WASHINGTON, D.C.: Theater J has announced that the winner of the second Trish Vradenburg New Jewish Play Prize is Tectonic Theater Project’s Here There Are Blueberries by Moisés Kaufman and Amanda Gronich. The award, established last year in memory of Theater J Council member Trish Vradenburg, recognizes a new play by an established playwright that celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience.
Kaufman is artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project and Gronich is a nationally recognized playwright and director. They will jointly receive $15,000, and both the award and an excerpt from the play will be presented at the Theater J annual benefit in person on Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C.; the ceremony will also be live-streamed online. The reading will be directed by the play’s dramaturg and associate director Amy Marie Seidel.
“When you set out to create a new play, you rarely think about awards so early on, which is why we are especially humbled and grateful to receive this deeply meaningful recognition before our play has even been staged,” Kaufman and Gronich said in a joint statement. “Thank you to Theater J and to the prize committee for choosing Here There Are Blueberries. We look forward to joining everyone in D.C. on Dec. 7 and to our show’s premiere next year at the La Jolla Playhouse.”
In a statement, Theater J artistic director Adam Immerwahr called the play an “astonishing and unforgettable piece of theatre.” In telling the true story of a startling photo album donated to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the play “examines how we tell the story of the Holocaust and how we should respond when confronted by the disquieting humanity of the perpetrators of some of the greatest evil this world has ever known. From the moment I put it down as I finished my initial read, I knew it was a play I would never forget—full of vibrant theatricality and provocative questions.”
The finalists for the Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize include Moses by Michele Lowe, One Jewish Boy by Stephen Laughton, and I Was a Stranger Too by Cynthia Cooper. The inaugural winner of the Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize was Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic, which will receive its world premiere at Manhattan Theater Club’s City Center Stage 1 starting on Jan. 11, 2022.
Tectonic Theater Project develops new plays using the company’s trademarked theatremaking method, Moment Work, and through a rigorous process of research and collaboration in a laboratory environment. Theater J is a nationally renowned, professional theatre that celebrates, explores, and struggles with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition.
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