2020 Theater Book Award Winners and Finalists from TLA

Books about dancer Ted Shawn and New Orleans theater before the Civil War have been named the best theater books of the year by The Theatre Library Association, which is presenting its TLA Book Awards via Zoom as a public program of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts this Friday, October 16, 2020 from 5:30-6:30 PM. (Click here to reserve your spot online.) 

The TLA is also giving two awards for books about “recorded performance” (which, in  pre-pandemic lingo, meant movies.)

Click on the below links for more information about each award-winning book and the eight finalists, and to purchase*:

The George Freedley Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of live theatre or performance will be awarded to Juliane Braun for “Creole Drama: Theatre and Society in Antebellum New Orleans (Writing the Early Americas)” published by the University of Virginia Press.

The stages of antebellum New Orleans did more than entertain. In the city’s early years, French-speaking residents used the theatre to assert their political, economic, and cultural sovereignty in the face of growing Anglo-American dominance. Beyond local stages, the francophone struggle for cultural survival connected people and places in the early United States, across the American hemisphere, and in the Atlantic world.

A Special Jury Prize will be awarded to Paul A. Scolieri for “Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances” published by Oxford University Press.

Ted Shawn (1891-1972) is the self-proclaimed “Father of American Dance” who helped to transform dance from a national pastime into theatrical art


Finalists for the George Freedley Memorial Award:

Desley Deacon, “Judith Anderson: Australian Star, First Lady of the American Stage“, Kerr Publishing, 2019.

Michelle Granshaw, “Irish on the Move: Performing Mobility in American Variety Theatre (Studies Theatre Hist & Culture)“, University of Iowa Press, 2019.

Noah D. Guynn, Pure Filth: Ethics, Politics, and Religion in Early French Farce (The Middle Ages Series), University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.

Victor Holtcamp, “Interchangeable Parts: Acting, Industry, and Technology in US Theater “, University of Michigan Press, 2019.

Daphne P. Lei,”Uncrossing the Borders: Performing Chinese in Gendered (Trans)Nationalism“, University of Michigan Press, 2019.

Mary McAvoy, “Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century (Studies Theatre Hist & Culture)“, University of Iowa Press, 2019.

Laura L. Mielke, “Provocative Eloquence: Theater, Violence, and Antislavery Speech in the Antebellum United States“, University of Michigan Press, 2019.

Selby Wynn Schwartz, “The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives”, University of Michigan Press, 2019.

The Wall Award for recorded performance is given to Ian Christie, “Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema “, University of Chicago Press, 2019.

A Special Jury Prize is awarded to Rocky Lang and Barbara Hall, “Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking: Inside the Private World of Classic American Movemaking“,Abrams Books, 2019.

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

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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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