News Release: Arts and Humanities, Events

Jan. 26,  2010

Memorial for Playwright Frank Manley Announced

From Arts at Emory

The Atlanta arts community is invited to a celebration of the life of playwright Frank Manley to be held on Monday, Feb. 1, on the Emory University campus.

Frank Manley first came to national attention in 1984 when his play, "Two Masters," won the Great American New Play Contest at the 9th Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. That production featuring Kathy Bates in the role created by Susie Bass for Atlanta audiences. Reporting on the festival, Kevin Kelly, theatre critic for the Boston Globe, wrote, "Frank Manley has the uncanny ability to dramatize scenes that, at first, seem alien and almost incidental, only to reveal themselves as universal."

His strong and challenging characters were made into memorable performances by many Atlanta actors including Brenda Bynum, Jim Peck, Tom Key, Danny Nelson, Marc McPhearson, Jill Jane Clements, Teresa De Berry, Tim McDonough, Janice Akers, Jack Mason, Bruce Evers, Pat Hurley, Rhoda Griffis, Tim Habeger and Ellen McQueen, among others.

Many of Manley's plays were premiered at Theater Emory of Emory University where he was the founder of the Creative Writing Program and co-founder with Vincent Murphy of Emory's Playwriting Center of Theater Emory. In addition to the productions there and at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, The Alliance Theatre produced his play, "The Trap," in the 1993-94 season and PushPush Theatre mounted Vincent Murphy's adaptation of Manley's novel, "The Cockfighter," in1998. This script was also produced in the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1999 and made into a feature film that won first prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

An Atlanta native and professor of Renaissance literature at Emory, Manley began his creative writing, including playwriting, mid-career.  He graduated from Marist School, took an undergraduate degree at Emory, before taking his Ph.D. at Yale, where he taught before returning to Emory.  At his death on Nov. 14, 2009, he left an impressive body of work, including more than a dozen plays, novels, and books of poetry that had received numerous national and regional prizes.

Memorial Service at Cannon Chapel

Manley will be remembered from 4:15-5:15 p.m., with a memorial service followed by a short reception in Cannon Chapel on the Emory campus. Starting about 5:30 p.m. in the same building, there will be a gathering coordinated by Vincent Murphy for sharing readings from Manley's work and memories about collaborating with him.

Please look for a guest appreciation piece by Vincent Murphy to be posted in the coming days.


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