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Theater J Establishes 2 National Play Prizes

The awards will recognize new plays by emerging and established playwrights that explore the Jewish experience.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Theater J has announced a pair of new national play prizes, the Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize and the Theater J  Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize. The prizes, created in honor of two members of the company’s theatre community who died in recent years, will recognize new works that celebrate, explore, and/or struggle with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience. The inaugural winners of the two awards will be announced in fall 2020.

“In the past few years, we lost two beloved members of our community—Trish Vradenburg and Patty Abramson,” said artistic director Adam Immerwahr in a statement. “Both were leaders in our theatre, and both had strong visions of what Theater J could become. I am overjoyed that their families have each decided to continue the legacy of their loved ones in a way that will transform Theater J’s place in the national landscape.”

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize will award $15,000 to an established playwright. The prize is dedicated to the memory of Vradenburg, a philanthropist, playwright, and Alzheimer’s research advocate who served on Theater J’s Council for 13 years.

The Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize will award $3,000 and a staged reading to a promising emerging female-identifying playwright. This prize is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist and venture capitalist Patty Abramson, who founded the Theater J Council and was a longstanding board member of the company’s parent organization, the Edlavitch DCJCC.

“These prizes will allow us to recognize extraordinary writing in the field, to deepen relationships with artists who are creating significant Jewish works, and to celebrate both established playwrights and those who have yet to be discovered,” said managing director Jojo Ruff in a statement.

Theater J, founded in 1990, is a program of the Edlavitch JCC of D.C. and produces thought-provoking plays and musicals that celebrate Jewish culture.

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