Theater J in Washington announced Tuesday the creation of two national Jewish theater prizes.
The Trish Vrandenburg Jewish Play Prize will award $15,000 to an established playwright. The Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize will award $3,000 and a stage reading to a “promising emerging female-identifying playwright,” Theater J announced.
“These are significant prizes to celebrate the extraordinary work that is happening in this country around Jewish theater,” said Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr, “to bring those writers to Theater J and introduce them to who we are, and introduce who we are to even more of the national theatrical community for the awarding of these prizes.”
Each prize will honor a play that “celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience,” according to a Theater J statement.
The prizes memorialize members of the Theater J community who died recently.
Vrandenburg, a playwright and philanthropist, was a Theater J Council member for 13 years. She died in April 2017. Abramson, a venture capitalist and philanthropist, co-founded the Theater J Council and was a member of the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center Board of Directors. She died in August 2019.
Immerwahr said that in funding the prizes, Vrandenburg and Abramson’s families set guidelines based on their namesakes’ interests.
“Trish was herself a published and produced playwright and was always excited to see Theater J tackling major plays by established writers,” Immerwahr said. “Patty was a renowned venture capitalist creating … companies that invested in the work of women entrepreneurs, and was deeply committed to helping other women achieving success.”
He said he’s looking forward to reading the work that comes his way.
“We’ve already had many submissions. I posted about it on Facebook about 24 hours ago and we’re already inundated,” he said on Wednesday.
Playwrights interested in submitting their work can visit the Theater J website. Submissions will be accepted through April 1, 2020.