In early November, Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang presented the 2017 Kesselring Prize to rising young playwright Lauren Yee at the National Arts Club. Ms. Yee earned the Kesselring for her play THE GREAT LEAP, to be produced this season by Denver Center, Seattle Rep and Atlantic Theater Company. The Prize includes a $25,000 award and a two week residency in the historic clubhouse of the National Arts Club in order to develop her work.
Michael Parva, Kesselring Prize Artistic Director, helmed select scenes from Ms. Yee’s plays including KING OF THE YEES, THE GREAT LEAP AND CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. The cast included Francis Jue, Ned Eisenberg, Jeena Yi, Daniel K. Isaac, Joe Ngo, Tobias C. Wong and Jennifer Lim. The evening featured special remarks by guest artist Regina Taylor. A cocktail reception in the NAC parlors followed the awards presentation.
Each year, the National Arts Club invites theaters across the country to nominate an emerging playwright for the Kesselring Prize who is poised for a higher national profile through his or her growing body-of-work. Atlantic Theatre Company nominated Ms. Yee.
Her previous works include IN A WORD, a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award; THE HATMAKER’S WIFE, which was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for its John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright; and KING OF THE YEES, which premiered last season at The Goodman Theatre.
The 2017 Kesselring Prize Jury that selected Ms. Yee consisted of: famed playwright John Guare; Dramaturg of Lincoln Center Theater, Anne Cattaneo; and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage.
Established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring – widow of playwright Joseph Kesselring – to honor and support young writers who are not as yet nationally recognized, and provide them with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their work. Past recipients include Lucas Hnath (now on Broadway with A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2), Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Nicky Silver and last year’s honoree, Lindsey Ferrentino, whose play UGLY LIES THE BONE was produced this year at the National Theatre in London.
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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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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