Jewish Plays Project Reveals 6+ Finalists For 13th National Jewish Playwriting Contest

This year's contest includes six Finalists, one special additional Finalist, and 18 Semifinalists.

By: Dec. 08, 2023
Jewish Plays Project Reveals 6+ Finalists For 13th National Jewish Playwriting Contest
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The Jewish Plays Project has revealed the finalists for the 13th Annual Jewish Playwriting Contest, the JPP's competition celebrating the best in contemporary Jewish playwriting, with the hopes of seeing these plays find world premier productions.

This year's contest includes six Finalists, one special additional Finalist, and 18 Semifinalists, chosen through the JPP's community-driven, democratic process from over 300 submitted plays, hailing from 34 states and 8 countries. This year's contest also features five playwrights under the age of 35, a first for the JPP.

"This is our 13th season - our B'nai Mitzvah year - and the time has never been more important to celebrate vibrant Jewish stories than right now," said Mr. Winitsky. "The writers on these lists have forged plays that present a complex, joyous, and critical look at the Jewish conversation, and we are thrilled to present them to the theatrical community."

Playwright Alexa Derman, winner of the 12th Annual Jewish Playwriting Contest in 2023, added:

"Developing my work with the JPP was such a formative experience - collaborations with incredible artists, great conversations with other Jewish theater makers, and the thrill of seeing my community encounter my work with enthusiasm and eagerness."

Contest Dramaturg Heather Helinsky led the JPP's selection process, working with Associate Artistic Director Joshua Benghiat and Literary Associate Stephanie Kane. Ms. Helinsky helmed a team of more than 92 Artist Panelists from around the nation and the world, who invested a combined 1,700 hours reading, reviewing, and discussing these plays.

The six finalists are:

THE LAST YIDDISH SPEAKER by Deborah Zoe Laufer (Mount Kisco, NY)
In a post-insurrection, Christian America, an ancient Yiddish-speaking woman is deposited on Hannah and Paul's doorstep. Should they hide her, or save themselves...

MEMORIAM by Noga Flaishon (London, United Kingdom)
Memoriam Inc. buys and sells memories, digitizing them for mass-viewership. Now they are after the memories of the last holocaust survivor.

OLGA'S STRIKE by Abigail Henkin (Los Angeles, CA)
A headstrong, young, Russian-Jewish woman decides to unionize her brother-in-law's dress shop, pitting her against her family.

OSHER & THE INFINITE CURTAIN Elise Wein (New York, NY)
Tech, online life, and Kabbalah meet in this loose adaptation of "The Dybbuk".

THE RESERVOIR by Jake Brasch (Brooklyn, NY)
A lost, queer, neurotic mess of a twenty-something moves home to get sober. Struggling with memory loss, he finds unlikely allies in his four grandparents.

WHY THIS NIGHT? by Daniel Kitrosser (Philadelphia, PA)
A typical 19th century queer shtetl seder murder mystery. It's like if Agatha Christie, John Waters, and Tevye the Milkman had an orgy, but with m-OY-der!

The JPP is also pleased to be able to support a returning Finalist in a touching and hilarious solo piece, outside of the contest's competitive structure but with the same dramaturgical support.

CONVERSA by Joanna Castle-Miller (Beacon, NY)
Abandoning fundamental evangelicalism for Judaism prompts a playwright to question religion's purpose in this autobiographical exploration of conversion and migration across history.

Each Finalist play will be part of the JPP's signature Jewish Dramaturgy Lab. The Lab combines a private reading of the play with Jewish Dramaturgy - a unique process bringing Jewish thought leaders (clergy, scholars, and lay leaders) into close artistic collaboration with writers and theatrical dramaturgs.

The JPP will hold regional contests in throughout the country, culminating in a national contest in New York in June. More than 1,000 people will contribute to choosing the ultimate 2024 winner, in a unique process that provides one-of-a-kind feedback to playwrights and invaluable audience response to prospective producers.

Additionally, the JPP has named 18 Semifinalists:

Barbra Streisand by Aidan La Poche
Blood Play by Rachel Mars
The Book of Solomon by Garrett Stott
Edith by Noah Parnes
Female, Ashkenazi with a Sewing Machine by Jamie Greenblatt
Ilya's Escape, Sasha's War by Leonard D. Goodisman
High School Dybbuk by Shara Feit
In Her Madim by Rebecca Ostroff
Judith Imeinu by Natalie Welber
L'Dor v'Dor: Nefest: part 3 of a family trilogy by Lojo Simon
The Matriarchs by Liba Vaynberg
Mikvah Girls by Emmy Weissman
Monarchs by Danielle Frimer
Mother L*ving Torah Studies by Samantha Davidson Green
Papers by Adin Lenahan
The Prophet M by Alanna Coby
Vigorish by Allan Staples
We Are Blood by Ryan Bernsten

Find full information on all of the plays - including writer or agent contact information - at the JPP's website: www.jewishplaysproject.org. Interested producers, agents, and literary managers can email plays@jewishplaysproject.org.

About The Jewish Playwriting Contest

The Jewish Playwriting Contest seeks to discover, highlight, and nurture contemporary Jewish drama by engaging with artistic and Jewish communities throughout the English-speaking world. The Contest has received and vetted over 2,200 plays by 1,200 writers in 32 states and 9 countries. The JPP has actively developed 56 of those plays, 36 of which have gone on to production in cities across the globe, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tel Aviv, playing for more than 100,000 audience members.

About The Jewish Plays Project

The Jewish Plays Project, founded in 2011, identifies, develops, and presents new works of theater via one-of-a-kind explorations of contemporary Jewish identity between audiences, artists, and patrons. The JPP's innovative and competitive development process engages Jewish communities in the vetting, selecting, and championing of new voices and secures mainstream production opportunities for the best new plays.

The JPP has featured some of the best artists working in New York, including writers David Hein and Irene Sankoff (Come from Away), Robert Askins (Hand to God), and Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band); directors Marc Bruni (Beautiful) and Tamilla Woodard (WP Theater, Yale Rep); and actors Andrew Polk (The Band's Visit), Ronald Guttman (Mad Men, Homeland), Kirrilee Berger (Amazon's Just Add Magic), and Obie and Drama Desk nominee Marcia Jean Kurtz.




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