joe sutton
Joe Sutton - First Place
F Lynne Bachleda
F. Lynne Bachleda - Second Place
Richard Willett
Richard Willett - Third Place

Joe Sutton – 1st Place Winner – TWIRL

TWIRL – Pat Adams, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Adams, leaves a message early one Saturday morning on the answering machine of Ashley Duncan, a woman who years earlier had testified that Justice Adams had sexually harassed her.  Now, 12 years later, Justice Adams seems poised to ascend from his seat as an Associate Justice to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  However, to do so he will need to face another set of hearings.  Hence the phone call. Mrs. Adams wants to know if Ms. Duncan will testify again.  Because as we all know, charges that may once have been rather easily withstood — could play very differently in the MeToo era. What follows then is a surprising relationship that builds between the two.  Ultimately, they decide to confront Adams at his apartment – and force him to own all that has occurred.

Joe Sutton’s plays include Voir Dire (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the Best Play Award of the American Theatre Critics Association), As It Is In Heaven, The Third Army, and Restoring the Sun. Theatres producing Joe’s plays includee New York Theater Workshop, Long Wharf, Arena Stage, BAM, the Cleveland Play House, and the Old Globe.  Some time ago, Joe’s play Complicit opened at London’s Old Vic and is now playing around the world, most recently at Heidel-berg’s Zimmertheater.  More recently, Joe’s play Orwell In America premiered at Northern Stage before continuing on to a successful run at 59E59.  Last year, Joe’s play Robey was workshopped by Premiere Stages as winner of the Liberty Live Commission. In addition to his theatre work, Joe has developed a pilot for television called Scales of Justice (USA Network).  A recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them multiple fellowships from NYFA, the NEA, and NJ Arts, Joe taught playwriting for many years at Dartmouth College.  Joe lives with his wife Anne at their home in West Orange, New Jersey.

F. Lynne Bachleda – 2nd Place Winner – STOLEN

STOLEN is based on a true story. For nearly sixty years Cornelius Gurlitt successfully hid more than 1,400 pieces of Nazi-era art in his Munich apartment. His father, a “degenerate art” collector for Hitler, had slyly amassed the stash of 20th century masterpieces, many of them probably stolen from Jews needing to escape Germany. In Cornelius’ reclusive reality and fragile mind, the pieces—valued at more than one billion dollars––became his living and entire “family.” A chance chain of tragic and explosive events forces the octogenarian to face what he feared most. Stolen looks at the imaginary heart of Cornelius’ last days, when the weak hermit stands before an accusing world. Can he save his family? What happens when the paintings come alive again?

Lynne Bachleda has been a freelance non-fiction writer for 40-plus years and has authored more than a dozen books. In 2009, at age 59, she began playwriting. Smith & Krauss chose “A Tale of Two in One,” one of her 2016 Nashville Fringe Festival Mortal Quartet10-minute works, for The Best Short Plays of 2017. In 2016 she attended the LaMama Umbria International Playwrights Retreat in Italy, where she studied with Mac Wellman. The following year LaMama New York staged a public reading of her second full-length work Stolen. Also in 2017, she produced her one-act, Stories From the Back Seat, for the Nashville Fringe Festival. In 2020 she was an Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts where, with Master Teaching Artist A in Gordon, she continued to develop her current work Do I Have To? exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and reincarnation. Facebook: F Lynne Bachleda

Richard Willett – 3rd Place Winner – THE TERMINAL EVENT

In THE TERMINAL EVENT, Katie Milbrandt is an aspiring New York actress working part-time as a medical receptionist when she meets troublesome patient Desmond Forrester, notorious for ignoring Dr. Martin Crossley’s advice and addressing his cancer diagnosis with alternative medicine. Desmond pursues a connection with Katie, which she resists then finally succumbs to, until he disappears for a prolonged length of time. Katie discovers he’s been avoiding her because he believes his cancer has gone into remission, and he fears her skepticism about his progress. She’s frightened too, more than anything, of her growing feelings for him. When Desmond’s symptoms return full throttle, and he still refuses to see a doctor, she returns to care for him. In his final days, the two of them are able to overcome past wounding and say “I love you” to each other — something neither has been able to do with anyone before. In the end, that love and the value they have brought to each other’s life seem to transcend the essential mystery of what healing actually may or may not be.

Richard Willett was born in Hollywood but grew up in Vancouver, Canada. He lived for many years in New York City before moving back to Los Angeles about ten years ago. He is the author of the plays Triptych, Random Harvest, and The Flid Show, which have been presented off-off-Broadway and at theaters across the country. Honors include an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship, and grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In January of 2008, his play Tiny Bubbles was chosen Best New American Play at the Firehouse Theatre Festival of New American Plays in Richmond, Virginia; earlier it had been twice short-listed for the Public Theater’s New Work Now! festival. It premiered in New York in 2012. His play 9/10 is scheduled for a New York production in 2022, a pandemic-delayed commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. Richard is also an optioned screenwriter who has twice been in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships Competition Top 50 (out of 7,000 scripts). His plays Triptych, 2B, and The Flid Show have been published by United Stage.  IMDB: Richard Willett