The $10,000 prize is awarded by The Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation and the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA).
"As an artistic director, producer and writer, Karen Zacarías richly deserves the Prize," said Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation administrator Barry Primus, "and we at the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation are so pleased to honor her.”
Mariela in the Desert centers on "an artist who has deferred her dream of painting, and is now taking care of her ailing husband, Jose, a famous artist, who included among his friends Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo." The play set on a small ranch in the Northern Mexican desert region in 1950 made its world premiere in January 2005 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.
The Francesca Primus Prize focuses on emerging female playwrights and was expanded to include "women in all pioneering categories of theatre" according to an ATCA release.
The award is named in honor of theatre writer, critic and dramaturg Francesca Primus — who died of lung cancer at the age of 45 in 1992. An avid supporter of regional theatre, she penned a monthly column for the trade publication Back Stage called "Cross-Country Stages" and also served as a reader for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Previous winners of the Francesca Primus Prize include Julia Jordan's Tatjana in Color (1997), Brooke Berman's Wonderland (1998), Melanie Marnich's Blur (1999), Brooke Berman's Playing House (2000), S. M. Shepard Massat's Some Place Soft to Fall (2001), Alexandra Cunningham's Pavane (2002), Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel (2004) and Michele Hensley of Minneapolis, Minnesota's Ten Thousand Things Theatre Company (2005).
For more information on the American Theatre Critics Association, visit www.americantheatrecritics.org.