David Lindsay-Abaire, author of the Manhattan Theatre Club productions Fuddy Meers and upcoming Wonder of the World, is the 2001 winner of the Kesselring Prize. Nominated by California's South Coast Repertory, where his latest comedy Kimberly Akimbo debuted in the spring, Lindsay-Abaire will be honored Nov. 18 at the National Arts Club with a reading of that play, the tale of a teenager stricken with a rare disease which prematurely ages her and adds further chaos to her screwed-up family.
Dael Orlandersmith, nominated by Princeton's McCarter Theatre, is the honorary mention. She has penned and performed two one-woman shows, Monster and The Gimmick, which have played New York City and traveled the country.
The other nominees and their sponsoring theatres were:
Perseverance Theatre (Douglas, AK): Bridget Carpenter (Fall)
Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL): Bruce Norris
La Jolla Playhouse (CA): Neena Beber (Hard Feelings)
McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ): Dael Orlandersmith
Berkeley Repertory (CA): Lillian Garrett-Groag (The Magic Fire)
Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA): Diana Son (Stop Kiss)
Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis, MN): Melanie Marnich (Blur)
People's Light and Theatre Company (Malverne, PA): Russell Davis
Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA): Nilo Cruz (Two Sisters and a Piano)
Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR): Octavio Solis (Santos & Santos, La Posada Magica)
Williamstown Theatre Festival (MA): Angus Maclachlan (Dead Eye Boy)
Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY): Naomi Iizuka (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls)
Denver Theater Center (CO): Stephen Belber (Tape, The Laramie Project)
Each playwright submitted a biography and one play. These were read over by the National Arts Club (a panel that included John Guare, 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies and dramaturg Anne Cattaneo) throughout the summer. Named for Arsenic and Old Lace playwright, Joseph Kesselring, the Prize was first awarded in 1980 to the playwright who shows the most promise but has not received national recognition. Along with the honor of being named, Kesselring winners also receive a $10,000 cash award. The honorable mention receives $2,500.
2000's Kesselring winner was David Auburn, who made his Pulitzer Prize winning splash with Proof. Past winners have included Nicky Silver, Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Jose Rivera and Marion McClinton.
— By Christine Ehren