Kara Lee Corthron is 2019 Inge Festival New Voices Winner

Photo by: Jody ChristophersonPlaywright Kara Lee Corthron is the recipient of the 2019 William Inge Theatre Festival’s Otis Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award, which recognizes substantial early contributions to the contemporary American stage.

The award is named for the late Otis L. Guernsey, respected theater critic and scholar. As editor of the annual “Best Plays” anthology, he was a champion of new plays, and a longtime attendee and advocate of the Inge Festival.

Corthron will be presented with the Award at the 38th annual Inge Festival, May 22-25, at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. Corthron’s new play What Are You Worth? will be presented as a reading during the festival, directed by Kansas City Repertory Theatre Artistic Associate and Resident Director Chip Miller.

The Festival’s namesake is William Inge, an Independence native who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Picnic) and Oscar for Best Screenplay (Splendor in the Grass). The festival is designated by the state legislature as the Official Theater Festival of Kansas.

“We’re thrilled to recognize Kara’s astute, nuanced, and unflinching voice, which is critical for our time,” said William Inge Center for the Arts Producing Director, Hannah Joyce-Hoven. “It is fitting that we recognize this significant voice through the New Voices Award.”

Previous Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theater Award winners include Katori Hall, Lauren Gunderson, Samuel D. Hunter, David Ives, Theresa Rebeck, J.T. Rogers, and Jen Silverman, among many other theatre luminaries of our time.

Kara Lee Corthron is a New York City-based playwright, author of young adult novels, and writer for television. Audiences in the Kansas City area most recently saw her Welcome to Fear City at KC Rep earlier this year. Additional theatrical productions include Listen for the Light at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, and AliceGraceAnon at New Georges in New York. She is also an active writer in other mediums, including the young adult novel The Truth of Right Now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Puls, and Daughters of Jubilation, coming this summer.

For television, she currently writes for the Netflix drama You. 

The New Voices recognition at the Inge Festival adds to her many prestigious awards, including: Parents’ Choice Gold Award for The Truth of Right Now; the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; Princess Grace Award; Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize (three-time recipient); and numerous other honors and fellowships. She is an alumna of Julliard and there is more to be found at her website,

Previous Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theater Award winners are: Adam Bock; Catherine Butterfield; Brian Burgess Clark; Joe DiPietro; Mark St. Germain; Katori Hall; Lynne Kaufman; Lauren Gunderson; Mary Hanes; David Hirson; Samuel D. Hunter; David Ives; Melanie Marnich; Jason Milligan; Carlos Murillo; Dael Orlandersmith; Mary Portser; Theresa Rebeck; J.T. Rogers; Jen Silverman; Mat Smart; James Still; Catherine Trieschmann; and Dana Yeaton.

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