The trustees of the Laurents / Hatcher Foundation, Inc. have announced that Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy For Your Pocket is the recipient of the annual Laurents / Hatcher Foundation Award. The playwright will receive $50,000 for the play—set at the height of the Civil Rights Movement—and Roundabout Theater Company will receive $100,000 towards its production of the new work. The Off-Broadway theatre is set to stage a rolling world premiere as part of its 2017–2018 season, in association with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
In Too Heavy For Your Pocket two couples contemplate justice, love, and their responsibility in rural Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement.
“I’m thrilled that Too Heavy for Your Pocket has been chosen as the 2017 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award recipient,” Roundabout Theatre Company’s artistic director/CEO Todd Haimes said in a press statement. “This award is truly life-changing for a playwright, and he richly deserves it. The committee has recognized, in him and this play, a unique voice—and an impressive achievement in playwriting. It’s difficult to capture both emotional vibrancy and historical authenticity in a period play, but in Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Jiréh has found a way. His writing is beautiful, his story powerful, and his characters unforgettable. I’m looking forward to having the play on our stage next season.” Performance dates, casting, and the creative team have not yet been announced.
Prior to receiving his MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama in 2016, Holder served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Tony-winning Alliance Theatre and co-founded Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. He is currently the Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theatre and Creative Writing at Emory University.
“Our panel unanimously felt the enormous skill and power of Jiréh Breon Holder’s play. It’s a most worthy recipient of this award,” added David Saint, president of the Laurents Hatcher Foundation. In addition to the annual prize, the Foundation also awarded Citations of Excellence to Bekah Brunstetter for her play The Cake, and Mat Smart for Eden Prairie, 1971. Brunstetter and Smart will each receive $15,000.