LOUISVILLE, KY.: The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) presented two of its play prizes at Actors Theatre of Louisville‘s annual Humana Festival of New American Plays on April 7: Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and the M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award.
“Once again, the panel has bowled me over with its rigorous and passionate debate,” said Lou Harry, who led the committee of critics. “And once again playwrights and theatres from around the country have supplied us with plays worthy of those fierce discussions.”
Lauren Gunderson has won the 2018 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award for her play The Book of Will, which premiered at the Denver Center. The award, which comes with a cash prize of $25,000, recognizes playwrights for scripts that premiered outside of New York City. Gunderson also won the award in 2014 for her play I and You.
“The truth is that this play, The Book of Will, is about theatre and theatre people and theatre makers so it is about all of you,” said Gunderson to the crowd of theatre professionals. “I think about so many of the plays I’ve seen in so many of your theatres across the county. I am so grateful every moment I get to be in a theatre, even when it is beautiful outside. I am never more inspired and excited and grateful for the lessons and the wisdom that I get in the theatre, and I have so many of you to thank for that.”
Besides Gunderson, there were two citations for the Steinberg, which each comes with $7,500. Molly Smith Metzler was recognized for her play for Cry It Out, which premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the 2017 Humana Festival. Ike Holter also received a citation for The Wolf at the End of the Block, which was presented at Chicago’s Teatro Vista and premiered at Victory Gardens Theater.
In addition to the Steinberg, Chelsea Marcantel was awarded the 2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for her play Airness, which premiered at the 2017 Humana Festival.
The Osborn Award honors the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature, and was established in 1993 to honor the memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre magazine play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn. Marcantel will receive a $1,000 prize funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association.
Founded in 1974, the ATCA is the only national association of professional theatre critics and is committed to increasing public awareness and raising critical standards within theatre criticism.