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Lloyd Suh Named 2020 Recipient Of The Horton Foote Prize

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The biennial prize is named in honor of the late playwright, and recognizes excellence in American theatre. 



Lloyd Suh Named 2020 Recipient Of The Horton Foote Prize

Mari Marchbanks (Founder and Executive Director) announced today that The 2020 Horton Foote Prize has been awarded to Lloyd Suh for his play The Chinese Lady. Awarded since 2010, the biennial prize is named in honor of the late playwright, and recognizes excellence in American theatre.

Mr. Suh's achievements will be celebrated at a private online reception on Sunday, September 13th. Click HERE to view the online presentation of the prize. He will be presented with $50,000 and a limited edition of Keith Carter's iconic photograph of Horton Foote, which is found in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Suh's The Chinese Lady was nominated for The Horton Foote Prize by Ma-Yi Theater Company (New York). Over 70 theatres throughout the country, all with a strong history for producing new work, were invited to submit a produced or unproduced play for consideration. After a national reading committee narrowed the field, ensuring that each script received multiple blind readings, a selection committee selected the top finalists to be presented to the judges.

The four judges of the 2020 Horton Foote Prize are award-winning actor, and daughter of Horton Foote, Hallie Foote, serving as Chair; Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Adam Greenfield; Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra; and award-winning playwright and director Chay Yew.

Inspired by the true story of America's first female Chinese immigrant, playwright Lloyd Suh spins a tale of dark poetic whimsy in this piercing portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. The Chinese Lady follows Afong Moy, Age 14, brought to the United States in 1834 from Beijing, and put on display for the American public. Over the next 45 years, she performs in a sideshow that both defines and challenges her own view of herself. Blurring the line between the observed and the observer, The Chinese Lady gives us new eyes on the history of American entitlement and immigration.

"...by the end of Mr. Suh's extraordinary play, we look at Afong and see whole centuries of American history. She's no longer the Chinese lady. She is us."

Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times

Regarding Mr. Suh's play, Judge Chair Hallie Foote commented, "Told with humanity and humor, this play haunted me. Lloyd Suh explores memory, and longing, loss and fortitude. He gently makes us think, ponder and examine our beliefs and all the things we take for granted."

Commissioned by Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Chinese Lady began its journey as a Co-world premiere, first premiering at Barrington Stage Company, followed by a production presented by Ma-Yi Theater in New York in November 2018. Continuing with critically acclaimed productions across the country throughout the spring of 2019 and the 2019/20 season, the COVID-19 shutdown cancelled a planned production at Long Wharf Theatre, with slated productions planned for the 20/21 season delayed for the time being.

Previous recipients of the Horton Foote Prize include Lynn Nottage for Ruined, Will Eno for Middletown, David Lindsay-Abaire for Good People, Naomi Wallace for The Liquid Plain, Dan O'Brien for The Body of an American, Suzan-Lori Parks for Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3), Jordan Harrison for Marjorie Prime, Zayd Dohrn for The Profane, Lauren Yee for Cambodian Rock Band, and Jaclyn Backhaus for India Pale Ale.

The Horton Foote Prize is funded by the Greg and Mari Marchbanks Family Foundation of Austin, Texas.



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