CHICAGO: American Blues Theater has named Kristoffer Diaz the recipient of the 2023 Blue Ink Award for his play Things With Friends. Diaz will receive a $2,500 cash prize, along with a staged reading at American Blues and further developmental opportunities.
“We are thrilled to announce Kristoffer Diaz as the 2023 Blue Ink Award winner,” artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside said in a statement. “Diaz’s voice resonates through every page. He has the ability to surprise through character descriptions and actions, word choice, and punctuation, and reveals details only as needed.”
Things With Friends follows characters Burt and Adele as they prepare to host a dinner party in Manhattan as the George Washington Bridge collapses into the Hudson River. The play will be presented at American Blues in August as part of the Blue Ink Playwriting Festival. The festival will also present finalist Audrey Cefaly’s Trouble, finalist Victor Lesniewski’s Cold Spring, and finalist Gloria Majule’s Uhuru, along with other works.
Diaz is a playwright, screenwriter, librettist, and educator who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. His work has been produced, commissioned, and developed at the Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center, the Geffen Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Center Theatre Group, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many others. He is the recipient of the a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jerome Fellowship, a Lucille Lortel Award, and an Obie Award, among other honors. Diaz also adapted the libretto of Rent for television at Fox and wrote for the first season of Netflix’s GLOW. He is an alum of New Dramatists and a member of its board of directors, and is the current secretary of the Dramatists Guild Council. Diaz teaches playwriting at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
The Blue Ink award was established in 2010 by American Blues Theater to support new works, and will distribute nearly $10,000 in awards to playwrights this year. American Blues Theater strives to explore the American identity through the plays it produces and the communities it serves. It is home to the second-oldest Equity ensemble in Chicago. The theatre has a budget of approximately $1 million.
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