The American Theatre and Drama Society presents four authors and their most recent books at a reading hosted by the Drama Book Shop. Join Don B. Wilmeth (Brown University, Emeritus), Milly S. Barranger (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Dramatic Art), Naomi J. Stubbs (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY), and Stephen H. Grant (Senior Fellow, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training) as they present their new books examining critical players, genres and developments in the American theatre. The three books are fascinating works, eminently readable, and sure to engage any theatre lover! This fourth annual event is presented by the American Theatre and Drama Society, an international organization with over 300 members. Mark Cosdon, president of the American Theatre and Drama Society, will host. Don B. Wilmeth, Emeritus Professor (retired in 2003) at Brown University, is the author, editor, coeditor, or series editor of over six dozen books, including the award-winning three-volume Cambridge History of America Theatre (Barnard Hewitt Award, TLA’s Honorary Freedley Award, and CHOICE’s listing as outstanding academic publication). His 1981 biography of George Frederick Cooke also won the Hewitt Award. In 2007 he completed a new edition of the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre, a standard in the field. In 2003 ATHE awarded him its editing award and in 2004 he received the distinguished service award from the Theatre Library Association. Don, a former president of the American Society for Theatre Research, dean emeritus of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and for a decade advisor to Canada’s Shaw Festival, has received career achievement awards from ASTR, ATHE, STR (UK), NETC, and in 2012 The (NY) Theatre Museum presented him its Theatre History Preservation Award. In 2008 Brown bestowed upon him the William Williams Award, the most prestigious honor given by the Brown University. The universities of Arkansas and Illinois designated him as an outstanding alum. The American Theatre and Drama Society in 1999 presented him with its Betty Jean Jones Award for outstanding teacher in American theatre and drama. He currently edits the Palgrave Macmillan series “Studies in Theatre and Performance History.” Milly S. Barranger is an author and educator who lives in New York City where she writes books on women in the modern American theatre. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and past Dean of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Her recent books include Audrey Wood and the Playwrights, A Gambler’s Instinct: The Story of Broadway Producer Cheryl Crawford, Margaret Webster: A Life in the Theater, and Unfriendly Witnesses: Gender, Theater, and Film in the McCarthy Era. She is coeditor with Don B. Wilmeth of The Group Theatre: Passion, Politics, and Performance in the Depression Era written by Helen Krich Chinoy and also one of the editors of Notable Women in the American Theatre: A Biographical Dictionary. She received the 2009 Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the 2010 New England Theatre Conference Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre. Naomi J. Stubbs is Assistant Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. Her areas of research include nineteenth-century American theatre and popular entertainments and critical editing. In her first book—Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment—Stubbs examines the once-popular outdoor entertainment venues known today as “pleasure gardens” as sites for the experimentation with and performance of American identities. She is currently working with Amy E. Hughes on an annotated critical edition of the diary of the nineteenth century actor/manager/playwright, Harry Watkins. Stubbs is the co-editor of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and has published articles and chapters in The Pleasure Garden, From Vauxhall to Coney Island; Theatre, Performance, and Analogue Technology; and the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. She holds a PhD in Theatre from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and an MRes in Editing Lives and Letters from Queen Mary, University of London. Stephen H. Grant is a senior fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and author of Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal. A former Peace Corps member, Grant earned his BA from Amherst College and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He has served as a manager of projects and programs, education and training, for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in El Salvador, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Egypt, and Washington DC. In The Group Theatre: Passion, Politics, and Performance in the Depression Era Helen Krich Chinoy writes of the groundbreaking ensemble collective based in New York that operated from 1931 to 1941, started the careers of many top American theatre artists of the twentieth century and founded what became known as Method Acting. Edited by Don B. Wilmeth and Milly S. Barranger, this book is the definitive history of the group, based on more than thirty years of research and interviews by the foremost theatre scholar of the time period, Helen Chinoy. She begins the story of the Group's remarkable ten years at the end of the experiment, then resets the narrative against the Depression years and introduces the cast of youthful characters and their issues with the American theatre of their day. Tracing the careers of Group Theatre actors and directors including Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Harry Morgan, Chinoy follows with their collective vision for a new theatre developed around their grand idea for a new approach to an acting process based on an ordered training of the actor's imagination and emotions in exercises and in plays that confront social issues important to the Group. Naomi J. Stubbs' Cultivating National Identity through Performance: American Pleasure Gardens and Entertainment demonstrates that the American pleasure gardens were ubiquitous between the Revolution and the Civil War, combining the charms of the country with the convenience of the city and delivering a healthy dose of both entertainment and education. Patrons of these entertainment venues would have expected to see plays, concerts, fairs, mechanical and artistic exhibits, fireworks, volcanic eruptions, and - perhaps more crucially - they would have expected to see and be seen. As outdoor entertainment venues in American cities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pleasure gardens presented citizens with public spaces where they could explore what it meant to be American. The very nature of American pleasure gardens provided an effective location for the exploration of and experimentation with American identities, due to their nature as simultaneously rural and urban, modern and nostalgic, British and American, white and racialized, and democratic and class-conscious. Stubbs examines how these once popular venues helped form American identity using nation, class, race, and the agrarian ideal as touchstones and argues the gardens allowed for the exploration of what it meant to be American through performance, both on and off the stage. In Collecting Shakespeare, Stephen H. Grant recounts the American success story of Henry and Emily Folger of Brooklyn, a couple who were devoted to each other, in love with Shakespeare, and bitten by the collecting bug. Shortly after marrying in 1885, the Folgers started buying, cataloging, and storing all manner of items about Shakespeare and his era. The elegant library they built on Capitol Hill near the Library of Congress to house their extraordinary collection was dedicated on the Bard's birthday, April 23, 1932. Today, it holds 82 First Folios, 275,000 books, and 60,000 manuscripts, welcoming more than 100,000 visitors a year and serving as a vibrant cultural center in nation’s capital. The library provided Grant with unprecedented access to the primary sources within the Folger vault. He draws on interviews with surviving Folger relatives and visits to 35 related archives in the United States and in Britain to create a portrait of the remarkable couple who ensured that Shakespeare would have a beautiful home in America.
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