Erik Forrest Jackson

Stage West Playwriting Winners Announced

Erik Forrest Jackson takes first place in Stage West's 10th playwriting competition, and the team of Karen and Cason Murphy get second; play readings on April 22.

published Friday, February 24, 2017

Erik Forrest Jackson

Fort Worth — The winners of Stage West's 10th Annual Playwriting Competition have been announced. The first and second place winners—Erik Forrest Jackson, and Karen and Cason Murphy—are from Texas, but have established careers elsewhere. The honorable mention went to Dallas actor/director Ruben Carrazana.

The first and second place winners will receive staged readings on April 22.


Below is the news release with more about the plays and the writers:

Stage West is pleased to announce the results of its 10th Annual Playwriting Competition. All playwrights had to have at least two years of ties to Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana. Plays could not have had a professional production prior to the April 2016 submission deadline. The competition uses a method in which the readers do not know the names of the playwrights before the final results are announced.

The first place winner will receive a $500 prize, will be featured during the Stage West New Play Readings Festival, April 22, 2017, and will be considered for a future full production at Stage West.

The top two plays as selected by Stage West’s contest readers will be presented at this year’s Festival.



Like a Billion Likes

by Erik Forrest Jackson

In addition to winning Stage West’s Southwest Playwriting Contest, Like a Billion Likes is also the winner of the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award; a top 10 finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award; a finalist for the 2016 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference; and the runner-up in the Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest. He has been awarded a 2017 residency grant at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.

Last fall, Jackson adapted the beloved TV comedy Cheers for a live stage event in Boston and Chicago. New York premieres include the plays Charlie!; Doll; Carrie (all at P.S. 122); and Tell-Tale (Off Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theater, GLADD nomination Best Play). His musical Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, co-written with Ben H. Winters and featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka, has been performed globally, most recently in London and Seoul.  Jackson was commissioned to author a series of mashups merging classic novels and Jim Henson’s Muppets for Penguin Books and Disney. The first title, Muppets Meet the Classics: The Phantom of the Opera, will be published in October. Long ago, Jackson’s poems appeared in the Showtime film The Escape, starring Patrick Dempsey.

Even longer ago, Jackson grew up in Parker and graduated from Plano East Senior High. He now lives in Manhattan and is currently the Executive Projects Director at Entertainment Weekly. For more, visit




by Karen Murphy and Cason Murphy

Karen Murphy has a BA in journalism from Baylor University and an MA in Theatre Arts from Prescott College. She created, wrote and directed Ghost Talk, an annual production of historic ghostly folklore at the Prescott Center for the Arts, where she serves as a costumer, director, actress, and crew member for the 194-seat theatre in Prescott, Ariz. Her comedies The King’s New Threads and Little Hospital of Horrors premiered at the Bosque Arts Center, and her short film The Pope of Pontius County was an award winner at both the Bare Bones and the Thunderbird International Film Festivals. Other works include Looking for a Miracle, a finalist in the Out of the Mouth of Babes Female Playwrights Festival, and Shopping with BevAnn and Niki, a finalist in the Onstage Project Readings Festival in Sedona, Az. Karen was born in Ft. Worth.

Cason Murphy has a BA in Theatre from UCLA and his MFA in Theatre Directing from Baylor University. He served two AmeriCorps terms as Technical Director at the Prescott Center for the Arts and is the co-founder of The@trics Theatre. Cason was Artist-in-Residence at the Yuma Arts Center where he co-wrote with Karen the original youth devised piece You-ma! The playwriting duo also created the 10-minute comedies The Gods Must Be Crazy for the Iron Show 24-Hour Play Festival in Los Angeles and Once Upon a Cruise Ship for the One Day Plays Festival in Prescott, Ariz. He is currently the Director of Theatre and Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark. Cason was born in Clifton, TX.




by Ruben Carranza

Ruben Carrazana is a Dallas-based theater artist. Regional acting credits include Dallas Theater Center, Undermain Theatre, Second Thought Theatre, the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, The Tribe, Prism Co, and Cara Mía Theatre Co. Regional directing credits include Cara Mía Theatre Co and Cry Havoc Theater. As a playwright Ruben was an invited member of the Dallas Playwrights' Workshop at the Dallas Theater Center, and his original play Stacy Has A Thing For Black Guys was recommended for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Ruben received his BFA in Theater from Southern Methodist University.


The 11th Annual Southwest Playwriting Competition deadline is April 15, 2017. Entries were accepted beginning January 1, 2017. Thanks For Reading

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Stage West Playwriting Winners Announced
Erik Forrest Jackson takes first place in Stage West's 10th playwriting competition, and the team of Karen and Cason Murphy get second; play readings on April 22.
by Mark Lowry

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