Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lucas Hnath to receive 2015 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting for THE CHRISTIANS

Lucas Hnath

Lucas Hnath

Lucas Hnath is the recipient of the 2015 Kesselring Prize for playwrighting for his new play THE CHRISTIANS, directed by Les Waters, which recently opened to considerable acclaim Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizon in New York and has been extended through October 25th.

THE CHRISTIANS is a co-production of Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group. Following the New York run, THE CHRISTIANS will be presented by Center Theatre Group in its Los Angeles premiere at The Mark Taper Forum from December 2, 2015 through January 10, 2016, with an Opening Night of December 13. Mr. Hnath was submitted by The Actors Theatre of Louisville for THE CHRISTIANS, which debuted there at the Humana Festival.

Linda Powell, Andrew Garmon, Larry Powell, Richard Henzel and the Choir in "The Christians." at the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Linda Powell, Andrew Garmon, Larry Powell, Richard Henzel and the Choir in “The Christians.” at the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

The Kesselring Prize for playwriting – given by the National Arts Club in New York since 1980 – returns this year following a six-year hiatus.  The Kesselring Prize comes with a cash award of $10,000; the honorable mention winner receives $2,000.

The jury for the 2015 Kesselring Prize consisted of playwright John Guare (THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES), Anne Cattaneo (dramaturg Lincoln Center Theater) and Lynn Nottage (RUINED, SWEAT, recipient of a 2003 Kesselring Award).  Michael Parva, Artistic Director of the Directors Company in NYC, serves as Artistic Advisor of the Kesselring Prize.

The jury awarded James Ijames an Honorable Mention for his play THE MOST SPECTACULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON, submitted by the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia.

Prior to the award to Mr. Hnath, the most recent Kesselring Award was given in 2009.

Begun in 1980 by the National Arts Club, the Kesselring Prize –established by Charlotte Kesselring in memory of her husband and long-time NAC member Joseph Kesselring, author of the comedy classic ARSENIC AND OLD LACE – honors a not-yet nationally-recognized playwright with an honorarium to support development of future work.  Each year, up to 18 theatres are invited by the NAC to nominate a play and playwright whose work they have produced.  In addition to the Actors Theatre and Wilma, other theatres who nominated writers this year included South Coast Repertory, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Long Wharf, Steppenwolf, Vineyard, La Jolla, The Culture Project, Abingdon, Magic Theatre and Alliance Theater.  According to Mr. Parva, the list of nominating theaters changes year to year.

Previous recipients of the Kesselring include: Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Nicky Silver, David Auburn, Melissa James Gibson and Rajiv Joseph.

Playwrights Hnath and Ijames will be honored at The Kesselring Prize Reception and Dinner on November 22 at the National Arts Club.


Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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 Blog, Jade Magazine and

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