CHICAGO: The MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2017 MacArthur Fellows, with 24 individuals in a variety of fields, including writers, scientists, and artists, colloquially known as the “genius” grants. Among the recipients were two theatre artists, playwright Annie Baker and writer/performer Taylor Mac. Each fellow receives a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, to be awarded over five years.
Annie Baker is the author of such works as Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, and John. Her play The Flick, about workers at a movie theatre, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. She is currently a resident playwright at the Signature Theatre, and a master-artist-in-residence and co-associate chair in the M.F.A. in Playwriting Program at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Taylor Mac is a writer, director, actor, singer, and performance artist who uses the gender pronoun “judy.” Mac’s works include The Lily’s Revenge, Hir, and A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, co-created with Matt Rey, which is currently touring after being named a 2017 Pulitzer finalist. Mac is currently the resident playwright of HERE Arts Center.
Fellows are selected on the basis of three criteria: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The fellows are chosen by an anonymous group of nominators from around the country; they cannot be self-nominated.