NEW JEWISH PLAY PRIZES

Established in 2020, Theater J’s New Jewish Play Prizes recognize extraordinary new writing that celebrates, explores, or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience from established and emerging playwrights. Created in memory of two longtime Theater J supporters and leaders, the annual prizes both inspire and celebrate the continuation and development of the Jewish theatrical tradition in the United States.

We are currently accepting submissions through May 31, 2021. 

We encourage plays which authentically represent characters and experiences of racially and ethnically diverse Jews, as well as explore the historic and present-day intersections of white Jews and Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color.

Before submitting, please be sure to read all of the FAQs to ensure that your submission meets the eligibility criteria and follows all submission guidelines.
If your submission fails to comply with these requirements, we will not be able to read it.

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize will award $15,000 to an established playwright in honor of a new play that celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience.

The Prize is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist, playwright, and Alzheimer’s research advocate Trish Vradenburg, who served on Theater J’s Council for 13 years.

Plays must be submitted by a theatrical agent or artistic staff members of a professional theater company. We expect established playwrights to have had productions of their plays on Broadway, at major off-Broadway theaters, and/or at multiple LORT theaters, or other markers of attaining significant accomplishments and/or national attention as a playwright. Unproduced plays are eligible, as are plays professionally produced after July 2018 or currently scheduled for an NYC premiere.

ABOUT TRISH VRADENBURG
Trish Vradenburg served on Theater J’s Council for 13 years. She was an accomplished playwright, author, comedy writer, journalist, and advocate. Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr says, “Trish’s unforgettable humor and profound commitment to excellence brought light to every corner of our community. She loved excellence in theater, and I am thrilled to honor her memory with this prize to an established playwright.”

The Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize will award $3,000 and a stage reading to a promising emerging woman playwright in honor of a new play that celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience.

The Prize is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist and venture capitalist Patty Abramson.

Eligible playwrights must not have had more than two productions at LORT or off-Broadway theaters, including different productions of the same play, but may have been produced at other theaters. Plays must not have been produced at the time of submission, but a scheduled future professional production is not disqualifying.

ABOUT PATTY ABRAMSON
Patty Abramson co-founded Theater J’s Council. She created the Women’s Growth Capital Fund and co-founded WomensAngels.net, which, together, invested nearly $40 million in businesses owned or led by women. Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr says: “Patty was fiercely loyal, keenly insightful, and always in Theater J’s corner with wisdom and guidance. We are thrilled to honor her legacy with this important prize for a woman theater artist.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the purposes of these awards, Jewish plays are ones in which Jewish identity, history, or culture plays a critical role: if you took these out, the play would change meaningfully.

No. We welcome writers of all faiths, cultures, backgrounds, and racial and ethnic identities, provided they and their play meet all stated eligibility requirements.

For the purposes of these prizes, we expect “established” playwrights to have had productions of their plays on Broadway, at major off-Broadway theaters, and/or at multiple LORT theaters—or other markers of attaining significant accomplishments and/or national attention as a playwright. Our 2020 Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize winner was Joshua Harmon. For this prize, we only accept submissions via a theatrical agent, or artistic staff members professional theater companies. There are no self-submissions. Straight talk: it will be hard to win this Prize for a playwright whose plays plays aren’t widely known, regularly-produced, and garnering attention on a national level.

If the playwright’s plays have received two or fewer full productions of their one or more of their plays at LORT or off-Broadway theaters, they are eligible for the Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize ($3,000 and a stage reading at Theater J).

If you are unsure about whether or not your previous productions make you eligible for the Vradenburg Prize or ineligible for the Abramson Prize, please check them against this list of LORT member theaters and this list of off-Broadway theaters. National tours, international productions, and nonprofessional theaters do not determine eligibility.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize: the play may be previously produced, provided that its professional world premiere or scheduled NYC premiere (whichever is later) was no earlier than July 1, 2018.

For the Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize: the play may not have received a production, though one may be scheduled at the time of submission. We define “production” as one in which actors were off-book and the play was open to be reviewed. Readings and workshops are allowed.

There is no limit to the number of submissions per playwright, provided that each play meets the eligibility criteria.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize, we accept submissions from agents and artistic staff of professional theaters.

For the Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize, we accept submissions of full scripts from agents and artistic staff of professional theaters. Playwrights may self-submit a synopsis and a 10-page excerpt of their play. We will notify the playwright if we would like to read more.

There is no fee for submitting for either Prize.

You will receive a confirmation within ten days of submitting. All playwrights will receive notification prior to award announcements in Fall 2021.

Scripts will be read and evaluated by a group comprised of Theater J staff members, Theater J artists and collaborators, industry professionals, Theater J Council members, and, in the case of the Abramson prize, representatives of the Abramson family. Theater J makes every effort to ensure our readers are a diverse and theatrically knowledgeable group and that each script receives an unbiased evaluation.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize ($15,000) we ask that you come to DC (travel and accommodations to be paid for by Theater J) to accept the award in person at Theater J. Winners must acknowledge the prize in future publications and productions of the script.

For the Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize ($3,000), we ask that you come to DC (travel and accommodations to be paid for by Theater J) and accept the award in person at Theater J, and simultaneously participate in a professional reading of the play. In accepting the Prize, we require that you agree to acknowledge the prize in future publications and productions of the script. The winning play will be considered under exclusive option by Theater J for full production in the DC metropolitan region for the next two seasons.

No, Theater J will not be able to provide feedback about submitted plays.

Our 2020 Inaugural Winners are:

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Play Prize: Prayer for the French Republic by Joshua Harmon

Joshua Harmon’s plays include Bad Jews (Roundabout Underground; Roundabout/ Laura Pels; West End), Significant Other (Roundabout; Broadway/Booth Theatre), Admissions (Lincoln Center Theater; West End), and Skintight (Roundabout). His plays have been produced across the country including at The Magic, Geffen Playhouse, Studio Theatre, Theater Wit, Speakeasy, and Actor’s Express, and internationally in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, and throughout the U.K. He is a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow and under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and Roundabout, where he is an Associate Artist. Education: Juilliard.

Finalists:  A Model City by Brooke Berman and Picture of a House in Shaker Heights by David Grimm.

The Theater J Patty Abramson Play Prize: Abomination by Nicole Cox

Nicole Cox is a writer in DC. Her play, Office of the Speaker, won Best Drama at Capital Fringe 2019, and her poem, “I Want Lou Reed” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s had productions and readings at the 1-Minute Play Festival, Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage, and Citizens Play Festival. Paula Vogel and Dan O’Brien invited Nicole to workshop her play, All Other Nights, at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her work is published in literary magazines including American Book ReviewTablet MagazineSplit LipElectric LiteratureBriar Cliff Review, and Hanging Loose. Nicole earned her MFA from Emerson College.

Finalists: Belfast Kind by Margot Connolly and Grains of Wheat by Abigail Weaver

While playwrights may submit every year, only each prizes’ notified Finalist plays are eligible for resubmission. All other playwrights may submit previously unsubmitted plays provided they and the play meet the prizes’ eligibility requirements.

Please be sure to read through these FAQs first. If your question still is not answered, you may write to LitOffice@theaterj.org