Photo by Lelund Durond Thompson

Larry Powell (CFA ’08) is the third annual recipient of Rising Phoenix Repertory’s Cornelia Street Playwriting Award.

The award, named after Cornelia Street in New York City’s West Village, home to some of the nation’s greatest playwrights, carries a cash prize and publication in the Rising Phoenix Rep’s theatre arts magazine, Caffe Cino. 

In an earlier statement, Addie Talbott, Artistic Associate of Rising Phoenix Rep, commented, “Through his artistic process, Larry goes deep into stories, characters, systems, dynamics, and communities.”

“The work itself unfolds like alchemy – always greater than the sum of its parts, and always transformational even as it remains rooted in care and profound love for real things and real people.”

Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama, Powell has developed an enviable path as an actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is a faculty member at USC’s MFA Acting program, a two-time Ovation Award nominee, three-time NAACP Theatre Award nominee, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Award nominee, two-time LA Drama Critics Circle Award winner, as well as an Audelco and Audie Award nominee.

As an actor, Powell has starred in exciting new works such as Father Comes Home From The Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks — opposite Sterling K. Brown, Brokeology by Nathan Louis Jackson, and While I Yet Live by Billy Porter (playing the lead role based on Billy Porter).

As a writer, Powell is the recipient of the 2021 IAMA Theatre Company Shonda Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Award and is an inaugural Circle of Confusion Writers Discovery Fellow. He wrote the play The Gaze, a 2021 O’Neill NPC finalist, and adapted it into an award-winning digital series during the early days of the pandemic. “The Gaze Series” is a 2021 Webby Award Honoree and the 2021 Micheaux Film Festival’s Best Comedic Digital Series Winner. He also wrote, directed, produced and starred in his debut feature film project “Mother’s Milk: A Film Quilt” (2021 Seattle International Film Festival’s New American Cinema Special Jury Prize).

Powell is also the Founder of Free The Arts, a holistic experience for diverse, intergenerational Black artists to put-each-other-on-game through quality training, community, opportunity, and new, bold works for a new audience.