The Artistic Fellowship Awards program was created in 1984 with the mission of aiding Great Performances' talented and creative staff with their artistic endeavors. The initial program awarded $1,000 grants to two GP staff members. Now, in 2016, $5,000 grants are awarded to four staff members. On Monday, March 7th, Evan Edwards, Lucy Gram, Adam Miller and Kristen Yancy were honored at Mae Mae Café with this year's grants, which will help fund their artistic projects.
The 2016 Artistic Fellowship Awards recipients were chosen by a panel of four judges who are artists themselves, work in an artistic field, or strongly support the arts. This year's judges were novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, philanthropist Diana Roesch DiMenna, CEO of Caramoor Center for the Performing Arts, Jeffrey Hayden and Executive Director of the American Theater Wing, Heather Hitchens. The grants were presented by Jean Hanff Korelitz and Diana Roesch DiMenna. The projects, which must be completed within a year, are outlined below:
Evan Edwards: Evan has been on the GP catering staff for three years and has continually represented the hallmarks of our high service standards. He is a great example of whom we love to work with and sponsor.
Evan will produce the concept CD needed to promote his new musical to the backers, developers and festivals whose creative and financial support are necessary for him to realize its full-scale production. Written with a collaborator, the work is a completely original full length musical, not adapted from a book, a song catalogue or a hit movie. Entitled “McGurk’s Suicide Hall, a fictional account of actual events,” all of its characters, except one, were real people in the New York City of 1902. The storyline centers on Emma and Pietre, sister and brother, who immigrate to the U.S. seeking a better life. They meet and interact with some colorful characters in a New York City bar – McGurk’s Suicide Hall. While it takes place more than 100 years ago, it remains topical with issues still facing society – immigration, police corruption and equality. The show illustrates that not all that much has changed over the decades, rather it has simply shifted laterally.
Lucy Gram: Lucy has worked on the GP catering staff for two years and is an incredible, committed member of the team.
Lucy will mount a three-day workshop of “In the Belly,” a new play about family, legacy and how we shape ourselves into independent adults despite our parents’ mistakes. Having benefitted from two readings, the next step in the further development of the play is the workshop, which will enable Gram to: continue developing her relationship with the playwright; practice her dramaturgical skills over a longer period of time than a one-day reading; initiate discussions with a designer; and work on some preliminary staging ideas. All of which will help Gram flesh out her vision for a full production of “In the Belly,” which focuses on brilliant, withdrawn Charlotte, who is about to turn 17. As her birthday looms, she is forced to confront the violent act that defines her parents’ lives. While Charlotte wrestles with her absent father’s legacy, the grief and madness he left behind, she must ask herself the most important question: How does she tell her story without telling his?
Adam Miller: Adam works in GP’s Mae Mae Café as a server and bartender, and is charming and sincere with all of our guests. He will turn the radio to jazz, or occasionally NPR for our early morning neighbors at WNYC Public Radio.
Adam will make a documentary called “BUCKETS” about Larry Wright, the creator of bucket drumming. As a youngster in the early 80s, Wright began applying a natural gift for rhythm to a five gallon plastic paint bucket he found in the trash. His subsequent performances with it on the city’s subway platforms are credited with the invention of a new genre of drumming. Wright gained a lot of notoriety at a young age, appearing in film, on TV and in the Tony Award-winning “Bring in The Noise, Bring in Da Funk.” Then, for some reason, he disappeared from the scene. Twenty years later, Wright is back on subway platforms, still a virtuoso. Miller’s documentary will tell his story – where he came from; where he went; what happened to his promising career; and where he’s going. The film will be Miller’s first as a producer, as well as the first film about bucket drumming, which has become embedded in the fabric of the city. The documentary will relate all aspects of a man doing what he loves, with the accompanying ups and downs. To do so, Miller will match the Artistic Fellowship Award grant with $5,000 of his savings.
Kristin Yancy: Kristin is a hostess at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, one of GP’s partner venues, and is a highly valued, earnest employee.
Kristin will orchestrate a workshop of “The Hunt,” an original approach to the quickly growing subset of the dramatic arts – immersive theater. It will demonstrate how the immersion can be deepened by enabling spectators to directly affect the course of the narrative as it adjusts to audience member decisions, which can result in multiple endings. “The Hunt” will also show how the new medium presents opportunity to re-imagine familiar stories and to incorporate more diverse characters in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation. The workshop will be Yancy’s debut as a choreographer and will give her the opportunity to present the work’s potential to become a larger production. “The Hunt” views the Greek myth of Persephone’s fall into the Underworld through the lens of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials with Persephone and her mother, Demeter, no longer deities, but witches. In this retelling, Persephone’s fate lies in the hands of the audience, tasked with unraveling the mystery of her disappearance and deciding if she is to remain in Hades or reunite with her Demeter. “The Hunt” workshop will engage its audience in a most proactive manner during an evening of dance theater for which no one can predict the outcome.