Friday, May 22, 2020

Finalists: STAGE DIRECTORS (opera)—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20

CNR in "The Life of Reilly"

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is pleased to announce NATIONAL FINALIST stage directors for 2019-20 —The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, in the OPERA division. Congratulations!

(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. The MUSICAL THEATER division of the directing competition was announced on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5pm on this blog.)

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.

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.

COVID EXTENSION: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus.Visit for complete contest information.

NATIONAL FINALISTS: The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20, opera division 

Dean Anthony              
SUNY Potsdam—Crane School of Music   
Potsdam  NY                
MAYO (Cipullo)

Marc Callahan             
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill  NC         
One Who Says Yes (Der Jasager) (Weill)         

Marc Callahan             
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill  NC         
Alcina (Handel)

Tracelyn Gesteland            
University of South Dakota Opera     
Vermillion  SD         
The Consul            

Rachel M. Harris
Heartland Opera    
Joplin   MO                    
La Boheme   

Rachel M. Harris
University of Missouri
Kansas City  MO         
La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart)

Rachel M. Harris
Loyola University
New Orleans  LA    
New Orleans  LA         
Cendrillon  (Massenet)        

Melanie Helton
Michigan State University Opera Theatre   
East Lansing  MI                    
Die Fledermaus        

David Holley
University of NC—Greensboro
Greensboro NC                    

Dr. Leigh Holman
University of Colorado Boulder       
Boulder  CO         
Eugene Onegin         

Joshua  May
Schwob School of Music—Columbus State University  
Columbus GA         
Cendrillon (Viradot) 

Dugg McDonough            
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University  
Baton Rouge LA         
Elizabeth Cree (Puts)       

Josh Shaw
Pacific Opera Project
Los Angeles CA         
Madama Butterfly     

Javque Trussel      
Purchase Opera, Conservatory of  Music—SUNY    
Purchase NY            
Confession, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi       

Copland Woodruff             
Lawrence University
Appleton WI         
Mass (Bernstein)


Congratulations to all finalists.

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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