WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.: Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) has announced the recipients of the 2021 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award, the 2022 Jay Harris Commission, and the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
John J. Caswell Jr. is this year’s recipient of the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award for his play Wet Brain. He receives this $10,000 award, along with a $10,000 Jay Harris Commission to write a new play. Caswell Jr., a queer Mexican American playwright, is a fellow at Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and is the winner of the 2020-21 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award at the Vineyard Theatre.
Finalists for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award also included Benjamin Benne for At the Very Bottom of a Body of Water; Matthew Capodicasa for Noise in the Line; Erika Dickerson-Despenza for Shadow/Land; and Aleshea Harris for On Sugarland.
WTF has also commissioned multiple generative artists through the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical program: Lee Edward Colston II, a former prison guard turned actor, director, playwright, and educator; feminist poet-playwright and grassroots organizer Dickerson-Despenza; Tony Award-winning librettist Rick Elice; playwright Madeleine George; Carey Perloff, a director, playwright, producer, and educator; playwright James Anthony Tyler; and the Forest of Arden, a company of multidisciplinary artists who devise and produce immersive work utilizing technology. Additionally, playwright Bess Wohl is a recipient in a co-commission with Manhattan Theatre Club. Each commission also includes at least one writing residency at the Festival.
Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together in the Berkshires for over six decades to create a thrilling summer festival of diverse world-premiere plays and musicals, bold revivals, and rich array of accompanying cultural events.
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