Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker, whose latest work The Antipodes premiered Off-Broadway earlier this year, has been named a 2017 MacArthur Fellow.
Among the 23 individuals joining her as ‘Genius Grant’ recipients are performance artist Taylor Mac (currently touring the country in A 24-Decade History of Popular Music), Grammy-winning singer-musician Rhiannon Giddens, and opera director Yuval Sharon.
The Fellowship program offers a $625,000 award over five years to individuals who have displayed extraordinary creativity in their fields, encouraging them to further harness their potential in future works. While many recipients come from the performing arts community, the program also includes teachers, scientists, journalists, and humanitarians.
Baker won the a Pulitzer Prize and Obie Award for her 2013 play The Flick, set in a Massachusetts movie theatre. She received additional Obie Awards for the Off-Broadway premieres of her works Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens (sharing the award in 2010) and in 2016 for John. Her plays typically trade theatrical dialogue for hyper-realistic “slice of life” portraits, filling the famously long works with beats and pauses found in overheard conversations.
Mac was named a 2017 Pulitzer finalist for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, a performance piece that spans the American songbook from 1776 to 2016, exploring each decade through a one-hour concert; it can be performed in pieces or as a 24-hour event. The work, which judy (Mac’s preferred pronoun) has brought to Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, will play Washington, D.C. and Tempe, Arizona, in 2018. Earlier this year, Mac received the Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama, given to artists who create works inspired by American history.
For a full list of this year’s recipients, visit MacFound.org.