Friday, January 14, 2022

Premiere Stages at Kean University Announces 2022 Bauer Boucher Playwriting Award Winners

2022 Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards Winners Announced

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has named current Kean University student Jennifer Pillaga (Class of ’22) and alumnus Elaine Insinnia (Class of ‘68) as the winners of the 2022 Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards, named for longtime donors W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher. Both winners will receive a cash prize and a one-day developmental reading of their plays with a professional cast and director. The Bauer Boucher Student Award will be held virtually via Zoom and is free and open to the public. The Bauer Boucher Alumnus Award will be performed at Lantern Hill Senior Living.

The House of Stars
by Jennifer Pillaga 

WHEN: Tuesday, January 18, at 3:30 p.m. EST
via Zoom
To register for the free reading of The House of Stars visit

Gloria has moved to the U.S from Guatemala, leaving behind her son (Mateo) under her brother’s (Leonardo) care. She lives with her mother (Alma) in a small apartment in Jersey City, NJ and both are caught by surprise when Leonardo appears at their door, alone. Gloria sets out to find a way to bring her son to her, but things get complicated when Mateo gets detained at a Texas Detention Center. Between having to deal with Leonardo’s unexpected arrival and doing everything she can to protect her son, Gloria makes decisions that put a wrench in her sibling relationship and lead to unforeseen consequences. 

Jennifer Pillaga is a Senior B.F.A Theatre Performance major at Kean University. She has recently become a Miranda Family Fellow after completing a summer intensive at the National Theatre Institute in Waterford, CT this past summer. Onstage credits include Anna in the Tropics as Conchita and Tybalt in the Misadventures of Romeo and Juliet. Her writing credits include, The 7th Floor Apartment, a short play, which had a Zoom premiere by Stream On Productions.

Belles Rebelle
by Elaine Insinnia 

WHEN: to be announced soon; please visit the Premiere stages website for more details

About Belles Rebelle, in 1895, May and Lydia marry in New York as man and wife. When Lydia votes illegally, her identity is discovered, and she is arrested. Despite being furious at Lydia for her carelessness and her infidelity to boot, rather than have her face trial, May allows Lydia to escape with her to her cousin’s cabin in rural Kansas. Will life on the prairie set the scene for these two fish out of water to reconcile? Will Lydia find the courage to return to New York City and face her fate?

Elaine Insinnia’s plays include Always Split Aces and Eights, national winner of the One-Act Play Contest at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, 2019; Belles Rebelle, finalist, Leah Ryan Playwriting Contest; Exiled, commissioned by the Abingdon Theatre, NYC; Cut Strings, Abingdon Theatre; Vincie, Nora’s Playhouse; Leap of Faith, Luna Stage short play festival; Better Off Dead, ASOTO staged reading. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ASOTO, a group dedicated to developing women’s plays, and is forever grateful to Play Gym, Play Lab, and especially to Cheryl Katz and Ann Timmons, whose guidance was invaluable in the development of Belles Rebelle.

Honorable mentions include Fox Club by Chachi Rodriguez in the student category and A Nation of Wounded Soldiers by Chris Grant and Drooga by Joelle Zazz in the alumnus category.

The Bauer Boucher Playwriting Award, established in 2014 through funding by Premiere Stages supporters W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, recognizes the work of one Kean University student and one playwright from the alumni community on an annual basis. The Bauer Boucher Award supports Kean University writers with enhanced visibility, dramaturgical feedback, a cash award, and the opportunity to hear their play read out loud by an ensemble of professional actors. The selected plays are directed by John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, and performed by a cast of professional actors. The winning student receives a cash prize of $1,000 and the winning graduate receives a $2,000 award. Honorable Mention recipients receive $150 each.

The 2022 Bauer Boucher Award Readings will benefit the Kean Foundation. Donations will help support Premiere Stages education initiatives, particularly those that support emerging artists. Premiere Stages wishes to express gratitude to the following Performers’ Unions: ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS, AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS, SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program. To make a donation, visit

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, Carol Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, religious groups, gender identities, ages, abilities, disabilities and sexual preferences.