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Dramatists Guild Foundation Honors Bess Wohl With First-Ever Georgia Engel Comedy Playwriting Prize

Dramatists Guild Foundation Honors Bess Wohl With First-Ever Georgia Engel Comedy Playwriting Prize

Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF) honors the life and legacy of Emmy-nominated, Obie-Award-winning actress and comedian Georgia Engel with a new namesake Award for a playwright in comedy. The inaugural recipient is Bess Wohl ("Grand Horizons," "Small Mouth Sounds," Make Believe").

The creation of the Georgia Engel Comedy Playwriting Prize was spearheaded by Georgia's close friends, writer/producer Phil Rosenthal and actress Monica Horan Rosenthal (Rosenthal Family Foundation), producer Dori Berinstein, and actor John Quilty (the Founding Committee). The $10,000 Award will be given annually to a playwright in honor of their work in comedy. The honoree will be chosen by the founding committee, industry leaders, and Dramatist Guild playwriting colleagues.

"We are thrilled to honor and celebrate Georgia's comic genius with this very special award, as she had the utmost respect and profound reverence for writers who mastered the art of comedy," the Founding Committee commented.

"Georgia brought so much light to so many people, and my hope is that my own work can bring some tiny fraction of the joy and truth that Georgia embodied in everything she did, and that I can share that with audiences," Wohl said.

Wohl's plays include Grand Horizons (Broadway), Small Mouth Sounds (New York Times, Best of 2016), Make Believe (New York Times, Best of 2019), Continuity, American Hero, Barcelona, Touched, In, Cats Talk Back and Pretty Filthy (with Michael Friedman and the New York based investigative theater troupe The Civilians, where she is an associate artist). Her plays have been produced at theater companies around the country, including Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ars Nova, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theater and many more. Wohl is the recipient of the 2015 Sam Norkin Special Drama Desk Award for "establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater" and the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. She currently holds new play commissions from Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, Second Stage, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. She is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Ars Nova's Play Group. BA Harvard, MFA Yale School of Drama.

Last night, DGF, the Dramatists Guild, and the Lillys celebrated their annual awards together in a first-time virtual ceremony. Presenters included Lynn Nottage, Stephen Schwartz, Hallie Foote, Chisa Hutchinson, Bob Martin, Sarah Ruhl, Kirsten Childs, Heidi Schreck, and more.

As announced earlier this year, Khiyon Hursey receives the 2020 Stephen Schwartz Award, and Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Julia Meinwald, and Benjamin Velez are co-recipients of the 2020 Thom Thomas Award. This year's Dramatists Guild Awards went to Michael R Jackson, recipient of the Hull-Warriner Award and the Frederick Loewe Award for his musical A Strange Loop; Kia Corthron, recipient of the Flora Roberts Award; Lydia Diamond, recipient of the Horton Foote Playwriting Award; and Madhuri Shekar, recipient of the Lanford Wilson Award. The Lilly Awards also honored Antoinette Nwandu with the Stacey Mindich Go Write a Play Award; Kirsten Childs with the Stacey Mindich Go Write a Musical Award; Danetta Lavinia Grays, Stacey Rose, Whitney White, and Jillian Walker with the Stacey Mindich Go Work in Theater Award; Sarita Fellows with the Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, Melissa Crespo with the NYWF Director Award; Stevie Walker-Webb with the Award in Honor of Lorraine Hansberry; Tom Kirdahy with the Miss Lilly Award; and Emily Mann with the Lillys Lifetime Achievement Award.

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