Neil Simon, TDF Accessibility Program and Aleshea Harris are the 2019 Recipients of the 4th Annual Samuel French Awards
Samuel French, a Concord Theatricals Company, announced today that Neil Simon (posthumously), TDF Accessibility Program, and Aleshea Harris are the 2019 recipients of the 4th Annual Samuel French Awards. The Awards, which are accompanied by a donation from Concord Theatricals of $15,000, were created by Samuel French to acknowledge the great work and unparalleled passion of theatre artists, as well as applaud significant contributions to the industry.
"We are proud to continue the tradition of the Samuel French Awards, especially as part of Concord Theatricals," said Abbie Van Nostrand, Vice President of Client Relations & Community Engagement at Concord Theatricals. "We're delighted that our company holds such a variety of talented artists within its catalog. The Awards allow us an opportunity to highlight a few of them, along with other industry members, who have impacted so many lives within our theatre community."
Elaine Joyce, widow of Neil Simon, graciously accepted the Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre on behalf of her late husband. The award is bestowed upon a Samuel French author whose body of work has been successfully produced across the nation, at both amateur and professional levels. Honorees of the Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre select a theatre or program to which Concord Theatricals will make a donation on their behalf. This year, in memory of Neil Simon, The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts has been selected by Joyce for the $5,000 honor.
Victoria Bailey, Executive Director of Theatre Development Fund (TDF), was honored that her organization was selected for a donation along with the Award for Impact & Activism in the Theatre Community for their Accessibility Programs, which have become a core part of their mission and the people they serve. Concord Theatricals is proud to accompany the Award with a donation of $5,000 to the TDF Accessibility Programs.
Aleshea Harris, playwright, received the Next Step Award, which supports a playwright, composer, or lyricist working toward the next step of their career. Honorees have demonstrated a strong energy and talent in their career thus far. Concord Theatricals is delighted to accompany the Award with a $5,000 monetary prize to support a current or unfinished project.
Previous Samuel French Award honorees include The Secret Garden Team, Doug Wright, Antoinette Nwandu, Ken Ludwig, Dominique Morisseau, Chris Miller & Nathan Tysen, Sarah Ruhl, Keith Josef Adkins, and Michael Kooman & Christopher Dimond.
Samuel French is the world's leading publisher and licensor of plays and musicals. The company's catalog features some of the most acclaimed work ever written for the stage and titles by writers at the forefront of contemporary drama. Samuel French is proud to have served as a leader in theatrical publishing and licensing for over 180 years. In December 2018, Samuel French became part of Concord Theatricals. With a growing staff of unparalleled experts, Concord Theatricals will support and grow Samuel French's ethos of championing playwrights, innovating in the industry, and celebrating all those who create theatre around the world.
Concord Theatricals is the world's most significant theatrical agency, comprised of R&H Theatricals, The Musical Company, Tams-Witmark and Samuel French. Concord Theatricals is the only firm that provides truly comprehensive services to the creators and producers of plays and musicals under a single banner, including theatrical licensing, music publishing, script publishing, cast recording and first-class production.
Neil Simon is widely regarded as one of the most beloved, most successful, and most performed playwrights in the world. His produced plays and musicals include Come Blow Your Horn, Little Me (musical), Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Sweet Charity (musical), The Star-Spangled Girl, Plaza Suite, Promises, Promises (musical), Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Gingerbread Lady, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys, The Good Doctor, God's Favorite, California Suite, Chapter Two, They're Playing Our Song, I Ought to be in Pictures, Fools, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, The Odd Couple (female version), Broadway Bound, Rumors, Lost in Yonkers, Jake's Women, The Goodbye Girl (musical), Laughter on the 23rd Floor, London Suite, Proposals, Hotel Suite, The Dinner Party, 45 Seconds from Broadway, Oscar and Felix, and Rose's Dilemma (previously presented in a different form under the title Rose and Walsh). In addition to the film adaptations he has written of many of his plays, his screenplay credits include After the Fox, The Out-Of-Towners (original 1970 version), The Heartbreak Kid (original 1973 version), Murder by Death, The Cheap Detective, Seems Like Old Times, Only When I Laugh, Max Dugan Returns, The Slugger's Wife, The Marrying Man and The Odd Couple II. He won four Tony Awards (including one for lifetime achievement), the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Comedy.
TDF is a not-for-profit service organization, founded in 1968, dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. A core part of this mission is achieved through TDF's Accessibility Programs which make theatre going possible for people with physical disabilities, as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. TDF provides a full range of services, from autism-friendly performances of Broadway productions; accessible seating for those with mobility issues; and open captioned, sign language interpreted, audio described performances of Broadway and Off Broadway shows for theatregoers with hearing and vision loss. TDF also trains theatres here and abroad on how to set up open captioning programs and autism-friendly performances and offers an educational enrichment program for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or with low vision. The newest program is the TDF Veterans Theatregoing Program which sends NYC veterans to Broadway shows for free through a variety of Veterans organizations. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to: www.tdf.org and follow TDF on FB, Instagram and Twitter: @TDFNYC.
Aleshea Harris's Is God Is (dir. Taibi Magar at Soho Rep) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an OBIE award for playwriting, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. What to Send Up When It Goes Down had its critically-acclaimed NYC premiere (dir. Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company) in fall of 2018 and was featured in American Theatre Magazine's April '19 issue. Upcoming: What to Send Up...Tour: Boston/A.R.T. (Nov 2019), Under the Radar (January 2020). Is God Is: The Royal Court in London (July 2020).
THE Billy Rose THEATRE DIVISION
The Billy Rose Theatre Division, part of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts. The Division's strength and uniqueness lies in its unparalleled collections of personal papers and organizational records, scrapbooks, photographs, posters, programs, reviews, and scripts, as well as its pioneering efforts to document live theatre through the Theatre on Film and Tape (TOFT) Archive. The Division also provides access to an extraordinary array of traditional published books and journals as well as a circulating collection of theatre books, scripts, videos, and music. As part of The New York Public Library, the Division's materials and resources are all available to the public for free.