Becky Shaw

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Becky Shaw
Written byGina Gionfriddo
CharactersBecky Shaw
Date premiered 2008 (2008-MM)
Place premieredHumana Festival of New American Plays
Original languageEnglish

Becky Shaw is a play written by Gina Gionfriddo. The play premiered at the Humana Festival in 2008 and opened Off-Broadway in 2008. The play was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


The play had its world premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky on February 29, 2008. The play was commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville [1] after the success of Gionfriddo's last play, After Ashley, at the 2004 Humana Festival. Directed by Peter Dubois, the cast featured Annie Parisse.[2] Charles Isherwood reviewed the play for The New York Times, writing: "The new play marks an impressive stride for a writer with a saw-toothed wit and a seductive interest in exploring the rewards and responsibilities of emotional interdependence...Becky Shaw is a thoroughly enjoyable play, suspenseful, witty and infused with an unsettling sense of the potential for psychic disaster inherent in almost any close relationship."[3]

After the play opened to critical acclaim at the Humana Festival, it was soon announced that Second Stage Theatre would play host to its Off-Broadway debut in the winter of 2008-09. Performances began at Second Stage on December 16, 2008 in previews, officially opening on January 8, 2009. This production saw the return of director Peter DuBois along with original cast members Annie Parisse (as Becky Shaw) and David Wilson Barnes. The cast featured Emily Bergl, Kelly Bishop, and Thomas Sadoski.[4] Kelly Bishop was cast as Susan, a woman with MS who hooks up with a man much younger than herself, and quite disreputable. Susan, a domineering woman, also has quite a dysfunctional relationship with her daughter Suzanna (Emily Bergl) in the play.[5] Due to positive reception and strong box office numbers, performances were extended through March 15, 2009.[6]

Director Peter DuBois and Gionfriddo met at Brown University in the 1990s, and DuBois directed her thesis production (U.S. Drag) there; he has also directed her play Rapture, Blister, Burn.[7]

Regional and international[edit]

The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania produced the play from December 30, 2009 to February 7, 2010, directed by Anne Kauffman.[8]

The Australian premiere was produced by Echelon Productions at the MTC Lawler Studio in Melbourne opening on October 27, 2010. The production was directed by Indira Carmichael and starred Daniel Frederiksen, Amanda Levy, Alex Papps, Kate Atkinson and Judith Roberts.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In discussing the possibities for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Playbill wrote: "Another contender frequently mentioned for the 2009 Pulitzer is Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw... as praised as that work [After Ashley] was, many critics considered Becky Shaw — about a quartet of emotionally damaged and dependent young people — to be her most mature play to date."[9] Becky Shaw was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (won by Ruined).[10]

Gina Gionfriddo won the 2009 Outer Critics Circle Award (John Gassner Award). The play received nominations for the Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Play.[11]


  1. ^ "Becky Shaw". Actors Theatre of Louisville. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18.
  2. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Annie Parisse Is Gionfriddo's 'Becky Shaw' at Humana Fest", February 29, 2008
  3. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "New Plays Exploring Difficult Relations" The New York Times, April 1, 2008
  4. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. "Annie Parisse Is 'Becky Shaw' Beginning Dec. 16 at Second Stage", December 16, 2008
  5. ^ "Becky Shaw Preview". Gilmore Girls News. Archived from the original on 2008-12-31.
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hernandez, Ernio. "'Becky Shaw', with Parisse, Extends Off-Broadway Run Through March", January 9, 2009
  7. ^ Hartigan, Patty. "Career vs. family in ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’ Boston Globe, May 25, 2013
  8. ^ "Press Kit" wilma, accessed August 28, 2015
  9. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Everything's Ruined: A Look at the Contenders for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama", April 10, 2009
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth. "Lynn Nottage's 'Ruined' Wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama", April 20, 2009
  11. ^ " 'Becky Shaw' Listing", accessed August 28, 2015

External links[edit]