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Christopher Brian Wolk Award

Announcing the 2013 winner of the Christopher Brian Wolk Award for Excellence in Playwriting: Sheldon Bull for his script, Mallorca.

On Monday, December 16, 2013, Sheldon. Bull received the Wolk Award for 2013. A staged reading of the play was presented in Abingdon’s June Havoc Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, in Manhattan’s Midtown Fashion District.

In Mallorca, men and their emotions are explored in this two-act comedy about four middle-aged New Yorkers, all in the midst of personal crises, but only one willing to admit it. Plans to attend a Knicks game are sidetracked when neurotic Julius announces that he is moving to the island of Mallorca. Stan’s wife may be leaving him, but he rushes to Mallorca when Julius threatens to kill himself. Leo and Arthur arrive, as does Roberta, the woman who may have pushed Julius over the edge. Fear, frustration, and urination from a seaside balcony combine to bring about the resurrection of Julius, revelations about Leo’s failing business, Arthur’s failing health, and Stan’s failing marriage, and ultimately to the redemption of the four men’s friendship.

Sheldon Bull has been a professional writer for over thirty years. He has written more than fifty scripts for a dozen prime-time television series, including MASH. He has worked as a story editor or producer on more than three hundred television episodes. Sheldon has written and produced three hit television series, Newhart, starring Bob Newhart, for which he received two Emmy nominations, Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, starring Melissa Joan Hart, where he also directed several episodes. Sheldon started out in the theater, co-running and co-directing a small theater company in the Los Angeles area at the age of nineteen. He recently directed a production of Kaufman and Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You at The Sierra Madre Playhouse in California. He has been writing plays since 1995. Sheldon’s plays have been given staged readings at The Falcon Theatre, Open Fist Theatre Company, and Three Roses Players in Los Angeles, and at Theater Arts West in Temecula, California.

The five finalists for this year’s award include:
Hal Borden for his script of comic complications at a job interview in A Position of Relative Importance;
Sean Grennan for his exploration of the impact of a heart transplant in The Tin Woman;
Brian Mulholland for his brilliant use of verse in The Return of Tartuffe;
Mark Williams for his touching story of leukemia patients in Recovery;
Matt Witten for his examination of the ethics of modern warfare in Drones.

Background

Christopher Brian Wolk was a talented and creative actor, musician, singer, writer and composer who died in an accident while visiting Glacier National Park, Montana. To honor his memory, Abingdon Theatre Company and the Wolk family have created the Christopher Brian Wolk Award for Excellence in Playwriting.

Christopher worked extensively with Abingdon in both the workshop and the Mainstage Productions of Zona, the Ghost of Greenbrier, the staged reading of Floodwatch, and in-house readings of The Debating Society and The Weight of Breath.

At other NYC theatres he appeared in Delicious Vaudeville, Girls We Have Known, The Drummer Must Die, and Poor Fellas, which has been published by Dramatists' Play Service and is dedicated to Chris's memory. He also developed his own work, Sons of Katherine, as well as numerous short films. A graduate of Marquette University, he interned at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre performing in The Merchant of Venice and Sex, Death and Friday Night at Theatre X.

The Award

In an ongoing effort to recognize excellence in playwriting, the award is presented annually to an American writer of a new, full-length play. The award is based upon the writer's demonstrated ability to reach a mature artistic vision using theatre. This is yet another way in which Abingdon supports theatrical work, while honoring the memory of a great actor and true friend.

The winner receives a $1,000 cash award and a staged reading of the script at the award ceremony held in our June Havoc Theatre in Manhattan’s Mid-town Fashion District.

Previous Winners

2012  Rob Winn Anderson, The 10th Son

2011  Jack Canfora, Poetic License
           
Produced by The Director's Company at 59E59 Theatre

2010  Stephen Spotswood, Aronsville Woman
           
Produced at Northern Kentucky University

2009  Joel Fields, How I Fell In Love
           
Produced by Abingdon Theatre Company , January 21 through February 13, 2011

2008  Frank Tangredi, Pastoral 
           Optioned for commercial production

2007  Mark Eisman, Shove 
           Produced by The Road Theatre Company, Los Angeles, CA

2006  Tim Slover, Treasure
           Produced by Fulton Theatre, New Lancaster, PA
           and University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

2005  Nancy Moss, Hostage Wife 
           Produced by the Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu, HA

2004  Daniel Damiano, Dreams of Friendly Aliens 
           Produced in Abingdon's 2006-2007 season

2003  Stuart Warmflash, Shortly After Takeoff  
           Produced by Harbor Lights Theatre Company, NY, NY

2002  Cheryl Royce, The Passion of Claire 
           Produced by Hudson Stage Company, Croton-on-Hudson, NY

2001  Christopher Bailey, Mandrake and the Marsh People
           Subsequently developed at Lord Leebrick Theater Company, Eugene, OR

Selection Process

The literary department selects the initial pool of scripts from all those submitted during the year-long submission cycle.
A three-person Nominating Committee, including the Literary Manager, reviews the selected pool of scripts to nominate six finalists.
A Selection Committee is comprised of Jan Buttram, Artistic Director, three respected theatre professionals and a member of the Wolk family review the six finalists without knowing the name of the playwright and choose the winning script.

Submission Guidelines:

  • You are an American citizen or have permanent resident status.
  • Your script has a running time of at least 75 minutes.
  • The script has not been produced in New York City for critical review.
  • Cast requires no more than eight (8) actors; character doubling is fine.
  • A printed copy of the entire script is required.
    • We do not accept scripts by email.
    • Do not send sample pages or treatments.
  • Be sure to include: name, address, phone and email address.
  • The script must be bound, e.g. brass fasteners, 3-prong folders or spiral binding, etc. - binder clips are NOT acceptable.
  • A full character breakdown, if roles are doubled, include how the roles are doubled.
  • A short synopsis.
  • Your writing bio.
  • Development and/or production history of the script if applicable.
  • Include a SASE if you want your materials returned.
  • Note: All correspondence is by email. If you do NOT have an email address, you must include a SAS postcard or envelope to receive a receipt acknowledgement.

Also keep in mind:

  • Playwrights may submit one and only one script for each of our submission cycles, e.g., June 2, 2013 to June 1, 2014.
  • Scripts are considered only once for the Christopher Brian Wolk Award.
  • Scripts that are an adaptation of copyrighted materials or incorporate copyrighted materials, must include a statement stating that the playwright has obtained the rights to use such material.
  • We do not consider musicals.

Submit your script to:

Kim T. Sharp, Literary Manager
Abingdon Theatre Company
312 West 36th Street, Sixth Floor
New York, NY 10018-7570

Finalists:

Playwrights chosen as finalists will be asked to submit additional copies of the chosen work for evaluation by the Selection Committee without identifying markings (your name or your address, etc.).

Winners receive:

A $1,000 cash prize and a staged reading.


Christopher Brian Wolk

                                                                                        

   2013 Winner Sheldon Bull (center), Artistic    
   Director Jan Buttram (right), Lisa Wolk (left) 
   along with the director and  the cast of           
   Mallorca                                                                 
 
Abingdon Theatre Company