2019 Theater Book Award Winners and Finalists from TLA

Books about Bob Fosse and Yiddish theater have been named the best theater books of the year by The Theatre Library Association,  which is presenting its TLA Book Awards tonight at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The TLA Awards will also be given to two books about women in Hollywood.
Click on the below links for more information about each book, and to purchase*:

The 2019 George Freedley Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of live theatre or performance will be awarded to Debra Caplan for Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancypublished by the University of Michigan Press:

“During World War I, a motley group of teenaged amateurs, impoverished war refugees, and out- of- work Russian actors banded together to revolutionize the Yiddish stage.”

A Special Jury Prize will be awarded to Kevin Winkler for Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical (Broadway Legacies), published by Oxford University Press.

A look at the evolution of Fosse as choreographer and director. “With his first Broadway musical, The Pajama Game in 1954, the “Fosse style” was already fully developed, with its trademark hunched shoulders, turned-in stance, and stuttering, staccato jazz movement.”


Finalists for the George Freedley Memorial Award:

Minou ArjomandStaged: Show Trials, Political Theater, and the Aesthetics of Judgment Columbia University Press, 2018.
Gina BloomGaming the Stage: Playable Media and the Rise of English Commercial Theater (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance). University of Michigan Press, 2018.
Kate BredesonOccupying the Stage: The Theater of May ’68. Northwestern University Press, 2018.
Isaac Butler and Dan KoisThe World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America Bloomsbury, 2018.
Anselm HeinrichTheatre in Europe Under German Occupation. Routledge, 2018.
Odai JohnsonRuins: Classical Theater and Broken Memory (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance). University of Michigan Press, 2018.
Jonathan ShandellThe American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil RIghts Era (Studies Theatre Hist & Culture) University of Iowa Press, 2018.
Elizabeth W. SonEmbodied Reckonings: “Comfort Women,” Performance, and Transpacific Redress University of Michigan Press, 2018.

The 2018 Richard Wall Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of recorded performance will be awarded to Maya Montañez Smukler, for Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema, published by Rutgers University Press.

The book “examines the professional experiences and creative output of women filmmakers during a unique moment in history when the social justice movements that defined the 1960s and 1970s challenged the enduring culture of sexism and racism in the U.S. film industry.”

A Special Jury Prize will be awarded to J. E. Smyth for Nobody’s Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood published by Oxford University Press.

Looking back on her career in 1977, Bette Davis remembered with pride, “Women owned Hollywood for twenty years.” She had a point. Between 1930 and 1950, over 40% of film industry employees were women, 25% of all screenwriters were female, one woman ran MGM behind the scenes, over a dozen women worked as producers, a woman headed the Screen Writers Guild three times, and press claimed Hollywood was a generation or two ahead of the rest of the country in terms of gender equality and employment.”


Founded in 1937, Theatre Library Association supports librarians and archivists affiliated with theatre, dance, performance studies, popular entertainment, motion picture and broadcasting collection


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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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