From Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson:
Lauren Gunderson’s play “I and You” has earned the $25,000 top award in the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award competition, honors given annually to plays that premiered at theaters outside of New York City.Receiving two other 2014 Steinberg/ATCA citations, and awards of $5,000 each, are the plays “Fear Up Harsh” by Christopher Demos-Brown, and “Seven Spots on the Sun” by Martin Zimmerman. The prizes were announced at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 5.
Gunderson’s play focuses on the rapport between a teenage girl awaiting an organ transplant and a boy who arrives at her home to work on a special class project with her about the poetry of Walt Whitman. “I and You” premiered last fall at the Marin Theatre Company in California. (Three earlier works by the prolific, Bay Area-based Gunderson have been produced in Seattle at ArtsWest Playhouse: “The Taming,” “Emilie” and “Exit, Pursued by a Bear.”)
“Fear Up Harsh,” which examines the nature of heroism as it affects two U.S. veterans of Mideast combat, debuted last November at the Zoetic Stage in Miami. “Seven Spots on the Sun” considers forgiveness and redemption against the backdrop of civil war, and it was unveiled last October at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
A jury of 19 critics from around the U.S. (including Misha Berson of the Seattle Times, and Jerry Kraft of seattleactor.com) selected the winning plays. They also awarded the annual $1,000 M. Elizabeth Osborn Prize, given to a playwright deserving of more national exposure, to Topher Payne for his script, “Perfect Arrangement.” A full list of winners past and present is here.