2015 New American Play Prize Winners Announced
  • 2023-10-08

2015 New American Play Prize Winners Announced

March 11, 2016


MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company is proud to announce Rachel Bonds as the 2015 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize winner for her play Swimmerswhich is currently running on the MTC mainstage—and Nick Gandiello as the 2015 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize winner for his play Sunrise Highway. Now in its ninth year, MTC's two new play prizes continue to celebrate the work of the American playwright and encourage the creation of bold, powerful new voices and plays for the American stage.

Norton J. “Sky” Cooper established the New American Play Prize at MTC in 2007 to celebrate the work of the American playwright and to encourage the creation of bold, powerful new voices and plays for the American stage. The Sky Cooper Prize is awarded annually to either an established or emerging playwright for an outstanding new work. Ms. Bonds’ Swimmers will receives a $10,000 award in addition to its current full production at MTC as part of its 2015-2016 mainstage season.

Norton J. “Sky” Cooper also established the Emerging American Playwright Prize award at MTC in 2007 in honor of David Calicchio’s lifelong career as a playwright and in support of MTC’s commitment to the discovery and development of new and emerging American playwrights. The Calicchio Prize is awarded annually to a professionally unproduced playwright for a new work that shows outstanding promise and a distinctive new voice for the American theatre. Mr. Gandiello’s Sunrise Highway will receive 2 public staged readings at Marin Theatre Company as part of the theatre’s annual New Play Reading Series. The playwright will receive a $2,500 award, as well as travel and accommodations for the MTC rehearsal period (25 hours).

Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis is thrilled to announce the 2015 winners

“I am delighted to announce that Rachel Bonds and Nick Gandiello are the 2015 recipients of Marin Theatre's Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize respectively. This was an incredible year for the prizes as we received over 960 submissions from many of our most exciting American writers.

Rachel Bonds’ winning submission, Swimmers, rocked the foundations of our organization when it made the reading rounds. There was so much enthusiasm around the play that it immediately became the centerpiece of our current season. We are in our second week of previews and the play is having a deeply emotional impact on our audiences. Rachel's delicate and gentle writing displays a profound love for her 11 lonely characters and brings a hopefulness and optimism to the stage that is uniquely her own. I have great hope and faith that this important new American play will find passionate, dedicated audiences around the country.

Nick Gandiello is already making waves with his writing. In the nine years we have been administering the two annual new play prizes, we are continually surprised and excited when fresh new voices like Nick's come along. His play, Sunrise Highway, is about family and race, secrets and lies, loyalty and love as a modern blended family tries to find their way through one challenge after another that lead to a potentially devastating revelation. Nickwrites tense, taut scenes that vibrate with the menace of hidden secrets. Nick has a gift for approaching sensationally terrifying secrets from uniquely human and at times even humorous angles.”

Rachel Bonds’ Swimmers

Coyotes evading police. Billboards predicting the end of the world. It's been a strange day at the office and it's only 9am. This beautiful "slice of life" ensemble play explores the relationships we take most for granted—those with whom we work every day. Now playing at Marin Theatre Company through March 27, 2016.

More about Rachel Bonds

Rachel Bonds is a playwright originally from Sewanee, TN, currently living in Brooklyn. Her plays have been developed or produced by New Georges, Ars Nova, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival, American Theater Company, The McCarter, Roundabout Underground, Manhattan Theatre Club, Two River Theater, The Arden, New York Stage & Film and SPACE at Ryder Farm. She is an affiliated artist of New Georges’, an Alum of EST’s Youngblood and Ars Nova’s Play Group, and a recent winner of the 2012 Samuel French Short Play Festival. She was recently the 2013 Writer’s Room Resident at The Arden in Philadelphia and was granted a commission from the Studio Theatre in DC as part of their inaugural series of commissioned works. Bonds is a graduate of Brown University.  

Nick Gandiello’s Sunrise Highway

Mid-90’s Long Island: an African-American family and an Italian-American family come together in a budding relationship. But when the teenagers in either family discover danger in the relationship between their younger siblings, they make a secret pact that jeopardizes everyone. Identity is stretched across family, race, history, and sexuality in this bittersweet drama.

More about Nick Gandiello

Nick Gandiello is a playwright, screenwriter, and teaching artist based in NYC. His plays include Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), The Wedge Horse (Fault Line Theatre), Sunrise Highway (Ojai Playwrights Conference),  The Blameless (Ojai), Black Fly Spring (Xavier University), Swept (Williamstow Theatre Festival), At the Finish (Smith and Kraus's The Best 10 Minute Plays of 2014), and Teeming Shore (The Best 10 Minute Plays of 2015). Nick is the 2015 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. He attended Page 73's Summer Residency at Yale and was a member of the 2014 I-73 Writers Group. Nick is an alum of the Ars Nova Play Group. He holds an MFA from The New School for Drama, where his play Off the Realness received a workshop production. His work has been developed or presented by Wide Eyed Productions, the Samuel French OOB Festival, Capital Stage Productions, Crashbox Theater Company, among others.  Nick has attended residencies at The Blue Mountain Center and SPACE on Ryder Farm. For the screen, he developed and shot a television pilot, Substance, with Ready Set Go Productions. As a teaching artist, he led the Naked Angels 3 Thursdays Summer Style and their playwriting workshops in the GUILD Conference. Nick was the Literary Manager of Young Playwrights Inc. from 2012 - 2015, for which he led playwriting workshops in Virginia, Miami, and NYC.


Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season focused on new American plays, and a four-show Family Series. We are committed to the development and production of new plays, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of world premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards and readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging and established playwrights. Our numerous education programs serve more than 8,500 students from over 40 Bay Area schools each year.  MTC strives to create intimate, powerful and emotional experiences that engage audiences to discuss new ideas and adopt a broader point of view. We believe in taking risks and inspiring people to participate in live theater, regardless of personal means.  MTC celebrates the intellectual curiosity of our community, and we believe that theater is an important tool to help build empathy. MTC was founded in 1966 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Sara Waugh, Marketing Director
(415) 322-6022 | saraw@marintheatre.org