Playwright Angus MacLachlan has been awarded this year's Lois and Richard Rosenthal New Play Prize, one of the country's most generous showcases for new works. Ed Stern, producing artistic director at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park bestowed the prize on MacLachlan for his play, The Dead Eye Boy, which will see its professional world premiere next year in the Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2000 after four public previews. The Dead Eye Boy will run March 18-April 16, 2000.
MacLachlan told Playbill On-Line there will be extensive support for his work in addition to the $10,000 prize.
MacLachlan is in NYC this week collaborating on a screenplay that is nearly finished and in the final stages of development. The new work, he said, is a departure from his usual fare. A romantic comedy, the new play involves a small Russian circus visiting a small Southern town which is light and fun compared to Dead Eye. "It's an incredible honor to have won the Rosenthal [New Play] Prize," MacLachlan said. "The track record of the award speaks for itself, as does the Playhouse's commitment to new work by giving the winning script a full month's run. I'm very grateful to the Rosenthals for their extraordinary support."
Maclachlan is the twelfth recipient of the Rosenthal New Play Prize, which was established in 1987 by the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation to encourage superior new plays for the American stage. The prize allows for the first fully staged production of the work within the Playhouse’s regular subscription season, and provides for the playwright’s residency throughout an extended rehearsal process. During rehearsals, the script is developed further in collaboration with the director and cast. "While the range of style and subject of prize winners has been enormously diverse over the years, my objective is always the same," said PIP artistic director Ed Stern . "To identify a play that is unique and utterly theatrical, deserving of Lois and Dick Rosenthal's generosity. I'm thrilled that we've found such a play. "Past winners of the Rosenthal Prize include Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher, which has been produced nearly a dozen times around the country since its premiere in 1993, and
by Bruce Graham in 1998. Coyote was produced this summer by the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. The 1997 recipient, Keith Glover’s In Walks Ed, was nominated for that year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Dead Eye Boys is sponsored by Bartlett & Company and the Cincinnati Playhouse’s 1999 2000 Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre Season is presented by the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. The Season Design Sponsor is the Cinergy Foundation. Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Charles Towers will direct Dead Eye.
Dead Eye is a hard-edged drama about an ex-Marine, a single mother, and her 14-year-old son and their "struggle toward light," as MacLachlan described it. "You have to face the darkness within yourself and the world," MacLachlan said, "otherwise it will destroy you and everyone else around you." The play contains strong language and adult situations deemed inappropriate for children.
Angus MacLachlan is a North Carolina-based writer whose eight other plays include Marginal Living, Buena Vista, Ariadne Duvall and Divertiment O. The latter two were produced in New York by Circle Repertory Theatre and The Wonderhouse Theatre, respectively. MacLachlan's, short film, Tater Tomater, aired on American Playhouse E and was viewed at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival.
Tickets to Dead Eye are available through subscription to the Playhouse season and on a single ticket basis. Single ticket prices are $24.50-$39.50, depending on day and seat. For reservations or subscription information, call the Playhouse box office at (513) 421-3888 or toll-free in Ohio, (800) 582-3208. Call (513) 345-2248 for TDD accessibility. Information is also available at the Cincinnati Playhouse’s web site, www.cincyplay.com.
-- By Murdoch McBride