Clubbed Thumb and Heidi Schreck Announce the CLUBBED THUMB CONSTITUTION COMMISSIONS

Tony Award-nominated and Obie Award-winning theater company Clubbed Thumb and two-time Tony Award nominee Heidi Schreck have announced the Clubbed Thumb Constitution Commissions.

The commissions were the brainchild of Tony Award nominee Heidi Schreck, with support from the core team of What the Constitution Means to Me-including Clubbed Thumb, which premiered the show in 2017. Clubbed Thumb is proud to offer commissions to a group of 16 writers, all alumni from their Early-Career Writers’ Group from the past two years. Each writer will receive $1000 from this fund, which will be presented during Clubbed Thumb’s industry reading series at The Wild Project, taking place October 5 – 15, 2021.

Producing Artistic Director Maria Striar shared, “These past two years have not been an easy time for emerging artists. The writers from our Early-Career Writers Group did not get the showcases nor the networking nor the community that this program usually offers, but they continued to make their work under less than optimal circumstances. When Heidi offered this support, we thought it would be nice to match their faith with some of our own-that they will have robust and exciting artistic futures in a rebuilt American theater-and a little cash to back up our sentiments.”

The recipients of the Clubbed Thumb Constitution Commissions are Kori Alston, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Allyson Dwyer, Crystal Finn, Nazareth Hassan, Justice Hehir, Julia Izumi, Johnny Lloyd, Cristina Luzárraga, Kathy Ng, Hanna Novak, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, Aaron Ricciardi, Ryan Szelong, Ruth Tang and May Treuhaft-Ali.

“Clubbed Thumb has been my artistic home for almost two decades now, and I doubt I would have ever finished What the Constitution Means to Me without their faith in me, the loving support of their writers group, and Maria Striar breathing down my neck,” stated Heidi Schreck. “I feel lucky to be able to give something back to this theater that means so much to me and also to support this unbelievably talented group of playwrights. They are brilliant artists and I can’t wait for the world to get to know their work.”

The industry reading series will be held October 5 – 15, 2021 at the Wild Project. If you are an industry member and would like to attend, please contact [email protected]

The series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

BIOS

KORI ALSTON. Born and raised in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, Alston began his career as a poet and performer at a young age. As a young slam poet, he had a prolific career and remained undefeated through his shift towards playwriting. In college, Alston found a great deal of success as a playwright, actor, and director. He is currently a 7th grade English teacher in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

NELSON DIAZ-MARCANO is a Puerto Rican NYC-based playwright, activist, and administrator who works as the Literary Manager of the Latinx Playwright Circle and as Community Outreach Coordinator for the Atlantic Theater Company. Recently, he was named as one of the recipients of the Ensemble Studio Theatre Sloan Commission award for the 2020/2021 season. Nelson’s plays have been developed by Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Vision Latino Theater Company, Milagro, The William Inge Theatre Festival, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The Parsnip Ship among others. Recently, Nelson’s podcast series “Flor” was released as part of Braata Productions’ Caribbean in Queens series on every platform where people stream their podcasts. Other recent production credits include The Diplomats (Random Acts Chicago,) Paper Towels (INTAR,) Misfit, America (Hunter Theatre Company,) I Saw Jesus in Toa Baja (Conch Shell Productions) and World Classic (The Parnsip Ship). Nelson’s belief is that the best theater comes out of an uplifting community by amplifying and developing voices that are exploring America through different cultural lenses.

ALLYSON DWYER is an NJ/NYC playwright who is interested in cycles, technology, navigating the world as a woman, and how being a woman and technology intersect. Sometimes she writes about these things together, sometimes separate. Recent plays include The Hub (Semi-Finalist, Princess Grace), Nothing Remained But Voice And Bones (Semi-Finalist New American Voices and NAP at Normal Ave), and Arrow of Time (The Brick 2022). Her short play An Instant Message is a Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival finalist. She’s currently working on an audio play as part of the inaugural SoundLab at The Brick, a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group and a recent “pal” at Fresh Ground Pepper.

Crystal Finn is an actor and writer living in New York. She has originated roles in over twenty new plays at off-Broadway and downtown theaters, including Playwright’s Horizons, Roundabout, MTC, The Play Company, Fulcrum, 59E59 and Clubbed Thumb where she is an Affiliated Artist. Her solo show Becoming Liv Ullmann was a critical hit at the NYC Fringe Festival, and then went on to New Ground Theater Festival in Cleveland where it was chosen as one of the top ten plays of the year by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Crystal’s play The Faire, based on her life growing up at a Renaissance Faire, was produced off-Broadway with Fault Line Theater Company. The New York Times called the play a “delicious…sharp comedy.” Along with full length plays, she is currently writing a series of solo performance pieces, which blend stand-up comedy and personal essay in the tradition of Spalding Gray. She and the director Ken Rus Schmoll have begun a long-term project adapting the experimental novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, by David Markson, for performance. When theater starts up again she is set to make her Broadway debut in Birthday Candles at the Roundabout.

NAZARETH HASSAN is a southern writer, director, and musician based in Brooklyn. He creates performance texts, videos, sound installations, music, and plays. He is preoccupied with the experience of in betweenness, disembodiment, dissonance, and juxtaposition, and seeks to contextualize these sensations spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially, temporally, and generationally.

JUSTICE HEHIR’s work explores sexuality, feminism, and the formation and rupture of human bonds. She is a member of Colt Coeur and the 2020 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers’ Group. Her play Night Creatures will premiere at Chicago’s Jackalope Theater this fall. Other recent projects include true believer, which will be published this year by Table Work Press, and freeplay, a play about a women-owned dildo company under development through an EST/Sloan Project commission. She is currently commissioned by the George Street Playhouse developing a play for high school students about consent and sexual assault. She graduated from Hunter College in 2018 with an MFA in Playwriting (under the tutelage of Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins) and from Rutgers University in 2016 with a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and English. She lives in Newark, NJ with her partner and lots and lots of animals.

JULIA IZUMI is a writer and performer. Her work has been developed with and presented at MTC, Bushwick Starr, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Barn Arts Collective’s Hamilton Project Residency, NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, BMI’s Librettists Workshop, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, CAATA’s National Asian-American Theatre ConFest, and Corkscrew Theatre Festival. Honors for her work include O’Neill Theater Center’s NPC Finalist, Kilroys List Honorable Mention, and KCACTF’s Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award. She is a 2020 New Georges Audrey Resident and is currently under commission through MTC/Sloan. www.juliaizumi.com

JOHNNY LLOYD is a New York-based writer and producer. Recent productions include Or, An Astronaut Play (Co-Production, InVersion Theatre & The Tank) and Round (Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Other recent plays include The Problem With Magic, Is: (Bay Area Playwrights Festival) and love is hard and absolutely (probably) worth it. His work has been seen and developed at Second Stage Theatre, 59E59, Dixon Place, Judson Memorial Church, JAGFest (White River Junction, VT), TheatreLab (Boca Raton, FL), and more. As a writer, Johnny has collaborated with companies such as Theater in Quarantine and SalonSeance. Member of the 2020-2021 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers Group; previously a member of the 2019-2020 Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency. Johnny was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Open-Application Commission at Clubbed Thumb and a finalist for the 2020 [email protected] Reading Series. He is the Director of Artistic Development at The Tank and Producing Director for InVersion Theatre.

CRISTINA LUZÁRRAGA is a playwright and educator from New Jersey whose dark comedies tend to feature unruly women and an exploration of the grotesque and uncanny. She is a 2021-2022 McKnight Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis where she currently resides; previously, she was a Jerome Fellow. Her plays include Critical Distance, Millennialville, Havana Syndrome, and La Mujer Barbuda(2019 Screencraft Stage Play Winner, produced at Blank Theatre in LA). An alum of The Second City Conservatory in Chicago and Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood collective, she is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group. Her full-lengths have been developed with Playmakers Repertory Company, Teatro LATEA, and IATI Theater; her short plays have been featured in the 2020 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival and published in anthologies by Smith and Kraus. She is working on a commissioned musical about Betty Crocker for History Theatre in St. Paul. BA: Princeton; MFA: Ohio University: MA in Educational Theatre: NYU.

KATHY NG !!! hello !!! I’m kathy. I am a playwright//librettist/??????! I am interested in finding new ways to magnify small feelings, study non-humanness and communicate accumulation. I come from Hong Kong. It is a source of sadness. In small american apartments, I crochet, rehydrate seaweed, cook meals, fret over raccoons, and sleep. BA: Brown University. MFA: NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing. Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group 20/21.

HANNA NOVAK is a New York-based playwright. Her plays have been presented at the New Ohio and The Performing Garage in New York City. She is a member of the 2020-21 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers’ Group, and her work has been developed at the Ucross Foundation and as part of The Wooster Group’s visiting artist program. Hanna graduated from the MFA playwriting program at Hunter College, where she studied with Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and received the Irv Zarkower Award.

DENEEN REYNOLDS-KNOTT is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s 2019-2020 Early-Career Writers’ Group and received a finalist grant from their 2018 Open-Application Commission. She is a New Georges affiliated artist and has developed work with Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency, Project Y’s Playwrights Group and Frank Silvera Workshop’s 3in3 Playwright Residency. Her plays include, Babes in Holland (will be presented at 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival), Baton (2018 Premiere Stages Play Festival Workshop Reading; 2017 Playfest at the Orlando Shakespeare Company) and Antepartum (2020 Fire This Time Festival ten-minute play program). She received her MFA in film from Columbia University.

AARON RICCIARDI is a New York City-based writer and performer, originally from Coral Springs, Florida. Aaron’s work has been produced and developed by Clubbed Thumb, the Playwrights Center, the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Advanced Workshop, where he is a lyricist. Work includes The Star Killers; Hanukkah Harriet, a play for young people (soon to be published by Stage Partners); Only Child; A Bushel and a Peck; Nice Nails; The Travels: an Epic play with songs (NYMF production); Resting Bitch Face; Can I See Your Face?; and Him & Her & Gay Men In General. Aaron graduated from the Theatre program at Northwestern University, where he studied playwriting under Laura Schellhardt, and he received his MFA in Playwriting from Indiana University, where he studied under Peter Gil-Sheridan. He is currently a Core Apprentice at the Playwrights’ Center, a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early-Career Writers’ Group, and a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Aaron is on faculty at SUNY New Paltz in their Creative Writing Program.www.aaronricciardi.com

RYAN SZELONG is a writer/performer/director from the Bay Area, California & currently based in NYC. He was a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group, and was previously a Fellow with University Settlement’s Performance Project, LAMBDA Literary’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, and was also a Finalist for the 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm Greenhouse Residency, and a 2017 Resident Artist with Governor’s Island Public Works Department. As a performer, he’s worked with companies like Dixon Place, JACK, Abrons Arts Center, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova ANT Fest, Pan Pan Theatre at Skirball Center, LaMaMa, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Loading Dock Theatre, The Gym at Judson, National Queer Theater at The Eagle, INTAR, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Triskelion Arts, The Tank, and The Parsnip Ship at The Actors Fund Arts Center. NYU: Tisch PHTS.

RUTH TANG writes performance texts & poetry & makes weird internet experiments out of Brooklyn, NY. They are a member of the New Georges Jam, the Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers’ Group, and a NYTW 2050 Fellow. Their past work includes FUTURE WIFE: Party in A Google Sheet (Corkscrew Festival 4.0), Bad Chinese (Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival, dir. Peter Kuo, 2018), and Building A Character (Wild Rice Singapore, dir. Mei Ann Teo, 2018). MFA: The New School for Drama.

MAY TREUHAFT-ALI is a playwright, director, and dramaturg. After graduating from Wesleyan University, she completed an M.Phil in Theatre and Performance Studies at Trinity College Dublin on a George J. Mitchell Scholarship. Her plays have been produced at the Dublin Scene+Heard Festival, the Wild Project, the Young Playwrights Inc. National Playwrights Conference, the Blank Theatre Company, and the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. She is an alumna of Clubbed Thumb’s Early-Career Writers’ Group. Recent directing projects include God’s Ear by Jenny Schwartz and a site-specific adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses. May recently completed a Literary Apprenticeship at Steppenwolf, and is currently the Literary Fellow at Playwrights Horizons.


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