Madison Fiedler wins 2023 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for “Spay”

Madison Fiedler wins 2023 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for “Spay”

Madison Fiedler (she/her) (photo by Chase Doggett)

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Madison Fiedler has won the American Theatre Critics Association’s (ATCA) 2023 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for her play Spay. 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 2023 awards were presented on Saturday, May 6, in Costa Mesa, Calif., as part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. ATCA thanks South Coast Repertory for generously hosting the presentation.

Spay had its world premiere at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in Chicago.  In the wake of their mother’s overdose, the two sisters have taken very different paths in small-town Appalachia — Harper raises Noah’s child and Noah finds herself unable to break old cycles. The production began performances on March 17, 2022, and closed on May 1, 2022.

Spay 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), Lou Harry (Indianapolis, IN), Susan Haubenstock (Richmond, VA), Ed Huyck (Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN), Wendy Parker (Midlothian, VA), Martha Wade Steketee (New York, NY), Doug Strassler (New York, NY), Perry Tannenbaum (Charlotte, NC), Karen Topham (Chicago, IL), 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, and Cori Thomas. Last year’s honoree was Extreme Home Makeover by Makasha Copeland. Click here for a full list of past Osborn Award winners.

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