Applications Now Open for Philadelphia Theatre Company's 2024 Terrance McNally Award

Over two years, the winning playwright receives a cash award of $10,000, as well as dramaturgical support, and more.

By: Feb. 05, 2024
Applications Now Open for Philadelphia Theatre Company's 2024 Terrance McNally Award

Applications are open through February 12 for Philadelphia Theatre Company’s (PTC)  2024 Terrence McNally Award, generously funded this year and for future recipients by The Terrence McNally Foundation. In celebrating McNally’s life and work, the Award continues in 2024 with a focus on identifying Philadelphia's most promising early-career playwrights and championing the city's incredible artistry, diversity, and talent. The 2022 award-winning playwright was Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters for her play Acetone Wishes and Plexiglass Dreams.  

Under the stewardship of PTC Artistic Directors Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky and working closely with The Terrence McNally Foundation, the newly revamped award is a two-year program awarded every other year. Over two years, the winning playwright receives a cash award of $10,000, as well as dramaturgical support, access to the PTC community, career development, and ultimately, a public reading of their play with professional actors and director in the Spring of 2025 (exact date to be determined in consultation with the playwright).   

“We're overjoyed to announce this new version of the Terrence McNally Award, which reaffirms our commitment to Philadelphia writers and all the artists in this incredible city,” said Tyler Dobrowsky, PTC’s Co-Artistic Director. “We're grateful to The Terrence McNally Foundation for all their support and dedication to PTC.”   

The winner of the 2024 Terrence McNally Award will be announced later this spring. Each application is reviewed by a reader pool of industry professionals. Finalists are selected through two rounds of consideration, notified, and granted an interview with a selection panel, including representatives from Philadelphia Theatre Company and The Terrence McNally Foundation. A panel of renowned theatre professionals, including Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, Quinn D. Eli, and Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters, will select the winner from the finalist application round.   

Previous McNally Award winners include notable playwrights James Ijames, Bill Cain, A. Zell Williams, and Martín Zimmerman. In 2021, the Terrence McNally Award was given to Donja R. Love for his play What Will Happen to All That Beauty? Philadelphia Theatre Company produced a reading of the play in 2022.   

Terrence McNally was an American playwright, librettist, and LGBTQ+ trailblazer, described by The New York Times as “the bard of the American Theater.” One of the few playwrights of his generation to successfully pass from the avant-garde to mainstream acclaim, Terrence redefined American playwriting for six decades and was the recipient of five Tony Awards (two for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, two for the books to his musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime, and the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement). He received the 2011 Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and was Vice President of the Guild from 1981 to 2001. McNally also was awarded the Lucille
Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame (1996). In 2018, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Additional  accolades include an Emmy Award (Andre’s Mother), two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, four Drama Desk Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Obie Awards, and three Hull-Warriner Awards. He was an alumnus of Columbia University and received numerous honorary degrees, including from NYU and Juilliard, where he  helped create the playwriting program in 1993. His legacy lives on in his plays, musicals, and operas that continue to be performed worldwide, as well as in his papers, which are kept and open to the public inside the Harry Ransom Center at the University  of Texas at Austin.  

PTC mounted the world premieres of Master Class, Golden Age, Some Men, Unusual Acts of Devotion, and the Philadelphia regional premieres of Love!Valour!Compassion!, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Mothers and Sons, and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. With the support of Terrence McNally’s husband, producer Tom Kirdahy, PTC hopes to honor McNally’s extensive and impactful legacy and shine a light on the next generation of transformative writers in Philadelphia, helping them to leave a mark on the playwriting world just as McNally did. 

 Applicants and patrons can find more information about the award here. A detailed lineup of PTC productions this season, rental, partnership, and sponsorship opportunities, and a schedule of community programming can be found on the Philadelphia Theatre Company page.