Sweet recognition. A few weeks ago, I groused at the Tony Awards for not yet giving a Philly-area venue the award for regional theater. At least other folks recognize the good work done around here.
The Dramatists Guild has conferred the prestigious Lanford Wilson Award, which recognizes early-career playwrights, to Chicagoan Isaac Gomez and Philly-linked playwright R. Eric Thomas. Such a great choice! Thomas, longtime host on The Moth, is author of Mrs. Harrison at Azuka, which got fine reviews. His Time Is on Our Side at Simpatico got two Barrymores. New Thomas work is coming up at Act II Playhouse, and Nightbird, a National New Play Network commission, is in development at InterAct. Well done, sir. Awards will be given out on Thursday, June 28.
I’ll mention three deserving performance venues recently awarded Pew project grants. Pig Iron Theatre Company was awarded for a devised-theater piece made along with MacArthur- and Tony-winner Mimi Lien, titled (right now) SUPERTERRANEAN. Wilma Theater got a grant for THERE, based on the poetry of Lebanese American artist Etel Adnan. It’ll be devised by the red-hot Wilma Hothouse. And Temple Contemporary got a grant for a multiyear project titled 1000 Ways to Listen, created with the theater company 600 Highwaymen, which will enlist 1,000 locals in an exploration of empathetic listening.
And Jim Donio, founding volunteer of the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton, N.J., and an advocate for the town, won the prestigious Jefferson Award, considered the country’s highest honor for public service and volunteerism.