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SCR's 'Playland' Loses at NAACP Awards : Theater: Two works steal show from six-time nominee. 'Green Icebergs' to get reading in New York.

November 16, 1994|JAN HERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After receiving six nominations for a single production, South Coast Repertory came away empty-handed Monday night at the seventh annual Theater Awards presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

Athol Fugard's "Playland," a two-character South African drama mounted in January on the Second Stage in Costa Mesa, was nominated for best play, director (Martin Benson), writer (Fugard), male performer (Kene Holliday), set design (Robert Brill) and lighting design (Paulie Jenkins).

Two winners swept those major categories: Ana Deveare Smith's one-woman show, "Twilight: Los Angeles 1992," produced at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the 1993 national touring revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," seen at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City and more recently at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

In a separate development, Cecilia Fannon's "Green Icebergs," a new comedy now on the SCR Mainstage, will get a reading Friday in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club as a serious candidate for an off-Broadway production later this season.

"Our literary department read the script, and they're very interested," MTC spokeswoman Amy Lefkowitz said.

MTC, which does only new plays, is perhaps best known for originating the Tony Award-winning musical "Ain't Misbehavin,' " Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Crimes of the Heart" and Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together."

It is, moreover, a key launching pad for many contemporary playwrights. Terrence McNally has premiered his last seven plays there, including his current hit "Love! Valour! Compassion!" And Christopher Durang's latest, "Durang Durang," also just opened there.

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Lefkowitz cautioned, however, that the "Green Icebergs" reading does not guarantee a production.

"We receive about 1,200 scripts a year and do 40 readings." MTC does seven plays a year.

The fact that SCR has already staged "Green Icebergs," however, gives it a leg up.

"They've picked up plays from us before," SCR literary manager John Glore said. "They've come to realize that our tastes often coincide. I'm told they want to consider a possible production for later this season. That's why the rush."

Other plays MTC has mounted following SCR premieres are Donald Margulies' "Sight Unseen" and Richard Greenberg's "The Extra Man." Greenberg's "Night and Her Stars" from last season is also set for a March staging.

If MTC does do "Green Icebergs" it would set a speed record. No SCR play has ever gotten on at both theaters during the same season.

* TOP WINNERS

Three plays won four trophies each from the NAACP. F5

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