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Awards for November 2014

Stephen Adly Guirgis wins the $200,000 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, Samuel D. Hunter wins the MacArthur “Genius” grant, and more awards and prizes round-up from our November 2014 issue.

Stephen Adly Guirgis
Stephen Adly Guirgis

This month, Stephen Adly Guirgis, author of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and The Motherfucker with the Hat, will receive the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the seventh annual “Mimi” Awards. The $200,000 award is presented by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and recognizes a playwright’s body of work.

The MacArthur Awards—colloquially called the “Genius Grants” and honoring multiple disciplines—were announced in September. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 distributed over five years. Playwright Samuel D. Hunter, whose play The Whale has been widely produced, was recognized, and a Genius Grant also went to novelist Alison Bechdel, whose memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was adapted into a musical by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron.

The Wilde Awards, honoring Michigan theatre, were bestowed in September, with 28 productions earning some 34 honors. The most popular recipients were Michigan Shakespeare Festival and Farmers Alley Theater, which won four awards each. Michigan Shakes won for The Importance of Being Earnest (best comedy, actor David Blixt, costume designer Suzanne Young) and Cymbeline (best of the Bard). Farmers Alley won for Old Wicked Songs (best drama and sound designer Derek Menchinger), Collected Stories (actress Sharon Williams) and Next to Normal (actress Michelle Duffy).

At the New York Innovative Theatre Awards in September, honoring Off-Off Broadway theatre, Don Juan in Hell from Phoenix Theatre Ensemble received the most accolades, with three awards (revival of a play, lead actor Jason O’Connell and stage manager Haejin Han). Other citations went to Dark Water by David Stallings (at MTWorks) for outstanding full-length script, and to Blessed Unrest, which copped the Caffe Cino Fellowship Award.

The 10th annual Ivey Awards, handed out in September to Twin Cities productions, celebrated the co-production of Cabaret from Theater Latte Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust; Ordinary Days at Nautilus Music-Theater; and Rose at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, among other productions.

The Tanne Foundation has announced the recipient of its 2014 awards. The awards total $42,000 and are presented to seven artists and one artist-run organization across a variety of disciplines. Deborah Margolin is the only recipient of the award with a theatrical bent. She is a founding member of Split Britches Theater Company in New York City.

Playwright Jennifer Haley has been awarded the 2014 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Nether. The prize, presented by the American Theatre Critics Association and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, recognizes emerging female playwrights and comes with $10,000.

The Playwrights Realm has announced its 2014–15 writing fellows. The four early-career playwrights selected are Michael Yates Crowley, Sarah Gancher, Emma Goidel and Tony Meneses. They will be working on a new play over the course of nine months with development support and $2,500 from the Playwrights Realm.

Matthew Lopez, author of The Whipping Man, is the 2014–15 Denver Center Playwriting Fellow at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Colorado. During his six-month fellowship, Lopez will serve on Denver Center Theatre Company artistic team, assisting in the play selection for the 2015–16 season and serving as the playwright host for the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit.

The League of Professional Theatre Women presented the Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award to Colombian playwright, poet and actor Patricia Ariza in a ceremony in October. The prize recognizes non-American female theatre artists.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis honored playwright Terrence McNally in September with the 2014 Howard Ashman Award, for his efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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