Plays by Lynne Alvarez: Later Plays & Selected Poems

Lynne Alvarez
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Licensing Note

BPPI does not handle performance rights for ESPERANZA RISING. For performance rights, contact Plays for New Audiences.


This collection includes three full-length plays: ESPERANZA RISING, ROMOLA AND NIJINSKY, and THE SNOW QUEEN, and selected poems. ESPERANZA RISING: A young girl, born into the Mexican aristocracy, is uprooted, transplanted, and re-grown in alien soil. ROMOLA AND NIJINSKY: The story of world-famous Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky’s shipboard romance and marriage to Romola DePulsky. THE SNOW QUEEN: A fairy tale for adults with danger, adventure, and love, based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson story.

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Press Quotes


“ESPERANZA is a story about the past that pushes into the present. In the 1930s, a well-to-do Mexican adolescent is cluelessly callous toward the hardships of the family’s household help. When her landowner father dies, her life is upended. Esperanza travels several rungs down in class, winding up in a US migrant workers’ camp … What makes ESPERANZA most winning is that a story so susceptible to bathos is told without guile or artifice. What this little girl loses in privilege, she gains in empathy and experience.” —Rohan Preston, Star Tribune


“When the house lights came up following the curtain call, the transfixed opening-night audience refused to leave, its applause not diminishing, till [the actors] emerged for another bow.” —Michael Feingold, The Village Voice


“Lynne Alvarez’s THE SNOW QUEEN a delicate, perfumed script produced with exquisite artistry. The New York playwright, who has been living in Dallas the last two years, has created a song of innocence and experience. Youthful innocence suffers, no doubt, when it comes up against the world’s cruelties. But it learns wisdom that way, if it chooses to … Perhaps some folks might find THE SNOW QUEEN just too rarified and artful to constitute a good time. Magic theater isn’t for some. I pity them. —Lawson Taitte, The Dallas Morning News


“[This] is a book that is utterly without precedent in the poetry of this country. It has its roots in the poetry of Latin America, yet is violently and vividly the work of a poet in the United States. The language makes it so, the language not exactly as spoken, yet with the stabbing rhythms of passionate discourse among us. The book must be read as the measure of a new and daring sensibility arisen in the midst of our culture, already multifaceted and immense, yet this voice can be heard strong and true.” —David Ignatow

About the Author


  • Lynne Alvarez

    Lynne Alvarez (1947 – 2009) arrived in New York in 1977 planning to be a hot-shot poet who burned out brilliantly and died young. In the first matter, she won a CAPS grant for poetry in 1979 and served as Vice President of the board of directors for Poets & Writers for ten years. She did succeed in publishing much poetry, giving many readings and having two books published by Waterfront Press — THE DREAMING MAN (1981) and LIVING WITH NUMBERS (1986). She also became a member of PEN. But in the second matter — she continued to live, did not burn out but turned abruptly to playwriting in 1978. On a whim, Alvarez accompanied a friend to a gathering of Hispanic writers at Miriam Colon's Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. At 31 she had never considered writing a play, but she was now hooked. She wrote two plays under the auspices of this workshop, GRACIELA and THE GUITARRON, which premiered at the St. Clements Theatre in 1983 and won her an NEA fellowship and entry into New Dramatists. It was first published in a TCG anthology ON NEW GROUND in 1986. Alvarez wrote several plays as a New Dramatist — including HIDDEN PARTS (1981), which won a Kesselring Award in 1983 and premiered at Primary Stages in 1987; THE WONDERFUL TOWER OF HUMBERT LAVOIGNET, which won two awards, The Compte de Nouey Award for new plays in 1984 and a FDG/CBS award for best play, and later Best Production at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY in 1985. In 1984 The Actors' Theatre of Louisville commissioned a one-act play which became the full length THIN AIR: TALES FROM A REVOLUTION. THIN AIR premiered at San Diego Repertory Theatre in 1987 and won a Drama League Award and a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1988. Two New York Foundation grants followed in 1994 and 1998, years in which she wrote three plays for ACT's Young Conservatory in San Francisco: THE REINCARNATION OF JAIMIE BROWN, EDDIE MUNDO EDMUNDO and ANALIESE. All three opened there and were variously published in Smith & Kraus anthologies, BEST PLAYS BY WOMEN IN 1994, 1997, and 2001. Volume I of Alvarez's collected plays was published by Smith & Kraus in 2000. The Lincoln Center Institute commissioned Alvarez to adapt …AND NOW MIGUEL, which was produced in their 1995 season. The Repertory Theater of St. Louis also commissioned two children's plays which they produced in 1991 and 1992 — RATS, a musical based on the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and also an adaptation of RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, which was remounted in 2004. Alvarez was often commissioned as a translator of plays and poetry as well. In 1988, she translated Fernando Arrabal's THE DAMSEL AND THE GORILLA, OR THE RED MADONNA for a 1988 production at INTAR. In 1990, she translated and adapted Tirso de Molina's DON JUAN OF SEVILLE for the Classic Stage Company's production in New York City. She translated three plays by the great contemporary Mexican playwright Felipe Santander. These were published as a collection by Smith & Kraus in 2002. Primary Stages produced TWO MARRIAGES: ROMOLA & NIJINSKY Off-Broadway in 2003.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 10/1/2008
Pages 224
ISBN 9780881453942