Melissa James Gibson, author of Soho Rep hit [sic], is the winner of the 2002 Kesselring Prize for new playwrights with promise. Gibson will collect her $10,000 award and have her latest play, Brooklyn Bridge, read at the Nov. 24 ceremony at the National Arts Club.
A children's play, Brooklyn Bridge is the story of a young latch-key kid who has an adventure when she leaves home to buy a pencil so she can do her homework. The Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, who nominated Gibson for the Prize, will premiere Brooklyn Bridge in 2003.
Lydia Diamond was the Kesselring's runner-up with a $2,500 cash award. Diamond was nominated by the Goodman Theatre, partially on the strength of her play The Gift Horse, a piece about an African-American cellist.
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. 2001's Kesselring winner was David Lindsay-Abaire ( Kimberly Akimbo) with 2002 Pulitzer Prize nominee Dael Orlandersmith ( Yellowman) as the honorable mention. Past winners have included David Auburn, Nicky Silver, Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Jose Rivera, Marion McClinton and Susan Charlotte, the first recipient of the Prize.
-- By Christine Ehren