THE WAY WEST and THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER Win Marin Theatre's 2013 New American Play Prizes

Marin Theatre Company artistic director Jasson Minadakis, managing director Michael Barker and director of new play development Margot Melcon announced today the winners of MTC's two national new American play prizes, a program now in its sixth year. The Way West by Mona Mansour won the 2013 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and Eric Dufault won the 2013 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize for his play The Year of the Rooster. The winners were selected from nearly 700 eligible submissions.

"The Way West resonates on many levels," said Minadakis. "It's about family and finances, love and loyalty, and that American pioneer spirit that can both fuel ambition and lead to downfall. Mona's play speaks directly to the highs and lows we've experienced as a country in the last few years. And it is hard to encompass the collective reaction of the entire artistic staff here at Marin when we read Eric Dufault's The Year of the Rooster, except to say that never had we experienced a play that jumped off the page with action, humor and humanity as what this unique young playwright was able to accomplish in his story of a frenzied, crowing, champion cockfighting rooster."

The Sky Cooper New American Play Prize celebrates the work of the American playwright and encourages the creation of bold, powerful new plays for the American stage. MTC awards the Sky Cooper Prize annually to an outstanding unproduced play written by either an established or emerging American playwright. The winning play receives a developmental workshop and a staged reading as part of MTC's New Works Series and is also considered under option for a full production as part of the theater's annual main stage season. The playwright of the winning play receives a $10,000 award.

This year's Sky Cooper Prize winner, The Way West, is by Mona Mansour. Mansour, a New York-based writer, has had her work performed or developed at The Public Theater, the Humana Festival of New American Plays, the Lark Play Development Center, The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and the Sundance Theater Institute. Previous Sky Cooper winners include Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman, The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter, 9 Circles by Bill Cain (winner of the 2011 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award), Sunlight by Sharr White and Magic Forest Farm by Zayd Dohrn, the latter three of which received their world premieres at MTC.

The Way West is a wryly funny play with music about the contemporary quirks of our American spirit. Set in a modern-day California town that's seen better days, Mom shares death-defying tales of pioneer crossings with her two squabbling adult daughters as she waits for her bankruptcy to come through. Peppered with original prairie songs, this hilarious and heartbreaking play about today's American family explores the mixed blessing of our great frontier spirit, which has fueled both self-delusion and survival.

The David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize honors David Calicchio's lifelong career as a playwright and supports MTC's commitment to the discovery and development of new and emerging American Playwrights. MTC awards the Calicchio Prize annually to a professionally unproduced playwright for a new work that shows outstanding promise and a distinctive new voice for the American theatre. The winning playwright receives a $2,500 award. Their submitted play receives a developmental workshop and a staged reading as part of MTC's New Works Series.

This year's Calicchio Prize winner, Eric Dufault, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College who has had work produced or developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Flea Theatre, 52nd Street Project, the Magnet Theatre, the Theater for the New City, the Lark Play Development Center and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Previous Calicchio Prize winners include Light by Meghan Kennedy, That Good Night by Andrew Dolan, Lidless by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Carthage by Emily Schwend and Blood / Money by A. Zell Williams, all of which received staged readings through MTC's New Works Series.

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