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Maggie Lou Rader To Receive Theater J's 2021 Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize At December 7th Benefit


Theater J staff, Theater J affiliated artists and members of the Theater J Council evaluated 83 scripts in order to choose a winning play.

Maggie Lou Rader To Receive Theater J's 2021 Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize At December 7th Benefit

Theater J's Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr and Managing Director David Lloyd Olson announce the winner of the 2021 Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize Maggie Lou Rader with her play The Helpers. The Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize awards $3,000 and a stage reading to a promising emerging woman playwright in honor of a new play that celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience.

The Prize is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist and venture capitalist Patty Abramson and will be awarded along with the Trish Vradenburg New Jewish Play Prize at Theater J's Annual Benefit on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 7:30pm in Washington, DC. Inspired by The Diary of Anne Frank, The Helpers is a new perspective from the other side of the most famous bookshelf in history. Miep Gies, an immigrant and secretary for Otto Frank's famous Opekta Company, leads a group of helpers to preserve the residents of the Secret Annex and the spirit of goodness and survival during World War II. The Helpers is a tale of joy, hope, friendship, and resistance during one of history's darkest moments.

Theater J staff, Theater J affiliated artists and members of the Theater J Council evaluated 83 scripts in order to choose a winning play. The final selection committee included: Leigh Silverman (Tony-nominated and Obie award-winning director, and step-daughter of Patty Abramson), Shawna M. James (Director, Board Community Manager TCG), Felicia M. Curry (actor and educator), and Michele Berman (co-founder of the Theater J Council with Patty Abramson, after whom the Abramson prize is named; current honorary Theater J Council member).

Finalists are Screech Owl by Madison Fiedler and Damsels by Jenny Rachel Weiner. Maggie Lou Rader will receive her award at the Theater J annual benefit on December 7, 2021 in Washington, DC, and The Helpers will receive a reading produced by Theater J with professional actors at a date to be announced.

"Maggie Lou Rader's The Helpers is simply a phenomenal play," says Adam Immerwahr, Theater J Artistic Director. "It is a fascinating journey into the world of Anne Frank, exploring a side of the story that is often overlooked. I am so thrilled that our selection committee decided to honor Patty Abramson's memory by recognizing this gripping new work, by a promising emerging writer."

Maggie Lou Rader adds: "It fills my heart with joy to know that this story continues to speak to others as it does to me. I'm incredibly grateful to Theater J, the prize committee, and of course, the Abramson family for allowing The Helpers to be recognized in such a way that allows the story of Miep, the Franks, and the helpers, to continue on in the form of a new theatrical work."

"Theater J's annual benefit is an honored tradition for the theater community and Jewish community of Washington, DC," says Managing Director David Lloyd Olson. "After presenting the event online last year, this year attendees will be able to either watch the award presentation online or attend in person." Tickets for the benefit start at $350 and can be purchased at or by calling Theater J's development office at 202.777.3225.

A produced playwright, member of the Dramatist's Guild, and AEA Actor, Maggie Lou Rader (she/her/hers) tells epic stories of epic women. She's obtained degrees from William Jewell College in Kansas City and the Birmingham School of Acting in the UK and has called Cincinnati home for nearly 10 years. She has been the winner of the Notre Dame College New Play festival, a finalist for the Henley Rose Playwrighting Award for Women, Utah Shakespeare's Words Cubed, Central Florida Community Arts TYA New Play and Musical Festival, and was selected for Miami University's inaugural Digital Play Reading Series, as well as a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival, Dayton Playhouse's Future Fest, and UP Theater's Renewal Reading Series. She's has had the privilege of having her work developed at DePaul University, the Theatre School, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Her plays have been produced at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, InBocca Performance, and The Marsh, MarshStream International Solo Fest, as well as staged readings with Theatre Pro Rata and Green Buffalo Productions. She's also been published with Smith and Kraus as well as Madwomen in the Attic. Keep an eye out for her work at Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Skeleton Rep, and Dean Productions in 2021. As a performer, she has performed in over 75 professional productions with Know Theatre of Cincinnati, StageOne, The Human Race Theatre, Kentucky Shakespeare, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, and has been a resident actor with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for 10 seasons. In Cincinnati, she lives happily on her homestead with husband Justin, and three fur babies with four eyes between them.

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