Thursday, July 25, 2019

FINALISTS: stage directors (The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize), 2018-19

CNR in "The Life of Reilly"
(This listing was revised on August 8, 2019 to correct a clerical omission. —DK) The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David Lazaar Katz, chief judge, is pleased to announce NATIONAL FINALIST stage directors for 2018-19—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize. Congratulations!

Runners-up and winners will be selected from these lists. To know the exact date when winners and runners-up will be announced, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter #AmericanPrize, where that information will be published first.

There are two divisions this year—one for opera directors, a second for theater and music theater directors. First-place awards will be presented in each category.

Charles Nelson Reilly was a Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, and an acclaimed opera director and teacher. Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified, 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 Reilly's many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levinʼs "Break a Leg", Larry Shueʼs "The Nerd", and the revival of "The Gin Game", starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Mr. Reillyʼs 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. Charles Nelson 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. Mr. Reilly served as honorary chairperson of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice from the competition's founding in 1990, until his death. To read more about the career of Charles Nelson Reilly, .

"At The American Prize, there is never a set number of finalists in any category or division. We also try hard to not be about "winners" and "losers," but always seek to encourage excellence, creativity and imagination. That is one reason why we post the following statement with every finalist listing."—DK

If you are not a finalist this year, please remember that the contests are not yet over. The American Prize reserves the right to award Honorable Mentions and Citations for Special Achievement to any contestant, regardless of final placement. TAP has honored a number of semi-finalists and quarter finalists in the past--to recognize a unique talent or focus, unusual repertoire, vital programming or outreach. Citations and Honorable Mentions are usually awarded at the same time as winners and runners-up, but can be presented at any time up to the last winners' announcement of the contest year.
We invite finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on their facebook page, tweeting the news, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog. A sample announcement may be found at the end of the post.

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until  
Monday, August 5, 2019. (Please note that although the dates on the application forms may not be changed, rest assured that your materials will be accepted if sent by the new deadline dates in the respective contest areas.)

(REMINDER: Because of many requests from artists with late spring and early summer performances, The American Prize 2019-20 will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of  
Monday, July 1, 2019, with extensions available by email request. (

NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2018-19, opera division

Marc Callahan
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill NC  
Massenet: Cinderella

Tracelyn Gesteland
University of South Dakota Opera
Vermillion SD 
Die Fledermaus
Andreas Hager
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Cincinnati OH  
Gianni Schicchi
Rachel M. Harris
Southeastern Louisiana University
Hammond LA 
Dan Shore: Works of Mercy
Melanie Helton
Michigan State University Opera Theatre
East Lansing MI 
Hansel & Gretel
David Holley
University of NC - Greensboro
Greensboro NC  
Die Zauberflote   

Paul Houghtaling
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa AL 
David Lefkowich
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Bloomington IN 
Don Giovanni
Dugg McDonough
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU
Baton Rouge LA  
David T. Little: Dog Days
Dugg McDonough
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU
Baton Rouge LA  
The Cunning Little Vixen 

Nicholas Muni
UNCSA AJ Fletcher Opera Institute
Winston-Salem NC 
Debussy/Constant: Impressions de Pelleas

Isai Jess Munoz
University of Delaware Opera Workshop Ensemble
Newark DE  
various: Waulking in the Glen
David Ronis
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison WI 
La Boheme    

Jeffrey Stegall
Bob Jones University
Greenville SC  
Lucia di Lammermoor   

Copeland Woodruff
Lawrence University
Appleton WI 
Le Comte Ory

NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2018-19, theater and musical theater division 

Kristina Keener Ivy
Top Billing Entertainment
Glendora CA
Peter Pan
Belinda Andrews-Smith
Denison University
Granville OH
Spring Awakening
Geoffrey Arndt
Saint Patrick High School
Chicago IL
Julie Lyn Barber
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green KY
Guys & Dolls
Paul Rugg
The Pope St. John Paul II Theater Troupe of Saint Augustine Academy
Ventura CA
My Fair Lady


We invite finalists to make the most of their selection by announcing it on social media, and including a link to this announcement on their website or blog.

Here is a sample announcement:

"Great News! Our ensemble has just been selected as a finalist in the (blank) division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. Here's the link: (copy link here). The American Prize will be announcing results in the division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: or follow the news on Facebook: or Twitter: "

Please feel free to modify or expand this announcement to suit your needs.

Congratulations to all finalists.

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