The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalists

by Ayla Harrison

Yep, the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalists were announced a few days ago. This prestigious playwriting honor (and handsome $20K cash prize) is bestowed upon one lucky lady theatre scribe.

This year’s Finalists include: 

Johnna AdamsGidion’s Knot (U.S.)

Alice BirchMany Moons (U.K.)

Madeleine GeorgeSeven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (U.S.)

Jennifer HaleyThe Nether (U.S.)

Nancy HarrisNo Romance (Ireland)

Zinnie HarrisThe Wheel (U.K.)

Jaki McCarrickBelfast Girls (U.K.)

Molly Smith MetzlerClose Up Space (U.S.)

Meg MiroshnikThe Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (U.S.)

Alexis ZegermanThe Steingolds (U.K.)

Since the Prize began in 1977 seven Blackburn Finalist plays have also landed a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Those female dramatists include: Margaret Edson, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel and Wendy Wasserstein.

While reviewing the noms I noticed a slew of these Blackburn Finalists have also been popping up all over the LA theatre scene…

T@BC recently did a reading of Jennifer Haley’s play Breadcrumbs (which Jessica Kubzansky also directed at Theatre 150 in Ojai). Johnna Adams has worked with various LA staples including Moving Arts and The Women’s Theatre Company of LA. Molly Smith Metzler’s Elemeno Pea just opened at South Coast Rep on Feb 3rd. And Meg Miroshnik’s play The Droll was part of SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival in 2011.

I spoke with LA playwright, Jennifer Haley, about her feelings regarding her Blackburn nomination:

When I found out I was a Finalist, I felt surprise and gratitude.  And then there was also the vindicated feeling of – ah, good – after all the time I’ve spent on this play, an esteemed body of artists got it.  Often when I release a new work into the world, I suspect it’s too _____ (fill in the blank) for anyone else to enjoy.  So when I receive a commendation like this, I feel relieved to know I’m on the right track!

Well said, Jen. And a big Boston Court congratulations to all these ________ (fill in the blank with as many words for awesome/wonderful/amazing/fantastic) lady playwrights!

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