Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Playwright J.T. Rogers Comes to Washington College as First-Ever Douglas Wallop Fellow

Playwriting Lecture Offered to Public

Chestertown, MD — New York-based dramatist J.T. Rogers, the first-ever recipient of Washington College's new Douglas Wallop Playwriting Fellowship, will present "Playwriting in Turbulent Times" at the Rose O'Neill Literary House on Wednesday, November 12, at 5:30 p.m.

The lecture, free and open to the public, comes during Rogers' residency at the College as its inaugural Douglas Wallop Fellow. During his stay, he also will join in on drama-class sessions and work one-on-one with drama and playwriting students.

The Douglas Wallop Playwriting Fellowship is jointly sponsored by the Rose O'Neill Literary House and the Washington College Department of Drama. The fellowship is named for the American novelist and playwright Douglas Wallop (1920-1985). He was the author of 13 works, the most famous being The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (1954), which went on to be adapted by Wallop and co-writer George Abbott into the Tony Award-winning musical "Damn Yankees." Wallop himself graduated from the University of Maryland and for many years lived on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

As for the first-ever Douglas Wallop Fellow, J.T. Rogers lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is a graduate of the professional actor-training program at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He was selected as one of 10 playwrights in the United States to receive an NEA/TCG Theatre Residency for 2004-2005, through which he was playwright in residence at the Salt Lake Acting Company in Salt Lake City.

Rogers's play "Madagascar" received the American Theatre Critics Association's 2004 M. Elizabeth Osborne Award and the 2005 Pinter Review Prize for Drama. It also was a finalist for the ATCA's Steinberg New Play Award and was performed at the New Play Festival in New York City in 2005. In 2004 Rogers was awarded a playwriting fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Rogers is the author of "White People," which had its world première at the Philadelphia Theatre Company and then received the L.A. Drama Critics Circle and John Barrymore Award nominations for Best Play of the Year.

Rogers's play "Seeing the Elephant" was nominated for the Kesserlring Prize for Best New American Play, and his "Murmuring in a Dead Tongue" was produced by New York City's Epic Rep, where he is a company member, in its 2003-2004 season.

Widely regarded as a dynamic, up-and-coming "playwright to watch," Rogers has had his works staged at the Williamstown Theater Festival, New Theatre of Coral Gables, Florida; New Actors Union Theatre (Moscow); Road Theatre (Los Angeles) and often at the Salt Lake Acting Company.

His most recent play, "The Overwhelming," chronicles an American family overseas confronting the harsh life-and-death realities of the Rwandan Genocide. "The Overwhelming" had its world première at London's Royal National Theatre in 2006 and went on to tour the UK.

Last year, Rogers received the prestigious Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award at the 2007 William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas.

For more information on Rogers's November 12 presentation, "Playwriting in Turbulent Times," call 410/778-7899 or visit lithouse.washcoll.edu.

October 27, 2008

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