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Desi Moreno-Penson's BEIGE Wins Arizona Theatre Company's 21st Annual National Latino Playwriting Award

Desi Moreno-Penson's Beige has been named the winner of Arizona Theatre Company's 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award, and the recipient of the $1000 prize.

The National Latino Playwriting Award was established by Arizona Theatre Company Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein and Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero to create a greater awareness of the work being done by Latina/o playwrights across the nation. This is the 21st year of the contest.

A surreal tale of self-identity and the sometimes schizophrenic effects of post-colonialism, Beige is set in 2001, after the tragedy of 9/11, and tells the story of Soledad Iglesias, a Nuyorican journalist who finds herself caught between the reality of her Jewish fiancée and the ideals of the Puerto Rican Nationalist, Lolita Lebron. Existing at the crossroads of history, reality, and cultural imagination, Beige is a cautionary tale of race, Puerto Rican politics, and love.

ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero says, "Beige masterfully brings forth the clash between a woman's sense of Puerto Rican nationalism and the love of her life, who does not neatly fit into her personal narrative. Recently, the conversation about Puerto Rican identity politics has reached new heights. This complex rendering, and clear fusion of character and politics, makes Beige perfectly timed to receive this honor." ATC Literary Manager Katherine Monberg adds, "We were thrilled by the theatricality, the depth, and the vibrancy of Desi's voice and the unique coalescence of immediacy and timelessness in Beige that speaks to an incredibly powerful story and storyteller."

Desi Moreno-Penson is a New York-based playwright and actor. Her plays have been developed and/or produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, New Georges, INTAR, Henry Street Settlement, Perishable Theater (Providence, RI), SPF-Summer Play Festival, The Downtown Urban Theater Festival @the Cherry Lane, and Urban Theatre Company (Chicago), among others. Her play Beige is a finalist in the 2016 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and another play Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food) was a finalist for the 2014 O'Neill NPC, received Honorable Mention on The Kilroys List, and was produced by MultiStages Theater Company. She was also a semifinalist for the 2007 Princess Grace Award for her play, Devil Land. Her plays Ghost Light, Devil Land, Lazarus Disposed, and 3 to a Session: A Monster's Tale are published by Broadway Play Publishing and her ten-minute play Spirit Sex was selected for the short plays anthology "Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2010," published by Smith and Kraus. Ms. Moreno-Penson is represented by Bruce Ostler at Bret Adams Ltd.

The finalists for the 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award are Georgina Escobar's Sweep and Augusto Federico Amador's Atacama.

Sweep by is a femme spec evo story that follows two sisters and hit women of the multi-verse whose initial snafu with Adam and Eve catches up with them lifetimes later. Fighting for a last chance to reset humanity's imperfect patterns, they hunt their targets from biblical times to the modern day in order to accelerate humanity's collective evolution. Georgina Escobar's credits include: Sweep (Lincoln Center Theatre's Directors Lab 2016), The Unbearable Likeness of JONES (Dixon Place), Wayfoot (originated at the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, 2014), The Ruin (Words Afire, 2011), and Firerock: Pass the Spark (Lensic, 2012). She is the recipient of the Kennedy Center's National Theatre for Young Audiences Award for Ash Tree (Duke City Repertory, ASSITEJ Festival), and is the founder of Fourth Wall/One Blue Cat Productions and a Steering Committee Member for the Latina/o Theatre Commons.

Atacama is placed 30 years after the dirty wars waged by the General Pinochet regime on the Chilean people. Two strangers: a mother and father, search the Atacama Desert for their buried loved ones and discover that there are darker truths awaiting them underneath the hard sands of the Atacama. Augusto Federico Amador was born and raised in Silicon Valley, CA and is the son of a Peruvian composer and an Austrian chef. Previously, he was a playwriting fellow at The Public Theater in NY. Atacama was developed through the Center Theater Group/The Humanitas Prize in Los Angeles, CA and is part of his Latin American dictator play trilogy which includes Kissing Che and The Book of Leonidas, both of which are published in the Proscenium Theater Journal. Atacama is a semifinalist for the 2016 Princess Grace Award, and Mr. Amador's latest screenplay, Ratcatcher, placed in the 2015 Top 50 Academy Nicholl Fellowship Screenplays and begins film production in January 2017.

Previous winners of the National Latino Playwriting Award have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, featured at the Humana Festival and at regional theaters across the country. Recent winner The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta will be produced as part of ATC's current 50th Anniversary Season. Edwin Sànchez's La Bella Familia, Michael Mejias's Ghetto Babylon, Caridad Svich's Spark, and Kristiana Colón's Octagon were given staged readings in ATC's Café Bohemia new play reading series as part of the award. Other past recipients include Matthew Paul Olmos, Kristoffer Diaz, Carlos Murillo, Luis Alfaro, Octavio Solis, Raul Garza and Karen ZacarÍas. Felix Pire's winning play The Origins of Happiness in Latin was previously produced by ATC.

The 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts as part of the Voices of a New America company-wide initiative.

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