Playwright will receive prize at spring benefit
The Sundance Institute’s Theater Program will present its inaugural Tennesee Williams Award to playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, whose latest play will bow later this spring at the Humana Festival of New American Plays.The kudo highlights a promising emerging stage creative to have come through the institute’s theater program, which oversees a variety of initiatives that support and develop new legit work. Jacobs-Jenkins (“Neighbors”) had stints at last year’s Sundance playwrights retreat at Ucross Foundation, as well as at the theater lab at the Sundance Resort. Award, which comes with a $10,000 check, will be handed out as part of Sundance’s upcoming benefit for its theater program. Sally Field will present the laurel to Jacobs-Jenkins at the event, which will include performance segs from Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s recent tuner “Fun Home” — another Sundance alum — performed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Judy Kuhn and David Hyde Pierce. Cherry Jones will perform scenes from “Appropriate,” the Jacobs-Jenkins play that preems at Humana. Sundance has had a hand in a number of stage projects that have gone on to further success, including “Spring Awakening,” “Passing Strange,” “Grey Gardens” and “Circle Mirror Transformation.” The benefit and award ceremony will be held April 8 at the Stephen Weiss Studio in downtown Gotham.