Florida-born playwright Lindsey Ferrentino has won the 2016 Kesselring Prize for her play Ugly Lies the Bone, which runs Sept. 16-Oct. 9 on the Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre. The prize has, since 1980, gone to a playwright on the verge of national recognition; it now comes with a $25,000 award and a two-week residency in which to develop new work.


Ferrentino’s drama chronicles one soldier’s journey for physical and emotional healing following a traumatic injury in Afghanistan. The Alliance Theatre cast is directed by Jessica Holt (Significant Other at Actor’s Express) and features Hugh Adams, Julie Jesneck, Megan McFarland, Wendy Melkonian and Lee Osorio.

Ferrentino, submitted for the award by the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, was among a dozen playwrights nominated by nonprofit theaters around the country: American Conservatory Theater, Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Theater Center, Geffen Playhouse, the Goodman Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, New Dramatists, Primary Stages and the Public Theater.

Ugly Lies the Bone premiered last year in an off-Broadway production by the Roundabout Theatre Company. The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood made it a critics’ pick and called Ferrentino “a writer of dauntless conviction.”

A jury of playwrights and dramaturgs chooses the winner each year. The 2015 prize went to Lucas Hnath for The Christians, the first time the Kesselring was awarded in six years. The list of previous winners includes Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Anna Deavere Smith (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992).