Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau will be honored at 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on Nov. 16

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust will honor Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau with 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on Monday, November 16, 2015. Scenes highlighting their work will be performed at the 8th Annual ‘Mimi’ Awards, which will take place at Lincoln Center Theater.

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 theater. Each recipient will receive a cash award of $50,000.

“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust prides itself on fostering the best and brightest young playwrights through the Steinberg Playwright Awards, and we are extremely proud to honor Branden and Dominique this year. Their work to date has displayed outstanding talent, and we look forward to watching their careers continue to flourish,” said Steinberg board member Jim Steinberg.

“Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is one of America’s most exciting and talented young playwrights,” said Paige Evans, Artistic Director at LCT3 and also a current Steinberg Advisory Committee member. “Branden’s plays are fiercely intelligent, ambitious, and boldly theatrical. They challenge, entertain, and unsettle audiences, making us laugh, gasp, and think deeply about race, class, personal ambition, and other complex issues. Branden’s body of work is already impressive, and I’m confident that it will continue to grow and have a lasting impact on the American theater.”

John Earl Jelks and Dominique Morisseau. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks and Dominique Morisseau. Photo by Lia Chang

In describing the work of Dominique Morisseau, Neil Pepe, Artistic Director of the Atlantic Theater Company and also a current Steinberg Advisory Committee member, said, “Dominique’s voice is vital and refreshing. As demonstrated in her trilogy of Detroit plays, she is an artist who believes in the importance of community and the power of theater as a unifying force. Her work celebrates the truth and humanity of her characters and leaves us asking profound questions about who we are and the kind of world we want to live in.”

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is currently a Residency Five playwright at the Signature Theater. His work has been seen at Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Victory Gardens Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theater, The Matrix Theater, Mixed Blood Theater, CompanyOne, and the HighTide Festival (UK). Playwright credits include Gloria (Vineyard Theatre); Appropriate (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Signature Theatre); Neighbors (The Public Theater); An Octoroon (Obie Award, Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience); and War (Yale Rep). He is under commissions from Lincoln Center/LCT3, MTC, and Center Theater Group. His honors include aPaula Vogel Award, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the inaugural Tennessee Williams award. Branden has taught at NYU and at Queens University of Charlotte, and holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU. He is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School.

Dominique Morisseau is an alumna of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Women’s Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop. Credits include: Skeleton Crew (Sundance, Lark Barebones, Atlantic Theater Company/Scott Rudin Productions); Paradise Blue (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem/NBT); Blood At The Root (Arkansas Rep, Penn State); Sunset Baby (Gate Theater, LAByrinth Theatre); and Follow Me To Nellie’s (O’Neill, Premiere Stages). Her three-play cycle, entitled “The Detroit Projects,” includes Detroit ’67, Paradise Blue, and Skeleton Crew. She’s produced original works for the Hip Hop Theater Festival and American Theatre of Harlem, and her play Blood at the Root has toured South Africa, Scotland, Australia and the U.S. and has garnered her production The Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Award. Dominique has been commissioned by Steppenwolf, LCT3, Women’s Project, South Coast Rep, People’s Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She currently serves as Story Editor on the upcoming season of the Showtime series Shameless and is developing two original musicals. Her awards include: Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, NAACP Image Award, Stavis Playwriting Award, Spirit of Detroit Award, University of Michigan Emerging Leader Award, Weissberger Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper New American Play Prize, TEER Spirit Trailblazer Award, and the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama.

The Steinberg Playwright Awards and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award are presented in alternate years. Past recipients include:

· Stephen Adly Guirgis, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2014

· Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2013

· David Henry Hwang, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012

· Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011

· Lynn Nottage, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010

· David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009

· Tony Kushner, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008

Playwrights receive a monetary award along with “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect.

In 2008, the Board of Directors created an advisory committee of prominent theater professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates and select each recipient. The 2015 Advisory Committee is comprised of Jeremy Cohen, Producing Artistic Director, The Playwrights’ Center; Paige Evans, Artistic Director, LCT3; Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, CENTERSTAGE; Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theater Company; Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Carole Rothman, Artistic Director,Second Stage Theatre; and Chay Yew, Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theater.

The Board of Directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is made up of Carole A. Krumland, James D. Steinberg, Michael A. Steinberg, Seth M. Weingarten, and William D. Zabel.

Related articles:
LAByrinth’s Opening Night of Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby with John Earl Jelks, DeWanda Wise, Harvey Gardner Moore, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tracie Thoms, Alano Miller and More
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s AN OCTOROON, Starring Maechi Aharanwa, Pascale Armand, Danielle Davenport, Amber Gray, Ian Lassiter, Austin Smith, Haynes Thigpen, and Mary Wiseman, Extends Again Off-Broadway Through March 29
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards

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, which will screen at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Crafting a Career

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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