"Charlotte," Tale of Cross-Dressing, 18th-Century Actress, Wins Freedley Award

News   "Charlotte," Tale of Cross-Dressing, 18th-Century Actress, Wins Freedley Award
The Theatre Library Association, the staid and dignified orginization that yearly hands out the George Freedley Memorial Award, honoring excellence in writing on live theatre, seems to be letting its hair down a bit lately.

In 2005, it honored "Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show" (Oxford University Press) by Rachel Shteir. This year, the Freedley prize is bestowed on the equally sensational (if much longer) title, "Charlotte: Being a True Account of an Actress's Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London's Wild and Wicked Theatrical World" (Henry Holt & Company) by Kathryn Shevelow.

The book is about the eldest daughter of British actor-playwright Colley Cibber, author-actress Charlotte Cibber Charke (1713–1760), who supported herself by acting male roles on the stage. She also wore male clothing offstage, and eventually assumed the identity of Charles Brown, taking on other less-than-feminine jobs such as grocer, valet and sausage seller.

John Epperson, the performer otherwise known as Lypsinka, will present to award to Shevelow on June 2 in the Bruno Walter Auditorium of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, located at Lincoln Center.

The Freedley Special Jury Prize has been given to Linda Ben-Zvi for "Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times" (Oxford University Press). The award will be presented by Glaspell scholar and author, Martha C. Carpentier.

The Freedley Award is named for George Freedley, the first curator of the New York Public Library's Theatre Collection and first president of the Theatre Library Association. It is presented annually for the best book on live theatre published in the United States in the previous year. A cash prize accompanies the award.

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