Mark Plesent Commission Fund 2024-25 Recipients 

A.G. Norton is a storyteller, archivist, and queer activist with over 20 years experience working in service to others as a Social Worker & End of Life Doula. Norton’s winding career path has seen her work as a Children’s Rights Specialist in London, an outreach worker at the Brooklyn Public Library for patrons experiencing homelessness, and an outdoor educator & emotional exposure coach with young adults.

Returning to New York in 2018, Norton discovered her family’s personal connection to Berenice Abbott and a number of candid shots of the famous photographer. The impact of the photographic legacies she inherited have fueled 3 years of archival research and interviews with people in Berenice’s orbit, which in turn propelled Norton to write, perform, and tour storytelling slideshows based on her journey.

Describing her work as intersectional and subversive, Norton views performance through the lens of service with an opportunity for activism and meaningful catharsis.

Norton thanks her biggest teachers in life which have been middle school children, people at the end of their life, and those friends and fellow peformers she has made in the sex work industry. They have each shown grace, resilience, and the kind of authenticity one locates at the jugular of life.

Alex Rodriguez is a lifelong New Yorker, Alex has always been deeply impacted by the wealth gap that exists within the five boroughs. He is committed to empowering and educating marginalized communities across the city. Following his completion of the PathwaysToApprenticeship Program, Alex joined the IBEW Local 3, advocated at City Hall for adequate funding of similar programs, and has been published several times in the Red Hook Star Revue. He proudly serves his community through his involvement with the Brooklyn Networks Program, and has also channeled his experiences into writing, producing two plays with WorkingTheater, “Sparks of Uncertainty” and “Smoke & Mirrors”. Alex also loves his mom very, very much. 

Get to Know the Recipients 

Meet the Mentors

Kristina Wong (AG’s Mentor) is a performance artist, comedian and writer who has been presented internationally across North America, UK, Hong Kong and Africa.  Her most notable solo works include “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “The Wong Street Journal,” and “Kristina Wong for Public Office.”  “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord” premiered at New York Theater Workshop and won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance and is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Drama. She’s a Doris Duke Award Award Winner and Guggenheim Fellow who has been supported by among others, Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, ASU Gammage Artist Residency, Joan D. Firestone Commissioning Fund from En Garde Arts, Art Matters and the Kennedy Center Social Practice Residency.

John J. Caswell, Jr. (Alex’s Mentor) is a playwright from Arizona, a recent fellow at Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, and the recipient of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award at the Vineyard Theatre. His play Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons + MCC) won the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award as well as the OBIE Award for Best Direction and Creative Team. It was the most nominated play of the 2024 Lucille Lortel Awards and took home the prize for Best Scenic and Projection designs. Wet Brain also received nods from the Outer Critics Circle, The Drama League, and The Relentless Award. Other recently produced plays include Man Cave (Page 73) and Scene Partners (Vineyard Theatre) starring Dianne Wiest. Honors include the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwriting Prize, a MacDowell Fellowship, a SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Residency, and the Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship.


Known for bridging the access gap to theater, Mark leaned into work that reflected the racial, cultural, class, and economic differences of his constituency (what he called his beloved audience). He accepted that these differences would sometimes be divisive, but he always believed that ‘what makes us different is the most interesting thing about us’.

Conceived with Mark Plesent before his passing in February 2021, The Mark Plesent Commission Fund supports the commission and development of new plays by working people– in particular, those who have not had the privilege or the resources to self-identify or support themselves professionally as artists, but who have shown extraordinary talent, consistency of practice and a commitment to writing within the mission of Working Theater. Mark recognized that many within the communities that Working Theater serves are storytellers themselves. The Fund will support five years of annual new play commissions, providing mentorship, financial support, and developmental support to writers who are deserving of an audience.

Learn more about Mark Plesent by reading the tribute to Mark in American Theater written by Co-Artistic Director, Tamilla Woodard. 

Take a look at previous recipients and mentors from the program here