Idaho playwright Sam Hunter wins an Obie.

Playwright Samuel D. Hunter took home an Obie for playwriting last night for his play “A Bright New Boise.”

The Obie is the Off-Broadway (and Off-off-Broadway) equivalent of the Tony Award. It's given by The Village Voice, New York's weekly alternative press.

“A Bright New Boise” takes place in the break room of Hobby Lobby, a big-box craft supply store in Boise where a father and son come to terms with their unsettling past.

The Wild Project in New York produced it last fall and received a great review in the New York Times.
Click here to read David Rooney’s review.

Samuel D. Hunter, pictured left.

The production also is nominated for three Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Play. Those will be handed out on May 23.

In this awards category Hunter is up against Broadway powerhouses, such as Nick Stafford’s “War Horse,” and other hot young talents, such as Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” (BCT produced Joseph’s “Animals Out of Paper” in 2010.)

“A Bright New Boise” shares a few elements with Hunter’s “Norway,” which Boise Contemporary Theater produced as a world premiere in January. They both center on a young disenfranchised man from a small Idaho town who gets caught in fall out from an evangelical religious scandal.

Hunter, 29, grew up in Moscow. He now lives in New York and is an emerging fresh voice in theater. His plays, mostly set in Idaho and the West, speak to a different kind of American experience, informed by Hunter’s Idaho roots, he told me in January.

“There is enough in our cultural narrative about New York and Los Angeles,” he says. “I’m more interested in what's in between those places, the complexities of non-urban living in places like Idaho.”

Hunter will be in McCall this summer as the featured playwright at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference June 8 though 18. He has participated in the conference over the years with his plays “I Am Montana” in 2007, and “Idaho/Dead Idaho” in 2009.

Click here for more information on Seven Devils.

The Wolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington D.C. will produce “A Bright New Boise” in October.

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