Atlantic Theater Company Announces Launch Commissions - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Atlantic Theater Company Announces Launch Commissions

 Atlantic Theater Company Announces

Launch Commissions

From Nikki Massoud & Max Yu


Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce its 2021-2022 Launch Commission writers Nikki Massoud and Max Yu. Launch commissions are offered to early-career playwrights in support of writing a new play and facilitating relationships in the theater industry. Previous recipients of the commission include Paola Lázaro, Amy Staats, Abby Rosebrock, Tori Sampson, Sanaz Toossi, Lily Houghton, and Brian Otaño. Lázaro, Staats, and Rosebrock have all received productions at Atlantic since their commissions, Toossi will be represented this season with her play, English.


On the Launch Commissions, Atlantic Theater Company’s Artistic Director Neil Pepe said "We are thrilled to resume the Launch program with Nikki Massoud and Max Yu. These are two unique and important voices, and there is no doubt that Nikki and Max will make major contributions to theater in the coming years. We're excited to see what they will write for their commissions."


All of Atlantic’s new play and musical development activities are made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and The Tow Foundation, with additional funding from the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Barbara Bell Cumming Charitable Trust, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.


Atlantic productions and programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature.




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NIKKI MASSOUD is a writer and actor based in Brooklyn. She is a first generation Iranian-American immigrant, raised in Montreal, Canada and Washington, DC. Her writing has been read and developed at The Lark, The Coop, Brown University, and CUNY and she was recently awarded a City Artist Corps Grant. Her television work as a performer includes “Love Life” (HBO), “Emergence” (ABC), “Mozart in the Jungle” (Amazon), and “Madam Secretary” (CBS). Her stage credits include Sam Gold's production of Othello at New York Theatre Workshop, alongside Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, and regional work at The Old Globe, Berkeley Rep, The Huntington Theatre Company, and Portland Center Stage. Nikki has narrated over 18 audiobooks, currently available on Audible. She is a graduate of the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Program, Georgetown University, and BADA (British-American Drama Academy.) 


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MAX YU is a Chinese-American writer and performer from the San Francisco Bay Area. He won the 2019 Relentless Award for his original play Nightwatch, for which he was featured in The New York Times. Recently, Nightwatch received a Future Labs Virtual Reading at the Goodman Theatre, directed by Obie Award-winner Chay Yew. Max is a member of Page 73’s 2021-2022 Interstate 73 Writers Group, and his plays have been developed at Horizon Theatre and Shaking the Tree Theater. His poetry and prose have been published in Spittoon and Babel. Max is currently based in Shanghai, China, where he teaches English. He graduated with a degree in Playwriting from UCLA in 2019.


ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director). At Atlantic, our aim is singular—to empower simple and honest storytelling that fosters a greater understanding of our shared world. We are a family of artists dedicated to exploring essential truths onstage, be it a show at Atlantic Theater Company or a class at Atlantic Acting School. As a producer, presenters, and educators of theater, we are driven by the belief that theater can challenge and transform our ways of thinking and urge us to reflect on our role in society. From our Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning productions to our community-based education programs, we are committed to uncovering and celebrating the stories of our varied human existence. Founded as an ensemble of impassioned artists in 1985, Atlantic Theater Company has grown into a powerhouse Off-Broadway company. We challenge, inspire, and awaken audiences with truthful storytelling presented across our two venues, the Linda Gross Theater and the intimate Stage 2 black-box. As a producer of compelling new works, we are committed to championing the stories from new and established artists alike, amplifying the voices of emerging playwrights through our deeply collaborative programs and initiatives. We have produced more than 200 plays and musicals including Tony Award-winning productions of The Band’s Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses); Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik); and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics’ Circle winners for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson) and Best Foreign Play Hangmen (Martin McDonagh); Obie Award winners for Best New American Play Guards at the Taj and Describe the Night (Rajiv Joseph); and Obie Award Special Citation recipient Skeleton Crew (Dominique Morisseau).

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