For Immediate Release
Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,
office: 860-520-7114

National Endowment for the Arts Awards Hartford Stage with $15,000 Art Works Grant to Support the Development of a New Play by Bess Wohl    

Hartford, CT, June 16, 2017The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $15,000 Art Works grant to Hartford Stage to support the development and production of playwright Bess Wohl’s Make Believe. Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for its continued support of Hartford Stage,” said Michael Stotts, Managing Director of Hartford Stage. “It is imperative that all of our supporters understand the importance of federal funding for the arts and call their legislators to ensure continued funding of this important agency that generates tens of millions of dollars in matching funds in Connecticut and throughout the country annually.”

The NEA Art Works grant will support the development and production of Bess Wohl’s Hartford Stage commission, Make Believe. Wohl's most recent work, Small Mouth Sounds, was hailed as a critic’s pick by the New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York. Wohl was also honored with the 2017 Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for American plays by new playwrights for Small Mouth Sounds, which is about to embark on a national tour. Wohl’s other plays include American Hero, Barcelona, and the original musical Pretty Filthy.  She received the 2015 Drama Desk Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award for establishing herself as an important voice in New York theatre.

Hartford Stage Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson said, “We’re so pleased to receive this important support for Bess Wohl’s beautiful new play, Make Believe. This is the fifth play I’ve had the pleasure of working on with Bess, beginning with Touch(ed) at Pioneer Theatre Company in 2010. It’s been wonderful to watch her go from strength to strength as a writer since then, and we can’t wait to share this darkly funny and compelling new play with our audiences.”

Bess Wohl

Bess Wohl


Now in our 54th season, Hartford Stage is under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts. One of the nation’s leading resident theatres, Hartford Stage is known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 73 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011, the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; Rear Window with Kevin Bacon; the new musical Anastasia by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens – currently on Broadway; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1988 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.    

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