THE JULIE HARRIS PLAYWRIGHT AWARD
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TAMING THE LION by Jack Rushen tells the true story of the contentious relationship between movie mogul Louis B. Mayer and William Haines, the first openly gay actor in the studio system in 1930. Afraid of being exposed and losing the studio, Mayer forces an ultimatum. Haines would either give up his relationship with lover Jimmie Sheilds and be required to marry a woman in a “Lavender Wedding,” or be forced to abandon his “star status” in Hollywood. Haines eventually walked away from the studio for the man he loved, and became one of the richest and most loved interior decorators in Hollywood, thanks to help from his friend Joan Crawford.
Jack Rushen of Stratford, CT is an actor, director, and playwright and celebrates more than 30 years working in stage, television, and film. He has previously won first place in the Julie Harris competition for his play, IMAGE, which has been seen in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New York City, and soon in Greenville, South Carolina at Centre Stage. He has written four full length plays, over twenty short comedies and dramas, and two screenplays. JacKrushen.net
Cordially DisInvited by A.E.O. Goldman is a comedy of ill-manners. The ever-so-witty and notorious Mitford clan has gathered at the family compound in the English countryside, just before the outbreak of WWII. Six amusing but exceedingly willful sisters vie for pre-eminence in wit, extravagant beauty, or just the last word. In this world apart, the concerns are about being the cleverest, making the best marriage, prominence in the grand family portrait, or who will make the best fascist. Nancy has just published her caustic novel skewering the family; the gorgeous Diana is juggling husbands; Jessica is flirting with fashionable socialism, and poor Unity has her rat and a crush on the fuhrer. Inopportunely the turbulent outside world slowly invades, taking a terrible toll on humor and the family.
A.E.O. Goldman of New York, New York is the author of several award-winning comic dramas that somehow always veer into more serious territory. She’s Bad Today,a proto-feminist comedy was selected by The O’Neill Theater Center and performed in NYC at Actor’s Voyage East; Fast!, about the speedup of everything, won The John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award, The Purgatory CO Playwriting Contest, was selected by The Edward Albee Theatre Conference and was performed in CO, NY [SoupstoneTheater] and CA [West Coast Ensemble Theatre]. Putzi’s Progress is a ‘cinematic’ comedy set in the Nazi film world and A Second Brilliance kicks off the Renaissance. Articles by Mr. Goldman have appeared in The NY Times and the International Herald Tribune. A graduate of Amherst College [BA] and Harvard University [Masters], he is also a successful architect.
PLAY COMPETITION FOR YOUTH THEATRE
MICHAEL J. LIBOW AWARDS
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HAM-LETTE by Patti Veconi: Just as the cast for this year’s play at River Valley High School is announced, a calamity occurs: the lighting rig in the school’s theater collapses, injuring the director and throwing the school’s show and entire theater program into jeopardy. It takes a capable and ambitious cast of high school actors to decide to put the show on themselves. (If only they could manage their offstage drama with as much skill!) With a strong message of empowerment for girls, this play includes coming of age challenges in the spirit of teamwork with both sincerity and levity, while paying homage to Shakespeare’s great play.
Patti Veconi of Brooklyn, NY is a middle school drama and music teacher in Brooklyn, NY where she has the privilege of working with brilliant, complicated and ever-inspiring adolescents. She holds theater degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University (BFA) and New York University (MA). Her plays for children and adults have been produced in schools and theater festivals around the country and abroad. Hamlet-lette is available through Heartland Scripts. Patti is also published with Eldridge, Heuer and Drama Notebook in the U.S. and Lazy Bee Scripts in the UK. She is the resident dramaturg with The Bechdel Group in NYC, an organization promoting roles for women in theater and film. http://www.pattiveconi.com
WORDS to the WISE by Greg Minster: Unusual circumstances create an amazing contest between word masters extraordinaire Benjamin Franklin, and William Shakespeare. Polling other historic characters whose stories fill the library where their words ‘haunt’, the pair of iconic ‘advice masters’ compete to determine just who, between the two of them, spoke the ‘wisest of words’. Costarring Queen Elizabeth I of England, and slave liberator Harriet Tubman, as contest referees. Featuring notorious ax murderer Lizzy Borden as contest play by play announcer and score keeper. With special guest stars ‘ancient’ Greek philosophers Aristotle and Socrates, along with other ‘notables’ of history. A most extraordinary interaction of characters, WORDS to the WISE melds quirky comedy with philosophy, a few life lessons, and a bit of history.
Greg Minster, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin has written numerous novels of historic fiction. His other plays include ‘Feeding the Wolf’, ‘Twelve Hours to Heaven’ (a work on the death of Abraham Lincoln), The Great Theater Sting, and ‘Charlie Meets Darwin’.
A retired manufacturer’s sales representative and currently a substitute school teacher, Greg has a business degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and has taken several off-campus writing courses from the University of Iowa.
HONORABLE MENTION TO:
HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS by Dorothea Cahan of Philadelphia, PA