The award, for "the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year," is chosen by a committee of the heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton and Yale universities. The award consists of $10,000 and a statuette, which will be presented to McNulty at an upcoming ceremony.
McNulty is being honored for his theatre reviews and essays published in the Los Angeles Times, citing him as "an astute chronicler of individual productions as well as trends in contemporary playwriting who has emerged as an articulate and forceful critic of the state of the professional theater in the United States," according to a press statement.
The award committee stated, "McNulty provides an ideal balance of context and critique, exemplifying Nathan's call for dramatic criticism that will stimulate 'intelligent playgoing.'" The committee commended McNulty for his discussion of daunting leadership issues facing the professional theatre today, citing "his pointed questioning of the priorities and vision of the not-for-profit theater reflects the deeply held convictions he brings to his writing, reminding us of the critical importance of such discourse for the future of the nation's theatrical artistry."
McNulty was formerly a theatre critic and editor at The Village Voice, and has written for Variety and Yale/Theater.
The Nathan Award was endowed by George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), a prominent theatre critic who published 34 books on the theatre. The award has been given annually since 1959. Previous winners include Walter Kerr, Jack Kroll, Elliot Norton, Bonnie Marranca, Charles Isherwood, Mel Gussow, Elinor Fuchs, Michael Feingold, Ben Brantley and Yale professor Marc Robinson. For more information visit www.arts.cornell.edu/english/awards/nathan/.