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Muriel Miguel, Philip Kan Gotanda, Kholoud Sawaf, Diana Oh “Zaza D,” Rona Siddiqui, Lisa Loomer, Dustin Ballard, and Riv Dabul.

Theatre Awards Roundup: USA Fellows, Kleban Prizes, Bauer Boucher Awards

A roundup of prizes, fellowships, and other recognitions.

NATIONWIDE: United States Artists (USA) has announced its 2024 USA Fellows, including four theatre and performance fellows. This year’s fellowship class comprises 50 recipients working in the disciplines of architecture and design, craft, dance, film, media, music, theatre and performance, traditional arts, visual arts, and writing. The program aims to provide unconditional support and greater agency to individual artists. Each fellow receives an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000, as well as access to individualized financial planning. USA is experimenting with adding access to lawyers, career consultants, and other professional services on request.

The 2024 theatre and performance fellows are Muriel Miguel, Philip Kan Gotanda, Kholoud Sawaf, and Diana Oh “Zaza D.” Muriel Miguel is a director, writer, and actor of Kuna and Rappahannock ancestry. She is the founder and artistic director of Spiderwoman Theater in Brooklyn, where she developed storyweaving, an Indigenous performance practice for training First Nations actors and dancers. Philip Kan Gotanda is a playwright and filmmaker based in Berkeley, Calif. He is the author of one of the largest collections of Asian American-themed plays, including Yohen, The Wash, After the War, Yankee Dawg You Die, I Dream of Chang and Eng, A Fist of Roses, Angry Red Drum, and more.

Kholoud Sawaf is a Syrian director and filmmaker based in Fayetteville, Ark. Her works investigate cultural depth, authenticity, and representation. Her recent credits include We Are Here (Crystal Bridges Museum for American Art), Theatre For One-Nairobi Edition (Octopus Theatricals), The Suburbs (Thrown Stone Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), and 10,000 Balconies (TheatreSquared). Diana Oh “Zaza D” is a multidisciplinary creative artist, actor, musician, and writer based in New York. Their work centers pleasure, mutual care, and queer experiences. Some of their recent projects include {my lingerie play}, Infinite Love Party, CLAIRVOYANCE, Asian People are Not Magicians, OH FAMILY CONCERT, The Gift Project, My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre, and more.

The Kleban Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2024 Kleban Prizes for Musical Theatre. The prize for the most promising musical theatre lyricist has been awarded to Rona Siddiqui and the prize for the most promising musical theatre librettist has been awarded to Lisa Loomer. The annual awards were established by Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Edward Kleban and provide $100,000 to each recipient, payable over two years. The foundation will present the prizes on Mon., Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. in a private ceremony at New World Stages.

Rona Siddiqui is a composer, lyricist, and Grammy-nominated artist based in NYC. Siddiqui is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and Billie Burke Ziegfeld award and was named one of Broadway Women’s Fund’s Women to Watch. She has been in residency at Musical Theatre Factory and Ars Nova. Her musicals include Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, One Good Day, Hip Hop Cinderella, and Treasure in NYC. She also served as music supervisor of A Strange Loop on Broadway.

Lisa Loomer is a playwright, librettist, and screenwriter whose work has been produced at major theatres across the country and is taught in both Women’s Studies and Latine Studies classes. Her plays include Roe, The Waiting RoomLiving OutDistracted¡Bocón!, and Café Vida.  She is the bookwriter of the musical adaptation of Real Women Have Curves which just concluded its world premiere run at the American Repertory Theater. Her current projects include the musical of Like Water for Chocolate and a new play, Side Effects May Include

The final judging panel for this year’s awards consisted of Tony Award-winning playwright, composer, and lyricist Michael R. Jackson, Theater Latté Da associate artistic director Elissa Adams, and actor and playwright Christine Toy Johnson. The application window for the 2025 Kleban Prize will open on March 15, 2024 and close at 5:00 p.m. ET on May 15.

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has named student Riv Dabul (class of ’24) and alumnus Dustin Ballard (class of ‘09) the recipients of the 2024 Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards. Named for longtime donors W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, the annual awards recognize the work of one Kean University student and one playwright from the alumni community with a one-day developmental reading of their plays. The winning student receives a $1,000 prize and the winning graduate receives a $2,000 prize, while honorable mention recipients each receive $100. This year’s mentions include Ryuuchi Kariyawasam-Chavez in the student category and Joelle Zazz in the alumnus category.

Dustin Ballard is an actor, director, and writer who graduated from the Kean Theatre Conservatory in 2009. He has been seen on stage at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Two River Theatre, and Premiere Stages. He recently directed Peter and the Starcatcher and John Proctor is the Villain for Middlesex College’s Department of Theatre. His play Daemon was a previous winner of the Bauer Boucher Alumnus Award, and he premiered his original work Bend in the River at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is the co-creator and co-host of the acclaimed outdoors podcast Gaze at the National Parks. The reading of his play Wayfarers by was held on Jan. 17 at Lantern Hill, where both Mr. Bauer and Ms. Boucher reside. A play in two acts, in two distinct moments in time, Wayfarers explores the tenuous nature of love in its different forms.

Riv Dabul is pursuing a BFA in Theatre Performance (Musical Theatre). She is a new playwright and her winning play every little thing is her debut. Her performance credits include Animal Farm (Clover), Avenue Q (Bad Idea Bear), The Tempest (Spirit), Into the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood), and Indecent (Virginia, ensemble, u/s Chana). Riv has also worked in the costume shop at Kean and in the ranks of counselors at Camp Half-Blood. The reading of every little thing was held on Jan. 18 at Kean University. The play follows a homeless woman on the streets of New York as she navigates grief and survival using one of the greatest joys in her life: human connection.

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