Playwrights Aleshea Harris and Neil Simon, as well as the Theatre Development Fund, will be honored with 2019 Samuel French Awards. The annual honors are given by theatrical licensor Samuel French, a Concord Theatricals company, to acknowledge the work and unparalleled passion of theatre artists and to applaud significant contributions to the industry.
The awards are accompanied by a total of $15,000 in donations from Concord Theatricals.
What to Send Up When It Goes Down and Is God Is playwright Harris receives the Next Step Award, which supports a playwright, composer, or lyricist working towards the next step of their career. She will receive $5,000 to support a current or unfinished project.
TDF is being given the Award for Impact & Activism in the Theatre Community for their accessibility programs, which include efforts to create accessible seating and audio description, open captioning, and sign language interpretation services at Broadway performances. The honor includes a $5,000 donation to support the programs.
Elaine Joyce accepts the Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre on behalf of her late husband, Simon. This honor is bestowed on Samuel French authors whose body of work has been successfully produced nationwide at both amateur and professional-level theatres. Simon works handled by Samuel French include The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and Lost in Yonkers. A $5,000 donation included with this award will be given to the New York Public Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division at Joyce's request.
“We are proud to continue the tradition of the Samuel French Awards, especially as part of Concord Theatricals,” says Concord Theatricals Vice President of Client Relations & Community Engagement Abbie Van Nostrand. “We’re delighted that our company holds such a variety of talented artists within its catalog. The awards allow us an opportunity to highlight a few of them, along with other industry members, who have impacted so many lives within our theatre community.”
Previous Samuel French Award honorees include Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, Doug Wright, Antoinette Nwandu, Ken Ludwig, Dominique Morisseau, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, Sarah Ruhl, Keith Josef Adkins, and Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond.