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March 2nd, 2011 By Rick Pender | Arts & Culture | Posted In: Theater

Playhouse Show Up for National Recognition


The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) today announced six finalists for its Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside of New York City during 2010. Among the finalists is The History of Invulnerability by David Bar Katz, a script that premiered in April 2010 at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

The play uses the life of Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman, to explore the roots of art and how it relates to the real world. It contends that the nebbishy Siegel evolved Superman as a fantasy to counteract his guilt and impotence over the horror of the Holocaust half a world away. The production, honored by the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards as the season’s best local premiere, was directed by Michael Evan Haney, the Playhouse’s associate artistic director.

The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each will be presented April 2  at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

The Steinberg/ATCA Award is the most substantial national new play award of its kind. The other finalists are Rinne Groff’s Compulsion (Yale Repertory Theatre/Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit (Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago), Kathryn Grant’s The Good Counselor (Premier Stages in Union, N.J.), Emily Schwend’s Splinters (Source Festival in Washington, D.C.) and Bill Cain’s Nine Circles (Marin Theatre Company).

Cain was the 2010 winner for his play Equivocation. The artistic director of the Marin Theatre Company, based in Mill Valley, Calif., where Nine Circles was produced, is Jasson Minadakis, founder and former artistic director of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

Finalists were selected from 27 eligible scripts submitted by ATCA members from across the United States. They were evaluated by a committee of 13 theater critics from Florida, Seattle, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Since 1977 ATCA has honored new plays produced at regional theaters outside of New York City, where there are many awards. No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year. Since 2000, the award has been funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman and Craig Lucas have won the New Play Award previously.

Photo by Sandy Underwood

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