2017 Oregon Book Awards Finalists: Drama

The 2017 Oregon Book Awards ceremony takes place April 24 at the Gerding Theater. Join us! You can purchase tickets to the ceremony at Brown Paper Tickets. You can also cast your vote online for the 2017 Readers Choice Award. This year’s winners of the Oregon Book Award, including the Readers Choice Award, will be announced at the ceremony.  We’ll be featuring this year’s finalists each week until then.


Words That Burn by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

Through a blend of poetry and monologue in their own words, Words That Burn dramatizes the WWII experiences of conscientious objector William Stafford, Japanese-American internee Lawson Inada, and East L.A. marine Guy Gabaldón. The play reveals how they each galvanized language to discover liberation beyond the confinement of camp and combat during “the good war.”

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet and received a 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship. Her poetry collection, the small claim of bones, placed second in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Words That Burn premiered at Milagro Theatre in 2014.


The Yellow Wallpaper by Susan Mach

The Yellow Wallpaper is an adaption of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story that follows Charlotte, a woman writer who is confined to a single bedroom with a bolted-down bed for three months in 1890 by her husband who is also her doctor as a “rest cure” for her postpartum depression and anxiety.

Susan Mach has an MA in Playwriting from Boston University. Her plays have been produced by Theatre for the New City in New York, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Portland Repertory Theatre, Icaras Theatre Ensemble, Artist’s Rep., and Third Rail Repertory Theatre. She teaches writing and literature at Clackamas Community College.


Deception by Nancy Moss

Anne Winters, a young woman passing for white in 1880s Portland, is being blackmailed by her black half-brother Caleb, who wants her to get him into a high stakes poker game. An entrepreneur, Conrad Ryan, asks her to find out from a visiting European magnate whether he plans to invest in the East Portland Railroad or the East Portland line.

Nancy Moss’s play Hostage Wife won New York’s Abingdon Theatre’s Wolk Award in 2005 and had a Honolulu production. Her 10-minute play The Pilot was part of Northwest 10’s 2013 Eugene Festival. Deception won Portland Civic Theatre Guild’s 2014 playwriting contest and had a staged reading at Portland’s 2016 Fertile Ground Festival.


Caesar’s Blood by Rich Rubin

Caesar’s Blood tells the story behind one of the most remarkable nights in theater history, an intoxicating brew of sibling rivalry, Shakespeare, and political assassination.

Rich Rubin is an award-winning playwright whose work has been staged throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Cottonwood in the Flood and Left Hook, both directed by Damaris Webb, were performed in Portland recently. Caesar’s Blood will receive a Portland production in 2017, directed by Nate Cohen. www.richrubinplaywright.com


Berlin Diary by Andrea Stolowitz

 In 1936 Dr. Max Cohnreich escapes Berlin, Germany and writes about his experiences in a diary. In 2015 his great-granddaughter Andrea Stolowitz travels to Berlin using the diary to find clues about the life he describes and the people she never knew.

Andrea Stolowitz’s plays have been developed and presented nationally and internationally at theaters such as The Long Wharf, The Old Globe, The Cherry Lane, and New York Stage and Film. The LA Times calls her work “heartbreaking” and the Orange County Register characterizes her approach as a “brave refusal to sugarcoat issues and tough decisions.”

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