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At the same time, the award brings pressure. “It created these expectations and so I don’t know that people are coming to see this play with the same sort of expectations they would have if they had just not heard of me or this play,” she says. “So it’s a little scary but you know I just have to return to the work and just kind of know myself and my place in the world.”

The third play in her trilogy, “The Happiest Song Plays Last,” is slated to make its world premiere in April at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Hudes says it’s more of a love story, and will push the envelope even more by having a musician onstage playing Puerto Rican folk songs.

Half of it takes place in Philadelphia and half in Jordan, where Elliot has ended up. Hudes was writing during the anti-Hosni Mubarak protests in Cairo and decided to incorporate that into her play. She relies on extensive research and interviews to make sure the details are right.

Hudes also just put the finishing touches on a new work _ her first post-trilogy play, which is set in a Philly bar and traces seven characters over 25 years. A pianist onstage will mark the changes in time.

“I knew I wanted to write something that felt lighter and freer. Much lighter and freer,” she says. “Not so heavy and so I just started writing about this bar (where) I used to hang out when I was a kid.”

Then there is her more immediate concern: a birth. She and her husband, a public defender, are expecting the arrival of a son in early February, their second child following a daughter born almost 6 years ago. While being a mother again is a challenge, there is an upside.

“I do think it’s prolonging our youth a little bit. That inevitable empty nest phase of our lives has been pushed back a little farther,” she says. “I really look forward to that stage, but I still think I’ve extended my youth a little bit.”




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