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Archive for Sunday, April 15, 2001

KU grad student wins Hansberry playwriting award

April 15, 2001

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"Whiteout," a full-length play about race relations by Kansas University graduate student Alan Newton, has won the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival.

Newton will receive a cash award of $2,500, publication and licensing of his play by Dramatic Publishing Company and an internship this summer to the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Theater Center.

English Alternative Theatre, which entered "Whiteout" in the competition, will receive a grant of $750 for producing the play.

Newton will travel to Washington, D.C., on April 23-25 to receive his prize at the Kennedy Center and attend master classes taught by well-known playwrights Kenneth Lonergan, Lee Blessing and John Henry Redwood, who studied at KU in the early 1960s.

Newton wrote "Whiteout" for a playwriting class taught by KU English professor Paul Stephen Lim.

The EAT production of "Whiteout," along with the EAT production of "Bunnies" by Michael O'Brien, was selected for performance at the regional festival of the KC/ACTF held in January at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. "Bunnies" will represent EAT at the national KC/ACTF festival, with performances on April 26-27 at the Kennedy Center.

The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award is not based on the production aspects of a play, but rather on the strength of the manuscript alone. The judge was Redwood, best known for his play "The Old Settler." Redwood's new play, "No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs," recently opened Off-Broadway in New York.

The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award is awarded to the best KC/ACTF student-written play about the African-American experience. Hansberry was the first African-American playwright, and the youngest of any color, to win the New York Drama Critics Award for her drama "A Raisin in the Sun."

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