Announcing the 2019 Winners of Playing on Air’s James Stevenson Prize for Comedic Short PlaYS
Playing on Air today announces the trio of short plays that have risen to the top of nearly 900 submissions in the second annual James Stevenson Prize for Comedic Short Play competition. The Stevenson Prize awards a live recording and $7,500 top prize - among other honors - to new, comedic short plays that perpetuate the spirit of Mr. Stevenson, a celebrated author, illustrator, and longtime New Yorker cartoonist. The competition is sponsored by his wife, Josie Merck.
The 2019 winner of the Stevenson Prize is Human Resources by Jason Gray Platt. Second prize goes to The Clam by Amanda Quaid, and third prize to Proofreading by Amy Crider.
"It's an honor to be chosen for this year's Prize,” said Platt. “Like James Stevenson, I find a lot of delightful absurdity in the world, and it's wonderful to get a small piece of that absurdity out of my head and onto paper. I'm so grateful to Playing on Air and Josie Merck for supporting this work."
Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, actor & playwright William Jackson Harper, and Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! served as guest judges for the final round of the competition, along with Merck and Playing on Air founder & producing artistic director Claudia Catania. Playing on Air accepted free, open submissions for the competition, with all readers and judges scoring scripts “blind,” with no knowledge of playwrights’ past credits.
Platt’s Human Resources, a biting satire about a young tech worker who’s asked to lie about his race so his company can claim him as a “diversity hire,” and Quaid’s The Clam, a witty, surprising comedy about a bivalve in therapy, will be recorded live at Playing on Air’s benefit at The Pershing Square Signature Center on November 18th. Playing on Air will then release both audio productions nationally on public radio and podcast in 2020
“The premise of the James Stevenson contest is such a playful, provocative challenge,” said Quaid. “It’s a real honor to share [this play] and celebrate Stevenson’s legacy.”