David Valdes Greenwood

‘The Mermaid Hour’ rolls around

Preview: The author of Milagro's new national "rolling premiere"--“I want to make sure the diversity I see in life is represented on stage.”

When David Valdes Greenwood was workshopping The Mermaid Hour back in 2014 one piece of feedback he got was that the play would be “impossible to cast” because it was “too diverse.” The show centers on a 12-year-old transgender girl and features a very ethnically diverse cast.

But that didn’t deter Greenwood. “I want to make sure the diversity I see in life is represented on stage,” he said during a “getting to know” visit to Milagro Theatre in early March. His commitment to diversity hasn’t deterred theater companies, either. Later this month, Milagro will be staging the world premiere of The Mermaid Hour, along with three other companies, as part of the Rolling World Premiere Program of the National New Play Network.

Playwright David Valdes Greenwood

Each year the Play Network puts on a showcase of selected unpublished scripts for its Rolling Premiere. Theater companies from all over the country attend, looking for new work to put onstage. If three or more companies decide to produce a show, NNPN provides financial support for the theaters to bring the playwrights to the theaters for some rehearsals and a night of the production. The plays must be produced within a 12-month period.

The Mermaid Hour first appeared in the Rolling World Premiere 2016 showcase. Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona, opens the first run this week, opening March 15. Milagro follows on March 22. Mixed Blood Theatre, in Minneapolis, and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, in North Carolina, will produce the play as well.