Present Winners


* * * 2016 * * * 


THE CAPTIVES by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich: Professor is a closeted artist/female academic at an Ohio university, who paints images of death-row meals on china plates. She creates each plate after the executions — without meeting the prisoners. Pressured by her tenure committee, she now has her first face-to-face with a convicted killer, a Texas inmate who’s about to die. THE CAPTIVES is inspired by the work of artist Julie Green and the botched 2014 execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton D. Lockett. All characters in this work are fictitious.

Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich of Boston, MA: Recent productions: Sister Sister (Northern Light Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Romeo Chang (Overtime Theatre, San Antonio, ATAC Globe Award), and Big City (Trustus Theatre, Columbia, SC, 2016 New Playwrights Festival Winner), NYC play development at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Rattlestick. Other regional development/productions include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, and Victory Gardens. Published by Smith & Kraus and Indie Theater Now.

SECOND AWARD TO:                                                                                      

BELOW THE NAVEL, ABOVE THE KNEE by William Missouri Downs: IDr. Helen Hand is drowning in student debt, the repo man is stalking her Saab, and she has zero prospects. What the hell was she thinking getting a PhD in English? So when Grace Bible College calls offering her a teaching job she drunkenly agrees to leave Berkeley California and move to rural Kansas. The problem - she’s an agnostic and gluten intolerant. She enters a world of rigid moral rules: no smoking, no alcohol, no interracial dating, and no sex so she sets out to take this fundamentalist college into the twenty-first century. This small cast comedy looks at our need for faith and doubt and comes up with a surprising conclusion about both.

William Missouri Downs of Richards Park, WY has had 150 productions of his plays and won numerous writing awards including two rolling premieres from National New Play Network (The Exit Interview &Women Playing Hamlet). He’s twice been a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill (Mad Gravity & How To Steal A Picasso). Samuel French and Playscripts have published his plays. He’s directed dozens of plays, co-written four books (including Naked Playwriting &The Art Of Theatre) and written for several NBC television shows. a


LITTLE ISLAND OF JOY by Christopher Carlson: takes place in 1916 when the blind and deaf Helen Keller was arguably the most famous woman in America, author of best-selling books, a highly paid national speaker with her teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, and a radical socialist who spoke out forcefully against President Wilson’s plan for the United States to enter the war against Germany. Her traveling secretary was Peter Fagan, a like-minded radical. One auspicious day, Peter communicated to Helen that he cared for her deeply and wanted them to marry, which both surprised and delighted her. If only those closest to her might have seen her love for him, understood her desire for marriage and children; instead they protested her innocence and purity would be lost with Peter. They were the blind ones whose ears turned deaf at her pleas and cries for a home with a husband. Many years later, Helen wrote about this passionate, and secret, love affair, referring to it as “my little island of joy, surrounded by dark water.”

Christopher Carlson of Los Angeles is the writer of numerous screenplays, including HOMECOMING, a film starring Anne Bancroft, nominated by the Writers Guild for Best Long Form Adaptation. He also wrote Puddlejumpers, a fantasy-mystery novel published by Hyperion Books for Children. He studied playwriting under Murray Mednick at the Padua Hills Workshop. LITTLE ISLAND OF JOY was also a semi-finalist for the 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.



* * * 2016 * * *


THE PRINCESS PARODIES by John Woodard: A hilarious fractured fairy-tale romp featuring Snow White and Cinderella, with guest appearances by Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid! Both parents and children alike are sure to laugh as Snow White's Evil Stepmother (A replica of Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond who used to be in Silent Fairy Tales) tries to do away with Snow White with a poisoned Apple Juice Box. Meanwhile–Cinderella is hard at work cleaning the home of her Evil Stepfather. Yes–Evil STEPFATHER. Not to stereotype all fairy tale stepmothers. Leading to the important lesson that being yourself is the best road to living happily ever after.

John Woodard of Los Angeles, CA. got his start writing children's costumed character productions. His first musical "The Berenstien Bears Slammin' Jammin' Revue" toured malls throughout the United States and Canada. His children's play "The Fairy Tale Network" is currently a best seller performing across the country with Pioneer Drama Service. He has also won a variety of screenplay contests in multiple genres including the Scriptapalooza Screenplay Grand Prize, The Rhode Island International Grand Jury Prize, Story Pros, Slamdance, and Honolulu Film Awards among others.


THE SUM OF ME by Richard Manley:
Crandal lost her father in Afghanistan last year. Without much of an education, her mother works two jobs to make ends meet, and fears for her bright young daughter's future in a world where the good guys seldom win. Fortunately, Crandal has a funny old grandmother with time on her hands, a house full of books, and lots of affection. As Crandal starts the ninth grade her grandmother's health takes a very sharp turn for the worse, and Crandal's forced to face the fact that she's never learned to trust anyone but Nanna, not even herself. This play explores the difficulty of one teenager's search for identity and confidence amidst the trolls and trials of a modern American high school experience.

Richard Manley of San Francisco has been writing plays for adults and teenagers for almost ten years. Nine full-length plays and four one-acts have been produced in Manhattan and on both coasts. He has won or been a finalist in over 40 national and international (UK, CAN) writing competitions. His themes celebrate the lonely people, those who struggle to feel relevant in an ever more impersonal world fight, but who, through it all, are able to remain curious and to live their lives with a degree of grace.


THE LAST RADIO SHOW by Todd Wallinger of Colorado Springs, CO
TOGETHERNESS by Jeff Stolzer of New York, NY
OUR OWN BACKYARD by Rachel Lopez of Reno, NV


 Award Competitions

 Julie Harris  Benefits of Membership Winners  Spotlight Awards