The Actor's Book Of Contemporary Stage Monologues: More Than 150 Monologues From More Than 70 Playwr
Although the selection committee will make an effort to review publications in which eligible work may appear, any author or publisher may submit eligible entries for the award to the appropriate members of the selection committee whose names and addresses are listed below. The deadline for receipt of nominations is September 1, 2022.* Newspaper and magazine submissions should comprise no more than a dozen articles and include the date and (if appropriate) the name of the publication where the entries appeared. All materials submitted for the 2021-2022 prize must have been published between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
The Actor's Book of Contemporary Stage Monologues: More Than 150 Monologues from More Than 70 Playwr
George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) was the leading American drama critic of his time. Active from 1905 to 1958, he published thirty-four books on the theatre, co-edited The Smart Set and The American Mercury with H. L. Mencken, and zealously practiced "destructive" theatre criticism. Nathan wrote during the most important period of our theatre's history and set critical standards that are still being followed. In his will he established the annual George Jean Nathan Award for drama criticism.
George Jean Nathan was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on February 14, 1882. Initially Nathan was educated by tutors at home and while abroad. After Nathan's father left the family, Nathan's mother took them to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was graduated from that city's high school. On his mother's side, the German Nirdlingers, there were rugged pioneers who literally crossed the country in a covered wagon from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to settle Fort Wayne. Nathan's maternal grandfather was one of the founders of this frontier trading post. Two of Nathan's maternal uncles were to influence his career as a drama critic. Charles Frederic Nirdlinger was a playwright and drama critic who encouraged Nathan's entrance into journalism. Uncle Samuel Nixon-Nirdlinger was an important theater manager who secured free tickets for Nathan's family.
Dissatisfied with the daily grind at the Herald, Nathan left the newspaper and began writing for magazines. It was here that he began to make his mark as critic. In 1908 he joined The Smart Set as its dramatic critic and met H. L. Mencken, its book reviewer. The two became friends and in 1914 assumed joint editorship of The Smart Set. Here was one of the great partnerships in American letters, for Mencken and Nathan were the arbiters, if not dictators, for what the "flaming youth" of 1920s America deemed worthwhile reading. Nathan and Mencken were much more than trend selectors though, for in the pages of their magazines appeared the most influential and artistically promising writing of the era. A satirical poem of the day, "Mencken, Nathan and God," summed up their particular hold on the literate public of the 20s.
Nonetheless, Nathan's critical hauteur was often at odds with the cap-and-bells style in which he wrote. He is also part of a tradition in American theatre criticism. He follows in the wake of Irving, Poe and Whitman, all of whom fought against contemporary critical trends. Nathan demanded a new and more serious American theatre, a theatre that responded to artistic needs rather than box office appeal. He deplored the pretensions of David Belasco's productions and the all-American banality of Augustus Thomas. (Nathan was no bluenose, though. He reveled in the Ziegfeld Follies and coined the term "ecdysiast" for Gypsy Rose Lee's profession.) Not the least of his contributions to the theatre was his unflinching critical independence. Nathan's courage forced the puffsters and pseudo-academic hacks of criticism to flee the field.
Nathan wrote over forty books, almost all of them collections of his criticism. The most important are The Critic and the Drama (1922), in which he explains some principles behind his criticism; The Autobiography of an Attitude (1925) and The Intimate Notebooks of George Jean Nathan (1932), which reveal critical insights and show the reader something of Nathan's compelling theatrical persona; and The Theatre, The Drama, The Girls (1921), which is probably his best book. His brilliant Theatre Book of the Year series is much more than a theatrical annual: here he intersperses essays about the nature of drama, of comedy or tragedy, of the decline of burlesque and so forth with reviews of each season's shows (1942-43 to 1950-51).
In Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, Brian Eugenio Herrera tracks the growing impact of Latina/o artists on, and Latina/o representation in the American theatre and, more broadly, American culture. Focusing on what he describes as "an evident fascination with the people, regions, traditions, and styles we might today recognize as Latina/o," Herrera documents a range of performances that reflect these "shifting articulations of ethnic identity" for Latina/o populations in the U.S. Herrera's compelling study considers a number of iconic performers and theatrical works, yet the Nathan Committee, in selecting this monograph, notes in particular his outstanding analysis of the 1959 musical West Side Story and its continuing theatrical legacy for these issues of Latina/o representation. Situating this landmark production in the contexts of Puerto Rican immigration, the U.S. economy, and the postwar political climate, Herrera demonstrates how this one theatrical work continues to resonate powerfully through its images of "authentic" ethnic identify and inter-cultural dynamics.
After many years of reviewing new productions for The Village Voice, Michael Feingold has recently expanded his scope in his bi-monthly column, "Thinking About Theatre," which explores theater in a broader context. His essays engage with a wide range of topics, from particular works, performers, and playwrights to more general aspects of theater culture and history. Working in an unusual format in which each column appears in two parts allows Feingold to "stage" his thoughts about theater almost like a two-act play, with a weeklong intermission that gives his readers time to ponder the questions raised in the first half while anticipating their resolution in the second.
Recognizing the growing importance of the internet as a site for the dissemination of serious dramatic criticism, the George Jean Nathan Award Committee this year honors for the first time a web publication, Jill Dolan's "The Feminist Spectator". The Award Committee commends Dolan for her consistently thoughtful and articulate discussions of the contemporary stage. Whether covering high-profile productions of classical pieces, such as The Merchant of Venice, or revivals of more recent works, such as Angels in America, "The Feminist Spectator" always offers her readers clear and well-reasoned analyses. Dolan intersperses informed personal responses to plays and performances with significant historical, political, and cultural insights that help frame and contextualize her remarks. The blog cogently directs us toward feminist investigations of performance, wherein we must question the theatre's "modes of production" and the "complicated questions of representation" that may be elsewhere ignored. A tireless champion of women artists, Dolan graciously, yet compellingly enjoins us to be mindful spectators as well as lovers of the theatre.
"The Nathan Award committee honors Mr. McNulty for his theatre reviews and essays published in the Los Angeles Times. An astute chronicler of individual productions as well as trends in contemporary playwriting, Mr. McNulty has also emerged as an articulate and forceful critic of the state of the professional theatre in the United States. Mr. McNulty helps us to understand what is compelling and original in the craftsmanship of emerging dramatists of note, while his thorough grounding in theatre history and dramatic writing enables him to frame contemporary productions of classic works for his readers, helping us to understand the nuances of directors' interpretations or actors' characterizations.
"Since his arrival at the New York Times in the fall of 2004, and following his successful tenure at Variety, Charles Isherwood has provided penetrating analyses of the contemporary theatre, with cogent appraisals of all production elements and careful attention to the interplay of acting, directing, design, and dramaturgy. His vivid descriptions transport us into the performance event and invite us to participate in an implicit dialogue about the theater's import and impact for our moment. Isherwood, moreover, displays the courage of his critical convictions, most notably this past season in his against-the-tide review of Hedda Gabler. Deeply informed historically and critically, Isherwood's commentary on Goldoni and Shakespeare, Pinter and Kane, Shaw and O'Neill exemplifies the Nathan Award's call for "the stimulation of intelligent playgoing."
"For Trey Graham, the play's the thing. In reviewing classical and contemporary work produced in the Greater Washington D.C. area, he brings a fresh eye both to things we think we know and to things newly-minted. He writes with sensitivity and flair about the individual masterworks of the British and American canon, but he's especially adept at linking these and other works from the past with the best the present has to offer; he revels in the serendipitous connections season planning throws his way, as Sarah Kane sheds new light on Harold Pinter, Tony Kushner on Bernard Shaw, Martin McDonagh on Tennessee Williams. The Nathan Committee particularly commends Mr. Graham's review of Caryl Churchill's Far Away--a moving display of how the pressures exerted by a new and difficult theatrical work can produce a gem of a critical essay."
Professor Senelick holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, where he serves as Honorary Curator of Russian Theatre. He has taught at Emerson College and at Tufts University as Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory and Director of Graduate Studies in Drama. A former fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, the Salzburg Seminars, and the International Research & Exchanges Board, he has received grants from the NEH and ACLS. He has published more than a dozen books, including The Chekhov Theater: A Century of Plays in Performance, which won the Bernard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research (1997), and The Age and Stage of George L. Fox, which won the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association (1988). He is the holder of the St. George Medal of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation for service to Russian art and scholarship. His translations have been widely published and performed, and he has directed and acted with such organizations as the Phoenix Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, and The Proposition. In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Scholarship Award for the ASTR.