Named in honor of Hairspray and Cry Baby book co-writer Mark O’Donnell, the award celebrates “America’s most anomalous, singular, and curious emerging writers, composers, directors, and designers.” It also includes a $15,000 cash prize, use of the Entertainment Community Fund Arts Center's Mark O’Donnell Theater to develop a reading of a new work, and support in applying for affordable housing and securing health insurance.
Chowdhury (SPEECH, Brother, Brother) is a playwright, director, and performer based in Brooklyn, and has previously been awarded a Jonathan Larson Grant and Princess Grace Award. While preparing for the world premiere of his play Public Obscenities, he continues to develop another work titled Rheology as a Resident Artist at HERE Arts Center. Chowdhury was also a soloist and collaborator on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns.
His new play Public Obscenities will begin its world premiere at Soho Rep February 15. The cast and creative team have been announced for the play, co-commissioned and co-produced by Soho Rep and NAATCO. Performed in Bangla and English, Public Obscenities explores "the things we see, the things we miss, and the things that turn us on" through queer studies PhD student Choton's trip home to Kolkata with his Black American boyfriend Raheem.
At Playwrights Horizons, O'Donnell's credits include That’s It, Folks!, Fables for Friends, and The Nice and the Nasty from his list of works.