Desi Moreno-Penson’s ‘Beige’ wins national Latino Playwright Award

Desi Moreno-Penson’s “Beige” has been named the winner of Arizona Theatre Company’s 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award, and the recipient of the $1,000 prize.

The National Latino Playwriting Award was established by Arizona Theatre Company Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein and Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero to create a greater awareness of the work being done by Latina/o playwrights across the nation. This is the 21st year of the contest.

Desi Moreno-Penson’s "Beige" has been named the winner of Arizona Theatre Company’s 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award.

Desi Moreno-Penson’s “Beige” has been named the winner of Arizona Theatre Company’s 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award.

A surreal tale of self-identity and the sometimes schizophrenic effects of post-colonialism, “Beige” is set in 2001, after the tragedy of 9/11, and tells the story of Soledad Iglesias, a Nuyorican journalist who finds herself caught between the reality of her Jewish fiancée and the ideals of the Puerto Rican Nationalist, Lolita Lebron. Existing at the crossroads of history, reality, and cultural imagination, “Beige” is a cautionary tale of race, Puerto Rican politics, and love.

ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero says, “’Beige’ masterfully brings forth the clash between a woman’s sense of Puerto Rican nationalism and the love of her life, who does not neatly fit into her personal narrative. Recently, the conversation about Puerto Rican identity politics has reached new heights.

“This complex rendering, and clear fusion of character and politics, makes “Beige” perfectly timed to receive this honor.”

ATC Literary Manager Katherine Monberg adds, “We were thrilled by the theatricality, the depth, and the vibrancy of Desi’s voice and the unique coalescence of immediacy and timelessness in Beige that speaks to an incredibly powerful story and storyteller.”

Desi Moreno-Penson is a New York-based playwright and actor. Her plays have been developed and/or produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, New Georges, INTAR, Henry Street Settlement, Perishable Theater (Providence, RI), SPF-Summer Play Festival, The Downtown Urban Theater Festival @the Cherry Lane, and Urban Theatre Company (Chicago), among others.

The finalists for the 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award are Georgina Escobar’s “Sweep” and Augusto Federico Amador’s “Atacama.”

Previous winners of the National Latino Playwriting Award have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, featured at the Humana Festival and at regional theaters across the country. Recent winner “The River Bride,” by Marisela Treviño Orta, will be produced as part of ATC’s current 50th Anniversary Season.

Edwin Sànchez’s “La Bella Familia,” Michael Mejias’s “Ghetto Babylon,” Caridad Svich’s “Spark,” and Kristiana Colón’s “Octagon” were given staged readings in ATC’s Café Bohemia new play reading series as part of the award. Other past recipients include Matthew Paul Olmos, Kristoffer Diaz, Carlos Murillo, Luis Alfaro, Octavio Solis, Raul Garza and Karen ZacarÍas. Felix Pire’s winning play The Origins of Happiness in Latin was previously produced by ATC.

The 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts as part of the Voices of a New America company-wide initiative.

Submissions for the 2017 National Latino Playwriting Award are now open. Latino playwrights residing in the United States, its territories or Mexico are encouraged to submit scripts for the award. Each script will be read and evaluated by a culturally diverse panel of theatre artists; finalists will be judged by ATC artistic staff. For more information contact Katherine Monberg, ATC Literary Manager (520) 884-8210 , Ext. 7508 or

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