New Dramatists, New York's home for playwrights, will celebrate their Golden Anniversary with musical theater legend Julie Andrews, in their Annual Spring Luncheon May 13, 1999.
Each year New Dramatists salutes an individual who has made an outstanding artistic contribution to the American theatre, last year's nominee was New Dramatist alum Terrence McNally.
Andrews received Tony Award nominations for her performances in My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Victor/Victoria. Andrews received an Academy Award for her film debut as the title role in the Walt Disney film, "Mary Poppins." Other films include: "Sound of Music," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," and "The Americanization of Emily."
Longtime friend, Carol Burnett will be on-hand to present the award to Andrews. The two have made join appearances at Carnegie Hall and have worked on numerous television specials together.
New Dramatists' Honorary Chair for the event is Arthur Miller, who's play Death of a Salesman, is celebrating a golden anniversary of its own. In late 1998, Andrews' vocal health was the talk of the theatre community of late, with her husband, Blake Edwards, telling Parade magazine in November that because of complications from a throat operation, Andrews would never sing again.
At the time, Andrews seems to think differently, telling British newspaper, The Mail (Dec. 6), that Edwards' reports were false. She declared, "I will sing again...It's true my voice is a little weak at the moment, but I'm resting it and it will get better. I'm sure it will."
Andrews continued, "I had an operation on my throat, 18 months ago to remove some harmless nodules. Since then I have been in what is called slow vocal recovery.''
Earlier in 1999, Andrews admitted that prospects of full recovery looked bleak to television's Barbara Walters. A spokesperson for the New Dramatists event told PBOL (April 13) that Andrews would not be singing at the luncheon.
New Dramatists, founded in 1949, offers a haven for playwrights to develop their craft via workshops, staged readings, awards and prizes. New Dramatist membership lasts for a seven-year span. Alumni include: Robert Anderson, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Richard Foreman, William Inge, Donald Margulies, Terrence McNally, Suzan-Lori Parks, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman and many more.
Current New Dramatists members include: Diana Son (Stop Kiss), Jeffrey Hatcher (Turn of the Screw), Keith Glover (Thunder Knocking on the Door), Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive), and Ruth Margraff (The Elektra Fugues).
For information on the New Dramatists' 50th Annual Spring Luncheon, honoring Julie Andrews call (212) 757-6960.
Other upcoming New Dramatists Events include:
* May 20. Five New Dramatists alumni who've recently published books will share their experiences "In the World of Publishing." Bonnie Bluh, Laura Cunningham, Mark Kurlansky, Carol Mack, and Art Sainer will take part.
* June 17. New Dramatists alumni George Baxt and John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) address "The Craft of Writing the Mystery." Baxt is the author of 16 whodunits, and Pielmeier was just nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award.
The organization is also sponsoring a continuing series of play readings:
The Remittance Man, by Joel Wyman, on May 6
and Body Language, by Louis Adelman, on June 10.
New Dramatists Alumni is the association of former member playwrights of New Dramatists. All events are at New Dramatists, 424 W. 44th St., NYC, at 7 pm and are open to the public.
-- By Sean McGrath