James Ijames Wins the Terrence McNally New Play Award

Barrymore-winning actor James Ijames.

Philadelphia writer, actor, professor, and artist James Ijames has been named the fourth annual Philadelphia Theatre Company Terrence McNally New Play Award recipient for his work White.

Ijames will receive a $10,000 prize and a year of development support from Philadelphia Theatre Company, including “readings as well as administrative support and networking to help manage the future of the play beyond its time at PTC” according to a Broadway World article.

“We are so pleased to honor an adventurous new voice in the fourth year of this award. James’ exploration of artists and art enthusiasts is both funny and bold,” said playwright Terrence McNally. “There is enormous promise with this particular piece, and we anticipate great things out of its continued development.”

According to press materials, Ijames’ new play is summarized as follows:

White tells the story of Gus, who wants to be a famous visual artist, and Vanessa, who wants to be a working actor. When these two cross paths, their assumptions about art and being an artist are dismantled. In this modern Frankenstein story, Gus’ desire to be acquired by a major contemporary art museum inspires him to hire a woman to claim his work to meet the museum’s demand for ‘new perspectives.’ This play spins out of control as it explores issues of race, gender, sexuality and art.”

Additionally, writer Jacqueline Goldfinger was awarded a Special Citation for Continuing Development, a first for the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Goldfinger receded $1,000 to support the development of her new work Fresh.