Writers' Biographies*

Leslie Ayvazian’s full-length plays include NINE ARMENIANS (Manhattan Theatre Club, directed by Lynne Meadow - Outer Critics Critics Award), SINGER’S BOY – (American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, directed by Cary Perloff), HIGH DIVE (Long Wharf Theatre, directed by David Warren), and MAKE ME (Atlantic Theatre, directed by Christian Parker). Her solo pieces include PLAN DAY and HELLO THERE MR.MACHINE (Ensemble Studio Theatre), FOOTLIGHTS (Vineyard Theatre), and IN MOTHERWORDS (Geffen Playhouse, Primary Stages). Leslie has received commissions from the Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Atlantic Theatre Co. As an actress, her credits include A NAKED GIRL ON THE APPIAN WAY on Broadway, as well as NEPTUNE’S HIPS at Ensemble Studio Theatre and SAFE AS HOUSES at the McCarter Theatre. Television credits include Damages, Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Leslie teaches
at Columbia University, and leads long-running writing groups in NYC.

Jon Robin Baitz’s numerous plays include THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE, A FAIR COUNTRY, TEN UNKNOWNS, MIZLANSKY/ZILINSKY, THREE HOTELS, and THE PARIS LETTER. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Drama Desk winner, Humanitas winner, a Guggenheim and an NEA Fellow. Mr. Baitz created the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters", and has written for "West Wing". He also adapted his play THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE for the screen, as well as
the screenplay for the Al Pacino movie, "People I Know”. He is a founding member of Naked Angels Theatre Company, and on the faculty of the New School's graduate drama division as well as for the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Writing and Literature. Most recently, Mr. Baitz had a tremendously successful run of his new play, OTHER DESERT CITIES at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Adam Bock’s play A SMALL FIRE premiered at Playwrights Horizons in NY in 2011 and his musical WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE premiered 2010 at Yale Rep. Other plays include THE RECEPTIONIST (MTC), THE DRUNKEN CITY (Playwrights Horizons), THE FLOWERS (AboutFace) THE THUGS (Soho Rep), SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS (Second Stage Uptown), FIVE FLIGHTS (Rattlestick), THE TYPOGRAPHER’S DREAM (Clubbed Thumb), THE SHAKER CHAIR (Humana Festival) and THREE GUYS AND A BRENDA
(24 Hour Plays) He has won the OBIE, a Clauder, the Heideman, the Glickman, the BATCC and been nominated twice for the Outer Critic Circle Award. He is a resident playwright at Encore Theater and a Shotgun Players artistic associate; the two Bay Area theaters have premiered and produced many of his works. He is a New Dramatist member playwright and a NYTW Usual Suspect. He is proud to be a TDF Open Doors mentor for Validus High School in the Bronx.

Multi-award-winning director and playwright Emily Mann recently celebrated her 20th season as Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre. Under Ms. Mann’s leadership, McCarter was honored with the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Directing credits include this season’s world premiere of Sarah Treem’s THE HOW AND THE WHY with Mercedes Ruehl and Bess Rous; Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ANNA IN THE TROPICS with Jimmy Smits (also on Broadway); the world premiere of Christopher Durang’s MISS WITHERSPOON with Kristine Nielsen (also off-Broadway); UNCLE VANYA with Amanda Plummer (also adapted); All Over with Rosemary Harris and Michael Learned (also off-Broadway; 2003 Obie Award for Directing); THE CHERRY ORCHARD with Jane Alexander, John Glover, and Avery Brooks (also adapted); THREE SISTERS with Frances McDormand, Linda Hunt, and Mary
Stuart Masterson; A DOLL HOUSE with Cynthia Nixon; and THE GLASS MENAGERIE with Shirley Knight.

Ms. Mann directed her latest adaptation, A SEAGULL IN THE HAMPTONS, a free adaptation of Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL, with Brian Murray and Maria Tucci; MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION, with Suzanne Bertish; and the world premiere of Edward Albee’s ME, MYSELF & I (with Tyne Daly and Brian Murray at McCarter Theatre and with Elizabeth Ashley at Playwrights Horizons in New York). Her plays include the multi-award-winning EXECUTION OF JUSTICE; STILL LIFE (six Obie Awards); GREENSBORO (A REQUIEM); and ANNULLA, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Ms. Mann wrote and directed HAVING OUR SAY, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations; NAACP Award, Joseph Jefferson Award, Peabody and Christopher Awards and WGA nomination for her screenplay). A winner of the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, she is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its Council. A
collection of her plays, TESTIMONIES: FOUR PLAYS, has been published by Theatre Communications Group, Inc. Her latest play, MRS. PACKARD, was the recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award and was published by TCG in spring 2009. In 2002, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University.

Marsha Norman is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner, and Drama Desk Awards for her play ‘NIGHT, MOTHER. In l992 she won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her book for the Broadway musical, THE SECRET GARDEN. She also wrote the book for the Broadway musical, THE COLOR PURPLE, for which she also received a Tony nomination. THE COLOR PURPLE is currently in the third year of its national first-class tour. Her new play, THE MASTER BUTCHER’S SINGING CLUB, premiered at the Guthrie Theatre in the fall of 2010. She is currently writing a musical based on THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, with Jason Robert Brown, and another musical, BANDITS,with Sheryl Crow. Her other plays include GETTING OUT, for which she won the John Gassner Medallion and the American Theater Critics Association Citation, THIRD AND OAK: THE LAUNDROMAT, THE POOL HALL, THE HOLDUP, TRAVELER IN THE DARK, SARAH AND ABRAHAM, LOVING DANIEL BOONE, TRUDY BLUE, AND LAST DANCE.

Her television and film credits include ‘NIGHT, MOTHER, starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft, THE LAUNDROMAT, starring Carol Burnett and Amy Madigan; THE POOL HALL, starring James Earl Jones; FACE OF A STRANGER starring Gena Rowlands and Tyne Daley; COOLER CLIMATE, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis; AUDREY HEPBURN, CUSTODY OF THE HEART, and most recently, SAMANTHA, AN AMERICAN GIRL. She spent one year as Co-Executive Producer of LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, and in 2009, wrote the Gina episodes of Season 2 of HBO’s IN TREATMENT, for which she won a PEABODY award. She is currently writing an HBO movie based on THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY.

Her other published work includes FOUR PLAYS, COLLECTED WORKS OF MARSHA NORMAN, VOL 1, and a novel, THE FORTUNE TELLER. She has Grammy and Emmy nominations, as well as grants and awards from among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won the Margo Jones Award, and the Sidney Kingsley Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild Hall Academy of Arts and Letters. In the spring of 2011,
she will receive the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award in Playwriting.

For 17 years, Ms. Norman has been Co-Chair, with Christopher Durang, of the Playwriting Department of The Juilliard School. She also taught the Master’s Thesis in Playwriting Class at NYU from 2004-2010. She writes and lectures frequently on the theatre and has 18 honorary degrees from American colleges and Universities.

She was elected to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers and serves on the Governing Board of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is Chair of the Academic Affairs committee of the Board of Trustees of Agnes Scott College, and a former Vice-President of the Dramatists Guild of America. She attended Agnes Scott College, holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville. She is a native of Kentucky and currently lives in New York.

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