Harold Ellis Clark of Gretna has been named one of two finalists for the 2013 Stanley Drama Award for his play, “Tour Detour.” He will be honored at a reception on March 18 at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South in New York amid last year’s Stanley Drama finalist and others in his field.
The award is offered for an original full-length play or musical that has not previously been professionally produced or published. This year marks the Stanley Drama Award’s 56th anniversary.
“Tour Detour,” set four months before the 2008 U.S. presidential election, is about a soldier, just before he embarks on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. He goes to visit his father, who’s serving a life sentence at a Louisiana prison. They haven’t seen each other in 26 years.
“Playwriting’s about discovery. I enjoy accepting the challenge of attempting to answer the question, ‘What if,’ as I strive to present various sides of a given subject or argument,” Clark said.
“Two years ago, I set a goal of one day seeing my work on Broadway and at theaters nationwide.” He said his wife wrote his desire in a journal called an “action book.”
“Being named a finalist for the Stanley Drama Award that has been won by several playwrights who’ve gone on to win Tony Awards gives me confidence to continue pursing that goal,” Clark said.
Born in New Orleans, raised in both Algiers and Marrero, Clark is a graduate of John Ehret High School. He earned a bachelor of arts from Grambling State University and a master’s degree from Western Illinois University.
“After graduate school, I retCurrently editing the rough draft of the play, “We Live Here,” Clark wrote numerous unpublished novels and unproduced screenplays over 18 years. The plays include “Marrero Action,” produced at the Anthony Bean Community Theatre in 2011, and “Fishers of Men,” produced at Dillard University’s Cook Theatre in 2012.
For just over 10 years, Clark has been host and producer of WYLD-FM’s Sunday Journal with Hal Clark, a four-time winner of the Best Radio Talk Show award at the annual Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism competition gala.
Helen Williams is a Gretna resident who writes about people and events of community interest.