Kesselring Prize for Playwriting announced by National Arts Club

Playwright Deb Margolin -- author of the plays "Three Seconds in the Key," "Bringing the Fisherman Home" and "Rock Scissors Paper"  -- is the recipient of the $15,000 "2005 Kesselring Prize" for playwriting, it has been announced by O. Aldon James, president of The National Arts Club, which presents the Kesselring each year to an emerging American playwright.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Kesselring Prize. 

The Kesselring Prize's annual Honorable Mention -- a $5,000 prize -- is being given to Tanya Barfield, author of the plays "Blue Door," "Wanting North,"
and "Defacing Patriotic Property."

Both awards will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005 at The National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South) in New York City.  The festivities will feature a staged reading of a play by Ms. Margolin, directed by Michael Parva, artistic director of New York's The Directors Company.

The Kesselring Prize is selected each year through a unique process:  The National Arts Club invites approximately a dozen theatres across the country to nominate a playwright of exceptional promise -- but who has yet to receive prominent national attention -- for the award.  Previous recipients of the Kesselring Prize include Tony Kushner, David Auburn, Melissa James Gibson, Paula Vogel, Nicky Silver, Anna Deavere Smith, David Lindsay-Abaire, Jose Rivera, Heather McDonald, Philip Kan Gotanda, Kira Obolensky, Tracey Scott Wilson and Marion McClinton.

The winners are chosen by a distinguished panel of judges, who this year were playwright John Guare; playwright and performer Eric Bogosian; and Lincoln Center's dramaturg Anne Cattaneo.  The judges base the award on a work of the nominated playwright's choosing. 

Deb Margolin was nominated by Cleveland Public Theatre and submitted "Three Seconds in the Key".  Tanya Barfield was nominated by Seattle Rep and submitted "Blue Door."

The complete list of nominated playwrights, nominating theatres and plays
submitted by the writers for the 2005 Kesselring Prize are:

Actors Theatre of Louisville - Adam Brock, SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS
Atlantic Theatre Company - Courtney Baron, MORBIDITY & MORALITY
Center Theater Group (Mark Taper Forum) - Michelle Carter, LET THE PONY
Cleveland Public Theatre - Deb Margolin, THREE SECONDS IN THE KEY
The Goodman Theatre - Karen Zacarias, MARIELA IN THE DESERT
INTAR - Jorge Ignacio Cortinas, BIRD IN THE HAND
Magic Theatre - Betty Shamieh, THE BLACK EYE
MCC Theatre - Brooke Berman, A PERFECT COUPLE
Milwaukee Repertory - Itamar Moses, BACH AT LEIPZIG
Penumbra Theater - L. Trey Wilson, STAGE DIRECTIONS
The Playwrights' Center - Allison Moore, HAZARD COUNTY
Southern Repertory - Rosary O'Neill, DEGAS IN NEW ORLEANS

Deb Margolin is a playwright, performance artist and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company. She is the author of six full-length solo performance pieces, which she has toured throughout the United States, as well as numberous plays, including BRINGING THE FISHERMAN HOME and ROCK SCISSORS PAPER. She is the recipient of the 1999-2000 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance.

In her New York Times review of THREE SECONDS IN THE KEY -- Ms. Margolin's play about what happens when a terminally ill woman and her son, who while away the hours watching basketball, are visited by a player who steps out of their television and into their lives -- Margo Jefferson wrote, "From the first words of Three Seconds in the Key, the playwright Deb Margolin creates a spell... Every minute and every move count... A fiercely good play."

For more information about the published version of THREE SECONDS IN THE KEY, visit

Tanya Barfield's plays include DENT, THE QUICK, 121 DEGREES WEST, PECAN TAN, THE HOUDINI ACT, WANTING NORTH (Guthrie Theatre), and SNAPSHOT plus the book for a children's musical, KOFI'S CIVIL WAR. As a solo performer, Ms. Barfield appeared in her one-woman show WITHOUT SKIN OR BREATHLESSNESSS. She is currently working on THE FORCE OF NIGHT, a play about four generations of black men.

In 1997, Ms. Magazine named her "One of the 21 Young Women to Watch for in the 21st Centruy."

Named in honor of the beloved playwright Joseph Kesselring, author of ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, the Kesselring Prize was first presented by The National Arts Club in 1980, funded by Mr. Kesselring's widow, the late Charlotte Kesselring. Established in 1898, The National Arts Club was the first private club in Manhattan to include women in its membership. In addition to the Kesselring Prize, the National Arts Club confers Medals of Honor, given to individuals and/or organizations for their contributions to the arts. The National Arts Club also awards scholarships to young musicians and writers, and has an outreach program for high schools.

For information about The National Arts Club and its programs, call

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