The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust today announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright Lauren Yee are the recipients of 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards. The acclaimed writers will be honored at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards, presented on Monday, January 13, 2020, at Lincoln Center Theater. The “Mimi” Awards are presented annually to honor the outstanding artistry and accomplishments of some of the most gifted American Playwrights.
“Playwrights create the blueprints for worlds shaded in and populated by a village of collaborators. That village includes supporters like Steinberg. The Trust has had a huge impact on my work and career, both through this award and through its support of America’s regional theaters. This prize deepens that relationship and focuses me on the work that I might do in the future,” said Lauren Yee.
“I am so honored by this prize; it’s an awe inspiring list of playwrights to be among! I’m so grateful to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for strengthening our theatrical ecosystem by supporting a diverse variety of artists and theaters, and thankful to the committee for their consideration,” said Jackie Sibblies Drury.
The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers, who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent and artistic excellence. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American Playwrights and honor the promise they hold for the future of American theatre. Each recipient will receive a cash award of $50,000.
“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is deeply honored to recognize the remarkable careers of Jackie and Lauren to date. Their work has made an indelible impact in a remarkably short amount of time, and we look forward to watching their powerful ideas continue to influence the lives of all who have the privilege of experiencing them onstage,” said Trustee, Jim Steinberg.
“With humor, imagination, and insight, Lauren Yee writes plays that explore family stories, history and culture, often through the lives of Asian American immigrants and their descendants. Her most recent works, Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap, combine deeply personal stories and politically charged events across international borders. Lauren Yee has become a major new voice in American Theatre,” stated Advisory Committee Member, Kent Thompson.
“Jackie Sibblies Drury is a preternaturally disruptive architect of theatrical event. Her plays consider not only what is being dramatized but also who is watching, and what does that mean? How is an audience involved in this? She creates dynamic encounters that demand something more than passive spectatorship. Her formalism is not academic, nor merely an aesthetic pleasure, but rather, an expression of her interest in the inextricable intertwine of content and structure. She is, in a word, indispensable — and deeply deserving of celebration,” said Advisory Committee Member, Sarah Lunnie.
“The future of the American Theater is in fantastically talented hands. Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee are both breathtakingly brilliant, formally innovative playwrights who broaden our world with integrity and originality. We are lucky to have them, and proud to have them,” said Advisory Committee Member, Oskar Eustis.
Along with a monetary award, playwrights receive “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect.
Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. Her CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. Her play THE GREAT LEAP has been produced at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf, Cygnet Theatre, and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama.
Lauren Yee’s play KING OF THE YEES premiered at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre, Canada’s National Arts Centre, and Baltimore Center Stage. Other plays include CHING CHONG CHINAMAN (Pan Asian Rep, Mu Performing Arts), THE HATMAKER’S WIFE (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), HOOKMAN (Encore, Company One), IN A WORD (Young Vic, SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), SAMSARA (Victory Gardens), THE SONG OF SUMMER (Trinity Rep, Mixed Blood), and THE TIGER AMONG US (Mu).
She is the winner of the Doris Duke Artist Award, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, and the Francesca Primus Prize. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her plays were the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List.
Lauren is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists member (class of 2025), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, former Princeton University Hodder fellow, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. TV: PACHINKO (Apple), SOUNDTRACK (Netflix). Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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