LOUISVILLE, KY.: American Theatre Critics Association named playwright Rebecca Gilman the winner of its annual Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award at the 2015 Humana Festival of New American Plays on Saturday, April 11. Gilman took the $25,000 prize for her play Luna Gale.
The award recognizes work that premiered professionally outside of New York City in 2014. Luna Gale, about a social worker facing a moral dilemma, premiered at Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
Upon accepting her award, Gilman told the Humana audience that she was “really overwhelmed and incredibly honored to receive this wonderful award, especially to receive it here with all of you wonderful people. Thank you so much to the Steinberg family and to their trust for all their support.” She noted that the trust had supported the play’s early development, as well.
The Steinberg awards also cite two additional finalists, who receive $7,500 each. This year this honor went to Lucas Hnath for The Christians and Nathan Alan Davis for Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea. Hnath’s play, which premiered at Humana last year, is about a pastor who delivers a controversial sermon, and has already slated several productions at resident theatres the coming season. Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea, which is about one young man’s journey to connect to his slave heritage, had its National New Play Network rolling world premiere at Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles, Members Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Cleveland Public Theatre, Theatre Alliance in Washington, D.C. and Oregon Contemporary Theatre in Eugene, Ore.
The ATCA also presented the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for an emerging playwright to Tom Coash for Veils, about two young Muslim women—one American, the other Egyptian—in pre-Arab Spring Egypt. Veils had its premiere at Portland Stage Company in Oregon.
The awards are funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and have been presented annually since 1977. In a statement, ATCA chairman William F. Hirschman said, “The stunning array and high quality of scripts we read confirmed the enduring commitment of regional theatres and a dazzling diversity of playwrights to be the primary standard-bearers for new works.”