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For over thirty years, Lawrence Harbison was in charge of new play acquisition for Samuel French, Inc., during which time he was responsible for the publication of hundreds of plays, many by playwrights who subsequently became quite prominent, such as Jane Martin, Don Nigro, Tina Howe, Theresa Rebeck, William Mastrosimone, Charles Fuller and Ken Ludwig among many others; and the acquisition of musicals such as Smoke on the Mountain, A…My Name Is Alice and Little Shop of Horrors.
He has edited over 100 anthologies for Smith and Kraus, Inc., for whom he edited annual anthologies of ten-minute plays and monologues for men and for women, and for several years edited their annual New Playwrights and Women Playwrights anthologies; and for Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, for whom he has edited several monologue, full length, 10-minute and 5-minute play anthologies. Currently, he is editing books solely for Applause, for whom he edits annual anthologies of 10-minute plays and monologues, and two anthologies of monologues and 10-minute plays by members of the Honor Roll, an advocacy group for women playwrights over 40. He has set up a new division for Applause to publish and license individual full-length plays, as well as the World Premiere Club, which will include plays he has helped playwrights develop which have not yet been produced. His column, “On the Aisle with Larry,” appeared in the Chelsea Clinton News and the Westsider for several years and then moved to www.smithandkraus.com, where it also ran for many years. It is now a feature on Applause’s website, www.applausebooks.com. It also appears on his blog at www.playfixer.com and on www.doollee.com, the international playwrights database. He also writes occasional columns for Theatre Record, a London-based magazine. He was a member for many years of two NYC press organizations, the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk, and served on the Drama Desk Awards Nominating Committee for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
He works with individual playwrights to help them develop their plays (see his website, www.playfixer.com). He has also served as literary manager or literary consultant for several theatres, such as Urban Stages and American Jewish Theatre. He has served many times over the years as a commentator for various M.F.A. programs and as a judge for play contests, and lectures occasionally at colleges and universities. He taught playwriting in the Theatre Dept. of the University of Michigan in the winter semester of 2016. He holds a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.A. from the University of Michigan.
His book, How I Did It: Establishing a Playwriting Career, a collection of interviews with playwrights, was published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books in March, 2015. His latest anthologies of monologues and 10-minute plays were published in December, 2019 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.
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