NEW YORK: The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons have announced that playwright Iyvon Edebiri is the 2019 recipient of the Mark O’Donnell Prize. The prize, which recognizes emerging theatre artists, includes a $15,000 honorarium and use of the Mark O’Donnell Theater at the Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn to develop the reading of a new work, among other benefits.
Edebiri is a Nigerian American playwright, producer, and dramaturg from Brooklyn who serves as the artistic director and host of the Parsnip Ship, a monthly series of radio plays with under-produced playwrights. Edebiri is the recipient of a Fulbright research fellowship and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, both in Italy. She has been a fellow of both Americans for the Arts DIAL and the DO School Future of Audio Entertainment program in Berlin. A graduate of Baruch College CUNY (M.A., arts administration), Edebiri has worked with the Public Theater and the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, among others.
Funded by the Actors Fund, the Mark O’Donnell Prize was established by Stephen O’Donnell in memory of his twin brother, Mark, and was first awarded in 2017. In addition to the honorarium and new work development, Edebiri will receive counseling from the Actors Fund on applying for affordable housing and health insurance in the arts.
O’Donnell was a playwright best known for co-writing the book of the musical Hairspray with Thomas Meehan, for which the pair won the Tony Award. The pair later adapted the film Cry-Baby for Broadway. O’Donnell’s plays That’s It, Folks!, Fables for Friends, and The Nice and the Nasty appeared at Playwrights Horizons. O’Donnell was also known for his work in translation, having adapted Molière’s Scapin with Bill Irwin, as well as Georges Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear and Private Fittings. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the George S. Kaufman award, O’Donnell’s work has been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times, among other publications.