Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Victory Gardens Theatre have named two playwrights, Rebecca Gilman and Kristine Thatcher, as recipients of their prestigious Scott McPherson Award. The $5000 award is designed to promote the creation of new works of theatre and is given in the form of a play commission.
The award was established in 1995, by the two theatres to honor the memory of playwright Scott McPherson (Marvin's Room), who died of AIDS in 1992. In the past, the two theatres alternated in bestowing the award. This year each theatre is sponsoring a winner: The Goodman winner is Gilman; Victory Gardens' award will go to Thatcher.
Native Alabamian Gilman is the resident playwright of Chicago Dramatists Workshop and a past recipient of a Diverse Visions Grant from the NEA. Her plays include: The Glory of Living, The Adventures of Bobbi and Vaughan, Smaller and Clearer as the Years Go By and The Land of Little Houses.
Kristine Thatcher is an actor/playwright who is a member of Victory Gardens' Playwrights Ensemble. Her plays include: Emma's Child, Apparitions, and Niedecker. Emma's Child is the winner of the 1995 Susan Smith Blackburn Award and a 1997 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Apparitions, her latest play, was commissioned and premiered at Peninsula Players in Door County and will be presented by the Purple Rose Theatre in 1998. Thatcher will appear in the title role of Niedecker, her first play, this fall at Chicago Writer's Theatre.
McPherson is the author of three plays, 'Til the Fat Lady Sings (winner of the 1987 Jefferson Award citation for best new work), Scraped and Marvin's Room. Marvin's Room received its world premiere at the Goodman Studio in 1990 (with script development assistance from Victory Gardens) and was adapted into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro. --By Sean McGrath