Lisa Kron
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Lisa Kron
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Playwrights Melissa James Gibson, David Greenspan, Jessica Hagedorn, Julia Jordan, Lisa Kron, Lynn Nottage, Dael Orlandersmith, and Adam Rapp are the recipients of the first annual Lucille Lortel Foundation fellowships for playwrights. Each will receive $50,000 to use as he or she sees fit.

The playwrights are being recognized for the excellence of their work, their potential for continued artistic achievement, and their strong commitment to working in the theater. The recipients, all of whom must have been a resident of the New York tri-state area for one year, had at least five years experience work in the American professional theater, and had at least one full-length play produced in the last five years, were nominated by a distinguished group of theater professionals.

Their applications were reviewed by an independent panel of judges including lecturer Robert Blacker; dramaturg Anne Cantaneo; playwright David Henry Hwang; Kate Loewald, co-founder of the Play Company; Neil Pepe, artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company; Tazewell Thompson, artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse; and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel.

In related news, playwrights Stephen Adly Guirgis and Bruce Norris are among the recipients of the 2006 Whiting Awards, which are given to "emerging writers of exceptional talent and promise." They will each receive $40,000. Guirgis' plays include Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train and The Little Flower of East Orange; Norris' The Pain and the Itch was seen earlier this season at Playwrights Horizons.