Sanaz Toossi, Jeanine Tesori, Alice Childress and more to receive Dramatists Guild Awards

The Dramatists Guild of America has announced additional recipients for its 2022 awards. Awards for the 2021 and 2022 winners will be presented at Joe’s Pub on Monday, July 25, 2022.

“The Guild is thrilled to honor such a brilliant and diverse group of playwrights – new and needed voices for writers who have been blazing the trail for many years, this year’s list of honorees is something to celebrate,” Amanda Green shared, President of the Guild of Dramatists.

The Horton Foote Prize, sponsored by the Richenthal Foundation, is given to a playwright whose work seeks to probe the ineffable nature of being human. This year’s award recipient is Sanaz Toossi (English).

The Frederick Loewe Award, given by the Frederick Loewe Foundation and presented each year by the Dramatists Guild Council to a composer, rewards the realization of a theatrical score presented in New York during the previous theatrical season. The 2022 prize will be awarded to Jeanine Tesori for her work on Kimberly Akimbo.

The DLDF Defender Award is presented by the Board of Directors of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund to recognize an individual or group’s efforts in support of free expression in the dramatic arts. This year’s recipient of the award is Alice Childress.

The Lanford Wilson Award was established by the Estate of Lanford Wilson and is presented by the Council of the Playwrights Guild to a playwright based primarily on their work as an early career playwright. The 2022 award will be shared by Nancy Garcia Loza and Ren Dara Santiago.

This year, the Dramatists Guild will also present two Lifetime Achievement Awards, to Pearl Cleage and Tina Howe. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Dramatists Guild Council in recognition of outstanding lifetime achievement in playwriting. Previous recipients include Adrienne Kennedy, AR Gurney, John Guare, Micki Grant, Paula Vogel, Terrence McNally, Sheldon Harnick & Jerry Bock, Lanford Wilson, Joseph Stein, Horton Foote, August Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Neil Simon, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Edward Albee and Arthur Miller. Career Achievement Awards were also presented to Marsha Norman and Stephen Schwartz.

These rewards are in addition to the following previously announced rewards:

The Flora Roberts Prize, administered by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, is given to a playwright in recognition of outstanding work in theater and to encourage the continuation of that work. This year’s recipient of the award is Kirsten Childs.

The Hull-Warriner Prize is the only award given by playwrights to playwrights; it is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to an author or team of authors in recognition of their play dealing with controversial subjects involving the realms of political, religious or social mores of the time. This year’s Hull-Warriner Prize winner is Martyna Majok for her play Sanctuary City.

This year’s Hull-Warriner Award finalists are Where We Stand by Donnetta Lavinia Grays; All CA Johnson’s Natalie Portman; Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury; Suicide Forest by Haruna Lee and Endlings by Céline Song.

This year’s ceremony will take place on the evening of Monday, July 25 at Joe’s Pub. In addition to celebrating the 2022 winners of the Dramatists Guild’s Awards, the winners of the 2021 awards will also be honored.

The winners of the 2021 Dramatists Guild Awards are: Sharai Bohannon received the DLDF Defender Award; William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. received the Flora Roberts Award; and Mariam Bazeed and Rhiana Yazzie received the Lanford Wilson Award. The Horton Foote Award was shared by Carla Ching, Kia Corthron, Aleshea Harris, Donja R. Love and Mfoniso Udofia. The Dramatists Guild also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Adrienne Kennedy.

Since its inception in 1919, the Dramatists Guild of America has been the professional association of playwrights, librettists, lyricists and composers writing for the American stage. With over 8,000 members worldwide, the Guild is guided by a board of writers who each give their time, interest and support to advance the rights of playwrights everywhere, including the right of playwrights to own and control their own copyrighted work. The Guild’s advocacy, programs, events, publications, and other services provide playwrights with the resources, community, and support they need to protect their assets, livelihoods, and unique voices in American theater. .

Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright from Orange County, California. His plays include English (Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theater Company co-production; Weissberger New Play Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award) and Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons; Williamstown/Audible, released 2020). She is currently commissioned to the Atlantic Theater Company (Seed Commission; Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Fellowship), Roundabout Theater Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, Manhattan Theater Club, South Coast Repertory, and Oregon. Shakespeare Festival (American Revolutions Cycle). She was a 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow and recipient of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award. MFA: NYU Tisch.

Jeanine Tesori is a composer of musicals, opera, television and cinema. She won the Tony Award for Best Score (along with screenwriter and lyricist Lisa Kron) for the musical Fun Home. His other musicals include Caroline, ou Change (with Tony Kushner), Shrek the Musical (with David Lindsay-Abaire), Thoroughly Modern Millie (with Dick Scanlan), Violet (with Brian Crawley) and Soft Power (with David Henry Hwang) which was his second work after Fun Home to be a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His last opera Blue (libretto by Tazewell Thompson) received the MCANA award for best new opera. Along with Missy Mazzoli, she is one of the first women to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to her work as a composer, Tesori is the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center series, Supervising Vocal Producer of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, and music lecturer at Yale University. Her latest musical Kimberly Akimbo will open on Broadway in fall 2022.

Alice Childress. Born in 1916, Alice Childress grew up to be an actress, playwright and novelist. A founding member of the American Negro Theater, she wrote her first play, Florence, in 1949. Childress was the first African-American woman to have her play (Gold Through the Trees) professionally produced in New York. In 1955, Trouble in Mind was a critical and popular Off-Broadway success. When the producers of a Broadway transfer asked Childress to alter the script to make it more palatable to commercial audiences, Childress refused to compromise her vision, ending her chance to be the first African-American playwright to have a work on Broadway. Trouble in Mind received its Broadway production in 2021. Childress is best known for her novel A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich. Childress’ pieces include Wedding Band, Wine in the Wilderness, Florence, Mojo and Gullah. Childress died in New York in 1994. Throughout her career, she examined the true meaning of being black, and especially of being black and female. As Childress herself once said, “I focus on representing the destitute in a wealthy society.”


NANCY GARCIA LOZA is a pocha playwright from Chicago, Illinois and Jalisco, Mexico. His audio drama BRAVA: a folktale con música kicked off Make-Believe Association’s inaugural season (with New York Times mention), receiving nominations in multiple categories at the 2019 ALTA Awards and winning in the category Outstanding Original Music in a Play for she sings “Corrido de la Brava”. She is twice a graduate of the Fornés National Playwriting Workshop. She has enjoyed residencies with: Goodman Playwrights Unit & Future Labs, The New Harmony Project, Oregon Shakespeare Festival BLACK SWAN Lab, SPACE on Ryder Farm Institutional Residency, Chicago Dramatists, NNPN, and more. His work has also been supported by: Paramount Theater (Bull: a love story, World Premiere 2022), Teatro Leyden (Wave, TYA World Premiere 2021), Broken Nose Theatre, Steppenwolf LookOut Series, Something Marvelous, Chicago Theater Marathon, Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, Collaboraction, UIUC Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and more. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the eldest daughter of seven children. She is the keeper of stories in her extended family. A self-taught playwright, she writes by instinct, plays by ear, and is urgently determined to bring the pocha experience, in all its complexity, brutality, and lyricism, to American stages. More recently, she is the recipient of the 2022 Joyce Award through the Joyce Foundation, as well as an APAP ArtsForward Awardee, both in collaboration with the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is currently on commission with the Steppenwolf Theater, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and more. She lives in Chicagolandia and writes in her kitchen. She is Mexican American, unhyphenated.

Ren Dara Santiago is a non-binary Filipino from Yonkers & Harlem. The Siblings Play premiered in March 2020 at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre. Ren’s work has been developed with The Bushwick Starr, The Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Labyrinth Theatre, The Lark, MCC Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Conference and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Member of Rising Phoenix Rep; former artistic producer and founding member of Middle Voice at Rattlestick; and the first recipient of the Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award from Rising Phoenix Rep.

Pearl Cleage is currently Artist Emeritus in Residence at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and Atlanta’s first Poet Laureate. His new piece Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous had its world premiere at Alliance and recently completed successfully at Hartford Stage. His other plays include Pointing at the Moon, Blues for an Alabama Sky and Flyin’ West, the most produced new play in the country in 1994. His play The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; his first play for young audiences, Tell Me My Dream, was commissioned and produced by the Alliance in 2015. Cleage received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from his alma mater, Spelman College, and spent two years as a member of the Spelman faculty. She was the founding editor of CATALYST Magazine, an Atlanta-based literary magazine for ten years and served as artistic director of the Just Us Theater Company for five years.

Tina Howe. Tina Howe’s most produced pieces include Birth and After Birth, Museum, The Art of Dining, Painting Churches, Coastal Disturbances, Approaching Zanzibar and Pride’s Crossing. These and other works have premiered at the Public Theater, Kennedy Center, Second Stage, Old Globe Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Atlantic Theater Company, Primary Stages, in addition to being translated and produced abroad. Her works can be read in numerous anthologies as well as Coastal Disturbances: Four Plays by Tina Howe and Birth and After Birth and Other Plays: A Marriage Cycle, published by Theater Communications Group. Her other publications include her translations of The Bald Soprano and The Lesson (Grove Press) and Shrinking Violets and Towering Tiger Lilies: Seven Brief Plays about Women in Distress, (Samuel French). She is also the subject of Howe in an Hour, edited by Judith Barlow, published by Smith and Kraus. Ms. Howe has proudly served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild since 1990.