The Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award

Award Background

(Scroll down for news of recent winners and a roster going back to 1977.)

In 1977, the American Theatre Critics Association began annually citing an outstanding new play produced professionally around the United States but not yet produced in New York City, which is well furnished with other awards. This ATCA New Play Citation continued through 1985, when for the first time three plays were cited. Starting in 1986, one of the three was given the ATCA New Play Award, with citations to the two runners-up. The annual prize was $500, then $1,000, with the money contributed some years by ATCA members’ newspapers. 

In 2000, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust generously funded the awards, setting the main prize at $15,000 and two additional citations at $5,000. The award was then named the American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award and Citations (ATCA/Steinberg for short).

In 2006, it was renamed the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and Citations (Steinberg/ATCA for short) and raised to $25,000, with two additional citations of $7,500. The honoree and citations are also honored by critical essays in the definitive annual theater yearbook, Best Plays, edited by Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, founded by Burns Mantle in 1920. 

Any play receiving its professional premiere as a finished work, outside of New York City, is eligible for nomination, as long as it hasn’t opened in New York by the end of the calendar year. Plays are nominated for the Steinberg/ATCA Award by ATCA members. Scripts are then read and honorees selected by a large committee of critics from different regions of the country, and the recent practice has been to announce the awards at the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. Many ATCA Award selections have gone on to major off-Broadway or Broadway productions, and many have received subsequent other awards.


Rebecca Gilman wins 2015 Steinberg/ATCA Award with 'Luna Gale'

Additional citations to Lucas Hnath and Nathan Alan Davis

M. Elizabeth Osborn Award to Tom Coash

ATCA has selected Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale as the recipient of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2014. Gilman’s shattering play about the moral dilemma facing a social worker received the top award of $25,000 and a commemorative plaque during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Two Steinberg/ATCA citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Lucas Hnath’s The Christians and Nathan Alan Davis’ Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

ATCA also presented the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, which recognizes emerging playwrights, to Tom Coash’s Veils. For more about these awards, click here.


Gunderson's "I and You" wins 2014 Steinberg/ATCA Award; citations to Demos-Brown and Zimmerman

Louisville, KY, April 5, 2014 — ATCA has named Lauren Gunderson’s I and You recipient of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2013. 

Gunderson’s delicate but droll play about teenagers exploring life and death received $25,000 and a commemorative plaque at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville on April 5.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Christopher Demos-Brown for Fear Up Harsh and Martin Zimmerman for Seven Spots on the Sun.

I and You, which has already had three productions, focuses on Caroline, a cranky high school student in desperate need of a liver transplant. She is enticed by classmate Anthony, a level-headed basketball star with a taste for English lit, into helping him finish a school project deconstructing Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. As their quirky relationship evolves, they explore the meaning of life and death without a shred of condescension or pretentiousness. Awash in humor and sharp insights, the play grows quietly toward a surprising, overwhelmingly moving conclusion. It premiered in October at Marin Theatre Company as part of the National New Play Network’s rolling world premiere program.

For more about this and the two citation plays, click here.


The Steinberg/ATCA Award -- recent history


April 6, 2013 — At tonight’s Humana Festival of New Plays,Robert Schenkkan ATCA named Robert Schenkkan’s meditation on power and pragmatism, All The Way, the recipient of the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing a script that premiered outside New York City during 2012. Schenkkan’s play about Lyndon Johnson’s dogged campaign to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 received the top award of $25,000.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Lucas Hnath for Death Tax and Johnna Adams forGidion’s Knot. Read more here.

Video clips of the ceremony kindly provided by Pam HarbaughJim Steinberg of the Steinberg Charitable Trust; presentations by Bill Hirschman to Robert Schenkkan (“All the Way”) and citation winners Johnna Adams (“Gideon’s Knot”) and Lucas Hnath (“Death Tax”).


March 31, Louisville, The Humana Festival  — ATCA has named Yussef El Guindi’s Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, a play about immigration and assimilation, winner of the $25,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2012.

The Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts that premiered professionally the previous year outside New York City. Ken LaZebnik’s On the Spectrum and A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them received $7,500 Steinberg/ATCA citations.

For more on the 2012 Steinberg/ATCA awards, click here

For the six finalists for the award, which also included Sharr White’s AnnapurnaCaitlin Montanye Parrish’s A Twist of Water and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Water By The Spoonful,” click here


Winner of the $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2011 is Bill Cain’s “Nine Circles,”a harrowing play about war and redemption. Kathryn Grant’s “The Good Counselor” and David Bar Katz’s “The History of Invulnerability” received Steinberg/ATCA citations and $7,500 each. Both Grant and Katz are first-time winners, but Cain won the Steinberg/ATCA Award last year for “Equivocation” – the first consecutive wins ever, although other playwrights (Jane Martin, August Wilson, Lee Blessing) have won it (or its predecessor award) more than once. For more on the 2011 Steinberg/ATCA Award, click here.

For the six finalists for the award, which also included Rinne Groff’s “Compulsion,” Lisa D’Amour’s “Detroit” and Emily Schwend’s “Splinters,” read more here.


Winner of the 2010 Steinberg/ATCA Award is Bill Cain for “Equivocation,” his fantasy-comedy-drama about Shakespeare, Jacobean skulduggery, bigotry and the relationship of art to government and artists’ personal responsibility to truth. The two citations, including plaques and $7,500 each, went to “Time Stands Still,” by Donald Margulies, and “Legacy of Light,” by Karen Zacarías.

Read more about the 2010 Steinberg/ATCA Award.

See the six finalists for the 2010 Steinberg/ATCA Award.


E.M. Lewis’ “Song of Extinction” wins 2009 $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award; $7,500 Citations for Lee Blessing and Tracy Letts

Read Press Release


2008 Steinberg/ATCA Winners announced: Moises Kaufman’s “33 Variations” takes top honors

Read Press Release


Steinberg/ATCA -- roster of past honorees


I And You, Lauren Gunderson, Marin Theatre Company

Citations: Fear Up Harsh, Christopher Demos-Brown, Zoetic Stage, Miami

Seven Spots on the Sun, Martin Zimmerman, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park 


All the Way by Robert Schenkkan, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Citations: Death Tax by Lucas Hnath, Humana Fesival, Actors Theater of Louisville

Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Shepherdstown, W.V.


Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World by Yussef El Guindi, ACT Repertory, Seattle

Citations: On the Spectrum by Ken LaZebnik, Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat, Humana Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville 


Nine Circles by Bill Cain, Marin Theatre Company

Citations: The Good Counselor by Kathryn Grant, Premiere Stages, N.J.;

The History of Invulnerability by David Bar Katz, Cincinnaiti Playhouse in the Park.


Equivocation by Bill Cain, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Repertory Theatre

Citations: Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles;

Legacy of Light, by Karen Zacarías, Arena Stage, Washington, DC


Song of Extinction by E.M. Lewis, Moving Arts, Hollwood, CA

Citations: Great Falls by Lee Blessing, Humana Fesival, Actors Theatre of Louisville;

Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts, Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago


33 Variations by Moises Kaufman, Arena Stage, Washington, DC

Citations: Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, DC;

End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer, Florida Stage, Manalaplan, FL


Hunter Gatherers by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Killing My Lobster, San Francisco, CA

Citations: Opus by Michael Hollinger, Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA; City Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA;

Guest Artist by Jeff Daniels, Purple Rose Theatre, Chelsea, MI


 A Body of Water by Lee Blessing, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

Citations: Radio Golf by August Wilson, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT;

Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, IL


Singing Forest by Craig Lucas, Intiman Theatre, Seattle, WA

Citations: The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT;

After Ashley by Gina Gionfriddo, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY


Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, Center Stage, Baltimore, MD; South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA

Citations: Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL; Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA ;

The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Carson Kreitzer, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH


Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz, New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL

Citations: Recent Tragic Events by Craig Wright, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, DC;

Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN


The Carpetbaggers Children by Horton Foote, The Alley Theatre, Houston, TX

Citations: The Action Against Sol Schumann by Jeffrey Sweet, Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago, IL;

 Joe and Betty by Maurice Mednick, Padua Playwrights Productions, Los Angeles, CA


 Anton In Show Business by Jane Martin, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival of New American Plays

Citations: Big Love by Charles Mee, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival of New American Plays;

King Hedley II by August Wilson, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, PA; Seattle Repertory Theatre, WA


 Oo-Bla-Dee by Regina Taylor, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher, City Theatre, Pitttsburgh, PA;

Syncopation by Allan Knee, Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT; George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, NJ

1999 (sponsored by the Providence Journal)

Book of Days by Lanford Wilson, Purple Rose Theatre Company, Chelsea, MI

Citations: Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies, Humana Festival, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, KY;

Expecting Isabel by Lisa Loomer, Arena Stage, Washington, DC

1998 (sponsored by The Chicago Tribune)

The Cider House Rules, Part II, by Peter Parnell, adapted from the John Irving novel, Seattle Repertory Theatre, WA

Citations: Jitney by August Wilson, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, PA ;

The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.; Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT

1997 (sponsored by The Orlando Sentinel)

Jack and Jill by Jane Martin, Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY

Citations: The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry, The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA ;

The Ride Down Mount Morgan by Arthur Miller (revised 1996)

1996 (sponsored by Columbus Dispatch)

Amazing Grace by Michael Cristofer, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, PA

Citations: Jungle Rot by Seth Greenland, Cleveland Playhouse, OH;

Seven Guitars by August Wilson, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

1995 (sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune)

The Nanjing Race by Reggie Cheong-Leen, McCarter Theatre, NJ

Citations: Rush Limbaugh in Night School by Charlie Varon, San Francisco Marsh Theatre, CA;

The Waiting Room by Lisa Loomer, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA

1994 (sponsored by the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Keely and Du by Jane Martin, Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY

Citations: Black Elk Speaks by Christopher Sergel, Denver Theatre Center, CO;

Hurricane by Anne Galjour, Climate Theatre, San Francisco, CA


Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream by Steven Epp, Felicity Jones, Dominique Serrand and Paul Walsh, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis, MN

Citations: Dark Rapture by Eric Overmyer, The Empty Space, Seattle, WA;

Unfinished Stories by Sybille Pearson, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA


Could I Have This Dance? by Doug Haverty, Colony Studio Theatre, Los Angeles, CA.

Citations: American Enterprise by Jeffrey Sweet, Organic Theatre Co., Chicago, IL;

Miss Evers’ Boys by David Feldshuh, Illusion Theater, Minneapolis, MN


Two Trains Running by August Wilson, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

Citations: Sincerity Forever by Mac Wellman, Unicorn Co., Berkshire Theatre Festival;

The Ohio State Murders by Adrienne Kennedy, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Cleveland, OH


 by Romulus Linney, Milwaukee Repertory, WI

Citations: Pick Up Ax by Anthony Clarvoe, Eureka Theatre, San Francisco;

Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson, Goodman Theatre, IL.


 The Piano Lesson by August Wilson, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

Citations: Generations by Dennis Clontz, Colony Studio Theatre, Los Angeles, CA;

The Downside by Richard Dresser, Cricket Theatre, Minneapolis, MN


 Heathen Valley by Romulus Linney, Milwaukee Repertory

Citations: The Voice of the Prairie by John Olive, Hartford Stage, CT;

The Deal by Matthew Witten, Philadelphia Festival for New Plays, PA


A Walk in the Woods by Lee Blessing, Yale Repertory Theatre, CT

Citations: The Film Society by John Robin Baitz, Los Angeles Theatre Center, CA;

Back to the World by Stephen Mack Jones, Attic Theatre, Detroit, MI


 Fences by August Wilson, Yale Repertory Theatre, CT

Citations: Fugue by Leonora Thuna, Long Wharf Theatre, CT;

Hunting Cockroaches by Januscz Glowacki, Byrdcliffe Theatre, Woodstock, NY


(no principal honoree)

Citations: Scheherazade by Marisha Chamberlain;

The Shaper by John Steppling;

A Shayna Maidel by Barbara Lebow


Wasted by Fred Gamel


Closely Related by Bruce McDonald


Talking With by Jane Martin


Chekhov in Yalta by John Driver and Jeffrey Haddow


Custer by Robert E. Ingham


Loose Ends by Michael Weller


Getting Out by Marsha Norman


And the Soul Shall Dance by Wakako Yamauchi