Milestones | Gener Levitt Jenkins Christiansen and others
(Feb 1, 2011) Randy Gener, Senior Editor of American Theatre magazine, has garnered a bunch of prestigious awards lately. When he says he’s been busy trying to make a difference, he’s telling the truth: the Philippine government awarded Gener the 2010 “Pamana ng Pilpino” Presidential Award. He was one of six honored with the award (which translates to “Legacy of the Filipino Nation”), conferred by President Benigno S. Aquino III in ceremonies held at Malacañang Palace in Manila in December 2010. Gener was selected out of 110 nominations from 23 countries. Gener spoke in Manila at a two-day conference entitled “Vision 2020: Responding to the Challenges of Migration and Development.” The prize comes on the heels of Gener’s selection as the 2009 recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and as 2010 Journalist of the Year from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. NLGJA named Gener Journalist of the Year at its National Convention and 7th annual LGBT Media Summit in San Francisco.
Gener also was awarded the 2010 Deadline Club Award for Best Arts Reporting in New York, at a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Gener’s article “Fomenting a Denim Revolution” (May/June 2009, American Theatre) beat entries in his category from The Forward and the New York Times. Gener also recently took home an honorary diploma by the National Operetta Theatre “Ion Dacian” in Bucharest, Romania. Gener had organized and moderated a conference entitled “Musical Theatre in the USA” for the Operetta’s International Festival for Musical Performing Arts.
Bob Abelman, theater critic for the News-Herald in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of 25 arts and entertainment journalists and editors chosen for 2010 fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. The fellowship allows Abelman to take part in the Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater on the campus of the University of Southern California this summer. In addition, Abelman received top honors in the 2010 Ohio Professional Writers, Inc. (OPW) Communications competition for his articles about community and professional theater.
Ron Levitt of Weston, FL, has been re-elected to an unprecedented tenth term as president of the South Florida International Press Club (formerly the Miami Press Club). Theatre critic for Florida Media News and ENV Magazine, Levitt is a former United Press Staff Correspondent and retired chairman of the Levitt PR Group. He is a former Florida Asst. Secretary of State, who managed cultural affairs for the Sunshine State, and serves on the board of WLRN Public Radio and Television.
Following a successful March 30 viva (i.e., defense) led by Anthony Frost and Stephen Bottoms, Foundation ATCA president Jeffrey Eric Jenkins received his Ph.D. from the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia (UK). His supervisor was the distinguished critic and scholar of American theater, Christopher Bigsby. The thesis, “Making Theatre ‘History’: (Re)Writing the Record,” is a study of the challenges inherent in writing “authoritative,” “reliable” theatre history. “Making Theatre History” critiques totalizing theatre-history narratives within their original contexts of the nineteenth and twentieth century. It also demonstrates how these narratives have affected theatre historiography and offers correctives that may be of use to future theatre historians.
It’s not unheard of for theaters to be named for theater critics (e.g. the Walter Kerr and Brooks Atkinson Theaters on Broadway), but it’s rare enough to occasion surprise and deserve huzzahs. So cheers for Chicago’s Tony-winning Victory Gardens Theater, which on March 1 named its new 109-seat studio theater after Richard Christiansen, longtime chief critic for the Chicago Tribune. A key figure in the growth and recognition of the Off-Loop Chicago professional theater scene, Christiansen is also a longtime ATCA member and delivered a Perspectives in Criticism talk at our 2000 annual conference at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
The International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC/AICT), of which ATCA is the American section, selected the renowned American performance theorist and artist Richard Schechner as the 2010 honoree for its biennial Thalia Prize. A prolific author and director, Schechner’s greatest impact has been as editor (1962-69, 1986- ) of TDR (The Drama Review), which IATC President Kim Yun-Cheol of Korea called “the world’s leading journal on the avant-garde and … the premiere journal of Performance Studies, a field he virtually invented.” The previous Thalia winners were Eric Bentley (US, 2006) and Jean-Pierre Sarrazac (France, 2008). The prize will be conferred at the IACT congress in Yerevan, Armenia, June 16-20, 2010. More on the IATC/AICT website.
Randy Gener received an Evan Shipley Hook educational grant from Foundation ATCA to defray expenses as ATCA’s representative to the January Executive Committee meeting of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC/AICT) in India. Gener, the 2007-2008 George Jean Nathan Award winner for dramatic criticism, serves as vice-chair of ATCA’s International Committee.