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Magic Theatre is dedicated to the cultivation of bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences - and to producing explosive, entertaining, and ideologically robust plays that ask substantive questions about, and reflect the rich diversity of, the world in which we live. Magic believes that demonstrating faith in a writer’s vision by providing a safe yet rigorous artistic home, where a full body of work can be imagined, supported, and produced, allows writers to thrive.
From its earliest years, Magic Theatre has contributed to the richness and relevance of the national theatrical canon, supporting hundreds of artists since the company’s founding in 1967 by the indefatigable John Lion. Sam Shepard cut his teeth and cemented his legacy during his decade-long playwright residency at Magic. His family plays, including Buried Child (Pulitzer Prize, 1979), True West (both directed by Robert Woodruff), and Fool for Love, premiered here during that residency. Martin Esslin, internationally renowned scholar and critic, joined the company as the first resident dramaturg in American theater in 1977, a position now integral to American new playhouses. Magic’s legacy of fostering and premiering groundbreaking new work has extended into the present with work from Octavio Solis, Paula Vogel, Nilo Cruz, Theresa Rebeck, Sharr White, Taylor Mac, Christina Anderson, Lloyd Suh, Linda McLean, and Luis Alfaro, to name a few.
An important marker of success for a new play theatre is the continued life of the plays and playwrights it champions. Those 17 world premieres have resulted in 35 subsequent professional productions, throughout the U.S. and abroad. Of the last 26 new plays produced at Magic, 23 of them have enjoyed subsequent productions, in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Paris. American Hwangap, Lloyd Suh’s smash-hit premiered in Greco’s first season at Magic, has been translated into Tagalog and Korean, produced in Manila and Seoul, and published in full in American Theatre Magazine. Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus El Rey, a Magic premiere in 2010, has celebrated nearly a dozen production by 2014. Four of Magic’s plays were seen in L.A. and New York in 2014: Octavio Solis’s Se Llama Cristina at Pasadena’s Boston Court, Sharr White’s Annapurna produced Off-Broadway by The New Group starring Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty at the Paradise Factory Theatre, and Victor Lodato and Polly Pen’s Arlington, a chamber musical commissioned and premiered at Magic in 2013 that was immediately remounted Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre.
- Susie Lampert
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