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Culture notes: Steve Martin to play ASO benefit; Alliance gets $40,000 NEA grant

Steve Martin to pluck for ASO

Steve Martin the banjo player, as opposed to Steve Martin the comedian, will be the featured act at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Symphony Gala, 7:30 p.m. March 2 at the Woodruff Arts Center. Martin, who will appear with his ace bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers and ASO members, is a serious musician who is nonetheless seriously funny in concert. The benefit for ASO education and community programs includes a pre-concert cocktail reception at 6 p.m., a seated dinner after the Symphony Hall concert, an after-party with dessert and cocktails, more music and an auction. Tickets start at $45 for the concert only; $1,000-$5,000 (for two) for the entire evening. 404-733-5000, HOWARD POUSNER

Alliance scores grant for Playwriting Competition winner

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced that the Alliance Theatre has received a $40,000 NEA Art Works grant to support the 2013 Alliance National Graduate Playwriting Competition winner “Bike America.”

Written by Mike Lew from the Juilliard School’s Drama Division, “Bike America” will receive its world premiere on the Alliance’s Hertz Stage on Feb. 1-24. The play, the story of Penny, a student who struggles to find her place in the world, speaks to millennial generation restlessness.

The playwriting competition solicits scripts from leading U.S. master of fine arts/graduate programs, helping transition student playwrights to the world of professional theater.

The NEA Art Works grant also will underwrite a staged reading series for the four competition finalists.

The competition and production also are supported by a 2005 gift by the Kendeda Fund and a grant by the Steinberg Charitable Trust. Information: HOWARD POUSNER

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