The Theatre Initiative

The Theatre Initiative, a collaborative program between Platt, the Theatre Department and Annenberg Center, exposes the Penn community to the best and brightest of the professional theatre world.  Fellows will spend up to two days on campus connecting in a variety of ways with the Penn community including but not limited to:  Guest lecturing in relevant classes, public presentation, private lunch with selected students, and public master classes.  Theatre Fellows was made possible by a generous donation.


2012-2013 : Theresa Rebeck

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. New York productions of her work include Dead Accounts at the Music Box Theatre; Seminar at the Golden Theatre; Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club Production; The Scene, The Water's Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad DatesThe Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at the Laura Pels Theater in a Roundabout Theatre Company production; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre. Her newest work, Poor Behavior premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2011. Dead Accounts, commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse, premiered January 2012. Seminar continues to run on Broadway.

All of Ms. Rebeck's past produced plays are published by Smith and Kraus as Theresa Rebeck: Complete Plays, Volumes I, II III, and IVand in acting editions available from Samuel French or Playscripts. Ms. Rebeck's other publications are Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business. She has written for American Theatre Magazine and has had excerpts of her plays published in the Harvard Review. Ms. Rebeck's first novel, Three Girls and Their Brother, was published by Random House/Shaye Areheart Books in April 2008. Her second novel, Twelve Rooms With A View, was published by Random House/Shaye Areheart Books in May of 2010. Both novels are available online and at booksellers everywhere.

In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash.  She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury's Law, Smith, Law and Order:Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Her produced feature films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks andSeducing Charlie Barker, an adaptation of her play, The Scene. Awards include the Mystery Writer's of America's Edgar Award, the Writer's Guild of America award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston's Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Eliot Norton Award.  Other awards include the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and in 2011 she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.

Ms. Rebeck is originally from Cincinnati and holds an MFA in Playwrighting and a PhD. in Victorian Melodrama, both from Brandeis University. She is a proud board member of the Dramatists Guild, a Contributing Editor to the Harvard Review, an Associate Artist of the Roundabout Theatre Company and has taught at Brandeis University and Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. (Bio courtesy theresarebeck.com/bio/)


2011-2012 : Paula Vogel

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Paula Vogel was the 2012 Platt House Theatre Fellow. Ms. Vogel will be on campus February 23 and 24.  She will present The Impossible Game of Theatre - a public Q&A on Thursday, February 23 at 6 pm in the Harold Prince Theater of the Annenberg Center.  Tickets are $5 or free with student ID, but you must have a ticket to get in. 2012's  program is co-sponsored by the Theatre Initiative, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, The LGBT Center, The Kelly Writers House, The Penn Women's Center and SPEC Connaisance.

Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play, and an Obie Award. Her screenplay adaptation has been in development for HBO. Paula Vogel's other plays include The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot N Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven and The Oldest Profession. Paula Vogel has received the Rhode Island Pell Award in the Arts, the Hull-Warriner Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Pew Charitable Trust Senior Award, a Guggenheim, an AT&T New Plays Award, the Fund for New American Plays, the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the McKnight Fellowship, MacDowell Colony residencies, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize in Literature. In addition, she is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Creative Writing at Brown University, directing the MFA Playwriting program.



2010-2011 : Moisés Kaufman

The Inaugural (2010) Platt House Theatre Fellow was Moisés Kaufman, who presented a public talk "Theater for a New Millenum" on Wednesday, October 13 at 6 pm in the Harold Prince Theatre of the Annenberg Center.  Mr. Kaufman also visited the Theatre Arts Programs directing class on Thursday, October 14 at 10:30 am.  Co-Sponsors of Mr. Kaufman's visit are the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender Center at Penn.

Moisés Kaufman is a Tony and Emmy nominated director and playwright.  His most recent play, 33 Variations, starring Jane Fonda, was nominated for 5 Tony awards (including one for Ms. Fonda). Previous to that,  Mr. Kaufman directed the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play I Am My Own Wife, earning him an Obie award for his direction as well as Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel nominations. His plays Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project have been among the most performed plays in America over the last decade.  

Mr. Kaufman also directed the film adaptation of The Laramie Project for HBO, which was the opening night selection at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and won the National Board of Review Award, the Humanitas Prize and a Special Mention for Best First Film at the Berlin Film Festival. The film also earned Mr. Kaufman two Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer. He is the Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project and a Guggenheim Fellow in Playwriting. 

Other recent credits include Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo (Mark Taper Forum); Macbeth with Liev Schreiber (Public Theater);  This Is How It Goes (Donmar Warehouse); One Arm by Tennessee Williams (Steppenwolf Theater Company);  Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theater); and Lady Windermere's Fan (Williamstown Theater Festival).