2022 Idea Awards for Theatre Recipients Announced

The 2022 Idea Awards for Theatre will be presented on Monday, October 3, 2022, in a private ceremony (by invitation only) at The Players.

By: Sep. 20, 2022
2022 Idea Awards for Theatre Recipients Announced

The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2022 Idea Awards for Theatre; three categories of grants awarded to adventurous new voices in playwriting and musical theatre, as well as the visionary playwrights who have inspired and blazed trails before them.

The 2022 Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Award will be presented to Deb Margolin (Imagining Madoff, Three Seconds in the Key). Honoring accomplished playwrights who have created significant, idea-driven works throughout their career, the Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Award is given with a $25,000 prize for the recipient.

Ankita Raturi is the recipient of this year's Ollie New Play Award, and two Vivace Musical Theatre Awards will be presented to John-Michael Lyles and Daniel Alexander Jones. Recognizing emerging talent and original work with ambitious theatrical ideas, both awards are bestowed to each recipient with a $25,000 prize.

Each of the four artists will also receive a unique stone statuette hand carved by Bruce Ostler.

The 2022 Idea Awards for Theatre will be presented on Monday, October 3, 2022, in a private ceremony (by invitation only) at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South, NYC). Entertainment will feature live performances by this year's Vivace Musical Theatre Award winners.

Theatrical Agent Bret Adams and his partner Dr. Paul Reisch loved the theatre with great passion. As a theatrical agent, Bret shepherded the careers of many actors, writers and directors and designers, including Phylicia Rashad, Judy Kaye, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Sherman Helmsley, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eve Arden, Christine Ebersole, Kathleen Marshall, Jayne Wyman, Andre DeShields, Kathy Bates, Susan H. Schulman, Jack Heifner, Philip McKinley and Robert Harling, among many others. After Bret and Paul's passing, in 2006 and 2015 respectively, their eponymous foundation was created at their bequest. The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation champions visionary theatre writers in their creation of expansive, illuminating, and idea-driven theatre. Embracing diversity in all its forms, The Foundation encourages artists with fresh perspectives - particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds - to create idea-driven new plays and musicals reflecting on multivalent themes. Nominations for all three awards are accepted exclusively from The Foundation's Board of Artistic Advisors. For more information, visit www.BretnPaulFoundation.org.

"The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation created the 'Idea Awards for Theatre' to encourage expansive, idea-driven artworks with inherently theatrical ways of illuminating big ideas and concepts," says Sheilah Rae, V.P. and Board Member of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. "With our financial awards, we are encouraging artists to grapple with and dramatize the big ideas that the world is engaged with. This money will give them needed time and space to explore and write. We are proud to award the Ollie Award for the most ambitious big idea new play, the Vivace Award for a big-idea new musical that makes you want to get up and dance, and the Tooth of Time Award to encourage accomplished artists to continue their personal evolution in examining big ideas. We are giving these Awards to dare these writers to theatricalize something wild and brave."

"Deb Margolin has built a legacy of art and advocacy inextricably linked; in every facet of her career she has built community through her work," says Alexis Williams, Associate Artistic Director of The Playwrights Realm and BAPR Advisory Board member. "Daniel Alexander Jones has mixed genres and forms to create new ways we can see ourselves reflected. And as we look to the new generation of writers in all disciplines, we are honored to support rising talents Ankita Raturi and John-Michael Lyles. These four artists, each distinct in style and substance, will create exciting new theatre that will move us forward."

Deb Margolin

(2022 Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Award winner) is a playwright, actor, and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company. She is the author of numerous plays, including Imagining Madoff (nominee, Helen Hayes / Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play), Three Seconds in the Key (Kesselring Prize), Turquoise, Bringing the Fishermen Home, and That Old Perplexity (Keen Company commission)as well as 11 solo performance plays which she has toured throughout the US. These include 8 Stops, a comedy concerning the grief of endless compassion, which takes a long, humorous, tender look at motherhood, the suburbs, the fear of death, and the inheritability of ideas. Her most recent multi-character play, Insurrection, finds an old man near the precipice of death as he suffers the torment of remembered horror at the hands of Joseph McCarthy. Deb has been resident artist at Tulane, Hampshire College, NYU, USC, and many others. OBIE award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright Award, NEA grant, NJSCA Fellow, Edwin Booth Award, Tanne Foundation Award, and the Richard H. Broadhead Prize for teaching excellence at Yale University, where she is Professor in the Practice in the undergraduate Theater and Performance Studies Program. She is a proud alumna of New Dramatists, and lives in New Jersey, which she denies.


(2022 Ollie New Play Award winner) [she/her] is a bisexual, bicultural, bilingual writer currently living in southern California. She grew up in and around New Delhi, Jakarta, and Washington D.C., and has spent many years living and working in New York City. Ankita writes in Hindi/Urdu and English about the impossibilities of language, living between cultural identities, and the ongoing legacies of colonialism. Her plays are often populated with queer characters navigating new and unfamiliar territory. Her audio play, Backwaters, is available to listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as part of the 2021 Wagner New Play Festival. Commissions: Artists at Play & Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, E.S.T/Sloan, Cygnet Finish Line. New play development: UCSD, NYU, Playwrights Realm, Artists at Play, The COOP, Atlantic Pacific Theatre, Theater Masters, Hypokrit Theatre Company, New York Shakespeare Exchange, Pete's Candy Store, Natyabharati. Devised work with Charlotte Murray: Fresh Ground Pepper, Corkscrew Theater Festival, Dixon Place. B.F.A. in Drama: NYU/Tisch. M.F.A. Candidate in Playwriting: UCSD (Friends of the International Center Endowed Fellowship Recipient). Instagram: @ankitawrites

John-Michael Lyles

(2022 Vivace Musical Theatre Award winner) is a Harlem-based, Texas-raised, multi-hyphenate creative. He was selected to participate in the Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows class of '21, Musical Theater Factory's 2nd MAKERS Cohort and the 2021 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. He wrote additional music for the Second Stage production of Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die & theme music for The Great Gay Dadcast. He is currently co-writing book, music and lyrics with David Gomez for Shoot for the Moon, a new musical. He is currently developing a new untitled musical with incredible support from 5th Avenue Theater's "First Draft: Raise Your Voice" commission program. As an actor, he's currently making his Broadway debut in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical, A Strange Loop.

DANIEL Alexander Jones

(2022 Vivace Musical Theatre Award winner) is hailed by audiences, colleagues and critics as a groundbreaking and visionary artist. Over 25 years into his distinctive interdisciplinary practice, Jones deftly weaves performance art, theatre, music, writing, and teaching into a wildflower body of work. His pieces include: www.aten.life, which premiered as a digital music, video and interactive site (CalArts Center for New Performance & New York Live Arts); Black Light (Public Theater); Duat (Soho Rep); and Phoenix Fabrik (Pillsbury House Theatre). 53rd State Press recently published Love Like Light, a collection of 7 works from across Jones's career, featuring introductory essays from a range of collaborators and colleagues; as well as the book Particle & Wave, a contextualizing conversation with Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs about Jones's practice. Daniel was honored as the 2021 PEN America/Laura Pels Foundation awardee in Theatre, and was praised for "perfecting a dramaturgy all his own based in the traditions of Africana studies, performance studies, queer theory, and mysticism, challenging established traditions while creating space for audiences to ponder what theater is and who it is for." Jones was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Doris Duke Artist, a USA Artist Fellow, a Creative Capital Grantee, and has been commissioned by the McCarter Theatre and The Public Theatre. He has taught at university for 20 years, most recently as a Full Professor at Fordham University. Daniel lives in Los Angeles, where he is a Producing Artist for the Center for New Performance at CalArts, and is in residence with UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance.