Monday, March 29, 2010

English Department Playwright G. William Zorn Wins National Playwriting Prize from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival

WMU English Department Creative Writing Ph.D. playwriting student G. William Zorn has won the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for his play: Metropolis Has No Superman. Zorn’s award includes a monetary prize, a playwriting residency at the esteemed Sundance Theatre Lab, possible publication from Dramatic Publishing Company, a production grant and a trip to the Kennedy Center/ACTF national festival in Washington D.C. where he will receive his award and participate in a week-long playwriting workshop with theatre professionals and fellow award-winning college playwrights. Additionally, a portion of Zorn’s play will be read at the Kennedy Center. A national reading committee composed of theatre professionals and educators selected Zorn’s play. KC/ACTF is a national theatre education program that includes over 200,000 students nationwide.

Metropolis Has No Superman tells the story of Chance Loring, the creator of Queer-Boy Comics, who grew up in Superman’s hometown of Metropolis, Illinois, a town he vowed he never to return home to--until his father is killed driving his Chrysler into the Man of Steel and Chance must go home for the funeral. Zorn’s play was recently presented at Western Michigan University in a staged reading, directed by Zack Apman and cast with actors from Theatre Department, as part of the English Department’s collaboration with Theatre Kalamazoo!, of which the University Theatre is a member.

Zorn’s award continues the tremendous record of success that English Department playwrights have enjoyed in the National Playwriting Program of KC/ACTF. At this year’s regional festival (MI, IL, IN, and WI) held in Saginaw, MI in January, 2010, English Department playwrights won regional awards in all three playwriting categories, including MFA playwright Jason Lenz for a ten minute play; MFA playwright Karen Wurl for a full-length play, and Zorn for a one act play, entitled "The Speed of Falling Objects". Additionally, two more students, MFA Fiction student James Miranda and MFA Playwriting student Kris Peterson, had work presented at the regional festival. In total, five of thirteen plays selected were by WMU English Department playwrights, as were three of the five regional winners. Furthermore, this is the second year in a row that Western Michigan University English Department playwrights have achieved this remarkable “sweep,” by having a winning play in all three regional categories, including one those plays going on to the Kennedy Center.

English Department Associate Professor Steve Feffer serves as Chair of the National Playwriting Program for our region for KC/ACTF.

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