PITTSFIELD >> Barrington Stage Company will receive $50,000 toward expenses for its season-opening production, "American Son," thanks to an award from the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation. In addition, playwright Christopher Demos-Brown will receive $25,000.
Another $50,000 is being awarded to The Public Theater in New York for its production of "Dry Powder" by Sarah Burgess, who also is receiving $25,000.
This is the first time the annual $150,000 award is being shared by two theater companies and two playwrights.
"The quality of the work was high this year, foundation president David Saint said in a news release. "It's the first time there has been a tie for the award. These are two wonderful plays about highly relevant topics — race relations ('American Son') and the world of high finance ('Dry Powder')."
Named after playwright/screenwriter Arthur Laurents — whose credits for the stage include "Home of the Brave," "West Side Story," "La Cage aux Folles" and "Gypsy';" and for the screen "The Way We Were," "Rope" and "Anastasia" — and his partner, Tom Hatcher, an actor turned real estate contractor and developer who died in 2006, the Larents/Hatcher Award was established in 2010 and is given annually to an un-produced, full-length play.
"American Son," which had a reading at Barrington Stage last summer and will have its world premiere at BSC June 17 through July 9, is about the events set into motion when a biracial couple is called into a police station when their son's car is found.
In addition to "American Son," Demos-Brown's playwriting credits include "Fear Up Harsh," which received a Steinberg Award Citation from the American Theater Critics Association; "Captiva," "Our Lady of Allapattah," and "When the Sun Shone Brighter," which received the 2011 Carbonell Award for Best New Work, and the 2010 Silver Palm Award for Outstanding New Work. In 2010, Demos-Brown and his wife co-founded Zoetic Stage in Miami.
In expressing gratitude for the award, BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd, who will direct "American Son," said in a news release from the foundation that she is "honored to be kicking off (our) 2016 season with (this play) that examines our national racial divide as seen through the eyes of an estranged, biracial couple."