New Works Initiative
New Works Initiative (NWI)
The New Works Initiative (NWI), a special project of the Department of Performing Arts at Pace University, is dedicated to the development and production of new original works for the American theatre and dance world. Pace’s New Works Initiative aims to be a home where the American professional performance community can experiment with and develop exciting new professional work that incorporates Pace theater, musical theater and dance students.
Each year through a national submission process, one NWI project is chosen for workshop development on Pace University campus. The professional creative team of the selected project (one to four artists) is supported through artist fees, travel and accommodations (if necessary), dedicated rehearsal space(s), stage management support and an auditioned student cast. In addition to receiving an “artist fee”, the principal artist of the team may be invited to teach as an adjunct instructor during the semester he/she is on campus developing the work.
NWI Project Development
NWI project development will span one to two phases:
Phase One: A spring workshop. Artist or Artist teams must be available for rehearsals between mid-March through April for a late April/early May presentation. Rehearsal periods can range from 4 to 8 weeks. The workshop will be presented and advertised as one of the offerings of the Department of Theater and Dance’s season.
Phase Two: Possible World Premiere production. In the event of a successful spring workshop, the Performing Arts Department will have approximately 90 days to commit to producing a fully mounted World Premiere production – either independently or in conjunction with other producers. The World Premiere will be presented and advertised as one of the offerings of the Performing Arts Department during the following academic year.
Pace NWI launches Spring 2012 with a special invited development workshop. Molly Rice, Rachel Chavkin and Stephanie Johnstone will be developing a new Music Theater work based on James Agee’s and Walker Evans Let us Now Praise Famous Men.
Based on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, THE AGEE/EVANS PROJECT is a music-drenched chronicle of James Agee and Evan Walker’s descent into the nightmarish existence of three Alabama sharecropping families. It explores Agee’s tendency to simultaneously grieve, fetishize, and exalt abject need; the seepage of Walker's subjective vision into his seemingly objective images; and the deeply wounded relationship between America’s "haves" and "have-nots". Using the musical textures of rural time, night space, silence and the sounds of the human body, THE AGEE/EVANS PROJECT traces these tensions through the journey of a gangly, violently empathetic dreamer coming to terms with humanity’s heroic and terrible will to live in the face of despair.
Rachel Chavkin (Director) is the founder and artistic director of the TEAM (the Theater of the Emerging American Moment), a NYC-based theater company that creates new work to dissect and celebrate the experience of living in America today. With the TEAM, she has directed/co-authored Particularly in the Heartland, A Thousand Natural Shocks, Give Up! Start Over!, Howl, based on the poem by Allen Ginsberg, and Architecting, produced by the National Theater of Scotland. Other directing work includes All the Great Books (Abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (Hangar Theater), Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (Classic Stage Company), the NYC revival of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June, and the upcoming Three Pianos at New York Theater Workshop. Rachel is an Artistic Associate at Classic Stage Company, a New Georges affiliated artist, a member of the Women's Project Lab, and a Drama League alumnus. She earned her BFA at NYU, and her MFA at Columbia University.
Molly Rice’s (Book Writer) works include Don’t Stop, Hiroshima 2010: The Apology Module, Watch, Texas Diner Diptych, and the original musicals Saint Enid and the Black Hand, The Mercury Sloop and Canary (music with Ray Rizzo). Her play The Saints Tour has been produced in Louisville, KY and NYC (starring Taylor Mac) in collaboration with Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange, the Salvation Army, HERE Arts Center, Cherry Lane Theater, Judson Church, and over 20 musicians and artists. Upcoming projects include the book for FUTURITY, a musical by Brooklyn band The Lisps slated for production at American Repertory Theater and the Walker Center in 2012. She teaches at Brown University and Marymount Manhattan College.
Stephanie Johnston’s (Composer) was selected as the youngest member of the New Dramatists’ Guild’s Composer/Librettist Studio in 2006. Music theater works include: TULLY (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) (New York Musical Theater Festival 2007, for which she was awarded for Excellence in Music), THANKSGIVING! A! PAGEANT! (AdNauseum Lyceum) and THE APOSTLE PROJECT (Theater Mitu/NYTW). Future projects include “A Musical Fantasia On Piratical Themes” (in collaboration with Joshua William Gelb), a song cycle about the end of the world, and an opera for Heather Christian.