Attention must be paid, playwrights. And then you’ll be paid with this new prize.

Move over Pulitzer, there’s a new award in town, with just as fancy of a name.


Jean Kennedy Smith and Columbia University (the administrators of the aforementioned “Puli”) announced a brand new theater award last week in honor of the late great Senator from my home state, Mr. Ted Kennedy.

The annual Prize, appropriately called the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History (or EMK for short), will be awarded to a new play or musical that . . .

. . . enlists theater’s power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy.

The winner will receive $100k (!) of Fat Stacks (the “Puli” only gives you $10k) . . . and Columbia will build a “study-guide” website to accompany the show.

Pretty sweet, huh?  Ms. Smith has had a long history of supporting the arts, but I had no idea Monsieur Ted was such a theater fan.  But maybe he’s the history part, and she’s the art part, and together they . . . oh, well, who cares how it came to be, let’s just be thankful that there are people like Jean and the late Ted to support plays and musicals that serve a purpose.  They spell theater . . . TheARTer.

Ok, enough of that stuff . . . how do all you playwrights enter to win that Cheddar?

Click here for all the info.  Oh, and if you run into Tony Kushner or the Dean of my Alma Mater, Mary Schmidt Campbell, anywhere . . . make sure you’re nice . . . they’re on the board.

Good luck!


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  • There’s no way for a playwright to “enter to win.” A writer has to be recommended by one of the judges. It’s kind of an inside-job prize.

  • Shannon D. says:

    If this was a few years ago, then Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson could take the cake! 😀

  • Adam says:

    I’m waiting for Riedel to announce that the first winner of the prize is going to be Tony Kushner. It won’t be the first time he received a prize intended to support the development of playwrights – and here, he actually gets a vote.

  • Alan L. says:

    Now I just need to complete my outline, collaborate with others, find a producer and a theater willing to stage it and THEN get the judges to see it! It’s a long shot but then again all good things come to those who wait. (Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. My question is always the same — when does the waiting end?)

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