Wagner College To Host Ceremony And Staged Reading of 2022 Stanley Award-Winner, MARILYN, MOM, AND ME

The awards will be given in the Manzulli Boardroom in Foundation Hall on the Wagner College campus, on Thursday, October 27th 2022.

By: Oct. 25, 2022

Wagner College To Host Ceremony And Staged Reading of 2022 Stanley Award-Winner, MARILYN, MOM, AND ME

Wagner College Theatre has announced that the winner of the 2022 Stanley Drama Award is Luke Yankee for his play Marilyn, Mom and Me.

Two plays were also announced as finalists for this year's awards: Ask Me Anything, by Robert Kerr, and Call Me From the Grave, book by Harold Hodge Jr., music and lyrics by Charlie Romano.

The awards will be given in the Manzulli Boardroom in Foundation Hall on the Wagner College campus, on Thursday, October 27th 2022 , at 7pm.

On Friday, October 28th at 7pm, again in the Manzulli Boardroom, there will be a full staged reading of Marilyn, Mom, and Me, featuring a cast made up of Wagner College Theatre faculty and friends, with Adjunct Faculty Member Joey Donnelly playing the role of Luke Yankee, Adjunct Faculty member Michael Pinto as Arthur Miller and others, Staten Island Arts stalwart Jeannine Otis as Rosetta/Ella Fitzgerald, and Karen O'Donnell Tennenbaum as Eileen Heckert. Current Wagner Performance Major Mackenzie Quinn-Ross will be playing the role of Marilyn Monroe.

The reading is directed by Mickey Tennenbaum, and the events are coordinated by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Brian Sgambati, Administrative Director of the Stanley Drama Award.

The events are open to the public, but attendees must RSVP to Diane Catalano at diane.catalano@wagner.edu.

About the Stanley Drama Award. The Stanley Drama Award was established in 1957 by Staten Island philanthropist Alma Guyon Timolat Stanley and endowed through the Stanley-Timolat Foundation to encourage and support aspiring playwrights. The national Stanley Award competition is administered by the Wagner College Theatre program, ranked as the number one college theater program in the country in the Princeton Review's "Best Colleges Guide 2015." The Stanley Award carries with it a monetary prize along with the distinction of joining the company of past Stanley winners.

The Stanley Drama Award has a long and distinguished history. Past winners include Terrence McNally's This Side of the Door (aka Things That Go Bump in the Night), Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro, Lonne Elder III's "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, and Jonathan Larson's "Rent." Among those judging for the Stanley Award have been playwrights Edward Albee and Paul Zindel, actresses Geraldine Page and Kim Stanley, and TV producer/pioneer talk-show host David Susskind.

MARILYN, MOM AND ME By Luke Yankee: In 1956, when Marilyn Monroe was cast as the lead in the film Bus Stop, she was the biggest star in the world. The tough, no-nonsense, Broadway character actress, Eileen Heckart, was cast as her best friend. As a part of Marilyn's newly discovered style of "method acting", she was determined to make Eileen her best friend -both on screen and off. Forty-five years later, Heckart's middle-aged, gay son, Luke, is trying to unravel his mother's relationship with Monroe in order to better understand his own path with this highly critical, caustic, yet loving woman. When Luke learns that his mother has terminal cancer, now that the clock is ticking, will he be able to get some answers about Eileen's relationship with Marilyn? More importantly, will they help him make some sense out of his own life? This deeply personal comic drama explores a side of Marilyn Monroe no one has ever seen by focusing on her craft as an actress as well as her friendship with another woman who was an equal. The play utilizes the chaotic world of movie making in 1950's Hollywood to uncover universal truths about love, acceptance and what it really means to feel loved and wanted.

Luke Yankee- Luke Yankee (yes, it's his real name) is a critically acclaimed playwright, author, director, and producer and actor. His memoir, Just Outside the Spotlight: Growing up with Eileen Heckart has been called "One of the most compassionate, illuminating showbiz books ever written" and was named "One of the Ten Best Celebrity Memoirs of All Time" (Michael Musto - Village Voice). It is published by Random House with a foreword by Mary Tyler Moore. His latest book, The Art of Writing for the Theatre, is published by Methuen Drama for Bloomsbury Press. In addition to providing practical tools on the art of script analysis, playwriting and criticism, it includes interviews he conducted with eighteen internationallyacclaimed playwrights, librettists and critics, including David Lindsay-Abaire, Marsha Norman,David Zippel, Donald Margulies, Beth Henley, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Samuel D. Hunter, NaomiWallace, Joe DiPietro, Charles Busch, Octavio Solis, Sheldon Harnick, Kia Corthron, LynGardner, and Ben Brantley. Luke's play, The Last Lifeboat is published by Dramatists Play Service and has received more than 55 productions in the U.S. and Canada. Other plays include The Man Who Killed the Cure, Confessions of a Star Maker, The Jesus Hickey (which premiered in Los Angeles, starring Harry Hamlin) and A Place at Forest Lawn (which has had readings and workshops on both coasts, featuring Betty White, Frances Sternhagen, Marian Seldes, Marion Ross, Millicent Martin, Barbara Rush, Marcia Cross and John Glover, Steven Culp and Tony Goldwyn).His television specs and pilots have all won or been finalists in major contests, including Sundance, Warner Bros. TV Writer's Workshop, and Scriptapalooza. His screenplay version of The Last Lifeboat was one of ten scripts chosen internationally for the Dream Ago Screenwriting Workshop in the Swiss Alps. As a professional director and producer for more than 30 years, Mr. Yankee has worked on and off Broadway at venues ranging from Radio City Music Hall to the Crystal Symphony, assistant directed six Broadway shows for such legendary directors as Harold Prince, Ellis Rabb, Brian Murray and Gerald Freedman, and has served as the artistic director of two regional theatres. He is the head of playwriting at California State University - Fullerton, where he also teaches classes in script analysis and theatre criticism. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member at Chapman University, where he teaches playwriting and musical theatre performance. His website is www.lukeyankee.com.

ASK ME ANYTHING By Robert Kerr- Reclusive author J.R.R.R.R. Fitchett emerges from hiding to reconnect virtually with his fans-who have spent years awaiting the long-delayed final volume of his bestselling space opera-and enlist their help in completing an urgent but cryptic mission to "save the human race." With his loyal husband, Jeremy, serving as intermediary and tech support, the author engages in a series of online sessions in which he fields questions from his fans about his writing and his life, comes clean about the personal difficulties that have prevented him from finishing his magnum opus, and subjects his devotees to a series of tests to discover which one of them is qualified to be humanity's savior. But it is up to Jeremy to intervene at the critical moment to ensure that the mission is completed and his husband's life's work is fulfilled.

Robert Kerr- is a playwright based in Brooklyn, N.Y. His produced plays include In Search Of...Sasquatch (5th Wall Productions/Flowertown Players), The Potato Creek Chair of Death(Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Sticky-Fingered Fiancée (with composer Mat Eisenstein, Raw Impressions Musical Theatre), To Whom (Brick Theater), and Right for a Dog(Stageworks/Hudson). The End of the Road was developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference. The Crooked Mansion was a finalist for the 2016-17 Woodward/Newman Drama Award. Robert was a playwriting fellow at Juilliard and a Jerome Fellow at the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis.

CALL ME FROM THE GRAVE Book by Harold Hodge Jr., Music and Lyrics by Charlie Romano- explores the life and legend of Blues guitarist and icon Robert Johnson. In Greenwood, Mississippi, a young sharecropper, Robert, dreams of becoming a Bluesman. When his loving girlfriend, Virginia, becomes pregnant, Robert puts his dreams on hold to build a life and a family with her. However, Robert's life comes crashing down when Virginia and the baby die of complications in childbirth. Feeling he has failed as a husband and a musician, Robert is at his lowest when he is approached by the Devil. Robert exchanges his soul for the music career he has always dreamt of, on the condition that he never returns home. As the years go by, Robert gains all the fame and renown that he is promised. However, after learning that the people he loves are in need back home, Robert must choose between his fame and his family.

HAROLD HODGE JR. is a New York-based Director and Playwright of politically charged theater. He uses his unique multicultural and intersectional lens to explore the stories of marginalized voices with a particular interest in the stories of people of color. Harold brings his passion for activism into his work, often with the goal that his productions will contribute to today's conversation and movement on topical issues. Some of his recent credits include: Fancy Maids (published and licensed by Stage Rights), which one several accolades, including Outstanding Play at the Rave Theater Festival.

CHARLIE ROMANO is a Latino/Italian American Composer from the Chicago area. As a member of a rather large immediate and extended family, he is used to sharing everything and spending time with many different kinds of people. As a result, Charlie is passionate about telling people's untold stories. His recent work includes Call Me From the Grave (2021 O'Neill Finalist), the story of Blues legend Robert Johnson (who allegedly sold his soul to the devil), Video Rental Store, a "micro-musical" about a video rental store that experiences unexpected business one day, Onward and Upward, a musical adaptation of Bridget Carpenter's play "Up (The Man In The Flying Chair)," a show about a family's struggle to find meaning and stability, The Ballad of Elisa Lam, a short musical telling the tragic story of the titular character, Word Nerd, a comedy about a game show and its eccentric host, and Puppet Pioneers, a children's musical about friendship and the pursuit of one's purpose. He is also currently working on TITA, a new musical about his Panamanian-immigrant grandmother (an extraordinarily energetic polyglot whose life touched countless others around the world). Charlie has enjoyed working on different musicals in development at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as well as Williamstown Theatre Festival, and is currently in the middle of a part-time writing residency at New York SongSpace. Charlie is also a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and the Advanced BMI Workshop.



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