Philadelphia Theatre Company announces BILL CAIN as the first recipient of the Terrence McNally New Play Award for the research and development of his newest play about Philadelphia artist Thomas Eakins which has the working title Unvarnished. The Terrence McNally New Play Award is a $10,000 cash prize given annually to recognize a new play that celebrates the transformative power of art. The Award will also include a year of development support at PTC, including readings as well as administrative support and networking to help manage the future of the play beyond its time at PTC.
The Award was announced March 5th at the opening night of PTC@Play, a two-week festival of new works running through March 11 featuring staged readings of four new plays from around the country, a new musical in development with music and lyrics by a collection of Broadway giants, and an evening of short plays by eight Philadelphia playwrights.
“Bill Cain is a playwright whose increasing recognition nationally is proof of the progress that all of us playwrights have to make in our careers,” said McNally. “His play about Thomas Eakins, who persevered despite many obstacles, including humiliation and rejection even in his hometown of Philadelphia, is the kind of subject that the Terrence McNally New Play Award hopes to continue to honor in the future.”
Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director, Sara Garonzik expresses similar sentiments: “PTC is delighted to have chosen Bill Cain, with Terrence McNally’s blessing, as our first recipient. We have great admiration for his work and there is wonderful synergy and connectivity among Terrence McNally, Bill Cain, and Thomas Eakins. The City of Philadelphia has played a role in the lives of all three artists and Philadelphia Theatre Company is enormously excited to bring them together in this way.”
Bill Cain’s play How to Write a New Book for the Bible was developed at PTC’s 2011 PTC@Play Festival and received its world at Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep this season. His play Stand-Up Tragedy earned six LA Critics Awards, including best production and distinguished writing) in its premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. It later garnered four Helen Hayes Awards (including outstanding production) at Arena Stage in Washington, DC before its 1990 Broadway engagement where it received the Joe A. Callaway Playwriting Award. Equivocation, the recipient of two Edgerton grants and, subsequently, the Steinberg New Play Award, received its world premiere production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival before transferring to Seattle Rep and Arena Stage. It was also produced by the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles where it received an Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play (Large Theatre and Featured Actor in a Play), Marin Theatre Company and Manhattan Theatre Club. 9 Circles was awarded the Sky/Cooper Prize and subsequently received the Steinberg New Play Award making Cain the only author to receive the award two years in a row. Following its premiere at Marin Theatre Company, it has been produced around the country including the Publick of Boston, Renegade Theater, Curious Theater and the Bootleg in Los Angeles where it received 3 LA Drama Critic nominations.
Cain’s television credits include Nothing Sacred, awarded a George Foster Peabody Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television and a WGA Award for the pilot episode, and the adaptation of Clover which earned him the Christopher Award for Artistic Excellence. He wrote the screen adaptation of NIGHTJOHN which was named best American film of the year by The New Yorker and given a special citation for excellence by the National Society of Film Critics.
Cain is the founder of the Boston Shakespeare Company, where he was Artistic Director for seven seasons, directing most of the Shakespeare canon.
PTC has had a long collaboration with Terrence McNally, having produced the world premieres of Master Class, Golden Age, Some Men and Unusual Acts of Devotion and the Philadelphia regional premieres of Love!Valour!Compassion!, Lips Together, Teeth Apart and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.
Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company is a leading regional theater company whose mission is to produce, develop and present entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience that both ignites the intellect and touches the soul. By developing new work through commissions, readings and workshops PTC generates projects that have a national impact and reach broad regional audiences. Under the leadership of PTC’s Producing Artistic Director Sara Garonzik since 1982 and Managing Director Shira Beckerman, new to the company as of August 2011, PTC supports the work of a growing body of diverse dramatists and takes pride in being a home to many nationally recognized artists who have participated in more than 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. PTC has received 46 Barrymore Awards and 159 nominations. In October 2007, PTC moved into a home of its own, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Center City Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.