2015 Steinberg Award winners Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau attend the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau receive 2015 Steinberg Awards at the 8th Annual ‘Mimi’ Awards

Events, Photography, Theater
Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Playwrights Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau were feted on Monday night when The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust hosted the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards (the 8th Annual ‘Mimi’ Awards) at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York. Jacobs-Jenkins and Morisseau each received a cash award of $50,000 and a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect.

The evening featured opening remarks by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, CENTERSTAGE, followed by readings of Jacobs-Jenkins’ notable works including AN OCTOROON performed by Chris Myers, and a monologue from NEIGHBORS performed by Jocelyn Bioh. James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director of Signature Theatre, introduced Jacobs-Jenkins. Austin Durant, Brian Tyree Henry, Carra Patterson, Will Rogers and Michele Shay performed an excerpt from Jacobs-Jenkins’ latest work WAR, which will premiere as part of Lincoln Center Theater’s new season in Spring 2016.

Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director of HI-Arts/Hip Hop Theater Festival, introduced Dominique Morisseau. The cast of the upcoming Atlantic Theater Company production cast of SKELETON CREW, including Jason Dirden, Lynda Gravatt and Nikiya Mathis performed scenes from the play, and Dominique Fishback presented an excerpt from JEZELLE THE GAZELLE. Both performances were helmed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Also in attendance were the Steinberg Board of Directors members Carole Krumland, Jim Steinberg, Michael Steinberg and William Zabel; 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards Advisory Committee Members Jeremy Cohen, Paige Evans, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Neil Pepe, Bill Rauch, Carole Rothman and Chay Yew; as well as  Rajiv Joseph (Steinberg Playwright Award winner, 2013), Lisa d’Amour (Steinberg Playwright Award winner, 2011), Hilton Als, Geneva Carr, Liza Colón Zayas, Mara Davi, John Ellison Conlee, Kamilah Forbes, Montego Glover, Wendy Goldberg, Barry Grove, Joshua Harmon, Stephen McKinley Henderson, James Houghton, Garth Kravits, Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal Dickinson, Keith Josef Adkins, Stephen Karam, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Boo Killebrew, Lynne Meadow, Ashley Park, Benj Pasek, Laura Pels, Joel Perez, Ira Pittelman, Daryl Roth, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tracey Scott Wilson, Ryan Spahn, Sarah Stiles, Wesley Taylor, Neil Tyrone Pritchard, Michael Urie, Morgan Weed, Zoe Winters and more.

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.

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.

2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Playwright Award winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Playwright Award winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is currently a Residency Five playwright at the Signature Theatre. 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.

2015 Steinberg Playwright Award winner Dominique Morisseau attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

2015 Steinberg Playwright Award winner Dominique Morisseau attends the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards on November 16, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

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 ’67Paradise 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

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of his late wife, Miriam. The Trust’s primary mission is to support and promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and by providing significant support to theater companies across the country.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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 Examiner.com, FebOne1960.com BlogJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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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
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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 lia@liachangphotography.com

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