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Annual Provincetown American Playwright Awards (PAPA)

In 2018, the Provincetown Theater created the Provincetown American Playwright Award (PAPA).

 

An annual gala tribute engaging Provincetown’s literary heritage as the Birthplace of Modern American Drama, the PAPA is presented each year to honor a living American writer whose contributions have paid invaluable witness to the American experience in ways that’ve nurtured and expanded the spirit of our souls – not only on our own country’s stages but on the world stage as well. The recipient is honored at a fundraising benefit each summer.

In 2021, in addition to the PAPA, two new awards were inaugurated: The Provincetown Theater Trailblazer Award, presented to an emerging playwright, and the Provincetown Theater Icon Award, presented in recognition of achievement in acting.

Over the years, the PAPA Awards have honored some of Theater's best and brightest stars.

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Photo by Bronwen Sharp

Craig Lucas 
2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

CRAIG LUCAS wrote the plays Blue Window, The Dying Gaul, I Was Most Alive With You, Reckless, Prayer for My Enemy, Ode to Joy, Prelude to a Kiss, The Singing Forest, Small Tragedy, Stranger; books for the musicals Amélie, An American in Paris, Days of Wine and Roses, The Light in the Piazza, 3 Postcards; screenplays for Blue Window, Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, The Dying Gaul, Secret Lives of Dentists; opera libretti for Orpheus in Love, Two Boys; and the ballet libretto for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He directed world premieres of The Light in the Piazza, I Was Most Alive With You, Ode to Joy & This Thing of Darkness (co-author David Schulner) and Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved or Destroyed & Play Yourself & the movie The Dying Gaul. He has received 3 Obie Awards, the Steinberg Best Play Award and 4 Tony nominations.

Chisa Hutchinson -
2023 Inspiration Award Recipient

Chisa Hutchinson (B.A. Vassar College; M.F.A NYU - TSoA) has presented her plays, which include She Like Girls, Somebody’s Daughter, Surely Goodness & Mercy, Whitelisted and Dead & Breathing at such venues as Atlantic Theater Company, Contemporary American Theater Fest, the National Black Theatre, Second Stage, and Arch 468 in London. Her radio drama, Proof of Love, can be found on Audible (with a boss rating). She’s been a New Dramatist, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Lark Fellow, a Humanitas Fellow, a NeoFuturist, and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group. Chisa has also won a GLAAD Award, a Lilly Award, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and the Lanford Wilson Award. She’s decided she wants to try to pay that forward by launching the Signpost Fellowship, which will pair an aspiring writer with an established mentor and offer a cash prize. She’s staffed on two television series—Three Women (Starz) and Tell Me Lies (Hulu)— and will be working on four more projects as soon as this strike is over. Meanwhile, her first original feature, THE SUBJECT, in which a white documentarian deals with the moral fallout from exploiting the death of a black teen, is available on various VOD platforms after a successful film festival circuit during which it won over 30 prizes. 

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Photo by Sam Freeman

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Photo by Stephen K. Mack

Ryan J. Haddad
2023 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Ryan J. Haddad, an actor, and playwright, recently concluded a sold-out, extended run of his play Dark Disabled Stories at The Public Theater, produced by The Bushwick Starr. The critically acclaimed production earned him Lucille Lortel, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations, along with the Drama Desk’s Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award for his cumulative work in the 2022-23 season. Haddad’s additional stage credits include his autobiographical solo play Hi, Are You Single? (Woolly Mammoth/IAMA Theatre Company, Helen Hayes nomination),  american (tele)visions by Victor I. Cazares (New York Theatre Workshop/Theater Mitu, Lucille Lortel nomination), The Watering Hole, created by Lynn Nottage and Miranda Haymon (Signature Theatre), and his cabaret Falling for Make Believe (Joe’s Pub/Under the Radar). On television he is best known for his role opposite Ben Platt in the Netflix series The Politician, co-created and executive produced by Ryan Murphy. He will next appear alongside Emma Corrin and Clive Owen in the Hulu limited series A Murder at the End of the World, written and directed by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. Haddad is a recipient of Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, IAMA’s Shonda Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission, and Rising Phoenix Repertory’s Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award. His essays have been published in the New York Times, Out Magazine, and American Theatre. He is an alum of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a 2020 Disability Futures Fellow, and a former Queer|Art Performance and Playwriting Fellow, under the mentorship of Moe Angelos. 

2021 PAPA Recipient 
Doug Wright

Douglas Wright is an American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2004 for his play I Am My Own Wife. He also wrote the books to the Broadway musicals Grey Gardens in 2006, The Little Mermaid in 2007, Hands on a Hard Body in 2012, and War Paint in 2017. His play Good Night, Oscar will make its Broadway debut in 2023.

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2021 Trailblazer Award - 
Michael R. Jackson

Michael R. Jackson is a playwright, composer, and lyricist best known for his musical A Strange Loop, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical. He wrote the book and lyrics for Only Children with composer Rachel Peters and for the musical adaptation of the 2007 indie film TEETH with Anna K. Jacobs. In 2019, his song cycle, The Kids on the Lawn, was published in The New York Times Magazine's culture issue. His next musical, White Girl in Danger is set to begin previews at the Tony Kiser Theater in 2023.

2020 Icon Award -
Kelli O'Hara

Kelli O'Hara is a seven-time Tony Award nominee. She won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and a 2019 Olivier Award nomination for her performance as Anna Leonowens in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of The King and I. She also received Tony nominations for her performances in The Light in the Piazza (2005), The Pajama Game (2006), South Pacific (2008), Nice Work If You Can Get It (2012), The Bridges of Madison County (2014), and Kiss Me, Kate (2019). O'Hara made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera in a 2014 production of Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow. In 2018, she played the role of Despina in the Met Opera's production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. In 2022, she returned to the Met Opera, starring as Laura Brown in Kevin Puts' The Hours. She has also played roles in television series, such as Masters of Sex and 13 Reasons Why, receiving a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her starring role in the 2017 web drama series The Accidental Wolf.

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2020 PAPA Recipient - 
Charles Busch

Charles Busch is a playwright, actor, director, novelist, cabaret performer, and drag icon. He is the author and star of over twenty-five plays, including The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, The Tribute Artist, The Confession of Lily Dare, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife won the Outer Circle Critics’ John L. Gassner Award for playwrighting, received a Tony nomination for Best Play, and is the longest-running Broadway comedy of the past 25 years. He is a two-time MAC award winner. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He appeared in the HBO series OZ and is the author of the autobiographical novel Whores of Lost Atlantis. He has directed Personal Assistant and A Very Serious Person, which won an honorable mention at the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as a performer and playwright and was given a star on the Playwrights Walk. He is also the subject of The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.  In 2016, his show The Lady at the Mic premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series.

2019 PAPA Recipient - 
Paula Vogel

Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays include Indecent (Tony Award for Best Play), How I Learned to Drive (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, OBIE Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play), The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot'n'Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession, and A Civil War Christmas. Her plays have been produced and translated in dozens of countries worldwide. 

Honors include induction in the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lily Award, the Thornton Wilder Prize, the Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the William Inge Award, the Elliott Norton Award, a Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award, a TCG Residency Award, a Guggenheim, a Pew Charitable Trust Award, and Thirtini Award from 13P. Fellowships and residencies include the Sundance Theatre Lab, Hedgebrook, The Rockefeller Center’s Bellagio Center, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and the Bunting.

Paula was playwright in residence at The Signature Theatre, and Theatre Communications Group publishes six volumes of her work. She is the 2019 inaugural UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence. She taught at Sewanee, Shanghai Theatre Academy and Nanjing University, University of Texas at Austin, and the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. Paula Vogel founded and ran the playwriting program at Brown University and started a theatre workshop for women in Maximum Security at the Adults Correction Institute in Rhode Island. From 2008-2012, she was the O’Neill Chair at Yale School of Drama. 

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2018 PAPA Recipient - 
Terrence McNally

Terrence McNally was an American playwright, librettist, and LGBTQ+ trailblazer, described by The New York Times as “the bard of the American Theater.” One of the few playwrights of his generation to successfully pass from the avant-garde to mainstream acclaim, Terrence redefined American playwriting for six decades and was the recipient of five Tony Awards (two for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, two for the books to his musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime, and the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement). He received the 2011 Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (he was Vice President of the Guild from 1981 to 2001), the 2015 Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award, a 1996 induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame, and, in 2018, an induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His other accolades include an Emmy Award (Andre’s Mother), two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, four Drama Desk Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Obie Awards, and three Hull-Warriner Awards. Terrence was an alumnus of Columbia University and received numerous honorary degrees, including from NYU and Juilliard, where he helped create the playwriting program in 1993.  His legacy lives on in his plays, musicals, and operas that continue to be performed all over the world, as well as in his papers, which are kept and open to the public at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

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