Playwriting prize named after late Oscar winner

Late scribe Horton Foote will have a playwriting award named after him, with a kudo to be given out bi-annually beginning in the fall.

Funded by the Greg and Mari Marchbanks Family Foundation, the Horton Foote Prize comes with a cash award of $30,000, to be given to an American playwright who has written an outstanding original work.

Candidates, who must have written at least three full-length plays and seen their work professionally produced, will be submitted by a list of 65 resident theaters from around the country. Laurel aims to encourage established scribes to continue writing for theater.

Foote approved the creation of the kudo just before his death in March. Writer’s multi-part saga “The Orphans Home Cycle” is currently playing at Off Broadway’s Signature Theater and has been discussed as a potential Broadway candidate, with no final decision regarding the transfer yet detemined.

Mari Marchbanks, of the Austin, Tex.-based foundation, will serve as exec director of the award. Four legit artistic directors with whom Foote collaborated — Andre Bishop of Lincoln Center Theater, James Houghton of Signature, Andrew Leynse of Primary Stages and Michael Wilson of Hartford Stage Company — will choose the winner from a short list of finalists picked by a selection committee.

Foote’s long career in legit included a Pulitzer for his 1995 play “The Young Man from Altanta” and Academy Awards for his screenplay adaptations of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Tender Mercies.” “Orphans Cycle,” helmed by Wilson, is set to play at Signature through March.

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