Jordan Harrison's MARJORIE PRIME, Zayd Dohrn's THE PROFANE Honored with 2016 Horton Foote Prize

Mari Marchbanks (Founder and Executive Director) announced today the 2016 recipients of the biennial Horton Foote Prize, named in honor of the late playwright, which recognizes excellence in American theater. The 2016 Prize for Outstanding New American Play is awarded to Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison. The 2016 Prize for Promising New American Play is awarded to The Profane by Zayd Dohrn.

This year's Prize marks the centenary of the birth of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, whose works include The Trip to Bountiful, The Orphan's Home Cycle, and The Young Man from Atlanta.

Their achievements will be celebrated at a private reception on Monday, October 24th at The Lotos Club (5 East 66th Street, New York City). Mr. Harrison and Mr. Dohrn will each be presented with $20,000 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.

The four judges of the 2016 Horton Foote Prize are Academy Award-nominee and Tony-winning actress Stockard Channing, serving as Chair; Vineyard Theatre Artistic Director Sarah Stern; award-winning playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer (Leveling Up, Informed Consent, End Games); and Los Angeles-based director and producer Victor Maog.

On behalf of her fellow judges, Chair Stockard Channing said, "The two plays we have recognized with this prestigious award share something essential with its namesake, which is a deeply compassionate examination of the human condition. Marjorie Prime and The Profane echo Horton Foote's interest in the challenges, disappointments, loss, and grief that we all face in life - all the challenges and sorrows that come at you, as Horton Foote once said. Each in his distinctive voice, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Dohrn have created altogether contemporary works that resonate with those of Horton Foote - and with the world we live in today."

Mr. Harrison and Mr. Dohrn were nominated by Center Theatre Group and Playwrights Horizons, respectively. After a national reading committee narrowed the field of entries, ensuring that each script received multiple blind readings, a selection committee including Chair ElizaBeth Frankel, Director of New Work, Alley Theatre; Lee Trull, Director of New Play Development, Dallas Theater Center; Jerry Ruiz, Associate Artistic Director, PlayMakers Repertory Company; and Minneapolis-based playwright Aditi Kapil (Love Person, Agnes Under the Big Top, Displaced Hindu Gods trilogy); selected the top finalists to be presented to the judges.

Marjorie Prime had its world premiere with Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum in September 2014, receiving its New York premiere with Playwrights Horizons in November 2015. A 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist, it continues great success with 2016-17 season productions on slate across the country. In the unforgettable Marjorie Prime, it's the age of Artificial Intelligence, and 85-year-old Marjorie - a jumble of disparate, fading memories - has a handsome new companion who's programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember and what would we forget if given the chance? In this richly spare, wondrous play, Marjorie Prime explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits - if any - of what technology can replace.

The world premiere of The Profane at Playwrights Horizons will begin previews March 17, 2017 with opening night set for April 9, 2017 at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater. In Mr. Dohrn's new play, Raif Almedin is a first-generation immigrant who prides himself on his modern, enlightened views. But when his daughter falls for the son of a conservative Muslim family, he discovers the threshold of his tolerance. In this sharp and timely tale, two families are forced to confront each other's religious beliefs and cultural traditions, and to face their own deep-seated prejudice.

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, and Suzan-Lori Parks for Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3).

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


Jordan Harrison's play Marjorie Prime, a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist, premiered at the Mark Taper Forum and had its New York premiere last fall at Playwrights Horizons. Harrison's play Maple and Vine premiered in the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and went on to productions at American Conservatory Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, among others. His other plays include The Grown-Up (Humana Festival), Doris to Darlene, a cautionary valentine (Playwrights Horizons), Amazons and their Men (Clubbed Thumb), Act A Lady (Humana Festival), Finn in the Underworld (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Futura (Portland Center Stage), Kid-Simple (Humana Festival), Standing on Ceremony (Minetta Lane), and a children's musical, The Flea and the Professor (Arden Theatre, Barrymore Award for Best Production). Harrison is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, the Kesselring Prize, the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Play House, the Heideman Award, a Theater Masters Innovative Playwright Award, Jerome and McKnight Fellowships, and a NEA/TCG Residency. A graduate of the Brown M.F.A. program, Harrison is an alumnus of New Dramatists. Harrison is a writer/producer for the Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black."

Zayd Dohrn's plays include The Profane (Playwrights Horizons), Outside People (Vineyard Theatre/Naked Angels), Want (Steppenwolf First Look), Sick (National New Play Network), and Reborning (The Public/SPF). Zayd received Lincoln Center's Lecomte du Nouy Prize, the Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Award, the Sky Cooper American Playwriting Prize, and Theatre Master's Visionary Playwrights Award, and was an Artist in Residence at New York Stage & Film, the Orchard Project, the Chautauqua Institute, Stella Adler Studios, and Theatre for One. He received his MFA from NYU, was a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard, and teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University.

Horton Foote won the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Young Man From Atlanta and received two Academy Awards for his screenplays for the films To Kill A Mockingbird and Tender Mercies. His work has also been produced on Broadway, off-Broadway as well as in theaters throughout the United States. His many honors, in addition to the Pulitzer and Academy Awards, include Drama Desk, Obie, Outer Critics Circle and Lortel Awards, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama and the 2000 National Medal of Arts Award from President Bill Clinton. He is also a member of The Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2008, his play Dividing the Estate won the Obie and Outer Critics Circle Best Play Awards for its Off-Broadway premiere by Primary Stages. In 2008, the play transferred to Broadway under the auspices of Lincoln Center Theater, earning Foote his second Best Play Tony nomination. In 2009-2010, his epic masterwork,The Orphans' Home Cycle was co-produced by Hartford Stage Company and Signature Theatre Company, and received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award. In 2013, The Trip to Bountiful was revived on Broadway (winning a Best Actress Tony Award for Cecily Tyson), and premiered in 2014 as a new Lifetime film, earning two Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Movie. His memoirs, Farewell and Beginnings, are published by Scribner.

Pictured: MARJORIE PRIME off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

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