Adam Guettel, Austin Pendleton and More Will Be Honored with Dramatists Guild Awards

The Guild’s annual Awards Night held on Monday, May 6, 2024.

By: Apr. 19, 2024
Adam Guettel, Austin Pendleton and More Will Be Honored with Dramatists Guild Awards
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The Dramatists Guild of America announced today the recipients of its annual awards, which will be presented at the Guild’s annual Awards Night held on Monday, May 6, 2024, at Sony Hall. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour from 6:30-8pm, with the awards ceremony to follow. Awards Night is presented by Final Draft.

The Awards Night cocktail hour will feature a performance from the musical trio Bandits on the Run, as well as a performance from Days of Wine and Roses Tony Award Nominee Brian d’Arcy James. Presenters for the evening will include David Adjmi, Nissy Aya, Dave Harris, Mara Isaacs, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Robert O’Hara.

A list of newly announced recipients is below.

The Dramatists Guild previously announced that playwright Christopher Durang will receive a Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s ceremony. He will be joined by two additional recipients, George C. Wolfe and Emily Mann.

The Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Dramatists Guild Council in recognition of distinguished lifetime achievement in theatrical writing. Previous recipients include Edward Albee, Pearl Cleage, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Gretchen Cryer & Nancy Ford, Jules Feiffer, Horton Foote, Micki Grant, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Sheldon Harnick & Jerry Bock, Tina Howe, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Adrienne Kennedy, Terrence McNally, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Joseph Stein, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, and Lanford Wilson. Career Achievement Awards have also been presented to Marsha Norman and Stephen Schwartz

The Hull-Warriner Award is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to an author or team of authors in recognition of their play dealing with controversial subjects involving the fields of political, religious, or social mores of the times. This year’s Hull-Warriner Award will be presented to Jocelyn Bioh for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.

The finalists for this year’s Hull-Warriner Award are Eboni Booth for Primary Trust, Rebecca Gilman for Swing State, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins for The Comeuppance and Qui Nguyen for Poor Yella Rednecks.

The Frederick Loewe Award is funded by the Frederick Loewe Foundation and presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to a composer recognizing achievement in a theatrical score presented On or Off-Broadway during the previous calendar year. This year’s recipient is Adam Guettel for Days of Wine and Roses.

The Flora Roberts Award, administered by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, is presented to a dramatist in recognition of distinguished work in the theatre and to encourage the continuation of that work. The recipient of this year’s award is Austin Pendleton.

The Lanford Wilson award was established by the estate of Lanford Wilson and presented by the Dramatists Guild Council to a dramatist based primarily on their work as an early career or “emerging” playwright. This year’s Lanford Wilson Award goes to two playwrights: Seayoung Yim and Minna Lee.

Sponsored by the Richenthal Foundation, the Horton Foote Award honors a dramatist or dramatists whose work seeks to plumb the ineffable nature of being human. This year’s recipients are Eboni Booth, whose play Primary Trust premiered at Roundabout Theatre Company in summer 2023, and Shayan Lotfi, who will be represented off-Broadway this spring with the world premiere of What Became of Us at Atlantic Theater Company.

Final Draft joins the Dramatists Guild as a presenting sponsor for the 2024 Awards Night celebration. Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft® software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world – for over 30 years. Final Draft is the only screenwriting software that allows writers to fully customize their writing environment, streamlines their process, maximizes productivity, and automatically paginates and formats scripts to industry standards. With Final Draft, writers can focus on what they do best: writing. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, Bong Joon Ho, Sofia Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Issa Rae, and Aaron Sorkin, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break® Contest – a screenwriting competition that launches careers and awards over $80,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers Final Draft Go for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable. To learn more about Final Draft and its products and services, visit www.finaldraft.com.

Awards Night will take place at Sony Hall, a multi-genre live venue located in the heart of New York City. The space opened in 1938 as the Diamond Horseshoe and quickly became one of the most iconic venues of the vaudeville era. In March 2018, Sony Hall officially opened its doors with much of its original history and dynamic design and décor elements still kept intact.

Since its inception in 1919, the Dramatists Guild of America has been the professional association for playwrights, librettists, lyricists, and composers writing for the American stage. With over 10,000 members around the world, the Guild is guided by a governing council of writers who each give their time, interest and support to advance the rights of dramatists everywhere, including the right for dramatists to own and control their own copyrighted work. The Guild’s advocacy, programs, events, publications, and other services provide dramatists with the resources, the community, and the support they require to protect their property, their livelihoods, and their unique voices in the American theatre.

BIOS

Christopher Durang was an award-winning playwright and educator and New Jersey native. He attended Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, where he studied English and playwriting, respectively. He has also taught at Yale and Princeton. Together with Marsha Norman, Durang directed the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School from 1984 to 2016. He was a member of the Dramatists Guild from 1978-2024 and a member of the Dramatists Guild Council from 1981 to 2024. 

Durang’s plays include Turning Off the Morning News (McCarter Theatre; directed by Emily Mann), Why Torture Is Wrong And The People Who Love Them, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play; recipient of the Dramatists Guild’s Hull-Warriner Award), A History of the American Film (Tony nomination), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Baby with the Bathwater, Laughing Wild, Betty’s Summer Vacation, Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Miss Witherspoon (Pulitzer Prize finalist), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Hull-Warriner Award), Sex and Longing, and a musical, Adrift in Macao, with book and lyrics by Durang and music by Peter Melnick.

Durang was named the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards master dramatist. He is a recipient of the Tony, Obie, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller; the CBS Playwriting Fellowship; the Lecomte du Nouy Foundation Award; and the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwriting Prize. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an American Theater Hall of Fame member. Durang passed away on April 2, 2024.

Emily Mann is a Tony nominated director and playwright and a Tony winning Artistic Director. In her 30 years as Artistic Director and Resident Playwright at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, she wrote 15 new plays and adaptations, directed over 50 productions, produced 180 plays and musicals, and supported and directed the work of emerging and legendary playwrights including Ntozake Shange, Athol Fugard, Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Nilo Cruz, Joyce Carol Oates, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Danai Gurira and is known for her productions of Williams, Lorca, Chekhov, and Shakespeare. On Broadway, she directed her own plays Execution of Justice and Having Our Say, Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics and A Streetcar Named Desire. Her other plays include: Still Life; Annulla, An Autobiography; Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; Mrs. Packard; Gloria: A Life which aired on PBS’ Great Performances. and The Pianist, a play with music. Her adaptations include: Baby Doll, Scenes from a Marriage, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, A Seagull in the Hamptons, The House of Bernarda Alba, and Antigone. She recently premiered On Cedar Street, a new musical co-written with Lucy Simon, Carmel Dean, and Susan Birkenhead. Awards include: Peabody, Guggenheim, Hull Warriner, NAACP, 6 Obies; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, WGA nominations; Princeton University Honorary Doctorate of Arts; Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwrights' Award; Margo Jones Award; TCG Visionary Leadership Award; The Lilly Award, and Gordon Davidson Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. She has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Theater Hall of Fame.

George C. Wolfe. With 23 Tony nominations and 5 wins to his name, as well as having worked on 17 Broadway shows, George C. Wolfe received the Dramatists Guild’s Hull-Warner Award for his play The Colored Museum. He wrote the book and additional lyrics for Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical), directed/adapted Spunk (Obie), wrote the book and directed Jelly’s Last Jam (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award), and created Harlem Song for the Apollo Theatre. Wolfe directed and co-wrote the HBO film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and directed Lackawanna Blues, for which he earned The Directors Guild Award, a National Board of Review Award, a Christopher Award, and the Humanitas Prize. He also directed for Netflix, Rustin (Gotham Award), and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which was nominated for 5 Academy Awards. Additional theatre directing credits include The Iceman Cometh; Lucky Guy; The Normal Heart (Drama Desk); Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Tony Award and Drama Desk) and Perestroika (Drama Desk); Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk (Tony and Drama League Award); Topdog/Underdog (Obie Award); Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (Drama Desk); Elaine Stritch at Liberty (Tony for Special Theatrical Event); The Tempest; The Wild Party; Caroline, or Change (Olivier Award Best Musical); Gary, a Sequel to Titus Andronicus, and A Free Man of Color. From 1993-2005 Wolfe was the Producer of The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. He was the Chief Creative Officer of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and from 2009-2017 served on The President's Committee for the Arts and The Humanities. Additional awards include the PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award, Actors Equity Paul Robeson Award, Society of Directors and Choreographers Mr. Abbott and Callaway Awards, The New Dramatists Outstanding Career Achievement Award, The NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, The Lambda Liberty Award, The Spirit of the City Award, The Brendan Gil Prize, The Distinguished Alumni Award from NYU, a Princess Grace Award, The Monte Cristo Award, and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Wolfe was named a Library Lion by the New York Public Library and a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Jocelyn Bioh is an award-winning Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. Her written works for theatre include: Jaja’s African Hair Braiding (Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club, 2023,) Merry Wives (Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park, PBS Great Performances, 2022 Drama Desk Award Winner for Outstanding Adaptation,) Nollywood Dreams (MCC Theater,) book writer for the Broadway bound musical Goddess (Berkeley Rep, 2022) and the multi award winning School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play which was originally produced at MCC Theater in 2017/2018 and has gone on to have over 60 regional productions and premiered in the UK in 2023. Jocelyn has also written for TV on “Russian Doll,” Spike Lee's “She’s Gotta Have It” (Netflix), “Tiny Beautiful Things” (Hulu), the upcoming new Star Wars series “The Acolyte” (Disney+) and she is also writing the live screen film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Once on This Island for Disney.

Adam Guettel is a composer, lyricist, and teacher living in New York City. He wrote the music and lyrics for The Light in the Piazza, with a book by Craig Lucas, which premiered on Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2005 and won 6 Tony Awards, including Best Score and Co-Orchestrations for Guettel. In 2019, his work on Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird was nominated for a Tony Award for best score. His musical Floyd Collins, with a book by Tina Landau won the Lucille Lortel for best musical and the Obie Award for best music. His musical Saturn Returns (recorded as Myths and Hymns) was produced at The Public Theater in 1998. He has several shows in the works, including Millions, directed by Bartlett Sher with a book by Bob Martin. He has won the Stephen Sondheim Award (1990), the ASCAP New Horizons Award (1997) and The American Composers Orchestra Award (2005). He attended Yale University and received an honorary doctorate from Lehman College in 2007. His musical Days of Wine and Roses had its world premiere in 2023 at the Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater in New York City, and opened at Broadway’s Studio 54 in 2024. He was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in 2019.

Austin Pendleton  is an actor, director, and playwright. He has acted in about 250 movies and appeared several times in such TV shows as Homicide, Oz, and the different versions of Law and Order. Onstage in New York he has acted on Broadway (Choir Boy, at Manhattan Theatre Club; The Diary of Anne Frank, with Natalie Portman; and as Motel the Tailor in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof); off-Broadway (Obie winner for The Last Sweet Days of Isaac; Rosmersholm, at Manhattan Theatre Club; Up from Paradise, a musical by Arthur Miller and Stanley Silverman, at Jewish Rep; Educating Rita, with Laurie Metcalf); and off-off Broadway (title roles in King Lear, Hamlet, Richard the Third, Richard the Second; new plays such as City Girls and Desperadoes, Dress of Fire, Consider the Lilies). As a Director he has been represented by the premiere productions of: A Thousand Pines, by Matthew Greene; Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Giurgis, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize; Fifty Words, by Michael Weller, with Elizabeth Marvel and Norbert Leo Butz; Chekhov productions at Classic Stage Company such as Three Sisters (for which he won the Obie, and which starred Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jessica Hecht), Ivanov, which starred Ethan Hawke, and Uncle Vanya, with Mamie Gummer; A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, by Tennessee Williams, with Kristine Nielsen and Annette O’Toole; War of the Roses (Shakespeare, at HB Studio); Hamlet (also at CSC, with Peter Sarsgaard); The Little Foxes, on Broadway, with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton (five Tony nominations, one for direction and three for actors, including Ms. Taylor and Ms. Stapleton). He has written three plays: Orson’s Shadow (which ran off-Broadway for a year and was then done in London); Uncle Bob, (which ran at the Mint Theatre in New York, and was then done in Paris, translated by Jean-Marie Besset), and Booth, which was done in New York starring Frank Langella.

SEAYOUNG YIM is a playwright and educator from Seattle. Her play Jar of Fat, published by Yale University Press, was the 2022 winner of the Yale Drama Series Prize. Honors include: Woolly Mammoth X Black List Playwriting Commission, Powers Playwriting Fellowship - Old Globe, 2023 Kilroys Web, Hedgebrook Residency, Sewanee Writers’ Conference Fellowship, Stephen Sondheim Graduate Fellowship, Finalist - 2024 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award, Second Place - Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (KCACTF). Her work has been supported by Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Clubbed Thumb, Annex Theater, Cafe Nordo, SIS Productions, and Pork Filled Productions. MFA: Brown University. www.seayoungyim.com

MINNA LEE is a Hmong-Vietnamese American playwright and animator. Their work includes My Home on the Moon (World Premiere San Francisco Playhouse directed by Mei Ann Teo; Playwrights Foundation 2024 Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist and Honorable Mention) and Acting Stranger with Andrew Schneider and Fox Whitney (Co-production On the Boards and LA Performance Practice). They are currently developing an installation with the Assembly Theater’s Deceleration Lab, a new play with Pipeline Theatre’s 2024 PlayLab, and filming a documentary with someone they met on Craigslist. Minna is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a 2022 Sesame Workshop Writers’ Room Fellow, and getting their MFA in Playwriting at Hunter College ’24.

Eboni Booth is a writer and actor from New York City. Her plays include Primary Trust (Roundabout Theatre) and Paris (Atlantic Theater). For television, she has written for Hulu’s “We Were the Lucky Ones” and HBO Max’s “Julia.” As an actor, Eboni has appeared in productions at Playwrights Horizons, LCT3, Manhattan Theater Club, Ars Nova, WP Theater, Page 73, Soho Rep., Clubbed Thumb, and more. Eboni is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and the recipient of a Steinberg Playwright Award, a Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, and a John Gassner award. She is a graduate of Juilliard’s playwriting program and the University of Vermont.

Shayan Lotfi is the current Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Atlantic Theater, where his play What Became of Us will premiere in 2024. He is a member playwright at New Dramatists, and is an alum of The Working Farm Writers’ Group at SPACE on Ryder Farm and Page 73’s I-73 Writers Group. He is a MacDowell Fellow and is currently under commission from the Atlantic Theater and South Coast Repertory. In addition to writing, he also works as an urban planning consultant. He holds degrees from New York University, the London School of Economics, and the University of British Columbia.

BANDITS ON THE RUN is the musical trio of Adrian Enscoe, Sydney Shepherd, and Regina Strayhorn.  Formed upon a chance encounter while busking in the subways of New York City, the Brooklyn based outfit has gone on to receive accolades from NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, American Songwriter, NPR Weekend Edition, and the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project.   Bandits on the Run and Christopher Sears are currently composing the music for the stage adaptation of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (with book by Peter Hedges).  Look for Adrian Enscoe in The Avett Brothers-inspired musical Swept Away on Broadway this fall.



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