Jennifer Vosters wins 2024 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for “Songs Without Words”

Jennifer Vosters wins 2024 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for “Songs Without Words”

Jennifer Vosters (she/her)

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Jennifer Vosters has won the American Theatre Critics Association’s (ATCA) 2023 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for her play Songs Without Words. Given by ATCA in memory of critic, director, educator and new play advocate M. Elizabeth “Betty” Osborn (1941-1993), the prize recognizes the work of a playwright who has not yet received a major production, such as a Broadway or Off-Broadway engagement, or received any other major national awards. The Osborn Award carries a $3,000 cash prize.

The 2024 awards were presented on Saturday, May 4, in Costa Mesa, Calif., as part of the 2024 Pacific Playwrights Festival. ATCA thanks South Coast Repertory for generously hosting the presentation.

Songs Without Words premiered at the Milwaukee Fringe Festival in Milwaukee, Wis. Press materials for the play describe it as “the funny, tragic, and heartfelt story of one artistic soul inhabiting two very different artists … featuring a solo actor’s tour-de-force performance as both Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn … pondering the enduring paradoxes surrounding gender and genius, family and fame, siblinghood and the power of art.”

The winning work was selected from a pool of eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country. Misha Berson (Seattle, WA) and Cameron Kelsall (Philadelphia, PA) served as co-chairs of the ATCA New Play Committee during the adjudication process. Other participating members included Nancy Bishop (Chicago, IL), Lindsay Christians (Madison, WI), Evans Donnell (Nashville, TN), Mike Fischer (Milwaukee, WI), Amanda Finn (Chicago, IL), Melissa Hall (Indianapolis, IN), Lou Harry (Indianapolis, IN), Susan Haubenstock (Richmond, VA), Ed Huyck (Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN), Elizabeth Kramer (Louisville, KY), Martha Wade Steketee (New York, NY), Doug Strassler (New York, NY), and Bob Verini (Boston, MA).

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award was established in 1994. An ATCA member and editor-author at Theatre Communications Group, Osborn championed new plays, fostering and promoting the early careers of such dramatists as Paula Vogel, Tony Kushner, and José Rivera.

Past recipients of the Osborn Award include Rebecca Gilman, J.T. Rogers, Rolin Jones, Chelsea Marcantel, Jonathan Norton, Cori Thomas, and last year’s honoree Spay by Madison Fiedler. Click here for a full list of past Osborn Award winners.

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