David Auburn has plenty to be excited about. His Proof just began Broadway performances yesterday and already the playwright is a prize-winner. The warm-hearted drama about the secretive daughter of a brilliant mathmatician helped garner Auburn the Kesselring Prize and a $10,000 cash award.
The Off-Broadway hit ran at the Manhattan Theatre Club May 23-July 30, 2000 before transferring to the Walter Kerr Theatre for a Broadway run. Manhattan Theatre Club nominated Auburn for the prize.
Playwright Auburn is a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. His plays include Skyscraper (Greenwich House Theatre in 1997), Fifth Planet (New York Stage and Film), Miss You (HBO Comedy Arts Fest) and The Next Life (Juilliard School).
The Kesselring Prize runner-up is Jessica Hagedorn for her play, Dogeaters. The Public Theatre, who will present her play this season, nominated Hagedorn.
The other nominees and the theatres sponsoring them follow: Charles L. Mee, Actors Theatre of Louisville
Prince Gomovilas, American Conservatory Theatre
Rebecca Gilman, Chicago Theatre Group/Goodman Theatre
Brighde Mullins, Hartford Stage
Anthony Giardina, Long Wharf Theatre
Theresa Rebeck, Intiman Theatre
Sunil Kuruvilla, Mark Taper Forum
Christopher Shinn, Playwrights Horizons
Eliza Anderson, Trinity Repertory Company
Robert Alexander, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
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. The Kesselring Prize will be awarded Nov. 19 at a reading of Auburn's latest play, Latecomer and dinner gala at the National Arts Club.
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.
1999's Kesselring winner was Heather McDonald for her An Almost Holy Picture. Past winners have included Nicky Silver, Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Jose Rivera and Marion McClinton.