Kesselring Prize


David Glanstein


Douglas Friedlander, Arnold Davis, Colleen Katz, Charlotte Kent, Linda Selman, Ava Warbrick, Marguerite Yaghjian
Artistic Advisor: Michael Parva, Artistic Director of the Directors Company of New York


About The Kesselring Prize

The Kesselring Committee administers the selection and presentation of the annual Kesselring Prize awarded by The National Arts Club.  The Kesselring Prize was created to honor and support playwrights on the brink of national recognition. Established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring, the prize honors the memory of her husband, playwright Joseph Kesselring, author of the comedy classic Arsenic and Old Lace and a longtime member of The National Arts Club. Each year, the Club invites theaters from across the country to nominate a play and playwright. The submissions are evaluated by a panel of independent judges. A gala celebration honors the winner with a $25,000 prize plus a residency at the National Arts Club. The evening features readings from the playwright's works and a series of honored guests speaking about the winner's significance in the theater community.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Reading and Awards at 4:00 PM
Gala Cocktail Reception to follow from 6:00 - 8:00 PM

UPDATE: Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang will be presenting the 2017 Kesselring Prize and Golden Globe award-winning actress Regina Taylor will be the guest speaker at this year’s prize ceremony.   

The Kesselring Committee is pleased to announce the 2017 Kesselring Prize for playwriting has been awarded to Lauren Yee, who was nominated by the Atlantic Theater Company in New York.
   Lauren was previously a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, and a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab.  Her nominated play The Great Leap will be produced this season at the Atlantic Theatre Company.     
   The Kesselring Prize was established in 1980 at the Club by Charlotte Kesselring – widow of playwright Joseph Kesselring – to honor and support as yet not nationally recognized playwrights with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their work. Among its past recipients are last year’s winner Lindsey Ferrentino, Lucas Hnath, Tony Kushner, and Anna Deavere Smith.     
   The 2017 Kesselring Prize Jury that selected this year’s prize winner consisted of John Guare, famed American playwright who is best known as the author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, and Landscape of the Body; Anne Cattaneo, the Dramaturg of Lincoln Center Theater and the creator and head of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors’ Lab; and Lynn Nottage, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays include 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony nominee Sweat.  

There is no charge for the 4:00 PM awards ceremony and reading.

A gala cocktail reception follows the awards ceremony and reading, featuring an open bar, signature cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, an antipasto display, featuring sliced meats, assorted cheeses and variety of vegetables, as well as a Chef’s Display of decadent desserts.

$100 (all inclusive) for non-members/ guests. Guests may purchase tickets via Eventbrite. Click here

$95 (all inclusive) for NAC members
RSVP: 212-477-2389 or

**There is a 48-hour cancellation policy for this event and please note that the bar and dining room will be closed, except for attendees of the Kesselring Ceremony.

  • Kesselring Prize Winners
    • Kesselring Prize Winners

      2016 – Lindsey Ferrentino
      2015 – Lucas Hnath
      2009 – Rajiv Joseph & David Adjmi
      2007 – Jordan Harrison
      2006 – Mark Schultz
      2005 – Deb Margolin
      2004 – Tracey Scott Wilson
      2003 – Bridget Carpenter
      2002 – Melissa James Gibson
      2001 – David Lindsay-Abaire
      2000 – David Auburn
      1999 – Heather McDonald
      1998 – Kira Obolensky
      1996 – Naomi Wallace
      1995 – Amy Freed & Doug Wright
      1994 – Nicky Silver
      1993 – Anna Deavere Smith
      1992 – Marion Issac McClinton
      1991 – Tony Kushner
      1990 – Elizabeth Egloff & Mel Shapiro
      1989 – Jo Carson
      1988 – Diane Ney
      1987 – Paul Schmidt
      1986 – Marlane Meyer
      1985 – Bill Elverman
      1984 – Phillip Kan Gotanda
      1983 – Lynn Alvarez
      1981 – Cheryl Hawkins
      1980 – Susan Charlotte

      Honorable Mention / Cranefield Awards

      2015 – James Ijames
      2009 – Jenny Schwartz & Alvin McCraney
      2007 – Will Eno, Rinne Groff, Marcus Gardley
      2006 – Bruce Norris
      2005 – Tanya Barfield
      2004 – John Belluso
      2003 – Lynn Nottage
      2002 – Lydia Diamond
      2001 – Dael Orlandersmith
      2000 – Jessica Hagedorn
      1999 – Stephen Dietz
      1998 – Erik Ehn
      1997 – Kira Obolensky & Edwin Sanchez
      1996 – Nilo Cruz
      1993 – Han Ong
      1992 – Jose Rivera
      1991 – Quincy Long & Scott McPherson
      1990 – Howard Korder
      1989 – Keith Reddin
      1988 – Jose Rivera & Frank Hogen
      1987 – Januzsz Glowacki
      1986 – John Leicht
      1985 – Laura Harrington
      1983 – Constance Congden
      1981 – William Hathaway
      1980 – Carol Lashof

  • Kesselring News
    • Kesselring Corner

      The Playwright Lauren Yee Wins the 2017 Kesselring Prize

      • Kesselring Prize Winners on Broadway

      Kesselring judge Lynn Nottage has just won the Pulitzer Prize (her second!)
      for her play Sweat, currently running on Broadway.

      by Lynn Nottage at Studio 54, N.Y.
      “This is a true ensemble work…demands audience attention.”
      A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath at John Golden Theater, N.Y.
      “Hnath continues Nora’s story in this intriguing play.”

      Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino at National Theater, London
      “Beautiful, richly textured, new play…uncommonly compelling.”
      Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare, a Kesselring Prize juror, at Barrymore Theater, N.Y.
      Tony Award nominee for Best Play and for Pulitzer Prize for Drama

        In 2016 Lindsey Ferrentino was awarded the prize for her play Ugly Lies the Bone, submitted by The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Ms. Ferrentino’s winning play is now being staged at The National Theater, London.