The Wagner College Theatre has announced that the winner of this year’s Stanley Drama Award is B.V. Marshall for his play, “Incident at Willow Creek.”
Two finalists for this year’s awards were also announced: Nicole Pandolfo for her play, “The Belle of Belmar,” and Stuart Warmflash for his play, “Mortar and Pestle.”
The awards will be given at the Player’s Club in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, on Monday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.
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”), 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.
B.V. Marshall’s work has been performed and developed at the HBO New Writers Workshop, Theatre for the New City (New York), Luna Stage, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, WBEZ Chicago public radio, the Kennedy Center, the Warner International Playwrights Festival and the Berrie Center at Ramapo College. Most recently, “Incident at Willow Creek” was awarded the Bauer-Boucher award from Kean University, and a reading of “Five Husbands” was presented as part of the city of Plainfield’s Gay Pride Celebration. Some of his honors include fellowships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Victor Bumbalo/ Robert Chesley Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and four playwriting fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Previously a musician and a teacher of English in Middle Eastern countries, Marshall has published poetry, fiction and essays in several literary magazines. Most recently, his essay appears in the book, “What Does It Mean to be White in America?” He has directed numerous productions and readings, including the upcoming musical “Harlem Ladies Knittin’ ” and “Bitchin’ Society.” A member of the Dramatists Guild, the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and the Ninth Floor in NYC, Marshall earned a B.A. from Kean University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst after studying playwriting at Hunter University. As an associate professor at Middlesex County College in New Jersey, he specializes in African-American literature, creative writing and playwriting. The school recently named him its scholar of the year for his creative work.
Synopsis: B.V. Marshall’s ‘Incident at Willow Creek.’ Verité, an African-American professor, is at a crossroads. She’s smug about her neutral stance regarding guns, yet she obsesses over a recent gun incident that resulted in the killing of an innocent black man. She closely follows the story on TV and radio and is torn between the need to defend oneself and the need to comply with law enforcement. At the same time, a student perplexes her with his own fixation on guns. He even offers to teach her how to shoot, and that conflicts with her sense of self. With her own college preparing for security risks, Verité is forced to confront her beliefs, her passive nature and her own physical safety.
Nicole Pandolfo was a Stanley Award finalist in 2017 for her play, “Pump.” Her NJPAC Stage Exchange commission play, “Brick City,” opens in July at Premiere Stages at Kean University. She was a 2017 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, and her work has been developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as a Playwright Observer, at Tofte Lake as a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and at the Actors Studio, N.J. Rep and the Lark, among others. She was a finalist for the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers. She is a member of the Actors Studio in the Playwright/Director Unit and earned her MFA degree from Hunter College. For more information, visit Nicole Pandolfo's website.
Synopsis: Nicole Pandolfo’s ‘The Belle of Belmar’ is a coming-of-age story about Denise, an aspiring marine biologist, and her best friend Crystal, who has a disability; both of them are navigating prom as outcasts, searching for both independence and inclusion. Earlier in the school year, Denise was a victim of an acquaintance rape by two of her classmates. Added to the mix is Denise’s mother, Lorna, who is just one more online purchase away from fixing her life, and Mikey, Denise’s ex-best friend with a big secret to hide. This is a provocative and humorous story about how we choose to move forward in our lives.
A native New Yorker, Stuart Warmflash has been involved in the theater for over 35 years. After graduating from New York University, he attended the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. He then enjoyed a successful acting career, appearing on Broadway (with the prestigious Phoenix Repertory Co.) and Off-Broadway as well as in film and television. He subsequently began writing and directing. His first play, “Art’s Life,” enjoyed an extended run on Theatre Row, and his almost two dozen subsequent plays have been read/performed all over the United States and Europe. In 1994, he founded the Playwrights Harbor to provide a supportive, self-directed, cooperative workshop in which writers could realize their visions with the assistance of a company of actors and directors. Fortified by artistic growth and enthusiastic public response, he launched the not-for-profit Harbor Theatre. Through weekly workshops, the company contributed to the ongoing development of over 50 new works, producing public presentations and full productions. Currently, the company is on hiatus. He has also written for television and scripted the theatrically released, award-winning, full-length documentary, “Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook.” In his “spare” time, Warmflash earned a master’s degree in special education and now devotes several hours a day to assisting students with learning disabilities.
Synopsis: Stuart Warmflash’s ‘Mortar and Pestle.’ Middle-aged Josh Gottleib, childless and widowed over a year ago, was been raised — along with his sister Leah — by an atheist father (now long dead) and their superstitious Orthodox Jewish mother. Leah, going through a difficult divorce and raising a mentally challenged young boy, is adamantly opposed to any involvement with Judaism. Josh, a successful chiropractor, is now feeling a curiosity about religion; at a wedding he meets Shoshanna, a lively Midwesterner newly converted to Judaism. A tense competition quickly arises between Leah and Shoshanna for Josh’s affection and loyalty and his spiritual or non-spiritual self.