The American Theatre Critics Association has presented the annual Steinberg honor for "outstanding new plays produced around the United States, outside of New York City" placing a focus on regional works not often included in the numerous New York based awards. The winner was announced at the 2005 Humana Festival, April 2.
The prize includes the cash award of $15,000. Two additional citation recipients are given cash prizes of $5,000 each. All prizes are funded by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. This year, a $1,000 Elizabeth Osborn Award for an emerging playwright was also awarded.
Singing Forest interweaves the tales of three generations of one family, from New York in 2000 to post-World War II Paris to Vienna in the 1930s.
Lucas, who won the 2004 OBIE Award for Best American Play for Small Tragedy, has also penned the plays Prelude to a Kiss, Stranger, This Thing of Darkness and The Dying Gaul — which he recently adapted and directed for the big screen starring Campbell Scott, Patricia Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard. The scribe's Reckless was just revived on Broadway earlier this season and the Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza for which he penned the book is set to open April 18 at Lincoln Center Theatre's Vivian Beaumont. His latest work, Singing Forest, made its world premiere at Seattle's Intiman Theatre and played recently at New Haven, Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre. Reports had the work making its possible New York debut
For this year's award, 26 eligible scripts were submitted by ATCA members, representing over 250 regional media outlets. A committee of 12 professional theater critics reviewed and selected the finalists. The six finalists (and the regional theatre at which they were first produced) were:
Singing Forest by Craig Lucas (Intiman Theatre) Last year's winner of the Steinberg New Play Award was Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel with the two other citations going to August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean and Carson Kreitzer's The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Other recent recipients of the honor include Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics (2003), Horton Foote's The Carpetbaggers Children (2002), Jane Martin's Anton In Show Business (2001), Regina Taylor's Oo-Bla-Dee (2000) and Lanford Wilson's Book of Days (1999).
For more information on the American Theatre Critics Association, visit www.americantheatrecritics.org.