Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Alumni: Elizabeth Cruz-Cortes writes for the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway!

On Sunday, Elizabeth Cruz-Cortes pulled an all-nighter.

She's not cramming for an exam at Long Island University, where she's a sophomore studying theater.

She's got a gig a professional dramatist would love to have: writing a short work for the star-studded "24 Hour Plays," a one-night-only, wham-bam-here's-your-presentation-ma'am.

The show runs Monday at 8 p.m. at the American Airlines Theater.

A half-dozen, 10-minute one-acts will be conceived, written, rehearsed and performed in a day at this annual Montblanc-sponsored fund-raiser for Urban Arts Partnership, which supports theater, music and more in New York's public schools.

Six playwrights, six directors and 24 actors will gather for the event. Cruz-Cortes' standout work in Urban Arts writing programs caught the eye of "24 Hour" organizers and rocketed her from student to an author alongside the celebs.

Step No. 1 is Cruz-Cortes will show up at 10 p.m. Sunday to meet her cast. Then she, like the rest of the writers, will brainstorm for ideas and work all night to meet a 7 a.m. deadline.

Then the directors and actors get busy. Christopher Meloni, America Ferrera, Claire Danes, Fisher Stevens and Rosie Perez are among the stars who could be delivering her lines.

Cruz-Cortes will be losing sleep with some of the city best dramatists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage ("Ruined") and Pulitzer finalists Theresa Rebeck ("Omnium Gatherum") and Rajiv Joseph ("A Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo").

"It's crazy," says Cruz-Cortes, 20, who graduated from New Design High School on the lower East Side. "It's exciting but nerve-racking. It's all these famous writers and actors, and me, this little girl."

While she is keeping an open mind about what she'll write about, the young scribe suspects her 10-minute play on Monday will tilt toward comedy.

"I tend to like to keep things light," she says. "If I decide to go somewhere extreme, I'm counting on my cast not to be shy about it. Mostly I just want to have fun."

That's exactly the right plan, according to Rebeck, who's an old hand at this stage-athon.

"This one will be my fourth time," says Rebeck. "I always ask myself, 'How do you write a decent play at 3 in the morning?' But there's something very jazzy about it."

Advice for the new kid on the "24 Hour" block?

"Elizabeth is going to do great," says Rebeck. "Like everyone else involved, she just has to trust her instincts."

Read more:

No comments: