• Thursday, April 16, 2020
  • In the midst of life being shut down…

    Wanted to celebrate a major milestone for my career, as the future of our field looks nebulous for the next few years…

    Madhuri Shekar Named Recipient of 2020 Lanford Wilson Award

    The New Dramatists fellow will be honored this summer.

    NEW YORK CITY: The Dramatists Guild of America has announced that the recipient of the 2020 Lanford Wilson Award is Madhuri Shekar. The playwright will be honored at the Guild’s annual awards ceremony on Monday, July 27, at Joe’s Pub in New York City.

    The Lanford Wilson Award is named after the Pulitzer-winning, Tony-nominated playwright—and longtime Dramatists Guild Council member—who died in 2011. Established by a generous contribution from Wilson’s estate, and matched by a contribution from the Guild, the award is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to a dramatist, based primarily on their work as an early-career playwright. Previous recipients are Francine Volpe, Mike Lew, Chisa Hutchinson, Lauren Gunderson, Christopher Chen, Martyna Majok, Isaac Gomez, R. Eric Thomas, Abe Koogler, and Charly Evon Simpson.

    Madhuri Shekar’s plays include In Love and Warcraft, A Nice Indian Boy, Queen, House of Joy, and Dhaba on Devon Avenue. Her audio play Evil Eye was named one of the top 10 Audible titles of 2019. She is a graduate of the Juilliard playwriting program and a fellow at New Dramatists.

    The awards ceremony will now be a virtual event, as most things are. So grateful to the Dramatists Guild for this boost, so happy that they enjoyed my plays and thought me worthy of this honor. I submitted Queen and Evil Eye for consideration, and there are a litany of amazing mentors and institutions behind both of those plays – Center Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Victory Gardens which gave Queen it’s final developmental push and world premiere. The amazing team at Audible Theatre for Evil Eye. Joanie Schultz and Chay Yew for Queen, Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Emilia LaPenta for Evil Eye.

    Our beloved play Dhaba on Devon Avenue, was shut down two weeks before its world premiere, a proactive and courageous step by Victory Gardens to protect the health of our team and our audiences. It was a major blow. But our director Chay Yew penned this incredibly moving missive in American Theatre Magazine, one that I will treasure forever.

    We Had to Close ‘Dhaba,’ but Our Story Is Not Ended

    The immigrants of Madhuri Shekar’s play, and my own forebears, have a message for us: We survived so you will survive.

    Chay writes…

    In the last weeks, Dhaba gave us the rare opportunity to honor our families and communities. Table work was deeply moving and personal as we all shared the tremendous sacrifices our immigrant families made to make this country their second home. Madhuri’s powerful play is a tribute to anyone who has braved oceans and deserts to reach these United States. I wouldn’t trade the time we spent in the rehearsal room for anything in the world. We’d love to have shared Dhaba with our South Asian community in Chicago, as it’s a valentine and testament to all of them. I know we will celebrate them another time and soon.

    Read the full essay here.

    My other two March productions were also shut down, but got brief rebirths virtually.

    House of Joy at San Diego Rep enjoyed a virtual run, as a recording of the invited dress rehearsal was made available to watch for a limited time. I got to experience the recording in the most joyful way possible – the cast and creative team of the CalShakes world premiere of House of Joy convened on Zoom, and we watched the stream together, chatting and sharing our enthusiasm the whole time.

    And the cast of Antigone, presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s at Sacred Fools got to show off their chops in a Zoom excerpt of the play, shared to the Instagram page Theatre Without Theatre. You can watch it here!

    It is a devastating time for everyone around the world. Unprecedented in our sorrow and loss. But the epicenters of New York and New Jersey, where I live, are hurting so terribly. If you are reading this, I hope you and yours are as safe and well as possible right now.

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019
  • QUEEN wins at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards! || Starting at New Dramatists!

    Two very cool things happened in the same night, and I got to be at one of them!

    Last night, QUEEN won for Outstanding Original Full Length Script at the 2019 New York Innovative Theatre Awards!

    This was in recognition of the beautiful production earlier this year by the Astoria Performing Arts Center, directed by J. Mehr Kaur. So grateful to Mehr and her team, and to APAC directors Dev Bondarin and Jesse Marchese for giving this play its New York premiere (and my first New York production!). And especially thankful to our lead actor Mahima Saigal for accepting the award for me in a smashing sari…

    Mahima slaying the red carpet

    and giving a wonderful acceptance speech. 🐝 👸🏽

    And the reason I couldn’t be there was due to a very wonderful occasion happening the same evening… I got inducted into New Dramatists!


    More to come, but so very happy to be part of this epic institution and in the company of so many playwrights that I’ve only known through reputation and their work so far – and now I get to share a clubhouse with them. It’s wonderful.

    The class of 2026 receives plants and applause at the conclusion of the New Playwright Welcome on September 16, 2019. From left to right: Dipika Guha, Gracie Gardner, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Madhuri Shekar, Kevin Artigue and Will Arbery. (Missing from the photo is Ariel Stess).

    And best of all, my parents happened to be in town all the way from Chennai, and they got to be there and share this experience with me and Seamus.

  • Saturday, June 24, 2017
  • Queen makes the Kilroy’s List!

    QUEEN made The Kilroy’s List of most recommended plays by women and trans writers of color this year! Check out the complete list and add them all to your summer reading list 📚 🎭 ☀️ ❤️  thekilroys.org/list-2017

    You can read the full script of QUEEN on the New Play Exchange.

    VarietyBroadway, Take Note: These Female Playwrights of Color Should Be on Your Radar

    This year, the Kilroys opted to focus specifically on works by female or trans writers of color. The move was spurred in part by the ongoing study The Count, which in 2015 found that over a three-year period, 22% of productions at America’s nonprofit theaters were written by women — and of those, less than 4% were penned by writers of color.

  • Tuesday, November 8, 2016
  • A little update of good things before whatever happens, happens today.

    It’s election day and I woke up to vote when the polls opened at 6am, so I have a little time to post an update of my latest theatre news. 

    This past weekend (Nov 4-6), In Love and Warcraft opened in Tulsa, OK (Heller Theatre Company) and also had its professional London premiere! ILAW opened at Theatre N16 in London on Sunday, Nov 6, produced by What a Nice Production company. It also happened to have a closing at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.


    With those productions, ILAW is now between 12-14 productions, depending on how you count them. This is truly stunning and so unexpected and amazing. I’m just thrilled that this play has had a life and I hope hope hope that it continues to do so.

    (Also, if you want to buy it and read it, you can: http://bit.ly/InLoveandWarcraft)

    And more news! A Bucket of Blessings, my first TVYA play, or play for babies, won a Suzi Bass Award last night. The Suzis are Atlanta’s theatre awards. I loved working on this play so much. Grateful to our director Rosemary Newcott and everyone at the Alliance Theatre for giving me yet another incredible opportunity to make something I can be proud of, with people I adore.