CHICAGO: American Blues Theater has named Andrea Stolowitz the winner of the 2020 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. A staged reading of her winning play, Recent Unsettling Events, will be presented as part of the Blue Ink Playwriting Festival, May 2-4. Stolowitz will also take home a monetary prize of $1,250.
Three other finalists will also have their new work featured during the festival: Football Football Football Football (or I Love Lave Dash) by Kristoffer Diaz; The Mermaids’ Parade by Gina Femia; and Crying on Television by R. Eric Thomas.
“We’re honored to celebrate the works of these four incredible playwrights in our annual Blue Ink Playwriting Festival,” said American Blues Theater artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside in a statement. “Their bold voices and relevant themes make them distinct American writers. We’re thrilled to showcase their work this May.”
The festival will open with Femia’s The Mermaids’ Parade and Diaz’s Football Football Football Football (or I Love Lave Dash) (May 2), followed by Stolowitz’s Recent Unsettling Events (May 3) and Thomas’s Crying on Television (May 4).
Stolowitz’s winning Recent Unsettling Events examines free speech and identity politics through the eruption of protests at a small liberal arts college over its required Western Civilization class. The play is an Artists Repertory Theatre commission, the winner of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild’s New Play Prize, and a semi-finalist for the 2020 O’Neill summer conference. Stolowitz is the Lacroute Playwright-in-Residence at Artists Repertory Theatre and a member of New Dramatists class of 2024.
Femia, a 2019-22 core writer with the Playwrights Center and current member of Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Plays Lab and Parsnip Ship’s Radio Roots Writer’s group, was recently awarded the 2020 Otis Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award. Diaz was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety and his screenwriting credits include Netflix’s GLOW and adapting Rent for Fox.
Thomas, host of the Moth in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and senior staff writer for Elle, won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatist Guild Lanford Wilson Award.
Created in 2010 to support new work, the Blue Ink Playwriting Award is chosen from a worldwide body of submissions. The winning play is selected by Whiteside and American Blues Theater’s ensemble. In addition to the winner’s cash prie, finalists and semi-finalists also take home a monetary award. In 2020, American Blues Theater will award more than $6,000. Since the award’s inception, American Blues Theater has named 10 winners, 79 finalists, and 109 semi-finalists.