Sanaz Toossi has been named the 2020 winner of Williamstown Theatre Festival's L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award; the playwright is recognized for her work English. The honor comes with a $10,000 prize, an additional $10,000 through the Jay Harris Commission to develop a new work, a reading at Williamstown's upcoming season, and optional publication by Concord Theatricals' Samuel French.
WTF's upcoming summer lineup kicks off with another Toossi play: the world premiere of Wish You Were Here; Nikki Massoud and Marjan Neshat will star in the Gaye Taylor Upchurch-directed production on the Nikos Stage. As previously reported, the season also includes a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Audra McDonald, Carla Gugino, and Bobby Cannavale; the world premiere of Leslye Headland's Cult of Love; a Susan Stroman-helmed production of Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51; and Shakina Nayfack's Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club, inspired by Edna Ferber and George S. Kauffman's Stage Door.
English, about four adult students in Iran as they prepare for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), will make its official world premiere Off-Broadway with Roundabout Theatre Company this fall. Toossi is also under commission with Atlantic Theater, South Coast Repertory, IAMA Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
This year's judging panel for the New Play Award consisted of Adam Bock, Donja R. Love, Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Marjan Neshat, and Robert O’Hara. Finalists were Erika Dickerson-Despenza for Cullud Wattah, Ricardo Peréz González for Don’t Eat The Mangoes, Dave Harris for White History, Deborah Stein for The Feast, and Anna Ziegler for The Great Moment.