The Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene is announcing a first of its kind new play contest. The contest will encourage writers and directors to conceive and develop new works in Yiddish, or based on Yiddish sources, to add to the great legacy of the Yiddish theatre. The contest's jury includes the producer Manny Azenberg, the composer and songwriter Jason Robert Brown, and the playwrights Joe DiPietro; Israel Horovitz and Jon Marans. The contest's winning play or musical will be showcased during the First New York International Festival of Jewish Performing Arts, which Folksbiene inaugurates in June of 2015 to commemorate its first 100 years.
The competition, called the David and Clare Rosen Memorial Contest, will provide opportunities and encouragements not just for writers fluent in Yiddish, but also for non-fluent writers who see unique opportunities to continue to mine the culture for contemporary audiences.
In announcing the contest, Folksbiene's Executive Director Bryna Wasserman notes: "The purpose of the contest is to let Yiddish serve as a spark for creativity, to help find new, creative ways to explore the Jewish experience. Yiddish, despite its diminished role as a language of daily life, remains a cornerstone of Jewish identity."
Submissions are now being accepted through September 1, 2013. (Visit www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org for guidelines.) New full-length plays or musicals, as well as mixed media projects incorporating performance and music will be eligible. Projects can be entirely or partially in Yiddish. Projects mostly in English will need to creatively incorporate Yiddish in different ways.
A short list of projects under consideration will be announced on January 15, 2014. These will be presented later in the spring as staged readings, which will be evaluated by Folksbiene's blue-ribbon jury. The winning project will be developed by Folksbiene for a premiere in June of 2015. The jury includes the legendary producer Manny Azenberg; the Tony Award-winning composer and songwriter Jason Robert Brown ("Parade"), and the playwrights Joe DiPietro (Tony Award for "Memphis"); Obie Award-winning Israel Horovitz, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jon Marans ("Old Wicked Songs").
The contest's chairwoman is Judith Rosen, who is establishing the contest in the name of her late in-laws, David and Clare Rosen, both of whom cared deeply about the perpetuation of Yiddish culture. Rosen says, "This contest underlines a bold proposition, one that we believe in deeply... that we can still add to the great legacy of the Yiddish theatre."