Congratulations to playwright Anne Washburn, who Feb. 26 received the first-ever Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award, given by New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Washburn is in her second of three years of the Graduate Assistants program in the Dramatic Writing department.
Washburn was awarded $10,000 and her winning play, Refreshment of the Spirit, will be produced by NYU at the Provincetown Playhouse, May 8-10 (five performances). Julia Prud'homme stars in the dark comedy, about a woman in the late 1800s who "strikes a Faustian bargain to secure a husband." Lori Steinberg, who executive produced the film version of Marvin's Room, directs.
Washburn, 29, told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 26), the production would receive an allotment separate from her cash prize, "which will certainly help with the student loans!" The Goldbergs, who made their money in real estate, approached the department on their own and (says Washburn) "wanted to do something for playwrights. They already endow a couple of scholarships. The Award is a kind of fiftieth anniversary present to each other."
Continued Washburn, "They also gave a lot of money to turn the black box theatre at 721 Broadway into a much more polished space. The ceremony tonight is mainly a dedication of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Theatre."
Washburn's one-act play, The Tanks Break, is currently part of a Naked Angels showcase in Los Angeles and was done at the Ontological last summer. The Ontological also staged her one-act, The Surgery Patient. Runners up for the 1998 Goldberg Playwriting Award are Rinne Groff, Gary Winter and Lizzie Olesker.
For tickets ($10 suggested donation) and information on Refreshment of the Spirit at the Provincetown Playhouse, 133 MacDougal St., call (212) 998-1985.
-- By David Lefkowitz