Jason Wright Downs – 1st Place Winner – MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN
MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN explores the unusual way a father and son stave off the grieving process after the death of their matriarch.
Judith Child was a complicated woman who came from a wealthy British family and married the brilliant, charismatic Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Benjamin Child. They have a son, Dorian, who never quite grew into himself or the man that Benjamin hoped. Upon her death, Benjamin and Dorian are left rudderless and without Judith’s strong and guiding presence cut themselves off from the world and fall into an unusual way of keeping her spirit alive, thus delaying their grief. When Benjamin injures his Achilles during a fall, the two men are forced to allow an East Indian medical professional to tend the ankle and she disrupts the routine, challenges their mental and physical capacities, and breaks the spell the house is under.
Themes in Most Beautiful Man examine outgrowing the shadow of our parents, the transition of power, race/sexuality/and role blurring, what defines beauty/life/and death, and good old fashioned family drama.
Jason Wright Downs graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama and has performed on stage and screen for forty years. Some of his credits include John Waters’ Hairspray, Clara’s Heart with Neil Patrick Harris, Racing Daylight with Melissa Leo and David Strathairn, all four NCIS incarnations, KC Undercover with Zendaya, and the villain Rhodes on Days of our Lives. He toured with the National Players production of The Tempest as Caliban, has played Romeo in repertory, and Lorenzo off Broadway. Jason is a proud member of the Pacific Resident Theatre company (PRT) and received accolades for his portrayal of Lenny in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. He was also signed as a recording artist with Jive Records, releasing three albums and six singles, one of which was a top 20 hit overseas (White Boy With A Feather) resulting in a European tour. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks and authored more than a dozen books under the alias Tristan Hunt. Three of his novels appeared on the USA Today Bestseller’s list. As a voice actor Jason has performed in many ads, video games, ABC’s The Goldberg’s and Disney’s Muppets Mayhem. He recently ended a six-month run of The Dumbwaiter at PRT which will be traveling to New York for performances in the fall.
Jason has written for the theater informally since he was a child creating impromptu skits and scenes with friends and siblings, writing sketches for theater companies and improv groups, and of course screenplays that still await production…but A Good Mourning represents his first foray into writing a full-length stage play, which is still his first love. Here’s hoping it turns into a regular habit because it is one of the most rewarding creative experiences of Jason’s life thus far. The play never would’ve gotten to this point without the support, input and guidance of Anthony Foux, Claudia Kahn, Dana Dewes Jackson, Weston Middleton, Aliah Whitmore, James Whitmore Jr. and Sharon Raab Downs. Sincere thanks, much love, and endless gratitude.
Jake Broder – 2nd Place Winner – UNRAVELLED
UNRAVELLED is the story of Dr. Anne Adams and her obsession with Ravel’s Bolero. How she, through her diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), developed as a painter and became a remarkable artist. Through her story the play also uncovers the mystery of Ravel’s similar diagnosis almost 100 years earlier. UnRavelled is a multimedia event marrying theater, live music, visual art and science. But mostly, UnRavelled is an essential new play about love, art, science and who we are on the most profound level.
Jake Broder lives in Los Angeles with his wife Lucy and children Ella & Louis. He is currently an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute (at UCSF and Trinity College, Dublin). He was the Hellman Visiting Artist in 2019, which resulted in the script for his play UnRavelled. His play Our American Hamlet premiered at the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, and was nominated for best new play, IRNE (Boston).
His musical, Miravel, won the LADCC for best score, composed by Jake. He co-wrote and originated the role of Louis in Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, winning Jake Ovation, LADCC, Garland and LA Weekly awards for Best Actor and Best Musical. It ran at the Geffen Playhouse, directed by Oscar-winner, Taylor Hackford, and since toured Chicago and SoCal. His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley played Off-West End (Soho Theatre) and Off-Broadway (59e59) and in LA.
Jake’s TV Writing includes Typewriter Days (Revolution Studios) and Black Hole Sun (Echo Lake). He was also a fellow at the O’Neill Theatre Center under artistic director John McDaniel. As an actor, Jake recently shot The Patient, with Steve Carrell, was on The Morning Show on Apple TV+, and has a recurring role on HBO’s Silicon Valley. Broadway/West End includes: Mozart in Amadeus directed by Sir Peter Hall (Old Vic, Music Box, Ahmanson), When Harry Met Sally with Alyson Hannigan and Luke Perry (Theatre Royal Haymarket), and Ophelia & Juliet in the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works of Shakespeare (Criterion) in London. He played Ira Gershwin in Words By: Ira Gershwin (Colony Theatre) and Einstein in Einstein Comes Through (North Coast Rep), both directed by David Ellenstein. He received his BA from Tufts University and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Simon Bowler Kahn – 3rd Place Winner – JUDGMENT OF THE EYE
JUDGMENT OF THE EYE – Han Van Meegeren, a struggling Dutch artist, realizes his skill is forgeries and proceeds to sell millions of dollars of fake art. When Germany invades, he is compelled by the SS to sell paintings to Goering, and he makes millions more. At the end of the war, he is accused of selling national treasure to the enemy and is to be executed. He claims the paintings are fakes and to prove it he will paint another. He is given six to paint a new Vermeer or he will be hung. His story exposes the contradictions of how we perceive and value art, in a tale so absurd, and with a character so flawed, it can only be true.
Simon Bowler Kahn – After graduating in Film and TV from the University of Westminster, London, Simon produced at BBC World Service Television, then produced documentaries for Channel 4 and The World Bank. He produced the mockumentary feature film ‘Man of the Year’ and worked as an entertainment radio journalist in Los Angeles. He returned to television and produced multiple shows for Channel 4, the BBC, ABC, PBS, Discovery, Oxygen, Bravo, and Friends of the Earth. He has written several award-winning plays.