The Dominic Orlando Fund is a fund created by friends of Dominic and the Playwrights’ Center to keep the spirit of Dominic and his work burning for years to come. The fund will be used to create playwriting awards to support several writers over several years.

In 2003, at the age of 39, Dominic came to Playwrights’ Center on a Jerome Fellowship. This opportunity raised his profile and catapulted Dominic’s career into the national conversation. For the twenty years prior, he had co-run a small independent theater company in New York, where he wrote, directed, and produced scores of his plays. The support of the Jerome Fellowship allowed Dominic to focus on his craft and to make connections that led to larger productions nationally, significant commissions, and eventually led to his success in television.

In the spirit of Dominic’s life and work, the award recipients will be writers with an “unconventional career.” This can mean many things, but we hope to find candidates who may be “late bloomers,” theater makers who have forged their own paths by producing their own work or running their own independent companies, and artists who have taken artistic risks without finding significant financial or material support from large institutional theaters. We especially want to recognize writers who have made a continued commitment to smaller-budget theater companies and ensembles and helped them push the boundaries of what theater and playwriting can be.

The intention is that these awards will allow the recipients to focus deeply on their craft and make national connections while alleviating some of the crippling financial pressure that can often hold artists back from pursuing their dreams.

The selection process will be overseen by the Fund’s Advisory Board. Each award will consist of a one-time, no strings attached award. During the fall of 2024, the Board will reach out to a select group of small theater companies and ensembles to request nominations of playwrights who embody Dominic’s experimental, risk-taking spirit. Then, those nominated playwrights will be invited to submit an application. The nomination period for the 2023-24 award has ended.

If you are a representative of a theater company or ensemble who would be interested in nominating a playwright next year, please email If you are a playwright and feel you may fit the criteria described above, please encourage a company or ensemble you work with to reach out to us during the summer of 2024.

There will be a two-round evaluation process, and the announcement of the award recipient will be made in spring 2024. Please contact fund administrator Julia Brown at with any questions.