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Playwright Marisa Wegrzyn wins 2009 Wasserstein Prize

November 17, 2009 | 12:58 pm


Chicago-based dramatist Marisa Wegrzyn has won the 2009 Wasserstein Prize for her new play, "Hickorydickory." As part of the award, the twentysomething playwright will receive a significant chunk of change -- $25,000, to be exact. In addition, "Hickorydickory" will receive a reading at Second Stage Theater in New York.

The road to success has not always been smooth for Wegrzyn, whose plays have been produced by theater companies around the country, including some in Los Angeles. In 2007, her drama "The Butcher of Baraboo" received a series of scathing reviews from newspapers including the New York Times and the New York Post when it premiered at Second Stage Theater.

Wegrzyn later told the Chicago Tribune that the "nobody goes to New York for her off-Broadway debut hoping to get panned."

The playwright seems to have better luck in L.A. Her play "Ten Cent Night" opened at the Victory Theatre in Burbank in June. A reviewer for The Times called it a  "delightful but messy romp" and wrote that the production featured "Olympian performances" from the uniformly excellent cast.

Wegrzyn's one-act "Psalms of a Questionable Nature" played at L.A.'s Lucid By Proxy in 2005 and also received positive notices.

The Wasserstein Prize is awarded for an outstanding script by a young woman who has not yet received national attention. It is named after Wendy Wasserstein, the award-winning author of "The Heidi Chronicles."

Previous winners of prize were Linda Ramsey in 2007 and Laura Jacqmin in 2008 for their plays "The Feather House" and "And when we awoke there was light and light," respectively.  

-- David Ng

Photo: Marisa Wegrzyn. Credit: Chicago Tribune