NATIONWIDE: The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has named Jonathan Norton the winner of its 2016 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award. The prize, which is given to an emerging playwright, comes with $1,000 and will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky., on April 9.
The Dallas–based Norton is recognized for his play Mississippi Goddamn, which premiered in 2015 at the South Dallas Cultural Center. The play is about a family who lives next door to Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in 1963.
“Venal haters and courageous Civil Rights leaders have been the subjects of many a film and play,” said an unnamed ATCA New Play Committee panelist in a statement about Mississippi Goddamn. “But this piece tackles the less dramatized and understood reality of those caught in the crossfire.”
The Osborn Award recognizes an author who has not yet achieved national recognition. It was established in 1993 and is named after Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn. The prize is funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association.
Lou Harry, arts and entertainment editor for Indianapolis Business Journal and IBJ.com/arts, chairs the ATCA New Play Committee. That committee also selects honorees for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.