Tisch Drama Alum Jaclyn Backhaus '08 Wins Horton Foote Prize

Friday, Sep 7, 2018

A longer version of this article was published in The New York Times.

Jaclyn Backhaus '08 is a winner of this year's Horton Foote Prize, along with Lauren Yee. The biennial award recognizes new American plays, one recently staged and one unproduced. 

The winners will both receive $25,000 and a limited-edition photograph of Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of The Young Man From Atlanta.

Backhaus' play India Pale Ale is the recipient of the "Promising New American Play" prize.

It tells the story of a traditional Punjabi family in a small Wisconsin town celebrating the wedding of its only son.

Judith Ivey, the Tony Award-winning actress and chairwoman of the prize’s judging panel, described the piece as a “modern-day fable rooted in stark reality” that “explores what it means to be a Sikh American in this day of racism and fear.”

“I think it’s incredible that the two winners of this prize this year, we’re both women, we’re both women of color,” said Backhaus. “It’s a really empowering thing for me. I think it represents a sea change as far as the kinds of stories that are being accepted as American stories.”

India Pale Ale will receive its world premiere at Manhattan Theater Club this October.