Every day is opening night.


It’s 2019, people. If you don’t yet know that our society benefits greatly from the influence of talented women, there is a good chance you’re a moron (or a recently-ousted studio head). But Susan Smith Blackburn held this radical notion decades before it was en vogue, which is why the prize bearing her name honors dramatists of the feminine persuasion. Now in its 41st year, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the oldest and largest prize awarded to female playwrights. I look forward to the announcement, each year, of the ten finalists for this prize because it’s often the first time I hear about the new crop of top tier female writers. This year is no exception. Sure, there are a few (stellar) familiar names like Heidi Schreck (nominated for her buzzy, Broadway-bound What the Constitution Means to Me), Nina Raine (Stories), and Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview), but the bulk of finalists are fresh names (at least to my eyes). I’m particularly intrigued, for example, by the uppercase-phobic debbie tucker green, who is recognized for her play ear for eye. The remainder of the finalists include Hilary Bettis (72 miles to go…), Ella Hickson (The Writer), Martyna Majok (Sanctuary City), Lily Padilla (How to Defend Yourself), Ella Road (The Phlebotomist), and Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band). The winner, announced March 4, will snag $25,000 and a signed de Kooning print. But, just like Jeopardy, nobody goes home empty-handed; the other nine finalists will each take home a $5,000 consolation prize.

Speaking of $5,000, that’s about how much it was going to cost me to get to London for the closing performance of Hadestown at the National this weekend, so I had to scrap my plans. Fortunately, the hotter-than…well, Hades musical, written by Anaïs Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin, will be arriving on Broadway (where my travel expenses will consist of a crosstown taxi ride) in March. Everything I’ve heard from and about this one is tantalizing, and I love that it represents the reunion of SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark nemeses Reeve Carney and Patrick Page. I miss that show. And I’m still mad they cut the song about the shoes!

Tidbits from around town…

Saw William H. Macy buying flowers at a Lower East Side bodega.

Witnessed Phylicia Rashad, fresh off a JetBlue flight from New York, get mobbed by autograph-seekers at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Overheard Bob Balaban giving a driver directions to Legoland® in Westchester. Which begs the
question, how does Bob Balaban know how to get to Legoland in Westchester?

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!


Scoop V.