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2010 Stanley Drama Award winner named

    The Wagner College Theatre has named Richard Martin Hirsch, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., the winner of the 2010 Stanley Drama Award for his play, “The Restoration of Sight.”
    This year's award ceremony is being held on Monday, March 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Players, a club that was founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth for “the promotion of social intercourse between members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, architecture, sculpture and music, law and medicine, and the patrons of the arts.” The Players is located at 16 Gramercy Park S. (at 20th Street), Manhattan, New York.
    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”) in 1962, Lonne Elder III’s “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” in 1965, and Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” in 1993. 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.
    The Stanley Drama Award was established in 1957 by Staten Island philanthropist Alma Guyon Timolat Stanley and endowed through the Stanley-Timolat Foundation. The national Stanley Award competition is administered by the Theatre Department of Wagner College.
    For more information about the Stanley Drama Award program, call Betty McComiskey at 718-420-4014, or e-mail her.

    The pursuit of scientific innovation can often exact a huge psychic cost on the innovators. To fully appreciate the accomplishment, it sometimes becomes necessary for us to examine the emotional journey of those involved. “The Restoration of Sight” follows the path of world-renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Perry Rosenthal and his development of the remarkable Boston Scleral lens, which is able to miraculously reverse certain forms of corneal disease and blindness.
    Despite his significant professional accomplishments and the fact that he is considered by many of his patients a “man of miracles,” Dr. Rosenthal has always been one to view the glass as being half empty. This self-imposed psychic handicap has not only affected his personal relationships throughout his life, it has also caused him at times to question the value of his own existence. “The Restoration of Sight,” then, also acts as a kind of lens, opening a theatrical window to the doctor’s interactions with patients, colleagues, and skeptics from the health insurance industry. The play explores Rosenthal’s dramatic struggle to find his faith and fully comprehend and accept the magnitude of the gift he has provided to the world.

    Richard Martin Hirsch has been writing plays, off and on, for many years, though he became a full-time playwright just five years ago. Since that time he has proven to be one of Los Angeles’s more prolific writers for the stage, having had many of both his short and full-length plays see readings and productions in Los Angeles as well as in cities throughout the country, including: New York (Abingdon Theatre; Access Theatre; Emerging Artists Theatre); Chicago (AbbieFest); Boston (Boston Theatre Works).
    Produced full-length plays include: “The Concept of Remainders” (Ovation Award nomination; L.A. Weekly Theatre Award nomination for Playwriting) at the Chandler Theatre; “Atonement” (L.A. Weekly Theatre Award nomination for Playwriting) at Theatre 40; “The Money Jar” at Theatre 40, and “A Quality of Light” (Ovation Award nomination; Garland Award for Playwriting) at the Long Beach Playhouse.
    Hirsch’s play, “London’s Scars,” was an O’Neill Conference Semi-Finalist and the winner of the 2008 Next Generation Playwriting Competition, sponsored by Reverie Productions. It is scheduled to have its world premiere this May at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles.
    Yet another new play of his, “Apogee + 26,” will be read at this year’s Great Plains Theatre Conference in June.
    Hirsch is currently a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre (L.A.) Playwrights’ Unit and lives in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with his wife Susan and daughter Holly.
    For more about Hirsch, visit his Web site.

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