THE JULIE HARRIS PLAYWRIGHT AWARD
* * * 2018 * * *
FIRST AWARD TO:
BILLY JOEL HOLDS THE KEY TO THE AFTERLIFE by Tess Light: Frances and Leo met, loved, married, hated, and divorced before their daughter Carmen was ever born, and then spent decades after locked in a battle for control — with Carmen as the battleground. So fierce is their competition that they even die almost simultaneously, leaving Carmen to weave together a family history using the only thread she’s got: their mutual love of Billy Joel. And while the Hindu deity Ganesh orchestrates the paths this family must take towards acceptance, Frances and Leo are stuck -- together -- in Limbo.
Tess Light of Los Alamos, NM has written plays that tend to incorporate any or all of the following: sarcasm, death, sarcastic death, Buddhism, foodism, poetry, song, and Shakespeare. She won the Arts & Letters Prize for Drama (EXPECTANT PAUSE, 2015) and Theatre Conspiracy’s New Play Contest (TOWER OF MAGIC 2012) and has been a semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwriting Conference (TO CONCEIVE GODS, 2015). Her most recent production was THE SUPPER HOUR IN HELL (Overtime Theater, San Antonio TX). Find her on the New Play Exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/users/979/tess-light or firstname.lastname@example.org
SECOND AWARD TO:
ALL SAVE ONE by Greg Jones Ellis: Hollywood, 1950: Sims Glendenning, once the most celebrated British writer of his generation, fears his best work is behind him. Sims shares a home with his wife, Claire Morgan, a famous character actress. Their household is completed by Basil Steele, once Sims's lover and now his faithful, if acid-tongued, secretary. When Sims engages a handsome young priest to serve as "technical advisor" on a new script, his mid-century anxiety may just be soothed by a conversion to Catholicism. But is he attracted to God or to the priest? Claire has a secret of her own: she is in love for the first time, and wants a divorce. When a brutal young hustler threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, rescue comes from the most unlikely of sources.
Greg Jones Ellis of Annapolis, MD wrote the comedy DIVINITY PLACE, which had its World Premiere production at the North Street Playhouse in 2017. Ellis has studied playwriting with Lucas Hnath and teaches a popular series called “10 Plays Everyone Should Know,” He wrote two seasons of host segments for the film anthology series ShortStories on A&E,, and published profile interviews with playwrights Marsha Norman and Paul Zindel for Biography magazine. His scholarly work includes a peer-reviewed article on the plays of Langston Hughes. He holds a B.A. in Drama from Catholic University and an M.A. in English from Salisbury University. gregjonesellis.com
THIRD AWARD TO:
ELEANOR TUESDAY by Tom Lavagnino: It’s 1930. A small-town Alabama Mayor attempts to broker a meeting between Eleanor Roosevelt (soon to be “First Lady”) and the acclaimed African-American scientist George Washington Carver (the “smartest man in Macon County”), but he finds his plan challenged — socially, politically, and (finally) personally — every step of the way.
Tom Lavagnino of West Hollywood, CA is a native of Indianapolis, a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (B.F.A.) and the AFI’s Center For Advanced Film Studies (M.F.A.), and is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and journalist. He is a former editor at 5th Street International Poker Magazine, his fiction has appeared in such publications as Barrelhouse, Square Lake, and triggerwarningshortfiction.com, and his numerous plays have been produced in 13 states (as well as the U.K.). Tom co-wrote the 2015 film HOME SWEET HELL for Sony Entertainment, and his favorite sound is laughter. www.tomlavagnino.com
PLAY COMPETITION FOR YOUTH THEATRE
MICHAEL LIBOW AWARDS IN MEMORY OF MARILYN HALL
* * * 2018 * * *
FIRST AWARD TO:
THE BOW WOW DETECTIVES by Todd Wallinger: No bones about it! Something mysterious is happening in Dogtown and the Bow Wow Detective Agency is on the case! Sherlock Bones is a bloodhound with a nose for crime and a weakness for bacon. Sam Spayed is a German Shepherd eager to prove herself after getting booted off the police force. And Frisky is a yippy little terrier who's afraid of everything. When the detectives are hired to locate a missing bone, they think it's just another routine case—until they find a hairball on the scene. This puzzling clue draws them into the furry underbelly of Dogtown, where the doggy denizens are starting to display some bizarre behavior: they meow and crave cream! It takes Frisky to solve this cat-astrophic case, defeating the evil Alley Cat Gang while learning that the only way to conquer your fears is to face them head on. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Todd Wallinger of Gilbert, AZ is a three-time winner of the Marilyn Hall Award, having previously won in 2014 and 2015. His plays have received more than 700 productions in 48 states and 10 countries. Twelve of his plays are published by Pioneer Drama Service. His latest release, The Enchanted Bookshop, has quickly become one of the most popular plays in the country, booking over 100 productions in its first few months of publication. Todd is now adapting it into a screenplay. His website is at http://www.toddwallinger.com.
SECOND AWARD TO:
Sumi’s House by Kate Anger: An old woman, Sumi Harada, lives alone in her family’s home surrounded by a lifetime of artifacts—“musty old junk,” as she calls it. When graduate student Chris Lopez shows up to get help with her thesis on the Japanese in Riverside, CA, Sumi tries to shoo her away. Not giving up, Chris shares her own tale of family hardship, which persuades Sumi to let her in. When the women open an old family trunk, the past comes alive, and Sumi moves between the past and present, reliving, along with her family members, and a magical boar, their historic struggle for justice—from the California Supreme Court, where Jukichi Harada fought to keep the home he purchased in the names of his American born children, to the family’s incarceration in WWII.
Kate Anger of Riverside, CA is a playwright, short story writer and non-fiction essayist, currently finishing her first novel. Her plays have been produced around the Inland Empire region, as well as Los Angeles. For seven years, Kate was involved with the Gluck Program for the Arts at UC Riverside, where she teaches, writing plays that toured local schools, bringing theatre to thousands of under-served students.
HONORABLE MENTION TO:
THE ROYAL TOYS by Jessica Puller of Chicago, IL
THE BEST MOST SUPER FANTASTIC HIKING TOUR by Fay Corinotis of Staten Island, NY
ONE OF THE THOUSAND FACES by Jason Paris
GREYFRIARS BOBBY WAGS HIS TALE by Peter Turner