Winners Announced for Helen Merrill Playwright Awards

News   Winners Announced for Helen Merrill Playwright Awards
 
Ten winners were announced for the New York Community Trust Helen Merrill Playwright Awards, which honor established and emerging writers for theatre. Winners are selected by a committee of distinguished playwrights and professionals in the field.

Playwrights are given $25,000 each due to a bequest by late theatre agent and photographer Helen Merrill. 

Winners are chosen in three categories: emerging, mid-career and distinguished.

According to a release, the winners are as follows:

Emerging Playwrights:

Matt Moses' plays include The Dead New York, The Covering Skyline is Nothing, and Emperor of Ice Cream or Thirteen Ways of Looking at Donald Rumsfeld. His new play The Cloud, "a mistaken identity comedy that takes place in the internet," was by Slant Theater Project at HERE in NYC. He holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama. 

Qui Nguyen, a member of New Dramatists and co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys, will premiere his new play VietGone, "a hip-hop romantic comedy about his parents’ love story," at South Coast Repertory Theatre in October and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in March 2016. 

Max Posner will premiere his new play Judy this fall at the New Ohio Theater in NYC.  Judy is a "subterranean comedy about an American family in 2040 struggling to stay connected across three separate basements when technology and communication break down." He is a graduate of the Juilliard playwriting program and is writer-in-residence at Williamstown Theatre. 

Lisa Ramirez, whose solo show, Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland), "helped shine light on the labor rights of domestic workers," is currently working on a screenplay of Cherry Lane's last season’s hit To The Bone. Her new play All Fall Down focuses on "the destructive impact of substance abuse and loss on a family."

Jen Silverman's play The Roommate was just at the Humana Festival, and in the fall, the Yale Repertory Theater will premiere The Moors, a "darkly comic riff about the world of the Bronte sisters." She is a graduate of the Juilliard playwriting program and winner of the Yale Prize for her play Still. 

Stefanie Zadravec’s current projects include The Boat, commissioned by the Working Theater; The Nocturnal Cry of a Great Potoo, a commission from The Women's Project; and Colony Collapse, a commission of The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Colony Collapse is about "recovering meth addicts starting a new life on an orchard in Oregon."

Mid-Career Playwrights:

David Grimm's plays have been produced at the Public Theater (Kit MarloweMeasure for Pleasure) and La Jolla Playhouse (Sheridan). His new play, Oriflamme, will be presented this fall at 59E59 as part of a festival of short plays based on the work of Tennessee Williams.

Keith Josef Adkins is the author of several plays about the African American experience, including Pitbulls and Last Saint on Sugar Hill. He is also Artistic Director of New Black Festival. His new play, The People Before the Park, is about "the 19th century all-black community called Seneca Village, which faced destruction in order to create Central Park." It debuted at Premiere Stages in Union, NJ, Sept. 3-20. 

Distinguished Playwrights:

Arthur Kopit is the Playwrights Workshop Director at the Lark Theater. His play Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad won the Vernon Rice Award. He has received Tony nominations for Indians, Wings and the musical Nine. His play Discovery of America will be produced by the Alley Theater in Houston, TX, in 2016.

Emily Mann is a playwright, director, and artistic director of the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ. Her plays include Still Life, Execution of Justice and Having Our Say  based on the lives of the Delaney Sisters. She is currently writing a play for Gloria Steinem, commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater.

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