BWW TV: 2011 Steinberg Playwrights Awards Honors Melissa James Gibson and Lisa D'Amour - Inside the Event!
Lisa D'Amour and Melissa James Gibson are this year's recipients of the 2011 Steinberg Playwright Awards, presented by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust at Lincoln Center last night, November 14. The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially, and are uniquely positioned to honor the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American Playwrights, and to recognize the promise they hold for the future of American theatre.
The evening featured opening remarks by Todd London, Artistic Director of New Dramatists, followed by two scenes from each of the playwrights. Lisa D'Amour presented an excerpt from 16 Spells to Charm the Beast, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll and featuring performances by Marylouise Burke and Mary Shultz; as well as an excerpt from Detroit, with an introduction by Maria Striar, Artist Director, Clubbed Thumb; directed by Austin Pendelton and featuring a performance by Kate Arrington and Kelly McAndrew. Melissa James Gibson presented a scene from This, directed by Daniel Aukin, and featuring a performance by the original cast members Glenn Fitzgerald, Eisa Davis and Karl Miller. Additionally, Melissa presented a scene from her new play What Rhymes with America, also directed by Aukin and featuring performances by Paul Giamatti and Lisa Joyce.
Below, BroadwayWorld takes you inside the event!
Lisa D'Amour is a playwright and interdisciplinary artist. Lisa's plays have been produced by theaters across the country, including The Women's Project, Clubbed Thumb, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, New Georges, Salvage Vanguard Theater and Children's Theater Company. She has received commissions from Playwrights' Horizons, Steppenwolf, The Guthrie and, most recently, a Sloan Commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. Lisa's latest play, Detroit, premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2010, directed by Austin Pendleton. Detroit was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn prize. In 2008, D'Amour was awarded the Alpert Award for the Arts in theater. As a playwright, Lisa has received fellowships from the Jerome and McKnight Foundations through the Playwrights' Center, an independent artist commission from NYSCA (for Stanley 2006, created with her brother Todd D'Amour) and an NEA /TCG Playwrights' Residency (to create Hide Town with Infernal Bridegroom Productions in Houston). With Katie Pearl, she is co-artistic director of PearlDamour, a company that makes collaborative, often site-specific performances. PearlDamour's work has been presented at PS122, HERE Arts Center and the Walker Arts Center, among others, and their latest 8-hour performance installation How to Build a Forest premiered at The Kitchen in New York City in June. With PearlDamour, she is a three-time recipient of project funding from the Rockefeller MAP Fund and a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. Lisa received her M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in English and Theater from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS. Lisa is a New Dramatists alumni. She lives with her husband, composer Brendan Connelly, in Brooklyn and her hometown of New Orleans.
Melissa James Gibson's plays include This (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist); [sic] (OBIE Award for playwriting, Kesselring Prize, The Best Plays of 2001-02); Suitcase or, those that resemble flies from a distance (NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights); Brooklyn Bridge, with a song by Barbara Brousal (AT&T Onstage award); and Current Nobody (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist). Her work has been produced and/or developed at Playwrights Horizons, Center Theatre Group, Soho Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, The Children's Theatre Company, Steppenwolf, ATF, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Seattle Rep and The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, among others, regionally and internationally. Current commissions: Atlantic Theater Company; Manhattan Theatre Club (Sloan Foundation); Second Stage Theatre. Honors: Jerome Fellow; MacDowell Colony Fellow; Whiting Writers Award; Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights' Fellowship; Guggenheim Fellowship; LILLY Award. MFA: Yale School of Drama; graduate of New Dramatists. Teaching: Lecturer in the Program in Theater at Princeton University, spring semester 2011. This and Other Plays is forthcoming from TCG. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, lighting designer Matt Frey, and their two children, Celia and Griffin.