Jennifer Maisel's OUT OF ORBIT Wins Wagner College Theatre's 2014 Stanley Drama Award
The Wagner College Theatre has announced that the winner of this year's Stanley Drama Award is Jennifer Maisel of Los Angeles for her play, "Out of Orbit."
Two finalists for this year's award were also announced: Chelsea Sutton of North Hollywood, Cal., for "The Dead Woman," and Sam Byron of New York City for "Gordy Crashes."
The awards will be given on Monday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Players Club in Manhattan. The awards ceremony will be followed by a cocktail reception.
The Stanley Drama Award was established in 1957 by Staten Island philanthropist Alma Guyon Timolat Stanley and endowed through the Stanley-Timolat Foundation to encourage and support aspiring playwrights. The national Stanley Award competition is administered by the Wagner College Theatre program, listed for the last decade among the top five college theater programs in the country in the Princeton Review's annual Best Colleges Guide. The award carries with it a monetary prize along with the distinction of joining the illustrious list of past Stanley Award winners.
The Stanley Drama Award has a long and distinguished history. Past winners include Terrence McNally's "This Side of the Door" (aka "Things That Go Bump in the Night"), Lonne Elder III's "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men," and Jonathan Larson's "Rent." Among those judging for the Stanley Award have been playwrights Edward Albee and Paul Zindel, actresses Geraldine Page and Kim Stanley, and TV producer/pioneer talk-show host David Susskind.
A mother and her teenage daughter. A Jet Propulsion Lab scientist, and an underachiever. Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch. Meanwhile, her daughter, Lis, on Earth time, falls under the spell of cyber-cypher Edgar2330. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to-be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe.
Jennifer Maisel has seen her work developed and produced by Rosalind Productions (Off-Broadway), Theatre J, Park Square Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre NY and LA, Theater of NOTE, Gulf Shore Playhouse, University of the Arts, Playwrights' Arena, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, South Coast Repertory, Rorschach Theatre, Epic Theatre, PlayLabs, PlayPenn, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Inkwell and Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival.
"The Last Seder" premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 after productions in Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, St. Paul, St. Louis and São Paolo, Brazil.
PEN West Literary Award finalist "There or Here" had a critically acclaimed run at New York's Hypothetical Theatre and was later recorded for podcast by Southern California Public Radio station KPCC. An essay Jennifer wrote about "There or Here" with director Amy Feinberg will be published this winter in "Outsourcing Life," a book about transnational surrogacy.
"Out of Orbit," developed at the 2010 Sundance Theatre Lab and the Gulf Shore New Play Festival, received the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan commission for plays about science and technology.
Other plays by Jennifer Maisel include "Goody Fucking Two Shoes" ("Plays From Actors Theatre of Louisville: Humana Festival 2005"), "Eden" (Original Works Publishing), "Mad Love," "Mallbaby," "Dark Hours," "birds," "Match" and "@thespeedofJake."
Maisel is the recipient of the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays Award and their Charlotte Woolard Award for Promising New Voice in American Theatre, as well their Roger Stevens Award for Playwrights of Extraordinary Promise. She won South Coast Repertory's California Playwrights Competition and was a finalist for the PEN West Literary Award, the Sundance Theatre Lab, the O'Neill Theatre Conference (twice), the STAGE International Script Competition, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, Abingdon Theatre's Christopher Brian Wolk Award (twice), the Ojai Playwrights Festival and the Heideman Award (three times).
Maisel has participated in several online collaborative works, including the post-9/11 "Return to the Upright Position" and the Gun Control Theatre Action series. She is a member of the DogEar Playwrights Collective, Playwrights Ink, the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild. She also writes for film and television.
In Chelsea Sutton's "The Dead Woman," Zoe and April are on their way to dinner and a movie - the first night they've spent together since their friendship fell apart several years ago. But their fun is cut short when they stumble across a dead woman lying in an alleyway beside a convenience store. Quinn, the convenience store clerk and Zoe's semi-boyfriend, comes out to help, but all bets are off when Zoe starts seeing the Dead Woman moving and speaking. As the evening moves forward, reality slips and crumbles around Zoe as the Dead Woman takes control, forcing her to examine her relationship with April, Zoe's history with a man named Simon, and her choices with Quinn - choices that, in the end, may mean life and death.
Chelsea Sutton holds a B.A. in literature from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Readings of Sutton's plays have been held at the Ensemble Theater in Santa Barbara, Cal., Inner Circle Theater, the Waking Art Project, Monstrous Little Productions, the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights "Live @ the Libe" series, Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara, Cal., the Skylight Theatre Company's LAb Works, Theatricum Botanticum's Seedlings, and the Vagrancy's "Blossoming" new play reading series. Her plays have been produced by Monstrous Little Productions, the UCSB New Plays Festival, the Car Play Project at Westmont College, the Eclectic Company Theatre, the Secret Rose Theatre and the Looking Glass Theatre in New York. She is a recipient of the Corwin Award for Playwriting. Sutton's Stanley Award finalist play, "The Dead Woman," was also a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference 2013. She is currently participating in workshops with the Vagrancy, Skylight Theatre Company's PlayLab and Eclectic Voices and is an associate artist with Rogue Artist Ensemble.
Sutton is also a fiction writer. Her fiction has appeared in Farmhouse Magazine, Spectrum, Catalyst, Fictionade Magazine, Bourbon Penn, Eclectic Voices and NYC Midnight. She is the first place winner of NYC Midnight's Flash Fiction Contest 2011 and was an honorable mention for Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers.
Taking place in the days before and after the last presidential election, "Gordy Crashes" follows Gordy as he navigates displacement in the East Village following Hurricane Sandy. Exhausted and disoriented, Gordy finds himself at his ex-girlfriend's doorstep, where he will form an unlikely and potentially dangerous relationship with her new boyfriend, a mysterious man who may ultimately help him find the strength to get closure on his break-up and help him understand the true suffering of others left in the storm's wake.
Sam Byron is a Chicago-born playwright living in New York City. He is currently finishing his MFA in playwriting at the New School for Drama, where he was the 2012 recipient of the Steinberg New Playwrights Fellowship. In addition to "Gordy Crashes," his plays include "Standard Aptitude" (The New School for Drama), "Animals" (Wide Eyed Productions, winner of the Fringe NYC award for Overall Excellence in Directing, Kristin Skye Hoffmann), "Brooklyn Vacancies" (finalist, New Works Program at T. Schreiber Studio, New York City), "Static" (finalist, HotCity Theater's Greenhouse Festival, St. Louis, Mo.) and "Debt" (Horse Trade Theater, New York City, and Dillingham Center for Performing Arts, Ithaca, N.Y.). He has written numerous short plays, including "529" (Playsmiths, Manhattan Theatre Source), "Famous Dick" (UglyRhino Productions) and "How to Field Dress a Unicorn" (Billy & Co.).
Byron, who was the resident playwright for Wide Eyed Production's 2012-13 season, is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.