The Sundance Institute announced yesterday that playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins will be the first recipient of the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award, supporting the development of new work for the stage. Jacobs-Jenkins will be presented with his award and $10,000 grant by Sundance Institute’s Emeritus Trustee Sally Field at the organization’s annual benefit for their theater program April 8 at the Stephen Weiss Studio in Greenwich Village.
“Branden‘s burgeoning body of work already heralds a dynamic career; his audacity and poetic language are reminiscent of many of the qualities that define Mr. Williams’ writing,” said Philip Himberg, artistic director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, in a statement. “[He is] an author willing to take substantial risk, and to fearlessly explore familial rage and personal emancipation.”
Jacobs-Jenkins’ work has been produced at the Public Theatre, P.S. 122, Soho Rep, and the National Theatre in London. His most recent play “Appropriate” will premiere at the Humana Festival in March of this year. He has received a Paula Vogel Award, a fellowship in playwrighting from the New York Foundation of the Arts, and is an alum of the 2012 Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at the Ucross Foundation.
The Theatre Program’s benefit will include musical selections from “Fun Home” by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori and performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and David Hyde Pierce. Actor Cherry Jones will also be performing scenes from Jacobs-Jenkins’ play “Appropriate.” Tickets cost $500, though tables and sponsorship opportunities are available.