Mississippi Goddam, a play about the neighbors of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, has won this year’s M. Elizabeth Osborne New Play Award for best new play by an emerging playwright, the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced this weekend.
The play is by Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton.
The Award, which will be presented at the Humana Festival in Louisville on April 9, carries a $1,000 stipend.
Plays centered around offstage or minor characters, such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Wicked and Clybourne Park, have won critical acclaim and large popular followings, but few plays have worked themselves into the canon by examining the lives of those around major historical figures. Nancy Churnin of the Dallas News called Norton’s play, which debuted at the South Dallas Cultural Center in February 2015, “electrifying.” Theater Jones, in their review, predicted the impact of the play would be far reaching.
Mississippi Goddam is also on the list of six plays which are finalists for the Steinberg/ATCA $25,000 new play prize. ATCA has never before awarded the Steinberg and the Osborne for the same play. Other playwrights on the list whose works have been seen here are Lynn Nottage for Sweat and Jen Silverman for The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane.
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