Thursday, February 04, 2016

PlayGround 2016 Benefit & Awards Night

PlayGround has announced the line-up for the 2016 Gala fundraiser on Monday, April 11 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre: 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (“Between Riverside and Crazy”) and screen and stage actor Carl Lumbly will join Benefit Honorary Chair Joy Carlin to celebrate the Bay Area’s best new playwrights. The evening features a private dinner with the honorees, a reception and silent auction, an onstage conversation with Guirgis and Lumbly, and presentation of the 2016 PlayGround Playwright Awards. Co-chairs for this year’s gala are Kate Clarvoe and David Steele. Tickets are $300-$1,000 ($20-$50 for presentation only). For tickets and more information, visit or call (415) 992-6677.

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a member of New York City's LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. They include “Our Lady of 121st Street” (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations, 10 best plays of 2003), “Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train” (Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, Barrymore Award, Olivier Nomination for London's Best New Play), “In Arabia,” “We'd All Be Kings” (2007 LA Drama Critics Best Play, Best Writing Award), “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” (10 best Time Magazine & Entertainment Weekly), and “The Little Flower of East Orange” (starring Elen Burstyn & Michael Shannon) at The Public Theater. In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida (dir: Rupert Goold), The Hampstead (Robert Delamere), and at The Arts in the West End. Other plays include “Den of Thieves” (HERE, HAI Theater Festival), and “Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho” (dir: Adam Rapp) for the 2006 E.S.T. Marathon. He has received a 2006 PEN/Laura Pels Award, a 2006 Whiting Award, and a 2004 TCG fellowship, new play commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club, Center Theater Group, and South Coast Repertory, and is a member of LAByrinth Theater Company, New Dramatists, MCC's Playwright's Coalition, Ojai Playwrights Festival, and New River Dramatists. Television writing credits include "NYPD Blue," "The Sopranos," David Milch's CBS drama "Big Apple," and Shane Salerno's NBC series "UC: Undercover". As an actor, Stephen has had leading film roles in Todd Solondz's Palindromes, Brett C. Leonard's Jailbait (opposite Michael Pitt), and in Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret. Other film credits include Philip Seymour Hoffman's “Jack Goes Boating,” Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche New York,” Adam Rapp's “Blackbird,” Noah Buschel's “Neal Cassady,” as well as “Meet Joe Black” (dir: Martin Brest), “Noise” (dir: Henry Bean), “Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot” (dir: Todd Harrsion Williams), and TV's "Law and Order." He directed Liza Colon-Zayas' “Sistah Supreme” for Danny Hoch's Hip Hop Theater Festival, Marco Greco's award-winning “Behind the Counter with Mussolini” in New York and Los Angeles, and Melanie Maras's “Kiss Me on the Mouth” (InViolet Rep/CSNY. A former HIV Educator/Violence Prevention Specialist, he lives in New York City. His play, “The Motherf**cker with the Hat,” played on Broadway starring Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale. It received six Tony nominations including best play. His newest play, “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which previously played at the Atlantic Theater Company and the Second Stage Theater, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

From stage to screen, Carl Lumbly is an actor respected for his steadfast talent, versatility and class.  His prolific career includes over 50 credits in television, film and the theatre and extensive critical acclaim. For the stage, Lumbly most recently received glowing reviews for his 2015 performance of ‘Pops Washington’ in “Between Riverside and Crazy” at A.C.T. Earlier in 2015, Lumbly starred in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s “Let There Be Love” at A.C.T. and in San Francisco Playhouse’s premiere of “Tree,” by Julie Hebert.  In 2014, he starred in John Patrick Shanley’s “Storefront Church” at the San Francisco Playhouse and in August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Marin Theatre Company. Lumbly previously starred in Guirgis’ “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” and “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” both at San Francisco Playhouse. He portrayed CIA agent 'Marcus Dixon,' the gentle, mild-mannered field partner to agent 'Sydney Bristow' (Jennifer Garner) for five seasons on ABC's hit drama series, “Alias.” Lumbly began a recurring role in Dick Wolf’s new drama series, “Chicago Med.” He also has a recurring role in CBS’ summer drama series “Zoo,” which has been renewed for a second season. Lumbly recently wrapped production in Berlin on a role in director Gore Verbinski’s upcoming supernatural horror feature, “The Cure for Wellness.” His extensive feature credits include a role opposite Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Men of Honor." In "Everybody's All-American" with Jessica Lange and Dennis Quaid, he starred as a former football player affected by the segregated South.  Other film credits include "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "South Central," "Pacific Heights," "To Sleep With Anger," "The Bedroom Window," "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," "Caveman" and “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation." Lumbly was featured for seven seasons in the hit television series, “Cagney and Lacey.”

An actress and director in the Bay Area for many years, Joy Carlin is a longtime and enthusiastic supporter of PlayGround and a member of the PlayGround Company. 25 years a member of the company at A. C.T., you may have seen some of the plays she directed and watched her perform many characters in the exciting days of true repertory theatre. She was an Associate Artistic Director for five years there, as well as the Interim Artistic Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she also acted and directed. She has also worked at San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Theatreworks, Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz, and at Aurora Theatre Company where she recently directed Sarah Treem’s “The How and The Why.”

Benefit honorary committee members include past honorees Amy Freed, Amy Glazer, Philip Kan Gotanda, Jonathan Moscone, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Carey Perloff, Theresa Rebeck, and Octavio Solis, as well as Dan Cohn & Lynn Brinton, Bill English & Susi Damilano, Lara N. Gilman, and Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston.

All proceeds benefit PlayGround and its award-winning new play incubator programs. Since 1994, PlayGround has nurtured more than 200 Bay Area playwrights, supporting the development of over 750 original short plays and 60 new full-length plays. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.; this event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists.

Event: 2016 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night
Date/Time: Monday, April 11, 2016, 6pm-9:30pm
Location: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA
Tickets: $300-$1,000 (presentation-only tickets start at just $20)

For more information, call (415) 992-6677, or visit


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