Nashville Playwright Named Finalist for National Award

By: Mar. 06, 2017
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Nashville Repertory Theatre Playwright-in-Residence Nate Eppler has been named a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2016.

Eppler has been nominated for his script The Ice Treatment, a whirlwind retelling of an Olympic-sized tabloid scandal from the early 1990's. In Eppler's play, the world's most infamous Olympic figure skater pitches the blockbuster movie of her amazing life story armed with an old video camera, Barbie dolls, and homemade model ice rinks, but this time she's the hero of the story. The Ice Treatment had its world premiere in Nashville at Actors Bridge Ensemble in July 2016 starring Rachel Agee, Amanda Card, and Antonio P. Nappo.

Finalists for the 2017 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award include Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwrights alongside emerging national voices. In addition to Eppler, ATCA named Michael Christofer, Tracy Letts, David Rabe, R. Eric Thomas, and Lauren Yee as finalists for the prestigious award. The six finalists were selected from new plays recommended by ATCA members from around the country. This is Eppler's second nominated play for the Steinberg/ATCA New Play award, he was previously a semi-finalist for his 2011 play Long Way Down.

"Nate Eppler creates characters and worlds that are both wildly imaginative and undeniably authentic. He has an astounding ability to shake us out of our numbness and move us to care," says Vali Forrister, Actors Bridge Ensemble's Co-Founder and Artistic Director. "I was in the audience for the first staged reading of The Ice Treatment at the Ingram New Works Festival. I knew instantly that Actors Bridge had to be the first to bring this story to life. It is a play that makes you laugh so hard you don't initially notice how your heart has been broken."

The play was originally developed as part of the 2014/15 Nashville Repertory Theatre Ingram New Works Project, a nationally recognized new play development program that connects Nashville artists and Nashville audiences across extraordinary new works.

"Nate Eppler is an important driving force in this city's burgeoning enthusiasm for new plays. His work with us on the Ingram Project as our Playwright-in-Residence not only has been integral in bringing the Ingram to national recognition, but we also get to help midwife his plays into this world." says René D. Copeland, Producing Artistic Director of Nashville Rep. "We were so thrilled when The Ice Treatment went on to full production at Actors Bridge after our staged reading presentation in the Ingram Festival. He is a brilliant playwright, and his receiving this national recognition is so well-deserved."

The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each will be presented as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays at The Actors Theatre of Louisville. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind. Past honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, and DonaldMargulies. Last year's honoree was Vietgone by Qui Nguyen.


For 21 years, Actors Bridge has been telling stories Nashville needs to witness as we produce socially conscious plays, create new work, train theater artists, and expand what counts as theater in our community. We are locally born and bred with a deep commitment to reflecting our city back to herself. We offer a home for emerging artists to develop their voice and for established artists to take new risks. We have produced over 90 plays, including 14 world premieres and 60 Nashville premieres. We are in residence at Belmont University and at our studio at the Darkhorse Chapel. Actors Bridge is the home of Act Like a GRRRL and Sideshow Fringe. The company is led by co-founder Vali Forrister. For more information:


Nashville Rep is a non-profit theatre bringing classic and contemporary theatre to Nashville that inspires empathy and prods intellectual and emotional engagement in audiences. Nashville Rep's Ingram New Works Project was created with the support of co-founder Martha R. Ingram to provide an opportunity for theatre artists to develop new theatre works while in residency at Nashville Rep. Visit to learn more.