James Ijames and Lloyd Suh to be Honored With 2022 Steinberg Playwright Awards

The “Mimi” Awards are presented annually to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers whose work exhibits exceptional talent and artistic excellence.

By: Dec. 14, 2022
James Ijames and Lloyd Suh to be Honored With 2022 Steinberg Playwright Awards

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has announced the names of the two outstanding early-to-mid-career playwrights who will be celebrated with 2022 Steinberg Playwright Awards in the amount of $100,000 each. This year's recipients of the "Mimi" Awards are James Ijames and Lloyd Suh.

In 2020, the Trust temporarily restructured the awards to reach a greater number of writers, given the impact of the pandemic on playwrights throughout the industry. This year, the Trust will return closer to the origins of the award by honoring two early to mid-career playwrights with an increased monetary prize in acknowledgment of the tough times facing artists as they come out of the pandemic. The Trust also expanded the eligibility parameters to ensure that any artist whose career progressed during the pandemic still has the opportunity to be recognized for the 2022 award.

"I am honored to be selected for this year's award! Awards like the Steinberg Playwright Prize give writers freedoms and options!" said James Ijames. "I'm thankful for this award and humbled to be joining such an amazing roster of past recipients."

"It is completely surprising, and deeply humbling, to be listed among all these previous Mimi recipients. The Steinberg Trust has a long history of extraordinary impact on the ecology of American playwriting," said Lloyd Suh. "Over the past few years of course, it's been uncommonly difficult to make theater; so many industries have been hit particularly hard, and ours is certainly one of them. An award of this size is life-changing. It provides essential, unprecedented support, and I hope to prove myself worthy of such an incredible honor."

James Ijames

is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, a director, and educator. James' plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre, The National Black Theatre, JACK, Public Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater, Shotgun Players and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size (Simpatico Theatre Company) and Gem of the Ocean (Arden Theatre). James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise, a 2020 Steinberg Prize, and the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama recipient for Fat Ham. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia's first playwright-producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia.

Lloyd Suh

is the author of The Far Country, currently playing at Atlantic Theater Company, and The Heart Sellers, which will premiere at Milwaukee Rep in February. Other plays include The Chinese Lady (recently produced with Ma-Yi at The Public Theater), Bina's Six Apples (produced this season at Alliance Theatre and Children's Theatre Company), Charles Francis Chan Jr.'s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Franklinland, and Jesus in India. His work has been produced at theaters across the country including Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, Denver Center, Artists Rep, Interact, Geva, Timeline, the Guthrie with Theater Mu, ArtsEmerson, Long Wharf Theatre, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA at the Guerilla Theatre in Seoul, Korea. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, Horton Foote Prize, Helen Merrill Award, and Lilah Kan Red Socks Award. He served from 2005-10 as the Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and from 2011-20 as Dir. of Artistic Programs at The Lark. He was elected in 2016 to the Dramatists Guild Council.

"James Ijames and Lloyd Suh are visionary storytellers and chroniclers of the American experience," said Advisory Committee Member, Sarah Lunnie. "Their plays match formal adventure with deep humanity, reflecting indelible histories and proposing new futures. Their contributions to the theater are enormous-we're so lucky to be in their audience."

"This year's awardees both epitomize the best of our art form through their evocative and transformative plays," stated Advisory Committee Member, Hana Sharif. "Lloyd Suh and James Ijames craft worlds that are deeply intellectual, yet carry the pulse of the everyman, the spirit of a liberator, the voice of a poet, and the imagination of a prophet. Their work excavates our cultural, historical, and psychological legacies, ultimately offering us access to the greatest expression of our full humanity."

"The theater community faces many obstacles as it recovers from the ongoing impact of the pandemic. We must recognize that playwrights are the very foundation of the theater, and the fundamental mission of the Steinberg Playwright Awards is to meet the needs of its writers," said Steinberg trustee William Zabel. "While the shape and structure have been adjusted over the years to adapt to an ever changing landscape, the goal of the awards has never changed. We are proud to honor the exceptional work of James and Lloyd, and we look forward to the stories they have yet to tell."

The "Mimi" Awards are presented annually to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose work exhibits exceptional talent and artistic excellence. The awards celebrate their accomplishments and honor the promise they hold for the future of American theater.

In 2008, the Trustees created an advisory committee of seven prominent theater professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates, and select recipients. The 2022 Advisory Committee is comprised of Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director, The Playwrights' Center; Snehal Desai, Artistic Director, East West Players; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater; Maria Manuela Goyanes, Artistic Director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co.; Sarah Lunnie, Dramaturg; Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theater Company; and Hana S. Sharif, Artistic Director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

The Board of Trustees of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is made up of Carole Krumland, Susan Frunzi, James Steinberg, Michael Steinberg, Seth Weingarten, and William Zabel.

About The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of his late wife, Miriam. The Trust's primary mission is to support and promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American Playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and providing significant support to not-for-profit theater companies across the country.

Since its inception the Trust has given more than $100 million to more than 100 theater organizations. These gifts have funded countless productions as well as the commissioning of playwrights, playwriting programs, and arts-in-education outreach programs for thousands of children in an effort to create and educate new generations of theatergoers.

The Trust also collaborated with the American Theater Critics Association to create and fund the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. That award is presented annually during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville. Recipients of this award include Chiara Atik, J. Nicole Brooks, E.M. Lewis, Lauren Yee, Michael Cristofer, Qui Nguyen, Rebecca Gilman, Lauren Gunderson, Robert Schenkkan, Yussef El Guindi, Bill Cain, E.M. Lewis, Moises Kaufman, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Lee Blessing, Craig Lucas, Lynn Nottage, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Jane Martin, and Regina Taylor.

Previous recipients of this Steinberg Playwright Award include Bruce Norris, Lisa D'Amour, Melissa James Gibson, Rajiv Joseph, Annie Baker, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Dominique Morisseau, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Lauren Yee.

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