jakub | November 5, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Frank Chin, Migdalia Cruz Receive Legacy Playwright Awards


NEW YORK CITY: American playwrights Frank Chin and Migdalia Cruz were honored last week as the 2023 recipients of the Legacy Playwright Awards, part of an industry-wide Legacy Playwrights Initiative (LPI) supported by the Dramatists Guild Foundation and Venturous Theater Fund, which aims shine a spotlight on the achievements and influence of playwrights whose work deserves greater visibility, including those who have fallen out of the public eye.

“I am honored by the generosity of the Dramatists Guild Foundation and so proud to be named a Legacy Playwright along with the esteemed Frank Chin,” said Migdalia Cruz in a statement. “To me, legacy is not what you leave behind but what you pay forward. I hope to continue to be of service and value to my playwriting community. I wish my mentor Irene Fornés could have been there to cheer me on and poke me in the sides with the reminder: ‘It’s not over yet!’ There is nothing more fulfilling than the knowledge that you have been of value, that your words will continue to be present—even when you are not—to inspire your students, mentees, future dramatists to take risks, be brave, look forward with hope to the complicated and beautifully imperfect act of creation.”

A pioneer of Asian American literature and theatre, Frank Chin is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and cultural critic. The first Asian American playwright to be produced at a major New York theatre (The American Place Theatre), his plays The Chickencoop Chinaman (1972) and The Year of the Dragon (1974) remain seminal works in the history of U.S. theatre. He is also the co-editor of two landmark anthologies of Asian American literature: Aiiieeeee! and its sequel, The Big Aiiieeeee! He lives in Los Angeles.

Migdalia Cruz is a Bronx-born, award-winning playwright, lyricist, translator, and librettist of more than 60 works for stage, radio, film, TV, and podcast. María Irene Fornés nurtured her at INTAR and Latino Chicago gave her a home as playwright-in residence, and she is a master teacher of playwriting with the Fornés Institute, various universities, and professional theatre schools. Her translations of Macbeth and Richard III were published by ACMRS Press. Migdalia was featured in Shakespeare and Latinidad, Fifty Key Figures in LatinX and Latin American Theatre, and Diasporic Journeys: Interviews with Puerto Rican Writers in the United States. She was recently honored by thekilroys.org/web-2023.

The Legacy Playwrights Initiative has five components: two monetary Legacy Playwright Awards; advocacy and financial incentives for professional theatre production of their work; the reissuing of previously published plays; programs to raise awareness within the theatre field and in universities; and filmed interviews highlighting the Legacy Playwrights’ careers. The LPI was conceived and developed over several years by Anne Cattaneo, formerly of Lincoln Center; Dramatists Guild Foundation executive director Rachel Routh; Benita Hofstetter Koman; Todd London; and national colleagues. Previous winners are Carlyle Brown, the late Ed Bullins, Constance Congdon, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Milcha Sanchez-Scott.

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