Drama Alumni Selected by Sam Shepard to Debut New Work at La MaMa

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard has selected Drama alum Matthew Paul Olmos (’04) as the initial playwright to create a new work that will debut at La MaMa etc in New York City as part of the company’s 51st season.

The inaugural Ellen Stewart Award was presented to Shepard, whose early plays were nurtured by Stewart at La MaMa. As part of the award, Shepard was asked to select a young theatre artist to create a new work to be presented and produced at La MaMa. Olmos received the commission at the award presentation held on October 17.

“I was completely overwhelmed when I heard about this and it was quite an honor to be a part of La MaMa’s 50th anniversary gala,” Olmos recently told Playbill.com in an interview. “Sam Shepard has long been both an influence, one of the first writers that really reached me. I cannot help but feel such gratitude for the path that people like Ellen Stewart have left behind, as well as organizations, personal to me, such as La MaMa etc, Mabou Mines, Sundance, etc. who truly remember what it means to give back.”

Olmos, who came to New York from Los Angeles in August 2001 to pursue playwriting at The New School, is also a Sundance Institute Time Warner Storytelling Fellow, a two-time resident artist at Mabou Mines/Suite, an EST lifetime member, a BAX resident artist, and a Top prize for the Americas, awardee by the BBC 2011 International Playwriting Competition. He is also part of the staff at the Lark Play Development Center. His works include i put the fear of mexico in ’em and Monkey. Olmos is the co-founder and former artistic director of woken’glacier theatre company.