Lucille Lortel Theatre to Support 26 Artists Through New Creative Programs
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 07:29 pm EDT 06/20/24


5 New Musicals To Be Supported Via 121 Project, New Bespoke Musical Development Program

11 New Commissions For Playwrights Via Alcove at the Lortel

Following the appointments of Michael Heitzman and Caridad Svich as Co-Artistic Directors of New Work and the purchase of a new theater space in Chelsea dedicated to artistic development, the Lucille Lortel Theatre is proud to announce the 26 recipients of two signature artistic initiatives that further expand the historic theater's impact on the Off-Broadway community and the field nationally. These programs include the 121 Project, a bespoke development program for new musicals, and the third round of commission of new plays.

Under the stewardship of Heitzman, Artistic Director of New Musical Development, the Music Theatre Lab at the Lortel fosters the creation, development and presentation of new musicals. A signature program is the 121 Project , which recognizes that the creation of a new musical is a singularly unique process. As they are created, each new musical has unique needs and is at different stages of development. More than 175 submissions were received in this inaugural year of the initiative, which provides up to $10,000 of tailored support for the specific needs of a project.

The 2024 recipients and projects of the 121 Project are the following:

Book & Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis; Music by Douglas J. Cohen

The 121 Project will connect composers Cheryl L. Davis and Douglas J. Cohen with a director/dramaturg for a series of meetings and explorations that will result in a subsequent rewrite and evaluation.

The Break
Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond; Music by Michael Kooman
The composers Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman recognize that capturing the sound of their new musical is an essential next step in moving the show forward. The 121 Project will provide resources to help the artists create two fully orchestrated demos, including studio time, singers, and an orchestrator.

Book, Music, & Lyrics by Nicholas Connors

Composer Nicholas Connors has been heavily involved on the production side whenever workshops of Coal have taken place. He has never had a chance to sit outside of the piece and truly hear it. The 121 Project will provide Connors with a music director, rehearsal space, and performers so that he can sit back, listen, and gain an essential perspective on his new musical.

Hart Island
Book & Lyrics by Michelle Elliott; Music & Lyrics by Danny Haengil Larsen
Following successful workshops, composers Michelle Elliott and Danny Haengil Larsen want to dig deeper into their character Marielena, who is a Dominican immigrant. The 121 Project will support the hiring of a Dominican dramaturg to assist in the development of this central character.

Little Duende
Book & Lyrics by Georgina Escobar; Music & Lyrics by Robi Hager

Composers Georgina Escobar and Robin Hager live in different states; one in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. Creating over Zoom is challenging. The 121 Project will provide an opportunity for them to be together and work in the same room. After their work session, the 121 Project will support an informal reading with a few performers.

"121 Project is a bespoke development program designed to meet the individual needs of a specific moment," says Michael Heitzman, Artistic Director of New Musical Development. "The panel and I were delightfully overwhelmed with the volume and quality of submissions that we received in this inaugural round. They also cemented our belief that the creative process can vary widely, and that there is no one size fits all approach to support. We are thrilled to be helping these five projects advance to their next stage of development and hope that the support of the Lucille Lortel Theatre can be transformational."

Led and curated by Caridad Svich, Artistic Director of New Play Development, The Alcove at the Lortel is the Lucille Lortel Theatre's new play development program for early and mid-career playwrights. It begins with commissions. Since April 2023, 21 commissions have been awarded. These commissions can also be followed by further development with dramaturgs, directors, or designers.

The third round of commissioned playwrights are Hassan Abdulrazzak, Lucas Baisch, Sunny Drake, Georgina Escobar, Zachary Kline, Alex Lin, Tatiana Pandiani & Danny Tejera, Savannah Reich, Arturo Luís Soria, Marissa Joyce Stamps, and Andrea Stolowitz.

Svich commented, "As the world and theatre continue to live in the greatest existential crisis of our time – the climate crisis – we look to playwrights and theatre-makers to think about and reflect upon these times, and to imagine possible futures. All the pieces under commission from the Alcove this season and those supported with leap-of-faith sessions are focused on our planetary emergency."

The Alcove at the Lortel is also pleased to welcome Annabel Nightingale as its second artist in virtual residence. She will develop Forest , which is set on a Welsh hilltop sometime in the future.

Throughout the Fall and Spring, another group of playwrights will participate in tailored research and development sessions as part of The Alcove at the Lortel. These artists receive support in areas of research and dramaturgical development as they continue to develop their scripts through work sessions. This group of playwrights include S.T. Brant, Allyson Dwyer, Christine Toy Johnson, Gloria Oladipo, and Drew Woodson.

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About Lucille Lortel Theatre

Lucille Lortel Theatre's mission is to foster both new and established artists, increase awareness and appreciation of Off-Broadway, and uphold fair and equitable business and artistic practices in service of creating a larger, more diverse community of theatre makers and audiences. The Company builds on the legacy of its founder, Lucille Lortel (1900–1999), who was a champion of work by artists including Samuel Beckett, Caryl Churchill, Athol Fugard, Jean Genet, Adrienne Kennedy, Larry Kramer, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Sam Shepard, and Wendy Wasserstein, amon. In addition to its Off Broadway theatre, which has been in continuous operation since 1955, the Company is renovating a three-story carriage house in Chelsea that will act as the Company's new headquarters and a new studio theatre committed to the development of new works. Its programs include The Alcove at the Lortel, a commissioning and development program for early and mid-career playwrights; the 121 Project, a bespoke development program for new musicals; NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellowship, Fellowships in NYC Theatre at Bennington College, Dangerous Acts: A Series Uplifting Black Writers from Our Past (in partnership with HBCUs), Lucille Lortel Awards and Playwrights' Sidewalk, Internet Off-Broadway Database (, and Non-Profit Theatre Strategic and Management Services. .

Funding Credits

The Lucille Lortel Theatre thanks all of our generous donors, whose contributions help make our programs possible.

Lucille Lortel Theatre's artistic development programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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