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TheaterMania Announces Winners of First Young Playwrights Contest

More than 60 high school students submitted their one-act plays.

Top row: Katherine Budinger, Kea Kamiya, Sadie Lee, Charlotte Robertson, Ellen Harris; middle row: Lee Rosenthal, Jaden Gines, Isabella Manhart, Andrew Noah; bottom row: Foster Schrader, Anthony Rosenthal, Olivia Seymour, Sophia Baldassari, Izzy Ster
(photos courtesy of the playwrights)

TheaterMania has announced the winners of its first Young Playwrights Contest. High school students from around the country submitted one-act plays on a subject of their choice for consideration by a panel of judges from the theater industry. Plays were evaluated on their originality and creativity.

One winner, two runners-up, 12 honorable mentions, and 12 noteworthy plays were selected from more than 60 submissions. The judges remarked that they were "blown away by the originality, urgency, and mastery of this next generation of playwrights. All of the writers who submitted have unique and passionate vision, and each of these plays deserves to be performed onstage. These young playwrights give us great hope for the future of the American stage."

Given the high caliber of the plays, TheaterMania has decided to host streamed readings for the top 15 plays in an online festival to take place this summer. (Originally only the top play was to receive a reading.) The plays will be produced entirely by student actors and creative teams, with playwrights also taking part. Dates for the streams will be announced at a later date.

The winning play and two runners-up are listed below with judges' comments. Honorable Mentions and Noteworthy Plays follow. Congratulations to all who submitted their work.

To learn more about the winning plays and playwrights, click here.

Winning Play

Perfectly Gilded Pineapples by Katherine Budinger

"With great wit and humor, Perfectly Gilded Pineapples reminds us that while certain outcomes are not always what we had in mind, they can be even greater than the original goal."


When They Came From Above by Maya Doyle

"Through the eyes of Jimmy, a young child with an overactive imagination, When They Came From Above shows the humanity and kindness inherent in children even in the most unprecedented of times."


Winter of '99 by Sophia Baldassari

"In the face of life and death, friendship forms between the two high schoolers even under the worst of circumstances."

Honorable Mentions

789 by Lee Rosenthal
Coffin Story by Anthony Rosenthal
Community-ism by Ellen Harris
It's Colder Inside by Charlotte Robertson
Not Invisigirl by Isabella Manhart
Mafia Mixup by Andrew Noah
Rebel, Rebel by Foster Schrader
The First Step Is Acceptance by Sadie Lee
The Theatre Man by Kea Kimaya
Thorazine by Izzy Ster
Violent Outbursts of the Restaurant Kind by Jaden Gines
Yellow Orchids by Olivia Seymour

Noteworthy Plays

Afterlife's Last MacGuffin by Bryson Brownlee
Dinner With Your Parents by Lucy Ingold
Luxury Limbo Motel Resort & Spa by Lucien Beber-Turkel
The Barclay's Boys by Madisyn Cunningham
The Info Session by Kaitlyn Mumford
The Lessons We're Learning by Lulu Foyle
The Messages by Eamon Keuper
On the Other Line by Felicity Phelan
What I Wish I Could Have Told You by Charlotte Marvin
What's Left Over by Emma Weller
Will the Truth Set You Free? by Garrett A. Moore
Officer Stacie by Garrett Chalfin