Wednesday, June 27, 2018

WINNERS: stage directors—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize

Charles Nelson Reilly, in "The Life of Reilly"
The American Prize is pleased to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions of its award in stage direction, The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, recently renamed in memory of Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, acclaimed opera director and acting teacher. Congratulations!

Charles Nelson Reilly won a Tony Award in 1962 for his portrayal of the character of Bud Frump in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” A Tony nomination for creating the role of Cornelius Hackl in “Hello Dolly” followed in 1964.

Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified (Reilly was a regular on the “Match Game,” among scores of other television credits, and appeared as a guest more than one hundred times on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”), Reilly nurtured the creation of a whole series of unique one-person stage plays. Most famously, he directed Julie Harris in her Tony Award-winning star turn in “The Belle of Amherst”, on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Among his many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levin’s “Break a Leg”, Larry Shue’s “The Nerd”, and the revival of “The Gin Game”, starring Miss Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Late in his career, Reilly toured the U.S. in “Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly”, chronicling his life in his own one-man play.

Mr. Reilly’s career as an opera director included productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Milwaukee Opera and Opera Pacific. Among Reilly's many acting students were Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler and Larry Burghoff.

Reilly and The American Prize chief judge David Katz were friends for three decades, first meeting through their mutual Hartford voice teacher, Mrs. Friedrich Schorr. Charles Nelson Reilly was honorary chairman of The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice, which Katz founded in 1990. The Schorr Prize became part of the The American Prize family of competitions in 2010. Reilly was also the original director of MUSE of FIRE, Katz’s acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting.


The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
Copeland Woodruff
Lawrence University
Appleton WI
Hydrogen Jukebox (Philip Glass)

Copeland Woodruff
Copeland Woodruff is the director of opera studies at Lawrence University and Conservatory. Woodruff has directed more than 100 productions of operas, plays, musicals and scenes programs. Most notably, he has been on the directing staffs of the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre and on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, Academy of Vocal Arts, and Temple University. Dedicated to the development of acting techniques for the singing actor, he has led collaborative workshops incorporating the leading methodologies and training philosophies, both traditional and modern. He is a champion of improvisation, musical and physical, in the operatic medium as a tool for education, creation, and performance. He is a regular collaborator with Guerilla Opera (Boston). Woodruff also works to expand the format of the solo recital. He is a proud member of AGMA and Actor’s Equity Association.
 


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Erin Naler
Bob Jones University
Greenville
The Trip to Bountiful (Horton Foote)

Erin Naler
Erin Naler completed a Bachelor of Science in Speech Education, a Master of Art in Theatre Arts from Bob Jones University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities in Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas in Dallas. She has directed and performed in numerous plays and operas from the classics to new works, most recently in the role of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Gertrude in Hamlet. Her creative and scholarly work focuses on the American play-cycle and the plays of Horton Foote and August Wilson. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Bob Jones University.

 

2nd Place (there was a tie):
David Ronis
University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Music
Madison WI
Transformations (Conrad Susa)

David Ronis
DAVID RONIS was recently named the inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Previously, he taught Queens College, Hofstra University, and Wagner College.  A six-time National Opera Association Production Competition winner, his guest directing engagements include Shreveport Opera, SUNY Potsdam, Rutgers University, Queens Symphony Orchestra, and Manhattan School of Music. The co-founder of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, he has taught at the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts, and La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy.  A specialist in teaching integrative acting and movement techniques for singers, Mr. Ronis has given master classes and workshops at universities throughout the United States.  As a performer, he has sung over 50 operatic roles with companies all over the world, concertized extensively, toured nationally in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and appeared in independent films and nationally televised commercials.  www.davidronis.com

 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Herschel Garfein
Eklund Opera Company, University of Colorado
Boulder CO
The Magic Flute

Herschel Garfein
Herschel Garfein  is a GRAMMY® award winning composer, writer and stage director. This season he directed and adapted Mozart's The Magic Flute for Eklund Opera, University of Colorado, and his English dialogue for Flute will be heard in the Seagle Music Colony production this summer. Also, world premiere libretto of Sister Carrie, his operatic adaptation of the Theodore Dreiser novel with composer Robert Aldridge for Florentine Opera Milwaukee. Opera News called it “an important addition to the American operatic canon.” Composition premieres this year: opera Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (July 2017, The Seagle Music Colony);Mortality Mansions song-cycle at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University; The Cyclone, 5 Boroughs Music Festival commission Garfein conceived, wrote and directed the jazz theater piece My Coma Dreams for composer/pianist Fred Hersch, which has been seen in New York, San Francisco and Berlin (Palmetto DVD, 2014). (“Best of 2014” Boston Globe; “Brilliant...smart, honest and true” Downbeat).  Garfein won the 2012 GRAMMY® award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his “wildly operatic libretto” (–BBC Magazine) for Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry (Naxos). He teaches Composition and Script Analysis at New York University, where in 2013 he was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award.

 

3rd Place (there was a tie):
Darren P. Lawson
Bob Jones University
Greenville SC
Il Trovatore

Darren P. Lawson
Dr. Darren P. Lawson is dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  He has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address from Bob Jones University, an MA in Platform Arts from Bob Jones University, and PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.  He is a member of the University Classic Players and has portrayed such roles as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Henry in King Henry IV, Duke of Buckingham in Richard III: The Terrible Reign, Bottom the Weaver in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, Jaques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, and many others.  He stage directs for the Bob Jones University Opera Association with productions including Little Women: The Broadway Musical, Aida, Samson et Dalila, Andrea Chenier, Mefistofele, L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Simeon.  http://www.bju.edu/events/fine-arts/concert-opera-drama/archive/

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention: 
Joshua Borths
Crane School of Music—SUNY Potsdam
Potsdam NY
The Magic Flute

Joshua Borths
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, stage director Joshua Borths is known for his innovative and thoughtful productions. Currently, Borths is the Resident Stage Director at Arizona Opera where he has directed new productions of Florencia en el Amazonas and Rusalka. Next season, he will direct Il babiere di Siviglia. Recently, Borths served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at SUNY-Potsdam where he directed The Magic Flute. Borths has also directed many new productions across the country Hansel and Gretel, The Tragedy of Carmen, The Elixir of Love, Suor Angelica, and Der Kaiser von Atlantis. Other favorites include a regional premiere of Soldier Songs and La Hija di Rappaccini. As an Assistant Director, Borths has worked on myriad productions for opera companies including Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Wolf Trap Opera Company. More at https://joshua-borths.squarespace.com.

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention: 
Tracelyn Gesteland
University of South Dakota
Vermillion SD
The Marriage of Figaro

Tracelyn Gesteland
Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland is Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of South Dakota and holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.  She is the recipient of several national awards for her opera direction at USD, including accolades from The American Prize and the National Opera Association.  Other recent directing credits include productions with the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, the Houston Opera Project, and the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival, in addition to serving as a directing apprentice with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.  She is also an active performer on the opera, concert and recital stage, having been referred to by reviewers as “remarkable” and a “highlight of the evening” (Sioux City Journal) and “an engaging and versatile singing actress” (Madison Isthmus).  Dr. Gesteland was the winner of the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, USD’s highest teaching honor.

 

Finalist—Honorable Mention:  
David Holley
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro NC
Amahl and the Night Visitors

David Holley
David Holley has been the Director of Opera at UNCG since 1992 and was appointed as the Artistic Director of Greensboro Opera in June, 2013. Recent directing/producing credits include t hree acclaimed Greensboro Opera productions, Carmen (January, 2017), La Cenerentola (August, 2015) and La fille du rĂ©giment (January, 2015). Of the latter, the Greensboro News and Record said, “Simply put, Holley and the cast put on one of the finest performances in recent Triad memory.” In the Spring of 2009, he produced and directed the World Premiere of Picnic, an opera by American composer Libby Larsen, for which he also wrote the libretto. His productions have consistently won awards in the National Opera Association's annual Opera Production Competition, including seven first place and five second place NOA awards since his arrival at UNCG.

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Congratulations!




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