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The Kennedy Center

Winners of the VSA Playwright Discovery Award Program

2002 VSA Playwright Discovery Award Biographies

First Place Recipient

headshot of Tiffany McCrea, first place award winner

Tiffany McCrea, a recent high school graduate, is an eighteen-year-old from Terrell, TX. Although she has written many short stories, "Mind Invasion" is Tiffany's first play. Her interest in the performing and visual arts has led Tiffany on a path to multiple experiences in theater as a stage manager and set designer for several award-winning plays, and exciting performances in her high school theater group. Tiffany is also an accomplished musician, specializing in the French horn, and has been recognized for outstanding visual art work through her high school's Visual Art Program. She is a current member of the International Thespian Society, and former member of her high school Drama Club, where she held the office of President. Tiffany will be attending the University of North Texas in the Fall of 2002, with her eye on a degree in Graphic Design.

About the Play, "Mind Invasion"

This play was selected by the Artists Selection Committee for full production at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab. Ms. McCrea's insightful play takes the audience into the mind of Audri, a young woman living with schizophrenia. We are invited to witness Audri's personal journey into adulthood aided by a motley assortment of characters both real and imaginary.

Second Place Recipient

headshot of sixteen-year-old Hillary Benefiel second place award winner

Sixteen-year-old Hillary Benefiel of Schertz, TX, currently attends Samuel Clemens High School where she is involved in the theater, choir and honors programs and is a member of the International Thespian Society. This summer, Hillary will participate in the Stephen F. Austin State University Summer Camp. She has been a creative writer since she was in elementary school, and her award winning play is one of the first full scripts she has completed. Hillary is enjoying her time in high school now that she is a "retired army brat", and she looks forward to exploring her options for colleges and fields of study (particularly psychology) over the next year.

About the Play, "Capture the Moon"

This play was selected to receive a staged reading at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab. This touching tale tells the story of a girl named Annie who is autistic. While attempting to connect with the "outside" world, she calls on her doll and teddy bear to assist her.

Third Place Recipient

headshot of Julie Marie DeLizza third place award winner

Julie Marie DeLizza, age fourteen, of Concord, NC currently attends J.M. Robinson High School. Julie wrote her award-winning play for her AIG English class while at Northwest Cabarrus Middle School last year. Many years of dance experience, as well as her Italian heritage, inspired Julie to base her play on a young ballet dancer. A dedicated student at the Peggy Lee School of Dance, Julie is a member of the "Lee-ettes" - an advanced tap dance company. She is also a singer and has been recognized numerous times for academic excellence. In the summer of 2001, Julie attended the Southern Piedmont Educational Consortium (SPEC) camp, and is active in "Odyssey of the Mind". Julie has written several plays and creative stories, and she counts these activities as some of her favorite pastimes.

About the Play, "Hearing Your Heart"

This play was selected to receive a staged reading at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab. Ms. DeLizza's sensitive play portrays the strained relationship between a young dancer, who has recently become deaf, and her loved ones. Once Guevina realizes she can still dance, her life takes on new meaning.