PLAYING ON AIR Announces Celebrity Judges For Inaugural James Stevenson Prize

PLAYING ON AIR Announces Celebrity Judges For Inaugural James Stevenson PrizePlaying On Air announced today the names of the three celebrity guests joining sponsor Josie Merck on the jury for their inaugural James Stevenson Prize, which will award three monetary prizes for new short comedic plays that honor and perpetuate the spirit and wit of Mr. Stevenson.

Merck and Playing On Air will be joined by playwrights Willy Holtzman, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Paul Rudnick to select the first-ever winner and runners up of the James Stevenson Prize.

The James Stevenson Prize will help bring the finest American dramatic writing to an audience of millions, for free. In his cartoons for The New Yorker, Mr. Stevenson told stories about the human comedy with energy and economy. This prize in his name recognizes his love of theater, as well as his extraordinary ability to pack a punch with very few lines.

The James Stevenson Prize first prize offers writers a $7,500 award, plus a Playing On Air recording of the play for radio and podcast distribution. Second and third prizes offer writers a $2,000 and $1,000 award, respectively.

Submissions of short comedic plays (10-25 pages) will be accepted via Google Form with a deadline of noon on July 1, 2018. For more information, please visit

Playing On Air is a public radio show and podcast that features short, contemporary plays recorded by world-class artists.

"Our goal is to share top theater talent with audiences everywhere at no cost to the listener. With the support of Josie Merck, we are now able to catalyze the creation of new, comedic short plays honoring the wit, insight, and ebullience that James Stevenson so fully embodied," said Claudia Catania, founder and Artistic Director of Playing On Air.

Playing On Air is broadcast in twenty-one states enabling it to reach millions of listeners. It has recorded more than 95 notable contemporary short plays by major American Playwrights featuring outstanding actors and directors. Listeners everywhere can download Playing On Air's podcast on their favorite app. Each podcast features one short play followed by a conversation with its playwright, director, and cast.

Playwrights represented on Playing On Air thus far include David Ives, Lynn Nottage, David Auburn, Beth Henley, Christopher Durang, Jesse Eisenberg, Julia Cho, Doug Wright, Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, John Patrick Shanley, Arlene Hutton, Donald Margulies, Cusi Cram, Paul Rudnick, Jacquelyn Reingold, John Guare, Sheri Wilner, Lanford Wilson, Rachel Bonds, Willy Holtzman, Cori Thomas, Daniel Reitz, and David Lindsay-Abaire.

Recordings have featured, among many other greats, Chris Cooper, Audra McDonald, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Williams, Harriet Harris, John Leguizamo, Margo Martindale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Julie Halston, Debra Monk, Jesse Eisenberg, Rosie Perez, Michael Urie, Kathleen Turner, Jeremy Shamos, Tonya Pinkins, Bill Irwin, Amy Ryan, Sam Waterston, Condola Rashad, Jane Alexander, Adam Driver, Lois Smith, Jay O. Sanders, Jane Krakowski, Steven Boyer, John Douglas Thompson, Dana Ivey, Martha Plimpton, and Timothee Chalamet.

Directors have included Doug Hughes, Anne Kauffman, John Rando, Seret Scott, Estelle Parsons, RJ Tolan, Rebecca Taichman, Jerry Zaks, Claudia Weill, Jonathan Bernstein, Judith Ivey, Wendy Goldberg, Marsha Mason and Michael Wilson.

Playing On Air can be downloaded from iTunes Podcasts or streamed directly from the Playing On Air website: Listeners can also subscribe to Playing On Air using their favorite podcast apps.

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