Photo Flash: Julia Jarcho Receives The Mark O'Donnell Prize

The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons announced today that New York City playwright Julia Jarcho is the 2018 recipient of "The Mark O'Donnell Prize", an annual prize presented to an emerging theater artist in recognition of her or his talent and promise.

Inspired by the eccentric mind of Mark O'Donnell, "The Mark O'Donnell Prize" is targeted toward "America's most anomalous, singular and curious emerging writers, composers, directors and designers." The award includes a cash prize of $15,000, use of The Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center, located at The Schermerhorn in Downtown Brooklyn, for one week to develop a reading of a new work, as well as counseling from The Actors Fund on two of the major challenges faced by emerging artists: how to apply for affordable housing and obtaining health insurance. The Mark O'Donnell Prize is funded by The Actors Fund, a human services organization serving everyone in entertainment and the performing arts, and is made possible by a gift from Stephen O'Donnell in memory of his brother Mark.

The Schermerhorn, an award-winning 216-unit supportive housing development for low-income New Yorkers, continues to serve as home to The Mark O'Donnell Theater. The Theater serves as a resource for Brooklyn-based artists and arts groups to aid in the development and sharing of their work, as well as a venue for integrating the residents of The Schermerhorn with the surrounding community through the arts. The building is operated by The Actors Fund in collaboration with Breaking Ground, a non-profit developer that provides permanent affordable housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

After a career of critical acclaim, Mark O'Donnell achieved commercial success when he co-wrote the book of the musical Hairspray, based on the John Waters film, with Thomas Meehan. The production earned the pair the 2003 Tony Award and a celebrated seven-year run on Broadway, followed by the 2007 musical film adaptation. The writers went on to adapt the Tony-nominated musical Cry Baby for Broadway in 2008, based on a Waters film of the same name.

Mark O'Donnell's Playwrights Horizons credits were That's It, Folks!; Fables for Friends; and The Nice and the Nasty. His other plays include Strangers on Earth, Vertigo Park and the musicalTots in Tinseltown. He collaborated with Bill Irwin on an adaptation of Moliere's Scapin and co-authored a translation of Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear. He also adapted Feydeau'sPrivate Fittings for the La Jolla Playhouse and a symphonic version of Pyramus and Thisbe for the Kennedy Center.

Mr. O'Donnell published two collections of comic stories Elementary Education and Vertigo Park and Other TALL Tales as well as two novels, Getting Over Homer and Let Nothing You Dismay. His humor, cartoons and poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and Esquire. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the George S. Kaufman Award.

The Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by Council Member Stephen Levin.

Julia Jarcho is a playwright and director from New York City with the company Minor Theater. Her plays include The Terrifying (Abrons Arts Center 2017), Every Angel is Brutal (Clubbed Thumb 2016), Nomads (Incubator 2014), Grimly Handsome (Incubator 2013), Dreamless Land (New York City Players/Abrons 2011), and American Treasure (13P 2009). She has won an OBIE for Best New American Play (Grimly Handsome) and a Doris Duke Impact Award, and has been a MacDowell Fellow and an LCT New Writer in Residence at Lincoln Center. Her bookMinor Theater: Three Plays is available from 53rd State Press and her first critical book, Writing and the Modern Stage: Theater Beyond Drama, is published by Cambridge University Press. She teaches in the Department of English at NYU. Minor Theater will premiere her new play Pathetic, a teen drama riff on Racine's Phaedra, at Abrons Arts Center in June 2019.

Photo Credit: Jay Brady Photography

Photo Flash: Julia Jarcho Receives The Mark O'Donnell Prize
Steve O'Donnell, Julia Jarcho

Photo Flash: Julia Jarcho Receives The Mark O'Donnell Prize
Steve O'Donnell, Julia Jarcho and Tim Sanford

Photo Flash: Julia Jarcho Receives The Mark O'Donnell Prize
Joe Benincasa, Steve O'Donnell, Julia Jarcho, Tim Sanford, Jack Tantleff

Photo Flash: Julia Jarcho Receives The Mark O'Donnell Prize
Leah Nanako Winkler, Julia Jarcho

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