2015 Playwriting Competition Winners Chosen

The officers and advisory board of the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s playwriting competition:

The first prize of $3,000 goes to Cody Daigle, for his play The Bottom of the Sea. Hiding out in a sleazy New Orleans hotel in 1958 and facing writer’s block, an elegantly disheveled Tennessee Williams is joined by the great actress Anna Magnani, a fireball full of sex and smarts; a journeyman screenwriter, unscathed by Hollywood, sent to “help” him meet the studio’s deadline; and a closeted young man in a closeted era whom Williams picked up in an alleyway. A drama with sparkling touches of wit, this winner captures the agonies of creation and the yearnings of love through characters Williams might have written himself.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this recognition by the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation,” says winner Daigle. “Telling queer stories is essential to making a safe and empowering space in the world for queer people, so it’s very exciting to be honored by an organization which so fully and lovingly supports their creation.”

For the second prize, there was a tie between Edward Einhorn, for his hilarious comedy The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, and Norman Allen, for his play The Operators. Writing in the style of Stein, with his tongue firmly in cheek, Einhorn has concocted a heady guest list of 1920s literati and their friends coming together to celebrate in a “French farce” of epic proportions. Allen’s Operators turns the spotlight on a conveniently forgotten chapter of American history, when in 1919 the U.S. Navy was authorized to purge its ranks of homosexuals, assigning sailors (called “operators”) to entrap men by seducing them. Both writers will receive the full $1,500 second-place award.

Four honorable mention awards of $500 each go to Christopher Bryant, for The Mutant Man, an inventive drama set in 1916 New Zealand, recalling the tragedy of a trans man accused and convicted in the murder of his wife; JJ Buechner, for Chasing Charles, honoring Charles Elsen, who was wigmaker to the opera stars of the 1970s and ’80s; Charles Leipart, for A Kind of Marriage, the story of E.M. Forster’s long-term relationship with “Constable Bob” and his obliging wife, May; and Amanda Padoan, for One Very Long Moment, a well-researched nonfiction play set in Malawi and South Africa, which tells the story of Tiwonge, a trans woman facing a 14-year prison term for marrying a man.

Runners-up include James Rosenfield’s Immortalizing Raymond (his second consecutive year in this category); Bob Canning’s In the Presence of the Lord; George Hickenlooper’s screenplay Sir Roger Casement, Traitor; Ted Malawer’s Daddy Issues; and Amandine, a musical by Winter Miller and Lance Horne. The twelve finalists (winners and runners-up) were selected from a total of 170 competition entries.

We sincerely thank all who participated, and we extend great congratulations to the winners and other finalists. Guidelines for the 2016 playwriting competition will be posted on this website in January.