Anton in Show Business, one of the most popular entries in last year's Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, has been awarded the 2001 Steinberg New play Award by the American Theatre Critics Association. The Award was presented by ATCA March 31, during the final weekend of the latest Humana Fest.
The $15,000 award will go to author Jane Martin — whoever that is. (Martin is a pseudonymous Kentucky playwright who also penned Mr. Bundy, Jack and Jill, Keely and Du, Middle Aged White Guys, Cementville, Vital Signs and Talking With.) It has long been assumed that Martin is actually former ATL artistic director Jon Jory, but that has never been confirmed.
Anton in Show Business is a madcap comedy that follows three actresses in a satirical look at American theatre. In the tradition of backstage comedies — from The Royal Family to Noises Off — Anton conveys the joys, pains, and absurdities of "putting on a play" at the turn of this-past century.
Another work from the 2000 Humana Festival, Charles L. Mee's Big Love, received a Steinberg Citation, as did August Wilson's Broadway bound King Hedley II. Both of those authors will receive $5,000 cash awards.
The Steinberg Awards, funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, are given to a play that has its premiere outside New York City. It should be noted that both Anton and Big Love had the inside track for Steinberg honors, since the American Theatre Critics Association held its 2000 annual conference at the Humana Festival, and attending ATCA members were therefore given the chance to see the works performed. Steinberg finalists this year were Fall by Bridget Carpenter (Trinity Repertory Company of Providence and The Playwrights Center of Minneapolis); Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine by Warren Leight (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, soon to be at Manhattan Theatre Club); and The Dead Eye Boy by Angus Maclachlan (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park).
An organization of theatre critics from across the U.S., the American Theatre Critics Association "works to raise critical standards and public awareness of critics’ functions and responsibilities."
— By David Lefkowitz