Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2007 Competition Announced

Heckart in The Little Foxes, Stadium Theatre, Ohio State University, 1964.

The 2007 Eileen Heckart Senior Drama Competition has begun. Intended to increase plays available for the rapidly growing field of Senior Theatre, the third Heckart Competition accepts plays in three categories: full length, one act (45 minutes or less in playing time), and ten-minute.

Only plays which have not yet received major professional productions may be entered. Plays should include major senior characters and/or deal with issues pertaining to seniors (people over 55). Musicals or adaptations may not be entered. There is no submission fee. Winning playwrights will receive cash prizes ($100 for full length, $75 for one-act, $50 for ten minute).

The Eileen Heckart Senior Drama Competition is sponsored by the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University. The first Heckart Competition, in 2003, saw more than 470 scripts entered, while the 2005 Competition brought 459 entries.

Details of entering: Hard copies only. No electronic copies accepted. Author's name should appear only on the title page, not in the text of play. deadline (postmark): March 31, 2007. We hope to announce finalists and semi finalists by the middle of May, winners by the middle of June. Entries should include a brief biographical statement about the author..SASE should be included if the script is to be returned at the conclusion of the competition.

Send submissions to:

Alan Woods
2007 Eileen Heckart Senior Drama Competition
Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute
The Ohio State University
1430 Lincoln Tower
1800 Cannon Drive
Columbus, OH 43210-1230

Winning plays, and first-runners-up, will receive staged readings at The Ohio State University during the 2007-2008 academic year. Winning writers are not required to attend.

The competition honors Eileen Heckart (1919-2001), the distinguished American actress whose long career culminated in her stunning performance in Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery (2000), for which she received the Drama Desk Award, Obie Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award. That same year she was awarded the Tony for lifetime achievement. She also was the recipient of an Academy Award (Butterflies Are Free), Golden Globe (The Bad Seed) and an Emmy (Save Me A Place at Forest Lawn). She was recognized with a Margo Jones Medal in 2000 for her long championing of new plays, having appeared in almost thirty world premiere productions.

Further information: 614/292-6614 (voice), 614/688-8417 (FAX),

2005 Heckart Drama Competition Winners

Heckart in The Bad Seed 1956; she was acclaimed in both the Broadway play (1954-55) and the 1956 film, for which she won the Golden Globe award and was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actress.

Winners for the second Heckart Drama Competition were announced at the end of July, 2005. Columbus, Ohio, and New York City playwrights tied for the top honors: Janet Overmyer of Columbus and Dan Aibel of New York tied in the full-length category with their plays My Beginning (Overmyer) and Lapses (Aibel). In the one-act category, Katherine Dubois of Boulder, Colorado, won for Innocent Bystanders, while Milwaukee playwright Ludmilla Bollow's ten-minute play, Saving America, was judged the best short play.

Runners-up were Neville J. Bryant (Oakville, Ontario), full-length play, Roses in November; Dori Appel (Ashland, Oregon), first runner-up one act, Alchemy, and Monica Bauer (Lynn, Massachusetts), second runner-up one act, Real Estate. First runner-up in the ten-minute category was Barbara Lindsay of Seattle, Washington, with On the Line, while Elaine Jarvik of Salt Lake City was second runner-up with Dead Right.

Winning plays were given staged readings in August as part of the 2005 Playwrights' Retreat for the International Center for Women Playwrights at Ohio State University in Columbus. Lapses -- in which an aging man becomes confused about reality -- was read on Saturday, August 13th, while My Beginning's reading was on Sunday, August 21st. Overmyer's play follows a recently-widowed woman learning to live on her own--and enjoying it. Innocent Bystanders, Saving America, Alchemy, and On the Line were read on Saturday, August 20th. All readings were in the New Works Lab, the Drake Performance and Event Center, 1149 Cannon Drive.

The Heckart Competition is sponsored by the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University. The writing partnership of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee created such modern classics as Inherit the Wind, Auntie Mame and its hit musical adaptation, Mame, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and First Monday in October. Lawrence and Lee, both Ohio natives, were active in teaching writing and in encouraging new playwrights during their distinguished careers.

UPDATE: Dan Aibel's Lapses will receive its world premiere production in May, 2007, at the Detroit Repertory Theatre. Details at

to contact the playwrights:
Dan Aibel's blog is at
Ludmilla Bollow's homepage is to reach Neville Bryant
Dori Appel can be contacted at
Information about Monica Bauer at
and contact Elaine Jarvik through,1228,82,00.html

for other contact information, email us at

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2003 Winners and Runners-Up

Here are the winners and runners-up from the first Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition, held in 2003.

Playwrights from Philadelphia, New York, and Louisville took the top spots. The winning plays received staged readings on July 25th and 26th, 2003, at the Short North Playhouse in Columbus, Ohio.

Larry Loebell's Memorial Day won first place among the full-length plays. Loebell is Literary Manager and Dramaturg at the InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, and he has had plays produced at InterAct, by the Wilma Theatre (also in Philadelphia), at the Attic Theatre (Los Angeles) and the Ritz Theatre (New Jersey), the Changing Scene Theatre in Denver and the Theatre Catalyst of Philadelphia. He is a two time winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting. Memorial Day is "a moving celebration of life and the renewal of hope in an inner city park," according to Dr. Alan Woods, director of the Lawrence and Lee Institute. It is based on the real-life murder of a community activist in Philadelphia in 1994 for the contents of his wallet.

The Last Dance, by New York-based playwright Edgar Chisholm, was named winner in the one-act play category. Nena Couch, Lawrence and Lee Institute Curator, said, "Chisholm's very funny play shows the power of a long life together as both memory of the past and motivation for the future." The characters in the play, divorced after more than fifty years of marriage, show the affection and concern that survive a lifetime of disappointment.

Nancy Gall-Clayton's Felicity's Family Tree won the ten-minute play category. The short play "deals imaginatively with the problems of memory and a search for family among older Americans," Woods said. "It powerfully shows the inevitable confrontation between an aging woman and the social worker responsible for her well being." Gall-Clayton, a resident of Louisville, has had plays producted at Kentucky's Horse Cave Theatre and the Actors' Theatre of Louisville, among others. She is an active member of the International Center for Women Playwfights, the Dramatists Guild, the Kentucky Writers' Coalititon, and is a board member of Lorna Littleway's Juneteenth Festival.

Warner D. Conarton's Elevator Music was first runner-up in the full length play category, while Katherine Dubois' Shady Manor was second runner up. Massachusetts playwright Miriam F. D'Amato's one-act play, A Noodle Kugel for Company, was named first runner-up in that category, with Delaware, Ohio, playwright Bonnie Milne Gardner's Day Old Bread taking the second runner-up slot. In the ten minute category, Sandra Perlman's Something With Fish was first runner-up; the playwright is from Kent, Ohio. North Carolina writer John Gehris took second runner-up with his ten minute play, Odds 'n Ends.

Members of Footsteps of the Elders and the Senior Repertory of Ohio, senior theatre companies in Columbus, Ohio, read the winning plays in the Short North Playhouse on July 25th (The Long Dance and Felicity's Family Tree, plus A Noodle Kugel for Dinner and Something With Fish) and July 26th (Memorial Day).

To reach the playwrights:
Larry Loebell's home page is reaches Edgar Chisholm
Bonnie Milne Gardner can be reached at
Sandra Perlman is at

for additional contact information, email