Playwrights Lauren Yee and Jaclyn Backhaus have been named the winners of the 2018 Horton Foote Prize. Presented biennially, the prize is divided into two awards: Outstanding New American Play and Promising New American Play, each with a cash reward of $25,000.
Yee, whose plays include The Great Leap—recently seen Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company—is the winner of the Outstanding New American Play award for Cambodian Rock Band. The play, which debuted at South Coast Repertory earlier this year, is a rock music-filled piece about a Cambodian-American woman and her father—a guitarist who was imprisoned under the Khmer Rouge.
Cambodian Rock Band features songs by Dengue Fever. The play will be seen in 2019 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Yee is also the winner of the 2017 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting from the National Arts Club.
Backhaus’ play India Pale Ale, which will receive its world premiere from Manhattan Theatre Club in October, is the winner of the Promising New American Play prize. Amid a flurry of wedding celebrations, the story follows the clashing ideals of different generations within a family and a tight-knit Punjabi community in Wisconsin.
India Pale Ale will play Off-Broadway at MTC's New York City Center – Stage I. Will Davis, who helmed Backhaus’ Men on Boats, will direct.