Playwrights Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee are the recipients of the 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards, presented to early- and mid-career American dramatists. The award from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, whose past recipients include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lucas Hnath, and Dominique Morisseau, comes with a cash prize of $50,000.
“I am so honored by this prize; it’s an awe inspiring list of playwrights to be among! I’m so grateful to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for strengthening our theatrical ecosystem by supporting a diverse variety of artists and theaters, and thankful to the committee for their consideration,” said Drury in a statement.
“Playwrights create the blueprints for worlds shaded in and populated by a village of collaborators. That village includes supporters like Steinberg. The Trust has had a huge impact on my work and career, both through this award and through its support of America's regional theaters. This prize deepens that relationship and focuses me on the work that I might do in the future,” said Yee.
The Distinguished Playwright Award and Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented in alternating years to recognize established playwrights whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theatre, as well as up-and-coming American playwrights and the promise they hold for the future of American theatre. Last year, the Distinguished Playwright Award was awarded to Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks.
Drury is the winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her critically acclaimed Fairview, seen twice Off-Broadway and which will soon premiere in London. Her other plays include Marys Seacole, seen Off-Broadway last season, and We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915.
Yee is the winner of a Whiting Award, a Doris Duke Artist prize, and the Kesselring Prize, among other awards. Her recent plays include The Great Leap—seen Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company—and Cambodian Rock Band, which will be seen at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre in 2020 following regional premieres. The new work is rock music–filled piece about a Cambodian-American woman and her father—a guitarist who was imprisoned under the Khmer Rouge.
The 2019 advisory committee for the Steinberg Playwright Award is comprised of Hana S. Sharif, artistic director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Sarah Lunnie, dramaturg; Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theatre; Lynne Meadow, artistic director of Manhattan Theatre Club; Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage; Kent Thompson, theatre director, producer and author; and Les Waters, theatre director.
Below is a list of recent recipients:
· Suzan-Lori Parks, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Awards, 2018
· Ayad Akhtar and Lucas Hnath, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2017
· Sarah Ruhl, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Awards, 2016
· Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2015
· Stephen Adly Guirgis, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2014
· Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2013
· David Henry Hwang, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012
· Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011
· Lynn Nottage, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010
· David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009
· Tony Kushner, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008