The Ryan Hudak LGBTQ+ Playwright Award

Help NYFA raise funds to create an award that honors the life of playwright Ryan Hudak.

Ryan Hudak was a gay playwright, theater maker, and filmmaker, proud of his Hispanic and European heritage. In addition to his creative practice, he was a valued member of NYFA’s staff, serving on the executive and development teams.

Ryan’s play The Firewatchers won him a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where he graduated with an MFA degree in dramatic writing. His play Robbie Alex Cooper was a 2018 finalist in the prestigious Eugene O’Neill playwriting competition. While an undergrad at Long Island University, he was involved in the development of and acted in the play Remembering Antigone, which was awarded a Kennedy Center honor for best reimagining of a classic play.

This was supposed to be just the beginning of a what would have been a long career as an artist and lover of the arts. Tragically, Ryan passed in May 2022 after a long battle with Leukemia at the age of 32.

Ryan wrote to give the LGBTQ+ community more stories that connect them to world history and culture, which he felt has largely been sanitized by today’s culture. Ryan developed and taught a course on the History of gay theater when he attended CMU, which he eventually taught at Lehman College. He would have continued teaching the course at Long Island University except for the fate of his illness.

Ryan’s work comes out of his struggles with his sexuality as a young man. He found a connection through fantasy and period novels, tales of outsiders banding together to defeat a foe or families moving through generations. As a result, his plays tend to be set in their own created worlds, pulling influences from gay culture and literature, giving gay characters more complex stories.

By donating to support this award, you will be giving playwrights the funds they need to dedicate time and space to write, and in so doing, honor Ryan’s life. 

Thank you for your consideration and donation.