By PAM HARBAUGH
The $25,000 top prize in the 2015 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award went to the compelling “Vietgone,” a play handily revealing the fresh voice of playwright Qui Nguyen.
Two runners up, so to speak, received $7,500 each. Those prizes went to Steven Dietz for his poetic play “Bloomsday” and Jen Silverman for her provocative play “The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane.”
Additional $7,500 citations go to Steven Dietz and Jen Silverman
Here is what the ATCA press release states about the plays:
“This ‘sexy comedy about culture-shocked, grieving Vietnamese refugees who fled to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon’ features ‘a vivid, specific voice, a wonderful sense of humor and compelling stakes,’ said the judges. ‘Vietgone’ premiered at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California…
“…Dietz’s play is ‘lovely and thoughtful,’ with a ‘slightly supernatural sparkle’ about two people meeting on the streets of Dublin, visited by their 35-years-later selves. Silverman’s play is a ‘lyrical love story’ that ‘uses memorable, flawed characters to tell a powerful and personal story’ about the abuse of women in South Africa.”
ATCA’s New Play Awards have gone to such playwrights as Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman and Craig Lucas.
Recent winners include Lauren Gunderson for “I and You” and Last Rebecca Gilman won for “Luna Gale.” For a full list of 39 years of winners and runners-up, click here.
This year, the project had us reading 28 eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country. ATCA New Play Committee is headed up by Lou Harry, of the Indianapolis Business Journal/IBJ.com
Other ATCA New Play Committee members are: Kathleen Allen, freelance (Tucson, AZ); Misha Berson, Seattle Times; Bruce Burgun, freelance (New Orleans, LA.); Lindsay Christians, The Capital Times (Madison, WI); Evans Donnell, Nashvilleartscritic.com (Nashville, TN); Pam Harbaugh, BrevardCulture.com, florida.theatreonstage.com (Indialantic, FL); Michael P. Howley, theatremontgomery.blogspot.com (Montgomery, AL); Erin Keane, culture editor, Salon.com (Louisville, KY); Jerry Kraft, www.SeattleActor.com (Port Angeles, Wash.); Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Dallas, TX); Julius Novick, veteran critic and professor (New York City); Marjorie Oberlander, freelance (New York City); Kathryn Osenlund, CurtainUp, Phindie (Philadelphia); Wendy Parker, freelance (Midlothian, Va); Frank Rizzo, Variety (New Haven, CT); David Sheward, ArtsinNY.com, Theaterlife.com, CulturalWeekly.com (Jackson Heights, NY); Martha Wade Steketee, Howlround.com, TDF Stages, UrbanExcavations.com (New York, NY); Herb Simpson, artesmagazine.com, totaltheater.com (Geneseo, N.Y.); and Perry Tannenbaum, Creative Loafing, CVNC.org (Charlotte, NC).