May 15, 2018

2018 Luncheon Awards
2018 Luncheon Awards

In celebrating its 69th anniversary, New Dramatists, an artistic home and developmental laboratory for professional playwrights, announced several awards recognizing excellence and service in the field of new play development at their Spring Luncheon held on May 15, 2018.

The Distinguished Achievement Award

was presented to Denzel Washington by Constanza Romero, costume designer and wife of the late playwright August Wilson, one of New Dramatists most recognized alumni. Performers and speakers who honored Mr. Washington at Tuesday’s Luncheon included jazz legend Branford Marsalis along with bassist Noah Jackson, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson, and director and New Dramatists board member, George C. Wolfe. New Dramatists’ Artistic Director Emily Morse remarked, “Thank you, Mr. Washington for returning to the stage and demonstrating your artistry and commitment to the theatre; for elevating storytellers and through your work, giving us access to the human experience; and for your commitment to putting the work of August Wilson on screen so that more people are exposed to his worlds, his characters, and the eloquence of his poetry.”

Denzel Washington, the most lauded stage and screen actor of his generation, is currently nominated for a Tony Award for his performance on Broadway as Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.His unforgettable performances have garnered him two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and countless other awards. He received his first Academy Award for the historical war drama Glory (1989) and his second for the crime drama Training Day (2001). In addition, he has been nominated for Academy Awards for his performances in Cry Freedom (1987), Malcolm X (1992), The Hurricane (1999), Flight (2012), and August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences (2016), in which he reprised his Tony Award-winning role opposite Viola Davis. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Mr. Washington. Most recently he was nominated for an Academy Award for Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017). Other notable credits include A Soldier’s Story (1984), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Remember the Titans (2000), Inside Man (2006), The Great Debaters (2007), and American Gangster (2007). Mr. Washington’s professional acting career began in New York, where he performed in theatre productions such as Ceremonies in Dark Old Men and Othello. He rose to fame when he landed the role of Dr. Phillip Chandler in the long-running hit NBC television series “St. Elsewhere.” His other credits include the television movies “The George McKenna Story,” “License to Kill,” and “Wilma.” In 2016, Mr. Washington was selected as the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.

The Joe A. Callaway Award

is awarded annually to an “outgoing” writer for service to the New Dramatists community during his or her seven-year residency. This year, it was awarded to playwright Mia Chung.

Mia Chung's plays include You for Me for You, Catch as Catch Can, and This Exquisite Corpse. You for Me for You had a Korean premiere at the National Theatre Center of Korea, a UK premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, a US premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (DC), and multiple productions around the country, including Company One, Crowded Fire Theater, InterAct, Mu Performing Arts/Guthrie Theater, and Portland Playhouse. In 2018, the play will run in Chicago, Michigan, and upstate NY. The play is published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. Recently, Mia received a Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellowship and the Stavis Playwright Award. She was also granted the Frederick Loewe Award in Music-Theatre and an Orchard Project residency to develop a new musical.

The Charles Bowden Actor Awards

recognize four actors each season who have contributed substantially to the creation of new works by New Dramatists writers. The 2018 recipients are Kim Brockington, Dan Domingues, Christy Escobar, and Mark Zeisler.

Kim Brockington Theater credits: Ferguson, Doubt, Kansas City Swing, Luz, Archbishop Supreme (Audelco Award) Angela’s Mixtape, Holiday Heart, Hurricane, In Walks Ed, From the Mississippi Delta, Dark Paradise, The America Play, Thunder Knocking on the Door, Venice, A Christmas Carol, Flyin’ West, and Zora Neale Hurston (One Woman Show) National Tour. Film credits: The Drowning, Love Songs, Rock the Paint, School of Rock, Dirty Laundry. TV credits: The Path, Guiding Light, Zora Neale Hurston PBS, Law and Order CI, One Life to Live, West Wing, Law and Order, All My Children, Whoopi, Hate. Kim is a versatile, award-winning actress of Theater, Film and TV, and an accomplished voice over artist and audio book narrator on countless projects and commercials. Kim recently wrote her first book Bluegoddess Love Poems, available on Amazon. Kim has enjoyed several seasons of working on new plays at the O’Neill, NY Film and Stage, Dartmouth, The Lark and New Dramatists (Playtime) And 48 Hours in Harlem! She is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. For more information

Dan Domingues Off-Broadway: The Enclave (Rattlestick); Mother of Invention (Abingdon Theatre); The Undertaking (BAM/59E59); Locusts Have No King (INTAR); Wild Goose Dreams, Fidelis, The Great Immensity (Public Theater); The Jammer, The Cherry Orchard (Atlantic Theater Company); To The Bone (Cherry Lane Theatre); King Lear (LaMaMa); Night Sky (Baruch). Select Regional Theatre: Guthrie, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, NY Stage & Film, Hangar Theatre, Passage Theatre, Long Wharf, Kansas City Rep, Studio Theatre, Portland Stage, Florida Stage, Pioneer Theatre, George Street, New Jersey Rep, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, and Rep Theater of St. Louis. Film: Run All Night, In Stereo, Future ’38, Suffer The Little Children, Chasing Taste. TV: West 40s, The Blacklist, Law and Order, Royal Pains. Training: MFA, Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at ART/Harvard. Associate Artist with The Civilians. Company member with Only Make Believe. Creator and co-host of the podcast Hot Date.

Christy Escobar Theater: Lady Macbeth and Her Lover (Director’s Company), Bad Jews (Long Wharf), The Great Gatsby (Virginia Stage), Jesus Hopped the A Train (Atlantic), The Artist of the Beautiful (Metropolitan Playhouse), Murder on the Nile, Fantastic Mr. Fox (Dorset Theater Festival), and Around the World in 80 Days (Berkshire Theatre Group). She played the legendary Katharine Hepburn in her original solo show Hello, Red! (Best Actress nomination, Strawberry Theater Festival). She is currently in The Hollow at the Brick Theater, written and directed by New Dramatist’s own Matt Freeman. TV: Blindspot (NBC), recurring role on the upcoming Dietland (AMC). Film: The Man in the Woods, Loser Leaves Town, Anomalous, Viral Beauty. She appears in the feature films Shotgun and Who We Are Now, both of which recently premiered at SXSW. She loves working at New Dramatists, and has also enjoyed collaborating on new work at the Public, Joe’s Pub, Sundance, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, the Lark, the Tank, NYU, and Yale. She holds an MFA in Acting from NYU and a BFA in Acting from UC Santa Barbara.

Mark Zeisler Broadway: A View From the Bridge (1998 Tony Award Winner for Best Revival) and The Big Knife at the Roundabout, Brooklyn Boy (MTC). Off-Broadway: Rancho Viejo at Playwrights Horizons, Piece of my Heart at Signature Theatre, eurydice and The Sex Lives of our Parents at Second Stage, The Accomplices at The New Group. Regional: A View from the Bridge at Seattle Rep and The Alley Theatre, Othello at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; After the Revolution and Romeo and Juliet at Baltimore Center Stage; Big Love at ATL, Long Wharf, Berkeley Rep, The Goodman Theatre and the BAM Next Wave Festival; Measure for Measure at the Folger (Helen Hayes nomination); Red at the Maltz Jupiter, Asolo Rep and Merrimack Rep (Best Actor, Sarasota Magazine, IRNE Award nomination); The Seafarer, The Homecoming, A Picasso at Merrimack Rep, as well as productions at the McCarter, City Theatre Pittsburgh, Elm Shakespeare and the Wilma. Television: Bull, Castle Rock, The Blacklist, House of Cards, Elementary, The Good Wife, Rescue Me, Blue Bloods, Unforgettable, Pan Am, The Americans, all three Law and Order(s). Film: Pervertigo, Random Hearts, Shaft, The Thomas Crown Affair, Two Week Notice, Head of State, After School. Narrator for GI Jews (PBS).

The Frederick Loewe Foundation

announced The Frederick Loewe Musical Theatre Initiative to support music-theatre development at New Dramatists. Since 1993, The Frederick Loewe Foundation has supported New Dramatists with over $600,000 to fund musical theatre. Each year, The Frederick Loewe Award in Music-Theatre has been granted to a specific project and playwright-composer team, selected through a competitive adjudication process. After a great deal of consideration and collaboration, The Frederick Loewe Foundation is increasing its annual support for New Dramatists to serve the entire community of writers through workshops scheduled as needed for the development of multiple musicals over time, rather than awarding support to one project. As in the past, a portion of the grant is allocated for the annual Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists, in which the playwrights develop collaborative vocabulary and skills while working in teams with composers and musical performers. This increase and re-structuring of support matches the vision of the Foundation, and the responsive, inclusive, adventurous way that New Dramatists serves its playwrights and partnering artists.

The Lippmann Family “New Frontier” Award

exposes playwrights to new frontiers of the imagination, through travel and adventure. This year, the award was given to Melisa Tien to research a new play project with the working title, Long Haul, about truckers. She plans to travel on Route 80, visiting truck stops and interviewing truckers about anticipated changes in their industry and livelihood with the advent of driverless trucks.

Melisa Tien is a playwright, lyricist, and librettist.  She is the author of the plays Control, The Boyd Show, Best Life, Yellow Card, Red Card, and Familium Vulgare.  She is a co-author of the collaboratively written plays We Play for the Gods and Jackson Heights 3AM.  Yellow Card, Red Card received a workshop production at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in December of 2016 and was presented as part of the Ice Factory Festival at the New Ohio Theatre in August 2017. In addition to being a member of New Dramatists (class of 2022), Melisa is a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting, a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a recipient of the Theater Masters Visionary Playwright Award. She has been a resident of the MacDowell Colony and the Millay Colony, and was a member of the 2010-2012 Women’s Project Lab. She's also been a finalist for the Leah Ryan prize, the Jerome NY fellowship, and the Princess Grace Award, as well as a nominee for the Weissberger Award and the Smith Prize. 

New Dramatists is dedicated to the playwright, and pursues a singular mission: To give playwrights time and space in the company of gifted peers to create work, realize their artistic potential, and make lasting contributions to the theatre. Founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Howard Lindsay, Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Golden, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, John Wharton, Robert E. Sherwood, and Elmer Rice, New Dramatists is one of the country’s leading playwright centers and a nationally recognized new play laboratory, unrivaled in the depth and duration of our commitment to writers. In the 69 years since our founding, 600 new dramatists have passed through our doors, creating work that has laid the foundation for contemporary American dramatic literature. Our alumni include some of the most influential writers of our time: Robert Anderson, Kia Corthron, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Quiara Hudes, David Lindsay-Abaire, Taylor Mac, Eduardo Machado, Donald Margulies, Joe Masteroff, Terrell Alvin McCraney, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Paula Vogel, Mac Wellman, August Wilson, Doug Wright, and many more. New Dramatists received a Ross Wetzsteon Award for excellence at the 2005 OBIES and a 2001 Tony Honor for “blessing the theatre with new and exceptional works that have assured both a rich theatrical heritage and future for the American Theatre.”


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