Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Lights are Bright on Broadway

Playwright Kia Corthron and actor Max McLean have been named recipients of 2010 “The Lights are Bright on Broadway” awards presented annually by Masterwork Productions, Inc. to individuals and organizations making a difference in the Broadway community through faith.
Corthron (Breath, Boom; Force Continuum), is being honored for her play A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, which ran last spring at Playwrights Horizons (presented as a co-production with The Play Company and Culture Project) for its positive representation of an African preacher-in-training as he interacts with his host family and a troubled orphan in a drought-stricken rural American community where he studies religion and water conservation.
“I'm so honored A Cool Dip was chosen for the Masterwork award, but when I initially found out, I must admit I was startled,” Corthron said. “I had never thought of A Cool Dip as a Christian play - or a non-Christian play.  I had just written the character of Abebe as honestly as I could, and he seemed to be someone who would be wholly committed to his faith. At least one voice (among the many providing input along a play's path from germination to opening) suggested that the dramatic arc lead to Abebe's questioning his faith.  That never felt right to me, and frankly is a bit of a cliché in plays wherein Christianity plays a role.  (Abebe does question himself but never his faith.)  There is widespread intolerance - a sense of threat - in fundamentalist Christianity regarding people exercising individual freedoms, just as there is widespread intolerance -  a sense of threat - in left-progressive and artistic circles regarding Christianity in any form.  I have people close to me who are members of both flanks (as well as many in between), and while it was not my conscious intention, I would be truly gratified to know that A Cool Dip may have fostered some new understanding and compassion.”
McLean is being honored for his portrayal of C.S. Lewis’ famous demon extraordinaire, Screwtape, who coaches his nephew demon in training about the art of spiritual warfare. McLean co-wrote the adaptation of The Screwtape Letters with director Jeffrey Fiske.
“This comes as quite a surprise, McLean said. “As a Christian who tries to work daily to live an integrated life of faith and work, I am delighted to receive this recognition from Masterwork for our work on C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.”
McLean’s award will be presented following the Monday, June 28 performance of the show, which is running at the Westside Theatre. Corthron will receive her award June 30 at Playwrights Horizons.
“We’re excited to be able to honor examples of people making a difference through faith in the Broadway community,” said Lauren Yarger, Masterworks’s executive director. “Kia’s play helped promote an understanding of faith while Max’s helps people understand why they have such trouble with it!”

Last year's recipients were playwright Dan Gordon for Irena's Vow on Broadway, and Radio City Rockette Cheryl Cutlip, founder of Project Dance.

Masterwork Productions, Inc. is a faith based, non-profit organization which helps Christians and churches reach out through the performing arts by producing shows and events, booking artists, providing Broadway and theater reviews ( and training at workshops and conferences. For more information, visit

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