Friday, March 28, 2008

Moises Kaufman's *33 Variations* wins award

The American Theater Critics Association gives a new play award every year, and it's worth $25,000, which is a big deal, considering that the Pulitzer is worth $10,000.

Two runners-up won $7,500 each: Deborah Zoe Laufer's *End Days* and *Dead Man's Cell Phone* by Sarah Ruhl (*The Clean House*).

This year's winner is *33 Variations* by Moises Kaufman (*The Laramie Project*). It debuted in September at Washington's Arena Stage. It offers a fictional imagining of Beethoven's creation of 33 brilliant variations on a prosaic waltz. The composer's obsessive pursuit of perfection parallels a modern tale of a terminally ill musicologist struggling with her own obsession to unearth the source of Beethoven's creativity.

Laufer's *End Days* premiered in October in Florida. A Jewish family copes with the aftermath of 9/11; the mother, now a born-again Christian, tries to convert them before the rapture arrives — next Wednesday.

Ruhl's *Dead Man's Cell Phone* made its bow at Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in June. The quirky comedy examines the fallout when a lonely woman takes the cell phone from the body of dead man she discovers sitting next to her in a café and begins answering his calls. (It will also be produced in 2009 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)


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