New Jewish Play Prize

Established in 2020, Theater J’s New Jewish Play Prize recognize extraordinary new writing that celebrates, explores, or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience from established and emerging playwrights. Created in memory of a longtime Theater J supporter and leader, the annual Trish Vradenburg prize both inspires and celebrates the continuation and development of the Jewish theatrical tradition in the United States.

We encourage plays which authentically represent characters and experiences of racially and ethnically diverse Jews, as well as explore the historic and present-day intersections of white Jews and Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color.

Before submitting, please be sure to read all of the FAQs to ensure that your submission meets the eligibility criteria and follows all submission guidelines. If your submission fails to comply with these requirements, we will not be able to read it.

Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize will award $15,000 to an established playwright in honor of a new play that celebrates, explores, and/or struggles with the complexities and nuances of the Jewish experience.

The Prize is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist, playwright, and Alzheimer’s research advocate Trish Vradenburg, who served on Theater J’s Council for 13 years.

Plays must be submitted by a theatrical agent or artistic staff members of a professional theater company. We expect established playwrights to have had productions of their plays on Broadway, at major off-Broadway theaters, and/or at multiple LORT theaters, or other markers of attaining significant accomplishments and/or national attention as a playwright. Unproduced plays are eligible, as are plays professionally produced after July 2018 or currently scheduled for an NYC premiere.

Trish Vradenburg served on Theater J’s Council for 13 years. She was an accomplished playwright, author, comedy writer, journalist, and advocate. Theater J recognizes Trish Vradenberg’s profound commitment to theater and community by honoring her memory through the creation of this prize to playwrights who are making a significant artistic contribution to the theater.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the purposes of this award, Jewish plays are ones in which Jewish identity, history, or culture plays a critical role: if you took these out, the play would change meaningfully.

No. We welcome writers of all faiths, cultures, backgrounds, and racial and ethnic identities, provided they and their play meet all stated eligibility requirements.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize: the play may be previously produced, provided that its professional world premiere or scheduled NYC premiere (whichever is later) was no earlier than July 1, 2018.

Given the time and attention our readers need to give every submission its due, we ask that each playwright submit only one play. Please consider submitting other criteria-meeting works in future years.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize, we accept submissions from agents and artistic staff of professional theaters.

There is no fee for submitting.

You will receive a confirmation within ten days of submitting. All playwrights will receive notification prior to award announcements in Fall 2023.

Scripts will be read and evaluated by a group comprised of Theater J staff members, Theater J artists and collaborators, industry professionals, Theater J Council members, and, in the case of the Abramson prize, representatives of the Abramson family. Theater J makes every effort to ensure our readers are a diverse and theatrically knowledgeable group and that each script receives an unbiased evaluation.

For the Trish Vradenburg Jewish Play Prize ($15,000) we ask that you come to DC (travel and accommodations to be paid for by Theater J) to accept the award in person at Theater J. Winners must acknowledge the prize in future publications and productions of the script.

No, Theater J will not be able to provide feedback about submitted plays.

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Play Prize: The Ally by Itamar Moses
The Theater J Patty Abramson Play Prize: Bashert by Alicia Louzon-Heisler
Finalists: The Matriarchs by Liba Vaynberg and The Play About the Shiva by Dani Stoller

The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Play Prize: Here There are Blueberries by Moisés Kaufman and Amanda Gronich
Finalists: Moses by Michele Lowe, One Jewish Boy by Stephen Laughton, and I Was a Stranger Too by Cynthia Cooper

The Theater J Patty Abramson Play Prize: The Helpers by Maggie Lou Rader
Finalists: Screech Owl by Madison Fiedler and Damsels by Jenny Rachel Weiner

2020 Inaugural Winners:
The Theater J Trish Vradenburg Play Prize: Prayer for the French Republic by Joshua Harmon
Finalists: A Model City by Brooke Berman and Picture of a House in Shaker Heights by David Grimm

The Theater J Patty Abramson Play Prize: Abomination by Nicole Cox
Finalists: Belfast Kind by Margot Connolly and Grains of Wheat by Abigail Weaver

While playwrights may submit every year, only each prizes’ notified Finalist plays are eligible for resubmission. All other playwrights may submit previously unsubmitted plays provided they and the play meet the prize’s eligibility requirements.

Please be sure to read through these FAQs first. If your question still is not answered, you may write to