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2015 Marfield Prize

The Arts Club of Washington is pleased to announce that the winner of the tenth annual Marfield Prize, the National Award for Arts Writing, is Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway by Michael Riedel.

Razzle Dazzle presents with verve and brio a compelling history of the business of Broadway, populated by outsized Runyon-esque characters, sycophants, and demagogues,” says Marfield Prize judge, Alan Michael Parker. “Eminently readable, it’s a book to which we sing along–to quote A Chorus Line, ‘one thrilling combination, every move that he makes.’ Riedel documents brilliantly the rise of the Schubert family, their internecine maneuvering, and how they saved Broadway more than once (and maybe Times Square too).”

Riedel will travel to Washington, DC, this May for a brief residency, including a visit to a school classroom and an interview with Grace Cavalieri, host of the Library of Congress’ podcast, “The Poet and the Poem.”

On May 18 at 6:30 p.m., he will take part in a lively conversation with Peter Marks, theater critic for the Washington Post. This is a free event, open to the public. Reservations: Please call 202-331-7282, extension 3, or email

Riedel will be presented with his award at a gala dinner on Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. This is a ticketed event for club members and their guests, and includes musical selections from classic Broadway musicals. Robert Aubry Davis serves as the host.

Both events will take place at the club, located in a historic Federal-era mansion that was the home of President James Monroe.

Michael Riedel has been a theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998 and is the cohost of Theater Talk with PBS. He has written for the New York Daily News, The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Mirabella, Departures, and Commentary. Riedel lives in New York City. Razzle Dazzle is his first book.

The Marfield Prize, sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington, recognizes the author of an outstanding nonfiction book about the arts published in the previous calendar year. This $10,000 prize is designed to recognize excellence in arts writing for a general audience and is one of the highest monetary awards for a single-author book.

This year’s award judges are Alan Michael Parker, professor of English at Davidson College and author of three novels and eight collections of poems; Remica L. Bingham-Risher, Cave Canem fellow and director of writing and faculty development at Old Dominion University; and Robert Aubry Davis, creator and host of the public radio show Millennium of Music and host and moderator of WETA TV’s arts discussion program, Around Town.

The other three finalists for the 2015 Marfield Prize were:

Hayden Herrera, Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Mark Ribowsky, Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul (Liveright)

Ilan Stavans, Quixote: The Novel and the World (W. W. Norton & Company)



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