The American Theatre Critics Association is pleased to announce that Nate Eppler has won the 2017 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 8. The Osborn Award recognizes Eppler’s “The Ice Treatment,” which was premiered in July, 2016, presented by Actors Bridge Ensemble in partnership with Nashville Repertory Theatre.
(Click here for Nashville Arts Critic April 9 report of Eppler’s acceptance speech.)
Eppler serves as playwright-in-residence for Nashville Repertory Theatre. He directs the Nashville Repertory Theatre Ingram New Works Project, a nationally recognized and locally valued program designed to cultivate the development of new plays for the stage.
In “The Ice Treatment,” Eppler takes an iconic pop culture moment and transforms it into an interrogation of the American dream as an ice skater writes her own story, regardless of the truth.
Panelists on the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Committee, which selects the Osborn winner, called it “Compelling, with fast moving story and well-constructed dialogue… plus a cosmonaut.” It’s “a darkly funny take on celebrity,” concerning a “modern day, working-class monster—or is she?”
ATCA’s Osborn Award is designed to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. The award was established in 1993 to honor the memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn. It carries a $1,000 prize, funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association. Visit http://americantheatrecritics.org/osborn-new-play-award/ for a list of previous Osborn Award winners.
Making the selection from plays nominated by ATCA members is the ATCA New Plays Committee, chaired by Lou Harry, arts & entertainment editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal and IBJ.com/arts. That committee also selects honorees for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.
Other committee members are: Misha Berson, Seattle Times, American Theatre (Seattle, WA); Bruce Burgun, The New Orleans Advocate (New Orleans, LA.); Lindsay Christians, The Capital Times (Madison, WI); Mike Fischer, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI); Pam Harbaugh, BrevardCulture.com, florida.theatreonstage.com (Indialantic, FL); Michael P. Howley, theatremontgomery.blogspot.com (Montgomery, AL); Erin Keane, managing editor, Salon.com (Louisville, KY); Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Dallas, TX); Jonathan Mandell, NewYorkTheater.me, DC Theatre Scene (New York, NY); Julius Novick, veteran critic and professor (New York City); Marjorie Oberlander, The Shakespeare Newsletter (New York, NY); Kathryn Osenlund, Phindie, CurtainUp (Philadelphia); Wendy Parker, freelance (Midlothian, Va); David Sheward, ArtsinNY.com, Theaterlife.com (Jackson Heights, NY); Martha Wade Steketee, Howlround.com, TDF Stages (New York, NY); and Perry Tannenbaum, Creative Loafing, CVNC.org, (Charlotte, NC).
The American Theatre Critics Association was founded in 1974 and works to raise critical standards and public awareness of critics’ functions and responsibilities. The only national association of professional theater critics, it has several hundred members who work for newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and websites across the United States. ATCA is also a national section of the International Association of Theatre Critics, a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.
ATCA also presents the Francesca Primus Prize, funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by female artists who have not yet achieved national prominence. Annually it makes a recommendation for the Regional Theater Tony Award presented by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League and votes on inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.