseries Submissions Only, and for Stephen Schwartz and John Tartaglia's The Secret Silk on Princess Cruise Lines. Adam is the proud recipient of the Kleban Award, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Frederick Loewe Award, the Second Stage Theatre Donna Perret Rosen Award, the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Kimmel Center, and Broadway Across America. His songs have been heard at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, performed by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara, and Brian d'Arcy James. Recordings of Adam's work include the cast album of Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records), Audra McDonald's "Go Back Home" (Nonesuch), "Artists in Residence" (Broadway Records), "The Essential Liz Callaway" (Working Girl Records), Tracy Lynn Olivera's "Because," and "Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project" (Entertainment One). Adam has been a fellow at MacDowell, Hermitage Artist Retreat, the O'Neill Music Theater Conference, and the Dramatists Guild, is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He served on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee from 2015-2018, and currently sits on the Board at Roundabout Theatre Company and Primary Stages.
UP NEXT: February will see Keen's first full Off-Broadway production since closing Blues for an Alabama Sky on March 12th, 2020. Almost two years later, Keen Company is proud to present the World Premiere of This Space Between Us by Peter Gil-Sheridan (The Rafa Play), directed by Keen Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein. Performances will begin February 22nd and continue through April 2nd, with Opening Night set for Wednesday March 9th. Tickets will be $60 with Premium Seats available for $85; to celebrate the return to live performance, Special First Preview tickets will be only $22 for 2-22-22! Tickets are available at the Theatre Row box office, online at https://bfany.org/theatre-row/shows/this-space-between-us/. Cast and design team will be announced shortly.
This Space Between Us is a new comedy about trying to change the world while admitting home could use a little change too. Nobody understands why Jamie wants to leave his cushy law office to work for a non-profit. His best friend is confused, his boyfriend is concerned, and his conservative Cuban-American family are sure they know what's best. As Jamie announces his plans to serve those less fortunate, one shocking afternoon at the racetrack sparks unexpected and irreversible consequences for them all. This intergenerational comedy follows a raucous attempt to reach for something more without leaving the people you love behind.
Later this Spring Keen will offer a special treat: an all-star benefit performance. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
Keen's ongoing educational and new work initiatives continue to thrive.
Under the leadership of Keen's Director of New Work Jeremy Stoller, the Keen Playwrights Lab is in its eight season, currently working with playwrights Carlos Murillo, Vicki Ramirez, and Harrison David Rivers. Each year, the Keen Playwrights Lab brings together three mid-career playwrights to develop new full-length plays that uphold Keen's mission to create theater that champions identification and connection. Virtual readings of excerpts of new works by all writers will occur in December 2021, more details to be announced.
Keen Teens the company's education program now in its 16th year, raises the quality of plays written for high school students by commissioning work from accomplished professional playwrights. The 2022 Keen Teens playwrights will be Bleu Beckford-Burrell, C. Quintana, and Stephanie Swirsky. This free program for teens provides invaluable mentorship opportunities - working alongside professional writers, directors, and designers to rehearse and premiere new work. Through Keen's partnership with Concord Theatricals, plays are published and licensed around the globe. The 2022 Keen Teens Festival of New Work will take place in May 2022; more details to be announced.
Keen Company creates theater that provokes identification, reflection, and emotional connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we tell wholehearted stories about people striving to do their best and the decisive moments that change us. Keen has been honored with eleven Drama Desk nominations, two Drama Desk Awards, two Drama League nominations, and two Obie Awards. Keen Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award winning Off-Broadway theater creating story driven work that champions identification and connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, the company tells stories about the decisive moments that change us. Keen also fosters mid-career playwrights through our Keen Playwrights Lab and mentors students from all five boroughs of NYC though our Keen Teens education program. In everything we do, Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments.
For more information, visit KeenCompany.org .
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