The American Theatre Critics Association has named the six finalists in this year's Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards, which celebrate new work that premiered outside New York.
The Steinberg Awards give out $40,000 in awards to playwrights, with a top award of $25,000 and two "runners-up" citations of $7,500 each, making it the most generous national new play award in the country. The winners will be handed their checks, as well as commemorative plaques, on March 31st at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. And I will be there, ready to tell you who gets the big prize.
The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) began presenting its regional new play awards in 1977, with funding from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Foundation since 2000. Past honorees have included Lee Blessing, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Craig Lucas, Arthur Miller, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, August Wilson, and Lanford Wilson. Bill Cain took the award in 2011 for “9 Circles” and in 2010 for "Equivocation," becoming the first back-to-back winner.
Playwrights we've seen recently (or will soon see) in central Illinois, like Gina Gionfriddo, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Tracy Letts, Donald Margulies and Sarah Ruhl, have all received Steinberg/ATCA citations.
This year, the six nominees are:
Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, by Yussef El Guindi (ACT Repertory in Seattle WA)
Water By The Spoonful, by Quiara Alegria Hudes (Hartford Stage in Hartford CT)
The Spectrum, by Ken LaZebnik (Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis MN)
Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them, by A. Rey Pamatmat (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville KY)
A Twist of Water, by Caitlin Montanye Parrish (Route 66 Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago IL)
Annapurna, by Sharr White (Magic Theatre, San Francisco CA)
Scroll down on this page to read more about each of the nominees. I loved "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them" at last year's Humana Festival, reviewing the play here, and "A Twist of Water" was very well received in Chicago last year, including a famous visit from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.